The Ultimate Guide: How To Start A Photography Side Hustle

Have you been thinking of starting your own photography side hustle but haven’t been able to comprehend what it is you’d need to be able to start? You can start your photography business with no prior experience, other than sheer interest for photography.

If you have an eye for details and find yourself being interested in people and the world around you, photography might just be for you. You do not need to be a professional photographer in order to start making money from a photography side hustle. 

Want to start your own photography side hustle? Here are some things you should know before you can make money with your part-time photography business.
Photo by Max Ravier on

Everyone starts from somewhere, and having it as a part-time job will enable you to start without quitting your day job.

There are some things you will need when starting out your side hustle, but there are also ways to make money from home without providing the photography service.

What you’ll need to start your photography side hustle

Even if this side hustle is lucrative, you will need to invest into it before you start. But once you’ve done that, it will pay off quickly. 

Here’s some things and skills to acquire and develop as you are starting your side hustle:

Your level of photography skills

This level is not definitive, but being able to see situations as images, and noticing details is essential in order to create well-composed pictures. You will not have this in the beginning, but it is something that will inevitably be developed as you go.

Having basic understanding of lighting and composing your subjects /objects is enough. You’ll find great material on Youtube which will help you get started.

Camera equipment

Before you start charging your clients, and don’t yet have the income from your photography, invest in a cheaper camera like Canon Rebel T7, so that you’ll learn your way with photography without breaking your bank during the first year.

As you learn more about your practice and where you’ll have your focus, you’ll be able to invest in better equipment and produce high-end imagery. 

A good cameras to start with would be Canon Powershot or even a Sony Cyber-shot.

The price range can be between 500-1000$, but you can also get a used one for your first camera.

Want to start your own photography side hustle? Here are some things you should know before you can make money with your part-time photography business.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

An online portfolio

For you to be able to sell your services, an online portfolio will do a great job in that. It can be a website like or just social media like Instagram. Because you will want to show something once you are with a client prospect and know they are interested in working with you. 

Make sure you edit your series before you publish them anywhere, which will communicate to your clients that the overall quality of your images is high. Adding all your images will just result in a mess and will seem like you are not able to distinguish which of your work is actually the top quality.

The next list is more about things that will be useful for you, but not necessary in the starting point of your journey:

Photography studio space

Having an external space to create your images will help you immensely not only in the beginning but also as you go and grow as a photographer. Depending which way you decide to develop your business to, needing a studio space will either be necessary or not. If for example you’ll want to be photographing mostly weddings, a studio space will not be in much use. 

Instead having an enormous space you’ll have to pay rent for, just start off in a space you already have access to and you know has good natural light. This way you can move your photography indoors if it’s necessary, but you won’t have to go broke while doing so. 

If you feel you’re not ready to invest in a studio space, getting yourself good portable photography lighting set will provide the same value in the beginning.

Other photography equipment

In the beginning you can get by with not having literally anything else but the camera and your skills.

But at some point you’ll need an external hard drive, lighting equipment and more lenses to offer better service to your customers – and charge a bit more with that too!

If you decide to start shooting digital – which is the most inexpensive option in the beginning – you’ll need an editing software.

A great option for many professional and beginner photographers is Adobe Creative Cloud; You can choose to have only one editing software they have, but you can also pick and choose multiple softwares for your needs.

I mostly use Photoshop for editing images, Indesign when making my layouts and PDF’s and Bridge to sort and mark images that I’ll send to clients.

Again, this is dependable on which direction you will take with your photography side hustle. 

The direction of your photography side hustle

When starting photography, you will automatically already have some clear interest towards the practice. Do you enjoy being around people and documenting them? Or are you better with photographing on your own, without anyone interfering? 

Want to start your own photography side hustle? Here are some things you should know before you can make money with your part-time photography business.

Working with clients

You can start looking for clients through family acquaintances and just passing the word around that you are interested in photographing people and events. It might not seem like a lucrative option, but you’d be surprised! People are always looking photographers for portraits and meaningful events in their life. 

When you start working with clients, it is good to note that you should be able to provide some comprehensive details before hand. 

Even if it is your first photoshoot, ask you clients the following questions:

How many images is required ? This way you know how many you will have to provide and with time you will also know how long it will take you 

What is their budget for the shoot ?  A client first gives you their budget and then you can either accept it or let them know what it is you offer for this price

What is the location / idea for the shoot? This might add up to your expenses if the client wants you to travel to a specific location. 

Always make sure your client does not have a tight schedule with the delivery of the images, this will raise the price of the images. 

