If you are an eager-eyed individual with a creative mind, there could be many occupational avenues and side hustles for you to potentially explore, but none will come close to the freedom provided by Photography. Starting a photography business, or even just taking up photography as a paid hobby, can seem daunting at first if you do not have the proper know-how. In this article, we will clear up any issues, answer any questions, and give you a definitive guide on how to become a photographer as a side hustle in the UK.
How To Start A Photography Business
One of the best parts about using photography as a side hustle is the fact you can start it with very little experience – you do not need to be professional at taking photos, organising photoshoots, editing photos, or any of the other factors, as long as you are eager to learn and have the ability to be flexible with working hours and due dates. At OddsMonkey, we have detailed all of the aspects you may need to consider when becoming a photographer in the UK.
Photography itself can be quite lucrative, although you will require some form of investment before you can begin making money from a photography-based side hustle. Of course, if your phone has a good enough camera, you could actually start taking photos directly from your phone and using those to expand your portfolio, but most photographers will invest in basic or advanced cameras with extra things like lenses, tripods, flashes and more coming later in the process once dedication and money are free-flowing.
The following is a list of the important things you should acquire and improve before attempting to start a business venture into the photography world;
• Your photography knowledge in the theoretical sense – Photography is an intricate art form, with many different aspects to consider with every individual image you take. There are some basics to know, such as understanding lighting, framing, angles, dimensions, depth perception and more. The main things you should learn are the previously mentioned factors, as well as what is named the “Formal Elements”, which detail things like texture, colour, and perspective. These elements are vital for every image, and even if an image does not cover the entire list, making sure you focus on a few of them is key to taking a great, sellable photo.
• Professional camera equipment – Of course, if this is your first time starting in photography, you do not want to invest in an expensive camera from the jump. You should invest in a simple, cheap-range camera that is still going to have enough quality in the images to sell them. Charging clients for your work will also require a high quality from each photograph. You do not need to invest in things like tripods and flashes right from the beginning, but they are something to consider for the future of your photography side hustle.
• A portfolio (collection) of your best images – This portfolio should be built up over some time, with a large variation of images. You can make smaller, themed portfolios for specific image types – such as Wedding Photography or Product Photography – but it is good to have a collective portfolio that contains all of your best images so that potential clients can see how you adapt to different styles, lighting ranges, and other factors. Your portfolio should contain the highest quality versions of your images, as well as a range of natural and edited images to display your skills for both variations. Your portfolio can also be both physical and online, while online portfolios are preferred in today’s age as technology steams ahead.
• Inspecting rentable studio areas – This step is only important if you are going to be taking images that require neutral backgrounds, or are expecting to run through multiple clients in a day. This could also be beneficial if product photography is the style you are going for, such as clothing items for an online store or food photography for a restaurant’s social media. Most towns and cities will have studio spaces that are not massively advertised, but can be found through a quick Google search. Renting a studio space could also come along with a need for renting/purchasing lighting.
What Are The Sellable Types Of Photography Online?
When you first start your photography career, you may already have an idea of the sort of photography you prefer. If you are not a very social person, you may edge towards product photography as it means you do not have to interact with many people during your photoshoots and would only communicate with people when collecting and submitting the work. On the other hand, if you love the social side of life, then maybe photographing people could be your style. It is all personal preference and finding the right avenue before jumping too deep into the side hustle will guarantee that you actually enjoy yourself while also making money.
Product Photography is one of the most common types of photography that newcomers get involved in. With many small, local businesses, and plenty of easy ways to practise and hone your skills, product photography is the easiest avenue to delve into. In product photography, you are essentially taking photos of items, whether it is clothing, cars, shoes, food, or anything else that is being sold by your client. These photos are then used for things such as social media posts, websites, newsletters, and so on. The client pays for the collection of images as a whole, with multiple variations of each product photographed from different angles.
We mentioned that product photography is easy to practise, and this is mainly due to the ease of access to products in your own home. If you think you are going to focus on clothing company product photography, you can take photos of your own clothing to get used to the framing and lighting for different material types, colours, and sizes of clothing items.
Event Photography covers a few types of imagery, with the main one being Weddings. Photographers can find good business within this sector because there is a constant need for photographers at large life events such as weddings, milestone birthdays, baby showers, and more. Taking photos at these events is incredibly important and requires a lot of responsibility to be placed on the photographer’s shoulders.
If taking photos for an event, specifically a wedding, you must plan everything to the maximum. This includes making a list of both the families that will be present and writing down pairings and groupings that you will need to take photographs of in order to include everyone in images for the wedding album.
Print Photography covers things such as generic holiday images, images of animals and buildings, landscape photography, and other images that could be bought, printed, and placed on any person’s wall within their homes. You may have a few of these images around your own home, such as images of global landmarks or things in your local town. This imagery is easily scalable, and there are plenty of websites which allow you to sell these generic images to a global audience.
