Multiple Income Streams For Photographers

Posted on 3/20/2010 by John Martin Lund | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Multiple Income Streams - what's out there?

The changes that are going on in the world of professional assignment and stock photography are astounding. Mid-range DSLRs shoot HD video, Getty is promoting Flickr over the collections of their professional contributors, iPhone photos are being showcased in the New York Times and the list goes on and on. In this time of change, challenge, and, yes, opportunity, you might want to utilize the proven strategy of investors over the ages.  That strategy is diversification.

Stock, Assignments and More

As a photographer you can shoot stock and shoot assignments. That much is obvious; so let’s take a look the other less obvious options. There is also the fine art print market, the paper product market (everything from coffee mugs to mouse pads to journals), teaching, and, what I would call an ancillary market, advertising on your website.  More about that last one a bit later.

Coffee Mugs, Pet Bowls and T-Shirts

The trick to making it work is in choosing the categories that make sense for you, and in putting them together in a package that is manageable.  In this Internet age it is possible to have many of these categories set up in such a way that you can be free to create more work while automated processes take care of sales and fulfillment for you.  For example, companies like and Zazzle can be the paper product end of your business dealing with imprinting your photos on coffee mugs, pet bowls; T-shirts and a whole lot more.  They can seamlessly handle everything from the manufacturing to the sales transaction to shipping.

Imagekind, on the other hand, can handle print sales doing everything from printing on a wide variety of substrates to matting and framing.  Again, Imagkind and other companies like it handle the complete transaction process leaving you free to focus on the more creative aspects of your business.

Opportunities To Profit

For those of you so inclined the opportunities to profit from your photography expertise extends to teaching as well.  I know one photographer who charges beginning photographers for the opportunity to assist him.  Another friend of mine has a lucrative business leading photographers to travel destinations around the world.  When she posts a new offering she usually fills up her groups in a matter of hours! And yet another friend of mine offers weekend workshops on Photoshop/photography techniques.

Showcase Images And Draw Traffic

Now lets take a look at that last category; advertising on your website.  As a photographer you have something a lot of other web entrepreneurs don’t have…quality content.  By creating a quality website that showcases your images you can draw traffic, and traffic can be monetized in a variety of ways.  It can be a simple as click-through advertising. I know one man who has created several web sites with entertainment oriented content.  These three sites, with only Google click-through ads, generate three to four thousand dollars a month in income for him. 

I know of more than one photographer, who has mastered SEO (search engine optimization), and consequently has more than 10,000 visitors a day…that can translate to real income! If you can generate that kind of traffic you can be sure advertisers will want to be on your site.

Whether or not you are looking to generate revenue through advertising on your site, optimizing for search engines is good business.  No matter how you generate income you need to attract customers, and in today’s world that means the Internet. All of the above income producing opportunities can work, but there is no magic bullet.  They all require hard work and patience.  It takes time to build traffic and a solid customer base. So what are you waiting for?

Copyright © 2009 John Martin Lund. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

John Lund has been shooting professionally for over 30 years. John was
an early adopter of Photoshop, first using version 1.0 in 1990. He
began using digital capture in 1994. John has been active in the stock
photography world since 1989 and is a founding member of BLEND IMAGES
and long time contributor to Getty, Corbis, and, more recently
SuperStock. He specializes in shooting stock photos including a mix of
funny animal pictures with anthropomorphized pets (including dogs,
cats, cows, elephants, monkeys and more), and concept stock photos for
business and consumer communications. His work can be seen at

John has lectured on digital imaging and stock photography, has been a
columnist for PICTURE and DIGITAL IMAGING magazines, and has a
WITH JOHN LUND. John has been a frequent speaker at Photo Plus and
other venues and has taught workshops at Palm Beach Workshops and
Santa Fe Workshops.


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