Many Streams Make a River

Income, profits, gains, whatever you call them they mean money.

Yes, money. The most elusive part of your photography business. No matter how much you seem to charge, you always flirt with that red area. It’s true. Photography businesses are hard to run, but how can you get better at bringing in money?

How can you use two skills- being a photographer and a businessman- to help create an income that is reliable and sustainable?

The answer? Don’t drink from one stream.

The River

The river, for all intents and purposes, is going to refer to your income streams. You’ve probably heard people talk about having multiple income streams but what do they mean and how do you do it?

Those are just the right questions to be asking.

Having multiple income streams means that you are not relying solely on one singular way of creating profit. It might also mean that you have diversified your streams, meaning that if you have more than one stream, they aren’t all the same either. There are many ways to create multiple streams of income, and that’s exactly why this list should exist.

Galleries

First off, who doesn’t love walking through a gallery? It’s like a museum with less dust. Photographers obviously love galleries, but people do too. They are relaxing and often eye-opening.

Utilizing a gallery to create an income stream is crucial. Don’t know of any galleries around? Find a way to make one. Galleries are just one of many ways for you, and others, to show their work. And plus, it’s unique from what most people see anyway.

We scroll through photos all the time. Swiping, double-tapping, and more. We are almost never given the opportunity to see the artist and talk to them and see the picture printed, hung, and in the flesh.

Galleries draw attention to your work and your style. You can create a wide array of printed pieces both big and small, and this helps people visualize these items in their own homes or offices. And no, you won’t only profit from the big, expensive pieces either. Odds are, you’re fifteen or twenty dollar postcards will sell first, and that money adds up.

Local businesses

There has never been a better time to put yourself out there than now. In a society plagued by the idea that hiding behind a touchscreen will get them noticed, most photographers are sadly mistaken.

Get out into your community and talk with people. Go to local businesses and ask them if you can sell a few prints in their shop. What’s the worst they can say, no? No harm done! It will never hurt to ask. It builds relationships, community ties, and a little confidence for you, too.

Plus, that business owner probably has a pretty good idea of their customer base. Take advantage of that. If you are a landscape or architectural photographer, and the owner of the gift shop downtown lets you sell your work in their shop, you will get noticed in no time.

Books

Now, this option isn’t for everyone, but it is for someone, and it can be an extremely lucrative way to build another income stream. Have you done some amazing long-term projects? Maybe for a whole year, you took pictures of the neatest doors around your city and have had them sitting in a folder on your computer until now.

Create a book about your projects. It’s a creative outlet for you, potentially another income stream, and a bit of inspiration another photographer might need. This is not the revenue stream that will happen overnight, though. This one takes some planning, but there’s never been a better time to try something new and exciting when you are building a business based entirely on art and inspiration.

Workshops

These have made plenty of lists in the past, and that’s because they are a tried and true way to build a network of photographers. There’s nothing quite like the lonely feeling a photographer gets when they feel like they are the only one struggling. There is also no feeling like hearing someone else talk about the problem that is identical to your own and how they felt like they were alone too.

Workshops are, not only, another way to build community but you can also increase your income. It might be frightening at first, putting an idea out there, but you can guarantee that if you put together, schedule, and market a photography workshop, you will be benefitting everyone.

“If you build it, they will come.”

Online Marketplace

Despite the adherence to tip number 2, if putting your introverted self out there isn’t up your alley, then this might be.

You don’t need to be told how powerful the internet it, but you do need to understand that you are in charge of it. You don’t have to post and tweet and hope for the best. Build yourself a portfolio site and put your prints up for sale.

Market your website on your platforms and create an online business within a business. It will probably start out small, but it’s the type of income that takes little effort once it’s established. Show off your favorite prints and offer to frame and send those to customers. You are the expert, after all.

In an age of technological mayhem, use the web to your advantage.

Streams Flow Into Rivers

The idea that a photographer only takes pictures is silly. We are not only highly creative in taking images, but we are very creative when it comes to making money. Your photography business does not need to be one-sided.

Depending on one sole source of income can be scary and it might be a little risky. If you broke your leg and couldn’t get to the next few weddings you were going to shoot this month what would you do?

You would sit in your chair with your leg propped up thinking about the money you would be losing and cursing yourself for running on the ice. Instead, if you have multiple streams of income, you can work on those other streams while one might be put on a temporary hold.

For being some of the most creative people on earth, diversifying the way we make money should be a breeze! Start with a plan and try to find other ways where you can make money. Your talent is not a one-stop-shop. Your talent is an entire mall of creative ways to serve clients and customers.

Time to get the money flowing.

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Chamira_Headshot_1500x1500I'm Chamira Young. I admit it. I'm an art nerd, Photoshop geek, and photographer with an obsession for productivity and creativity. Through online teaching and podcasting...Read More

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