You could also create things such as postcards, calendars, photo albums and more that can be purchased, should you figure out How to Sell on Etsy or another online store such as Shopify. However, you could even sell your prints in a physical store if you can strike a deal with the owner. Calendars are a popular Christmas present to prepare family members for the upcoming new year, so creating unbranded calendars containing your imagery could be a great way to both sell your images and get your name noticed.
Pros and Cons of a Photography Side Hustle
• Photography in its basic sense is easy to learn – if you can look at something through a camera lens and take a picture of it, you can take photographs. Of course, there are levels to photography and a competitive factor, like with any other occupation, but if you are only using it as a side hustle, there is no need to compete.
• It is a creative art form, meaning creative expression is allowed. In most jobs and side hustles, you must follow specific criteria and standards, but this changes with every client and every photoshoot as a photographer.
• Flexible working hours, and being your own boss for the most part, is a huge benefit for a lot of people. As this is a side hustle, you can still work your regular job at the same time, and can just fit in photoshoots whenever you have the right amount of free time to do so. This can supplement your income while also giving you enough time to relax after work hours where needed. Learning how to freelance in the world of photography could potentially grant a number of additional freedoms.
Disadvantages of using Photography as a Side Hustle
• For some people, the initial investment could be an issue, as buying new camera equipment and potentially renting a studio space could potentially set them back quite a lot of money initially. Not being able to afford the correct equipment is a very common issue within the photography world, which is why we would recommend a combination of saving up money with the intention of purchasing equipment, and also purchasing good condition, second-hand equipment that could remove a chunk of the initial cost.
• Many people also struggle with the social side of photography, especially when doing it as a solo venture. Communication between yourself and your clients is important at every stage of a job, whether it’s the first introductions, or the submission of completed work. Once you have overcome the initial fear of actually speaking to clients, this whole process becomes easier. Communication via email, phone calls, and text messages are all options, but nothing beats face-to-face contact with your clients so they can fully describe what they are expecting from you, and you can gauge their emotions.
How To Start Your Own Photography Business Side Hustle
Find your niche
We provided you with a list of the types of photography that are most common to get into as a side hustle photographer, and now it is time for you to make your decision. Do you want to work with people, animals, products, real estate, or anything else? Making this initial decision is the first steppingstone to creating a photography business, and you can create your portfolio and design your advertisements based around this specific niche. Alternatively, should you have some more specific skills, you could potentially even make money with online courses surrounding photography, teaching people on some of the techniques and practices you have knowledge on.
Register your business
If you are taking the business seriously, and want other people to take it seriously too, then registering yourself as a genuine business is a major step. This is something that is considered once the estimated amount of money you will make has been calculated, and once you have started to gain clients through other means. The first steps of registering a business is to choose a business name, and then check a trademark search to make sure the name isn’t already taken. After this, you can search Google to see if there are any similar names to the one you are going to use – if there are, think of something different to keep it unique and give you a better chance of being noticed and not confused for other businesses.
Once your business is created, your portfolio is compiled, and you are prepared to start taking on client work from different clients, you are ready to advertise. There are multiple streams you can advertise through, with the easiest being word of mouth through a peer-to-peer basis, as this could help you find family members or friends of your family that may need a photographer for an upcoming event, etc. You could also advertise via Google Ads, social media campaigns, or other paid variations, but these would set you back in money. Once you have advertised your business, you can add to your portfolio from each new client you receive – you will have a constant flow of photographs to add to your portfolio, hopefully with increasing skill and quality on display, making both your work and your clientele more impressive.
Factors To Consider When Becoming A Photographer In The UK
There are a few important factors to consider, and these will summarise most of what has been said within this article.
The first of these is that entering into a specific niche and type of photography can make it much easier for you to actually decide on where you want your side hustle to take you. This also means you can improve your portfolio and hone your skills within the specific niche, making your expertise more apparent.
The second note is to try out multiple streams before you settle on one. By this, we mean do not just settle for doing client work, and try out selling your photos online as stock images, too. You could find that you can balance the two between each other, using your miscellaneous images for stock photo sales, and then doing client work on top of this.
Finally, you want to make sure you get into it as soon as possible. A lot of aspiring photographers will wait too long to actually get their equipment and get involved, losing out on potential clients in their local area or losing the opportunity to be the first person to take images of something they have seen. Both of these factors can be nulled by being efficient and getting yourself sorted and settled as quickly as possible.
More Ways To Make Money OnlinePhotography is just one side hustle you can get involved with while having little to no experience. However, photography can be one of the more complex and overwhelming side hustles to start in, and there are plenty of other directions you could take your side hustle career. If becoming a photographer in the UK doesn’t sound like something you’d be interested in, at OddsMonkey, we have a range of different side hustles including becoming an Instagram influencer or even matched betting