Over the years I’ve had a lot of newer photographers reach out to me and ask how to make it…. I’m going to tell you straight up, I got lucky! I started full-time in weddings in 2005/1006 – and it was the BOOM for weddings – just launch a website and you couldn’t help but make a full-time living as a wedding photographer.
Fast forward to today, and it’s just not as easy to get your start. I had a friend ask just last week what it would take, and how long it would take, and my answer wasn’t as promising as it used to be. It’s hard work. It’s doable, but if you need full-time income TODAY – you might need a side hustle as you start out…
So, what’s a good side hustle? That’s going to depend on you!
You’re going to need a computer and access to the internet. If you’ve got that, keep reading – if not, get going til you’re there, then come back and read on. I’m an Apple fanboy… I hate to admit it, and denied it for a while, but they just make solid products that work. So, first things first… Get a Mac! (sure… a PC will be just fine, and save you $$$ – but… buy your gear used when starting out, it helps a LOT!) don’t do what I did and take out student loans on overkill gear.
If you’re a mac user, things aren’t always perfect. They are easy to use, but, there are problems you’ll need to learn how to solve on your own, such as Bluetooth not working. This might be where networking starts…. make friends with someone in computers, with someone ahead of you in photography and more, and they can help you work through these bumps vs. trying to solve it on your own in a vacuum.
Some side hustle jobs I’ve seen photographers do as they start their career creating photos:
Web development has exploded in popularity since the late 1990s. It’s also become increasingly complex. That’s led to web developers becoming increasingly in-demand. The role can be done from your Mac(OR PC) quite easily.
Most of the job involves you sitting in front of a computer performing duties, after all. Why should that mean sitting in an office working for someone else? Instead, you could go with a home-based web development business. Giving you time to work on your photo business and doing a lucrative side hustle at the same time.
While an applications architect needs a significant amount of expertise in certain areas, that shouldn’t be an issue for people with most software-related degrees. These will be one of the more technically-demanding careers you can have, although it’ll be quite rewarding.
These professionals focus on designing the architecture of an application, as the name would suggest. That’ll involve providing leadership to a technical team, so you’ll need teamwork skills. Effective planning will be part of this, although most photographers will have this already based planning on previous photoshoots. And… this will help you learn to be a team player as a photographer!
Copywriting has been one of the more popular freelance careers for decades. All you’ll need for this is a computer and some high-quality writing skills. As long as you put the effort into developing these skills, you shouldn’t have a problem.
The only difficulty here is finding clients. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too much of a hurdle. Highlighting portfolio pieces that you’re proud of and delivering a great service should be more than enough to get clients. With sites like upwork and fiverr, and so many more, there’s tons of opportunity to put food on the plate.
After a while, you could find yourself with more clients than you know what to do with.
There are quite a few careers you could start with just a Mac/PC while you build your photography business. Don’t let the need for income stop you from chasing the dream of being a photographer… just learn a good side hustle and you will never lack for money, and when the timing is right, you can decide if it’s right for you to make the jump to full-time photographer. Plus, the skills you learn along the way will be invaluable to your business.