8 ways to make money with wildlife photography
Making money from photography is challenging especially if you are not in the commercial or events industry. For a non-commercial genre such as wildlife photography, the question always stands - how do you make money from it?
Wildlife photography, in particular, is a popular genre yet at the same time one of the most difficult, if you want to make it a living. One of the reasons is the saturated market.
Try hopping on to Instagram and browse for #wildlifephotography. You will see thousands of photographs being posted every day. Both hobbyists and professional photographers are competing on social media popularity.
That being said, here are some of the ways you can make money with wildlife photography.
Sell stock photos
Selling stock photos is one of the ways to earn with wildlife photography. It is not the most glamorous and high-paying, but it helps, especially if you sell a lot of images.
Some notable stock photo sites are Shutterstock and Alamy.
All you have to do is upload your photo to these sites, label them properly, and wait until someone purchases your photo.
Uploading is the easiest part, waiting is the hardest one. It might take days, weeks, or even months until someone buys your photo.
So in some ways, you may earn from selling stock images. But at the same time, it is not a surefire way to earn. It is not a get rich in 7 days scheme.
Start a social media account, build a following
As mentioned earlier, you may check Instagram to see the latest or the most popular wildlife photographs uploaded. Once you check the image, do not forget to check the profile too. Most of the time the popular ones will have thousands of followers.
These social media engagements, whether on Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok, might be the key to success. Your profile will serve as the key to gaining commissioned work and more clients.
Your social media profile will serve as your portfolio too. Update it regularly and grow your community. There are tools in these apps that help you analyze the images that have better engagement too.
Besides growing your community, having lots of social media engagement will help you gain connections too. You may use it to talk to other photographers and learn about their craft.
Another advantage of having a social media community is brand partnerships. A lot of brands partner with their social media influencers to promote their products.
Brands sometimes pay influencers too to feature their brand. If not paid, you may receive items or exclusive discounts in exchange of getting featured in your profile.
Do workshops or photo tours
Workshops are a great way to earn as there are a lot of people who are eager to learn from experienced mentors.
But before you run a workshop, you need to have an excellent portfolio. Let your work speak for yourself and why people should learn from you.
Photography tours are also an option.
For example, if you are already a regular visitor of a certain wildlife park, you may talk to the rangers or park administrators that you want to conduct a photography tour. Talk to the necessary people such as guides so you have assistance when out in the wild too.
Conducting a photo tour is a tough task as you need thorough planning. Sometimes, it will take years before it happens.
Take Idube Photo tours by Kevin Dooley as an example. Their tour this 2022 is several months away, yet they are already inviting participants.
This is to arrange the tour perfectly and there will be no issues when it comes to logistics, itinerary, etc.
Sell prints of your wildlife photographs to individuals or businesses. You may setup an online shop or partner with galleries to display your images.
There are art fairs too where you can sell your prints. The key here is to find the right fair or market that will appreciate your works.
Just because we are talking about wildlife photography would mean that you are stuck with selling prints. You may license your images to magazines, newspapers, and other publications. This is a good way to earn income from your work.
Fine Art photography
Wildlife photography may seem like taking thousands of photos of animals. But the genre can also be considered as fine art if you know have a skilled eye.
Take photos that are unconventional and sell your work as fine art photography.
It is lucrative. However, this means you need a stunning portfolio and the eagerness to do the work -- meet with galleries, collectors, and other potential buyers.
Sell photobooks and calendars
Another way to earn money with wildlife photography is by selling photobooks and calendars that feature your wildlife images.
Sounds too generic right?
However, if your shots are amazing and the photobook layout is phenomenal, there is a market for you and you can earn big bucks by doing this.
Earn money through commissions
There are companies who commision wildlife photographers to take photos. It is for different purposes like marketing or educational materials.
The best thing about commissioned work is you get paid, and you get to build your portfolio too.
But again, this means you need to stand out among the thousands of wildlife photographers in order for you to get chosen.
You can earn money with wildlife photography but is not an easy task. Impossible? Not at all. Challenging? Yes, yet it is rewarding at the same time.
Hopefully you find your groove and finally make money with wildlife photography.
Feel free to share your wildlife photos with us on Instagram @ProMediaGear.