Ever spotted a wonderful photo-worthy moment when you least expected it and just wished you had your camera with you?
Perhaps you captured several of these, and they’re just sitting around your phone, making you wonder how you can commercialize your hobby? You could be a guru street photographer in the making!
Street photography continues to grow in popularity thanks to digital photography. With something as simple as a phone camera, you can get started and give the world something they’ve not seen before.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re green or experienced in the street photography world. If you can make money out of your favorite thing to do, why not?
That said, if you’re wondering how to monetize your street photography, you’re in luck because this article has it all: How to, what to do, what not to do, how much you can make, and so much more! Let’s get into it.
What Is Street Photography?
Whenever most people hear “street photography,” they think of a stranger walking along the streets of a city like Tokyo, Dubai, New York, or London. While such images are an important aspect of street photography, the genre is far larger.
Street photography involves shooting moments by chance for art or inquiry. These images are often of random and unexpected encounters. In simple words, street photography is about capturing life in public places in a candid manner.
Despite its name, therefore, it does not have to be done on the streets. It could be down at the beach, in your backyard while holding a family barbecue, public hall, name it!
It can be done everywhere! As long as people are not posing and there are no modifications to moments, anything and everything can be a street photo.
What Do You Need To Get Started In Street Photography?
If you’ve just discovered that you’ve been on a photographic treasure hunt, collecting random perfect moments and would want to share those with the world, you need to start establishing yourself. How can you do it?
1. Establish The Why
First and foremost, think about why you want to make yourself known in street photography. Do you want to generate money with street photography? If so, will it be a full-time job? Do you believe in doing what your love, and street photography is just that?
Will nothing but street photography make you happy? Or do you simply want to supplement your income by doing what you love, which is street photography? Whatever your reason, you need to know what your end goal is to have a clear vision.
2. Establish Your Audience – Make Yourself Visible
Almost everyone who engages in something for a substantial amount of time wants to get money out of it. As such, it’s safe to assume that everyone reading this is looking for ways to turn their talent into money. That said, what’s your target audience?
When it comes to street photography, finding clients can be extremely difficult, but it’s doable. You don’t just want people to look at your photographs and say, “Wow, nice!” then brush them off. You want people who want them as wallpapers, wall art decor, and even murals in large spaces.
To start, make yourself visible. How? The easiest way is to have a vast social media presence. Post on Instagram, blog heavily on street photography, and create some YouTube videos. Remember to include your biography and email address so companies and private clients can reach out to you.
3. Build Your Brand
Developing your brand won’t be a walk in the park either. It could take years before you’re a force to reckon with, but when you’re consistent, the effort will be worth it!
The first step in building your brand is having impeccable work consistently. The only way to do this is to stay true to yourself. You don’t have to copy what everyone else is doing; find your unique voice.
Your expertise in photography doesn’t have to be limited to capturing moments; you could also teach the art of street photography. You could publish books; tell a story. There’s so much you could do – just find yourself and stay true to it.
4. Find Your Inner Entrepreneur
Regardless of how hard it seems, you can make money from street photography. If you work hard enough, are passionate enough, competent enough, and lucky enough, you might manage to earn a livelihood doing street photography.
To do this, you need more than talent; you need to find your entrepreneurial side. You need to formulate a business plan that will help you focus on your goals. Just like all businesses, you need to know where you are now and where you want to be in years to come.
5. Quality Equipment
While it is prudent not to overspend on photographic equipment when you are first starting, you must still purchase the appropriate equipment. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean a powerful camera; you could get a phone with a good quality lens when starting.
You could make or break your career with your camera. Remember, however, that street photography may require you to be in disguise to capture random moments, so small cameras may be better suited. This, however, depends on your niche.
But, in general, iphone photography isn’t going to make you the most money.
Street photography is intrusive. Most people won’t be okay with having their photographs taken. As such, you have to be very careful with what you are doing.
It is considered legal (in the US) to take photos in public as long as people don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Nevertheless, if you’re using their images for commercial purposes, you will need a model release.
Just be sure to listen to the request of others if they would prefer not to be photographed; otherwise, you’ll kill your career before it starts!
What Is The Easiest Way To Make Money In Street Photography?
That’s a no-brainer: Business is value creation in exchange for money. If you want to make money, offer something worth paying for. As a street photographer, what do you bring to the table?
Here are a couple of ways:
Selling Prints and Soft Copies
Street photography is part of fine art photography, and you can sell your art in the form of print or soft copies. Soft copies can be sold on websites such as Getty Images or Alamy or other personal clients.
You can make high-quality prints and sell them but keep in mind that most consumers no longer want to pay for images.
As such, it’ll be hard to make a full-time job doing so. What you can do is focus on building a following with your photos till you get to the point where people are willing to pay for them. As a side hustle, though, this can be a lucrative way to make money.
Selling your photography as stock images can be a great way to bring in passive income.
Sell Your Photography Services
Selling your skill as a service is one of the most paying forms of value creation for street photographers. Your prowess could lead to worthwhile contracts where you are paid for street photographs.
It could be through street style photography by fashion magazines, lifestyle magazines, product companies, municipal jobs to capture the use of different spaces in the city, architectural magazines, and so much more.
You could also get private clients who want a street-style theme for their events like weddings. You never know who wants to tell a story with your skill.
This is an unexplored field. Though there is no longer a large market for prints, the field of teaching is unexplored. You can teach others how to take photos like a guru if you indeed show that you are one.
You could teach them how to overcome their fear of taking street photography and other skills that add value.
You could also teach travel street photography. This involves holding seminars and workshops for about 1 week where you pick an exotic location and offer photographers the opportunity to travel, have an unforgettable experience, and, of course, enhance their street photography.
Selling books, whether informational or pictorial books, is also another unexplored area. You could publish books on guidelines to follow for good street photography or just publish your photobooks.
Photo journals can tell stories and capture memories that will be long forgotten as life passes, but your photobooks will remain to tell a tale.
Last but not least, as you build your portfolio, you may find corporations that want to partner with you for their marketing campaigns. You could also advertise on your social media pages to bring business to companies like Samsung and other camera manufacturers.
How Much Money Can You Make From Street Photography?
This is the most typical question people have while considering a career in this field. The basic response is that there is no such thing as a limit. Photographers who make a lot of money from their work exist. Those that struggle to meet their basic needs exist.
What does that mean?— It’s your story to write. Most people who enter this field quickly discover that making money from photography is difficult. Unfortunately, in this digital age, there is far more supply than demand for photographs.
Nevertheless, people who are thriving from street photography exist. Most times, such people mix their sources of income.
They sell prints, advertise on their pages and blogs, offer commercial and private services, and many other things under one umbrella. This way, they grow exponentially before they can specialize in one particular area.
Can You Make Street Photography A Career?
If you decided to have a conversation with most people who have tried making street photography a career, we can bet that they would dissuade you from doing the same. As alluded to before, it is quite difficult to establish a regularly paying career here.
Nevertheless, where there is a will, there is a way. Furthermore, most photographers’ focus is not monetary but on doing what they love.
That said, can you still be a successful street photographer without making money? Yes.
And the good news is that once you have a platform, you can find ways to make money; they are endless. With the appropriate strategy and long-term mentality, you can make a reasonable living and establish your career.
Of course, if it doesn’t work out for you, explore other ways to make money from photography. The possibilities are endless.
Granted, you’re bound to be depressed at some time, having bills piling up and all that, but it will be worth it. Be resilient because the punches are coming, but each time you bounce back will be one time closer to your dream! You can be anything you want as long as you want it bad enough!