How to Make Money and Create Something

Trading or selling your time for money has long been viewed by classic economics as a losing proposition. As a professional wedding photographer, it’s typical to sell your time in hourly blocks. There are only so many hours you can sell, so how do you break through this earnings ceiling?

Business Versus Art

I realize that many are drawn to photography because it’s an artistic pursuit. The business side of the craft is often overlooked in favor of its creative aspects. Being creatives, photographers are often turned off by talk of sales. Talking to more financially successful wedding photographers (note that I didn’t use the term "better"), you’ll quickly realize that one of the paths to making more from your 8-12 hour days is to sell albums. You've already taken the photos, you might as well find a way to further monetize them.

A lot of photographers I’ve talked to mention that they don’t want to pressure couples who have put their trust in them into buying expensive albums. So, how do you find consistent success selling albums without employing hard-sell tactics? 

Albums to keep forever. (GTA Imaging)

Creating Something

I’d ask you to think about this: many photographers fall in love with photography because they get to create something. To posit something. Creating memories of wedding days and then solidifying those memories by making albums that can be touched and held is actually creating something, literally positing something into the world. The bonus for photographers: this is something that will be cherished and probably passed down to subsequent generations. Sure, albums won’t be an Ansel Adams print hanging on walls around the world 100 years from now, but great-grandchildren may fawn over an album of grandma’s mom and dad in formal duds that seem romantically out of time.

With this in mind, GTA imaging in Toronto has created a short video that they have published on YouTube to assist photographers in marketing to their own clients. 

Raising All Boats

I love how GTA has taken an interest in helping to strengthen the financial viability of the industry. Sure, more albums sales is good for GTA, but explicitly helping photographers to create financially viable businesses is something that assists the entire community. As the saying goes: raising all boats.

How Do You Do It?

How do you find ways to make money in addition to simply selling your time? What tactics do you use to make those sales? 

Images and video courtesy of GTA Imaging.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Mark is a Toronto based commercial photographer and world traveller who gave up the glamorous life of big law to take pictures for a living.

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Thank you for writing about actually making money in this industry. We are so very, very, very tired of stupid, inane, senseless and endless articles about cameras and lenses. We have cameras and lenses. They work just fine. We need to learn more about marketing and selling photos so we can feed and house our families and grow our businesses. Even PDN has gone down that stupid gear acquisition road. So terribly sad and useless. Please convey our desires to FStoppers management.

Thank you. I do try to write articles like this when I can! Clicks rule though.

A quick tip, just above my “about me” block at the bottom of the article there is a “posted in” line of links. Give the “business” link a click and you should be able to find more of what you’re looking for!

I have a few more in preparation stage. I certainly have a few in my history as well. Let me know which ones you liked best.