One of the common questions I get from my students is – Which is the best genre in photography to earn money from?
My answer always is – Portrait Photography.
It has and will always be the number one and fastest way to earn from photography.
The reason for this is because other fields like landscape photography and wildlife photography take a lot of time because you need to develop a solid reputation first to be able to sell your photos or work with big companies.
Food and Product photography are also really good options but you have to really get very good at those skills and be able to produce very high quality images.
But Portrait Photography is different because you are usually working with individual people who have a pressing need to get clicked.
And the supply is lesser because unlike other genres of photography, portrait photography cannot simply be done by just having a camera.
You also have to invest in studio equipment, lights and flashes.
That itself forms a barrier to entry since not everyone will invest.
So less supply and a good demand mean only one thing – Ability to earn.
But if you do decide to take this route, pay attention to the following important points:
- Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades portrait photographer. Instead, specialize in one particular type of portrait photography – like fashion photography, maternity/infant photography, corporate head shots, a particular style/look of portraits, etc. At the very least, select a few but don’t try to do it all because something like infant photography is very different than shooting adults.
- Don’t ignore the skill of marketing. You need to have a website which is well optimized for search engines (SEO) so when people around you search for portrait shoots on Google, they will see your website come in the top results. Get a freelancer to set all this up for you.
- Go beyond clicking. Learn about portrait editing, costumes, posing and make-up too. The more you can do these things yourself, the more your margin will be because you won’t have to hire other people to do these extra things.
The only genre that comes closest to portrait photography is Event Photography (like Wedding Photography). But in my opinion, unless you don’t have a team, it is tough to scale that business model.
Whereas, portrait photography can be done all by yourself without any team. Plus, you usually don’t have to travel since people will be coming to you and not the other way round (My studio photography course teaches you how to set up a budget home studio in your house).
It’s also easily doable with your normal day job because you can conveniently schedule the shoots during weekends. Something you can’t do in Event Photography.
Finally, it’s also a lot of fun because working with someone and understanding their story makes you a part of it. Trust me, a lot of people out there have very different and interesting reasons to get clicked.
I hope this tip helps you.
About the Author
Hi there, I'm Kush Sharma, the founder of Creative Pad Media, an organization dedicated to simplifying photography and videography education.
We have over 40 online courses that cover various genres in photography & videography, catering to both beginners as well as professionals. These courses are available via Udemy.com. Our courses have been downloaded in over 170 countries.
I hope to see you inside a course very soon!