Working with clients

  • Wedding Photography
  • Portrait Photography
  • Newborn Photography
  • Event Photography
  • Real Estate Photography
  • Pet Photography

Working on your own

  • Product Photography
  • Landscape Photography
  • Travel Photography
  • Street Photography
  • Stock Photography

Once you have a clear direction on what it is you love photographing, you will be able to build your side hustle around that. Doing product photography will require you to have studio lighting and a studio space to work in. 

Selling stock photos

Selling images online on different platforms enables you to do the job once, and see it pay off afterwards, without you having to make any effort.

You can sell your images on different platforms or your own website or blog, if you have one. One of the popular ones is Depositphotos, where you can earn anywhere from 50$ to 250$ a month.

Obviously, stock photos are not custom-made so the pricing is way less than in photography jobs you’s do for clients. The good thing is, stock photos are on high demand and even during surprising changes in your life, they are online being sold everyday.

Want to start your own photography side hustle? Here are some things you should know before you can make money with your part-time photography business.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

Typically, a stock photo earns you money every time someone downloads it or buys a license to use it.

If you decide to sell your photos online, here are some of the best stock sites that will allow you to sell your photos:

  1. Adobe Stock
  2. iStock
  3. Shutterstock
  4. Depositphotos
  5. Alamy

One stock photo can be sold on a stock photography site from a few cents to a few dollars. 

Shutterstock can earn you $120 or more per image download. On iStock, you can earn between 15-45% of any sales.

How much can you make with stock photos?

Earning from your side hustle will always depend on several factors like whether you sell photos or services etc.

If you sell your photos on stock photography sites, you will usually earn anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars per image.

Unless you have thousands of photos available for buyers to download, you will likely not make a decent income only by selling stock photos online.

Stock photos will earn you passive income, once you’ve made the initial work and take the images to be uploaded.

If you can upload 1,000+ high-quality photos, you may be able earn $100-$150 from your photos each month. You may be able to make $500 a month from 5,000-6,000 stock images.

Photographing events

One way to really make a profit out of your photography side hustle is wedding photography. You can create wedding photography bundles and the best part is; we all know wedding photographers are not cheap.

Especially if you’re looking for ways to work only part-time, wedding are perfect for that; working mostly during summer, and then taking more time off during winter season. You can charge a reasonable rate and still be a bargain compared to other photographers.

Because the work days are longer than usual – 8-12 hours – you will be able to charge more. On top of this, the client will usually want separate portraits on top of the event photography. 

You can also create packages that include additional things like engagement photo sessions, save-the-date cards, custom invitations, photo albums, and more. These options make it possible to make more money from each client that you land.

Even if taking the direction of wedding photography, you will want to consider the following; remember that these days are one of the most important events for your client, so it will create pressure for you to deliver what you are promising. 

You only have one chance to get the photos right, so you need to know what you’re doing. On the other hand, once you’re comfortable with what you’re doing, you know what you can deliver to your clients.

If you want to know more on how to price your work, I’ve covered it in this article.

Register your business

Depending on how much money you estimate making with your side hustle, there are a few legal things to consider. Get connected with a good accountant to help understand the logistics of taxes, as that can be a little difficult to navigate on your own.

First, you’ll want to decide on a name for your business and check trademarks. The simplest way to check for trademarks is to go to and perform a TESS trademark search.

If you find nothing, it’s a good sign. Now you’ll just want to perform some google searches to make sure no one else is using a name that is the same or similar. If they are, it may just be easiest to choose a different name.

As far as registering your name, there are a few different options for you to research. You can register your business name or trade name, or register your business as a legal entity (LLC).

Many new and small businesses operate under the most basic form of business type – sole proprietorship. According to, a sole proprietorship is basically an unincorporated business owned and run by one individual (no partners are involved), with no distinction between the business and its owner.

It’s a good idea to have insurance to protect yourself and to cover any damage or issues with equipment.

Important tips before you start

  1. Going into a specific niche will help you to focus on an area you can develop yourself in. The more narrow you go, the more you can finetune your expertise. 
  2. Try out with the least expensive area; selling stock photos will only require you to have a camera and a laptop to upload the images. 
  3. The more you market a specific niche, the more you will be presented with similar offers. Even if wedding photography is lucrative, but you want to excel in product photography – doing both with the same intensity will leave your audience confused.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results

It might seem difficult at first, but so does everything worth having. Once you start uploading images or looking for the right equipment to start shooting portraits, you are taking steps in the right direction. It is not a sprint, but a marathon and you should just keep going even when you are not seeing results. 

Trust your skills and stay determined in developing yourself and your business.

If you liked this article, you will love How To Start A Photography Business With No Experience – Simple Guide

How To Create A Successful Photography Business Plan

6 Easy Steps To Planning A Photoshoot The Right Way

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