There are many people out there happily snapping pictures who give no thought to turning there hobby in to a financial pursuit as they see their hobby as an artistic release. If your main desire is to improve your skills and aspire to the perfect composition which in turn could turn in to a lucrative career, that is if you feel you have what it takes to be a professional photographer. We have put together 10 ways to help you make money from your hobby. 1, Photo shoots. Why not start working with friends and family to start to build a portfolio of your work. You don’t need an expensive studio to start, in many cases photo shoots are on location to commemorate a special moment like a christening or birthday and if you start working with friends and family the pressure is off as you hone your photography skills. In time when you feel more confident you could rent a small studio, set up a website and get your name out there with help from social media spotlighting your work. A few types of photo shoots:
  • Maternity photo shoots
  • Family portraits
  • Pet Shoots
  • Property photos for ads
  • Newborn baby shoots
  • Weddings
When you are confident that you can give your customer the result they would expect from a professional photographer you need to start looking at your pricing. Its a good idea to find out what other photographers in your area are charging to give you a guideline, as you are lacking in experience you could offer a discount on your prices to hopefully generate more trade. You could also send out discount vouchers in your local area. 2, Contact one of the sites that offer stock images. If you have a large collection of your work then a good way of generating a income stream is to contact one of the online sites and offer them your collection on a licenced basis istock, ShutterStock, BigStock, these are just a few of the companies that are always on the look out for new quality images. When you log in to these type of sites and fill in all the required info they will probably ask you to send in a sample of your work for approval, look under submission guidelines on your chosen site for full details and keep your fingers crossed. 3, Photo contests. A great way to give yourself more exposure is to enter photo contests which are not just for the professionals but for everyone to enter. They will also give you experience with different compositions depending what the contest theme is. If you do manage to win the contest not only do you get your name in lights but it can be very rewarding financially and a great confidence boost. 4, Get your work online and share. A great way to get your work out there is to start a blog on which you can talk about your passion, share your experiences, showcase your work and give tips to up and coming photographers you could give reviews on photography equipment and software, maybe  get some freebies if your readership is large enough. You can also link a YouTube channel to your blog to make it more interesting and generate followers, when you have the numbers viewing your blog you can then look at sponsors and advertisers which could give you another income stream. 5, Sell your prints. The best of your photos could be added  to your gallery blog and you could offer them for sale as prints, generally the photos that do the best are not of people or portrait photos unless they are specially commissioned, nature and scenic photos are the most popular. Try and remember that your photos are works of art in their own right and should be sold as such. Here are a few ideas of ways you can sell your work
  • Sell your art through an online retailer like ImageKind
  • Craft fairs are a good way to sell your prints and get a real personal response to your art.
  • Approach local shops or galleries and ask if they would by happy to display your art on a commission basis.
  • When you have a photo shoot remember to offer the prints in a packege so the more they buy the more discount you could offer.
You must make sure that you are selling quality prints so source a company that is not only reasonably priced but also offers quality, ask for a sample before you place an order, AdoramaPix is a good option and well worth giving a try 6,  Freelance photography. The first step is to contact your local Newspaper or Magazine and ask if they have any freelance work, show them a selection of your work and with a bit of luck they will give you some work, its often a good idea to contact as many publishers a possible within your area as the job offers will probably be random but in time if you give them good service and your photos are good enough the work should become more consistent. 7,  Become a paparazzo “paps”. Becoming a Paparazzo is not much different to becoming any other type of freelance photo journalist. If you can get the editors attention by sending in good quality relevant celebrity photos on a regular basis sooner later you stand a good chance of getting a call and with a bit of luck a job offer to go shoot a celebrate (with a camera) but the down side is this industry is results governed so if you don’t come up with good results you may be lucky enough to get a second chance but forget a third. 8,  Get gigs as an assistant photographer. Why not approach a professional photographer and offer him/her your services as a second photographer on his shoots as many photographers use an assistant, this would be a great way to learn the business if you don’t have the confidence to go it alone and will also help to learn you to interact with clients. Even if the photographer has an assistant, leave your card and let them know that you are available at short notice if their assistant is ill or on holiday. Professional Photography is all about building a networking so start building early. 9, Offer wedding photography services. One of the most profitable jobs for a photographer are weddings, even if you start with friends and family to build up your confidence this experience is never lost. One of the most important aspects of wedding photography is your equipment which must be of high quality. Its also a good idea to have a standby camera just in case your main camera fails so to make sure you keep your customers happy and the recommends coming use top quality camera equipment. 10, Start your own niche photography business. If you have a specific interest like travel, animals, Climbing then why not use this knowledge and apply it to your photography then you get the best of both worlds and your niche photography business will feel more like a hobby than a job. Remember to let your personality shine through as people are also buying in to you and not just what you can do.