How do you make $100,000 as a photographer? Start with $200,000! Sorry, jokes aside, it is technically possible. I mean, there are photographers out there earning 6 figures. And I’m sure that even if I was making that sort of money from photography I’m sure I’d still be writing for DIYP! But that aside, how do you even get close to making that sort of money from your passion? It’s something that most of us just dream about. But in this video, Evan Ranft explains not only how he did it, but lays out some very sensible advice that can at least get you on the right path to profiting from your photography, even if you’re not quite getting to 6 figures yet.
So firstly, Evan explains that the traditional advice was to have multiple income streams. He uses himself as an example. In 2021 multiple income streams were Evan’s income strategy. He had freelance clients, he made art prints and a book, a YouTube channel that was monetized, digital products such as presets, and of course that old fave affiliate marketing links. He also had sponsors.
All well and good. But building any one of these (and more) streams of revenue takes time, and as Evan so rightly says, most photographers just haven’t built more than a couple of these up at a time. He admits that keeping up with this method is a consistent energy burn, and it’s not easy keeping up with it. Indeed, most of us have the skills and resources to create a half-decent YouTube channel, and I’ve been tempted on multiple occasions. but then I just think how much work it’s going to be and how much I really hate being in front of the camera and I always talk myself out of it.
There has to be another way, right? One where we don’t all need to become ‘influencers’?
So instead, Evan poses the question: if you only have a camera and a passion for photography, how can you make a 6 figure income this year? Well, the answer it seems, lies in a few sums:
- Start with $100,000 (that would be nice, thank you! Oh, wait…) and divide it by 12 months in the year. That leaves you with approximately $8000. He then divides by 20 days and is left with just over $400 a day.
That is a very low day rate because realistically, how many of us are working 20 days a month, every month? (Actually, it feels like more but I can assure you I’m not earning $400 a day!).
So now Evan talks about price versus value. You need to think of the photography you sell as your product, and via your product you give value. It’s harder to sell a lower value product at a higher volume than it is a higher value product to fewer people.
So back to the maths. If you’re charging $400 then you need to find 20 people a month to pay that to make the 100 grand by the end of the year. That’s not going to be that easy. It just doesn’t fit that well with the role of a photographer who works largely by themselves You’d be exhausted, and definitely need to outsource things like scheduling clients and retouching and marketing to manage that many a month. It’s simply not sustainable.
Evan says that you need to invest in improving your skills to a point where it’s a no brainer that you’re going to charge higher prices. If you can get your skills (or confidence) up to the point where you can charge $800 a day, then you now only need 10 clients a month. Suddenly that is starting to sound a lot more feasible.
Now we all know that you can’t go from beginner to Joe McNally overnight, it does take time. And Evan acknowledges this. He suggests other ways that you can add additional value to your photography for clients that will enable you to charge more. Things like E-commerce, social media managing, branding, styling and wardrobe consulting or location scouting among others would all add value to a potential client and compliment your photography.
The sooner you can identify your unique value as a photographer, the quicker you’ll be on the path to making a profit. By all means, go for multiple income streams, but do understand that it takes a lot of time and hard work to build up, just like to takes a lot of time and hard work to build your skills as a photographer.
What’s your takeaway from this? Is it yet another unicorn influencer photographer telling us we aren’t working hard enough or does he have some good ideas?