Photography marketing

How much does a photography maker make from 4 streams of income.

  • Manny Ortiz is a full-time YouTuber photographer.
  • As a photo and video creator, he had to change his strategy because the priorities of the platforms changed.
  • Here’s how much he earned from four streams of earnings in September.

In his five years as a creator, Manny Ortiz has dabbled in both video and static photo content.

A self-taught photographer who used to shoot weekend weddings while working full-time as a police officer, he began filming educational videos in 2017 on photographic elements like lighting and posing.

Since then, Ortiz has worked primarily as a YouTube video creator, using Instagram as a complementary platform to showcase his work as a photographer. He has 663,000 subscribers on YouTube and 255,000 followers on Instagram.

During his four years as a full-time creator, he had to adapt to changing platforms, such as Instagram’s move to Reels and YouTube’s move to short-form video.

The Instagram pivot “has forced us to adapt,” Ortiz told Insider. “Now we’re forced to include a video clip, behind the scenes, or something to back up a photo. Basically, posting just one photo just seems insufficient.”

Ortiz said it can be boring, especially for someone like him who already spends a lot of time editing video content for YouTube. But it had an unexpected benefit, especially for photographers.

“It allows us to move towards learning – a lot of people didn’t know how to make video or edit,” he said. “It’s just to adapt to the times, and I’m trying to do less complaining and more action.”

The same goes for YouTube shorts, which he first tried on an experimental basis. “I’ve only released a few shorts, and they’ve been very successful in numbers,” he said. “I noticed a lot of people watching it aren’t actually subscribers, that’s a lot of new viewers.”

But Ortiz still thinks the long form is the way to build a career.

“I think it’s a great discovery tool and a great additional way to create content,” he said, “but I don’t think it’s possible to just create shorts.” He added that creating long-form content “is very important in building a relationship” with an audience.

Sample photograph of Manny Ortiz.  Manhattan skyline with a woman.

An example of Ortiz’s photography.

Manny Ortiz.

Diversify revenue away from brand deals

In 2021, Ortiz earned $231,778 in creator revenue. (The insider verified all revenue for this story with documentation provided by Ortiz.) This came from three sources of revenue: brand sponsorships, digital store sales and AdSense, Google’s program to give creators a share of revenue from ads placed on their YouTube videos.

As with every creator, each month’s earnings are different for Ortiz. Here’s how much he earned in September from four streams of income.

September 2022 income: $22,899.22

Although brand sponsorships are still Ortiz’s main source of income, he is trying to branch out.

“I’m very picky with my brand deals,” he said. “Integrity is everything in this space.”

In the past, it has had partnerships with brands like online learning platform Skillshare and lighting tool Lume Cube.

He also has a digital store where he sells a course on portrait retouching for $109 and three bundles of presets, or coloring filters, for $20 or $25 each.

Because her content focuses on photography education and techniques, Ortiz felt selling digital products was a natural extension of her personal brand.

He also earns income from affiliate commissions, when a brand gives him a percentage of sales if customers purchase products using his personalized link. It uses affiliate links for Amazon and B&H, a photography store.

He also earns a 10% commission on a product he created with Westcott, a photo and video lighting company.

These additional forms of revenue have been significant as brands have invested less in influencer marketing due to a tough economy.

“I still have long-term sponsors that I work with all year, and that helps mentally,” he said. “But other big deals, those don’t come in as much anymore.”