Building a solid client base to the point where you have sessions booked year-round usually takes months, and oftentimes years, to achieve. Sometimes, you will be overbooked, yet six months later, you may be struggling to book a single session. Unfortunately, this is often the “way things are” with a photography business (and a lot of small businesses, for that matter!) in the first months and years, so please know that things usually get better over time, you just have to be persistent!
In the mean time, if you are having trouble booking client shoots, but still want to earn an income with your photography, here are some ideas to help you generate income while working towards getting your schedule full with bookings.
1. Real Estate
Real estate agents and contractors regularly need photographs of the inside of homes – both for online listings (real estate agents) and also for portfolios of model homes (contractors). Contact your local real estate agents to see if they need someone to photograph homes. You will generally be paid on a “per house” basis. In the same vein, also consider approaching interior designers, especially new design firms that are just getting started, who may not have a lot of images yet of their designs.
Many colleges and universities will have adult/continuing education programs which include some type of photography course. These courses are usually Digital Photo 101-type of courses, and if you are a) skilled with your digital camera/Photoshop/Lightroom and b) can present a solid portfolio of images, you will be more than qualified to teach a course. You do not need to have a masters or teaching certificate to teach this type of course!
Just as interior designers need photos of their designs, hairdressers and makeup artists also need photos for their portfolios, so be sure to check with your hair dresser to see if he/she needs any photos of their latest creations in the salon. If you are open to it, your hairdresser may also be willing to barter with you, and trade a haircut/color for some photographs.
Remember – hairdressers see a lot of soon-to-be brides, so ask your hairdresser if they would be willing to recommend your photography business to their clients who are planning weddings.
Becoming a guest-contributor for your favorite photography blogs is not only fun, but much more accessible than you may think. Photography blogs are always looking for fresh content, and putting together a concise proposal for a post (or posts) will help speed the process along so that the people who are in charge of scheduling posts can go ahead
and get you on the schedule. This is also a great way of getting to know readers within new communities, which can broaden your horizons as an image-maker. There are endless ways to generate an income through photography, so just keep an open mind. In order to stay afloat, you often need to be a Jack (Jane) of all trades with your photography.