Photography marketing

How to make $100,000 this year from your photography

How to earn $100,000 as a photographer? Start with $200,000! Sorry, joking aside, it’s technically possible. I mean there are photographers earn 6 figures. And I’m sure that even if I made so much money from photography, I’m sure I’d still write for DIYP! But that aside, how do you manage to make so much money from your passion? It’s something most of us only dream about. But in this video, Evan Ranft not only explains how he did it, but gives some very sound advice that can at least put you on the right path to profiting from your photography, even if you aren’t hitting 6 figures yet.

So, first of all, Evan explains that the traditional advice was to have multiple streams of income. He takes himself as an example. In 2021, multiple streams of income were Evan’s income strategy. He had freelance clients, he did art prints and a book, a YouTube channel that was monetized, digital products like presets, and of course those old favorite affiliate marketing links. He also had sponsors.

Everything is fine. But building one of these streams of income (and many more) takes time, and as Evan puts it, most photographers simply don’t build more than two at a time. He admits that following this method is a constant expenditure of energy and it is not easy to keep up. Indeed, most of us have the skills and resources to create a half-decent YouTube channel, and I’ve been tempted many times. but then I think about how much work it’s going to take and how much I really hate being on camera and I always tell myself not to.

There must be another way, right? One where we don’t all need to become “influencers”?

So instead, Evan asks the question: if you only have a camera and a passion for photography, how can you earn a 6-figure income this year? Well, the answer, it seems, lies in a few sums:

  • Start with $100,000 (that would be nice, thanks! Oh wait…) and divide it by 12 months in the year. That leaves you with around $8,000. He then divides by 20 days and ends up with just over $400 per day.

This is a very low daily rate because realistically how many of us work 20 days a month, every month? (Actually, it’s more, but I can assure you that I don’t make $400 a day!).

So now Evan is talking about price versus value. You have to think of the photography you’re selling as your product, and through your product you give value. It is more difficult to sell a lower value product at a higher volume than a higher value product to fewer people.

So back to the math. If you charge $400, you need to find 20 people a month to pay that to make $100,000 by the end of the year. It won’t be that easy. It just doesn’t fit very well with the role of a photographer who largely works by himself. You would be exhausted and would definitely need to outsource tasks such as client scheduling, retouching, and marketing to manage that many months. It’s just not sustainable.

Evan says you need to invest in upgrading your skills to a point where it’s obvious you’re going to charge higher prices. If you can build your skills (or your confidence) to the point where you can charge $800 a day, then you only need 10 clients a month. Suddenly it starts to look a lot more doable.

Now, we all know that you can’t go from newbie to Joe McNally overnight, it takes time. And Evan recognizes it. He suggests other ways to add extra value to your photography for clients that will allow you to charge more. Things like e-commerce, social media management, branding, style and wardrobe advice, or location scouting, among others, would add value to a potential client and complement your photography.

The sooner you can identify your unique value as a photographer, the sooner you’ll be on your way to making a profit. Of course, go for multiple sources of income, but understand that it takes a lot of time and hard work to grow, just like it takes a lot of time and hard work to develop your skills as a photographer.

What do you take away from it? Is this yet another unicorn influencer photographer telling us we don’t work hard enough or does he have some great ideas?