How To Diversify Your Photography Business Income

May 6, 2021

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If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that when you can’t do the job you love and earn money, things can get pretty sketchy. It doesn’t even need to be for something as extreme as a global pandemic. Illness and injuries happen. So do wonderful life events like starting a family or taking extended time off to travel. Most self-employed folks don’t get sick pay, paid parental leave or holiday pay. And if your income only comes from one source, and you stop doing it, you are probably liming yourself in your ability to earn money. So let’s talk about how you can diversify your photography business income and earn more money whilst still doing the thing that you love.

Why Should You Diversify Your Photography Business Income?

Well firstly there’s there having all your eggs in one basket thing that I mentioned above already. If you only earn income from doing one thing, and you have to stop doing it, well… you might find yourself a tricky situation and nobody wants that! But it’s so much more than that.

Earning your income from diverse income streams means you aren’t limiting yourself to how much you can earn. As a wedding photographer, there are only a certain number of weddings you can physically shoot per year (yes, you can hire associates etc but they can still only be at one place at a time and realistically only work a certain number a year). Sure, you can also increase your rates, but there’s also a reasonable limit to how much you can charge there too ($1 million a day anyone?).

So it makes sense to explore the possibility of other ways in which you can supplement and complement the work you already do by having other offers that can bring in additional income. These might help you:

✅ Earn more from your existing clients
✅ Earn income from new clients through related services and offerings
✅ Earn (semi-) passive income from evergreen content *
✅ Make your business more resilient and future-proof

* I use the term semi-passive income rather than passive income, because there is this misconception with the idea of passive income that there is little to no work involved. However, the reality is that most passive income requires a fair amount of time commitment at the start to create something that can then be automated and set up as a passive revenue stream. That’s why I prefer the term semi-passive income, to reflect the initial time investment this goes in to creating it.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

3 Top Ways To Diversify Your Income

1 – Expand The Services You Offer To Existing Clients

You’ve already got an audience of people who know, like and trust you. They have bought from you once, and if you’ve done a good job, that means they are primed to buy from you again.

Many wedding photographers only offer one service – wedding photography. But your clients’ journey doesn’t start and end on their wedding day. Think about the journey they are on, from before they contact you and after you would normally part ways.

Are you missing opportunities to be of greater service to your existing clients whist also earning extra income?

Some examples might be:

  • Selling an e-book / downloadable PDF guide for non-clients
  • Proposals, pre-weddings, anniversary, maternity or family shoots
  • Affiliate marketing through monetising your content
  • Up-selling prints, albums, USBs & gallery back-ups
    (I use Pic-Time‘s automation apps so I can send sales emails to anyone who has accessed the gallery – use code Q65R3Z to get 1 extra month free)

2 – Diversify To A New Market

Wedding photographers are some of the most widely-skilled photographers in the industry. You are able to shoot in all kinds of situations, dealing with different lighting scenarios. You are masters of portraiture, reportage and editorial photography to name but a few.

Think about the aspects of photography that you enjoy the most and what other markets could have a need for photography. Get creative here and think outside the box! So many people jump from wedding photographer to family and maternity or newborn and stop there but there are so many other genres of photography out there where you can make money. So think about where you passion lies and let your imagination take you for a wander.

What are you favourite things to shoot on a wedding day? Do you adore creating flat-lays and shooting all the fine details? Why not consider lifestyle-inspired product photography or branding photography and create similar shoots for commercial clients instead.

Need a little help. Here are some obvious, and maybe not so obvious ones:

  • Personal branding
  • Product photography (lifestyle, on-location, remote, studio)
  • Food photography
  • Book cover art
  • Real estate photography
  • Event photography
  • Tourism campaigns
  • Corporate photography (corporate headshots, corporate events)
  • Pregnancy & birth photography
  • Stock photography

3 – Profit From Your Knowledge

While I don’t believe that it’s necessarily ethical to start marketing yourself as a business coach if you’ve only been in business a couple of years, you’ve got plenty of skills that you can teach people or offer as an outsourced service to others and be paid for.

What specialist skills or knowledge do you have that you could teach someone else? Could you create a mini-course or teach an evening class for a local community group? Think outside the box here too. What related skills do you have that you can teach? Some great examples of outside-the-box offerings I’ve seen from people include self-study courses on things like:

  • How to take amazing self-portraits
  • How to take DIY branding & product photos for your small business
  • How to capture more natural photos of your children

You can also outsource your skills to others. You’ve invested in your education and knowledge, and the chances are you actually have become quite the expert in a number of other areas asides from photography, and maybe even discovered a new passion while you were at it. So why not offer to do those services for others. I know a number of photographers that have set up hugely successful second businesses doing just this. Here are a few photographers who have turned their specialist knowledge into second businesses:

At a photography workshop on location in the Alps a female photographer speakers to a group of other photographers while a bride and groom stand against a mountain backdrop - a great way to diversify photography business income

Does Diversifying Dilute Your Existing Brand?

One of the biggest areas of resistance I encounter with 1:1 coaching clients when we talking about income diversification is the concern that adding new services will dilute their existing brand.

So here’s my view on this. If you are offering something that is relevant to your current ideal client avatar and aligns with your existing brand, then it can potentially stay part of your existing brand without diluting what you’ve already built. The key here is that is should be be done with integrity and in alignment. For example, if your niche is intimate weddings and elopements, and you want to add family shoots too, then it should match that same ideal client, just further along in their journey, e.g. they now want to adventure with their children and capture the moments, just like they did when they got married.

However, if you are creating something completely new that serves a different audience, my recommendation is usually to separate it and create a new brand. Of course it’s more work to have two brands, but you’ll have two strong, stand-alone brands. And usually when it comes to creating a website and marketing strategy, it’s often much easier and quicker the second time around as you’ve already got the experience from doing it once from your first business.

If you’re not sure how to diversify in a way that’s right for you and your business, that’s something I can coach you through in a 1:1 session. We’ll identify areas where you could diversify that fully align with your passions and larger life goals, and together we’ll formulate a plan of action so that you can leave the session knowing what steps you need to take to make it happen.

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