Learning to adapt and change during times of challenge is nothing new. The Covid-19 pandemic has virtually shut down the photography industry and left many photographers and studios wondering “how can photographers make money during the lockdown?”
Not only have I faced the same challenges of operating a small business that must close their doors due to government restrictions, I am also immune compromised so I will not be able to serve clients in person until there is a vaccine available. I spent some time thinking about my skills as a photographer and business owner and how I could shift those towards generating income that does not involve in person contact with clients. Below are some ways I have been able to generate income as a creative photographer during the pandemic.
6 Ways Photographers Can Make Money During Covid-19
Sell additional images to clients from past sessions
I have many clients who have not purchased their entire collection of images. By reaching out to past clients with an offer or incentive to purchase images you have already created you can generate some additional income. Whether family members looking to add to their collection or wanting a meaningful gift for a special occasion and not being able to pick something up at the store there is a huge opportunity to generate some extra income from those old files sitting on your hard drive. I’ve also been approached by many of my real estate clients and other professionals who are still actively working during the lockdown. They are looking for fresh content to use in their marketing and asking to purchase additional images from their headshot and branding sessions that were photographed pre-Covid.
Photography Stock and Digital Assets
We are creators. And if you are anything like me you have hard drives full of stock images sitting around the studio. Have a look through your old folders and drives for any images that are interesting content and of high quality that might be useful to others. You can sell stock on stock websites like Shutterstock, Getty Images or Adobe Stock, or on your own through your website or creator markets like Etsy or Creative Market. Images that sell well as stock are images of people or people working (be sure to have a model release), food, landscapes, cities and citiscapes, tools, nature and travel images from around the world.
Prints and Wall Art
Creating professional quality prints and wall art is a great way to generate income during quarantine. People are spending a huge amount of times in their homes and are looking for ways to make their environment more appealing. Remind your former clients that you can create wall art from their past photography sessions. You can also photograph and create new images with wall art in mind. Florals, landscapes and citiscapes are all subjects that are popular as wall art and can be created will social distancing.
Editing and Retouching Projects
As a photographer you probably have some great photoshop and editing skills. There are many businesses looking for ways to create content for their marketing campaigns. Retouching product images or creating composites from stock photos are both ways you can help commercial clients during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you have clients needing images of their products you can set up a contact-less system for them to mail or drop off their items, complete the photography in studio, then send them their finished images online – all while being safe and without requiring in person contact.
Online Workshops & Courses
Are you and EXPERT at something? Have you MASTERED your skills in a certain area? It could be something related to photography like lighting, posing, print making, or photoshop. It could be business related such as website development, SEO, sales, marketing or networking. Maybe it is something not related to photography at all. Do you have a hobby or passion that others would be interested in learning more about? Online workshops & courses are popular right now. Those with a learning mindset are craving to consume educational content so why not dip a toe into developing a short course or tutorial?
Virtual Photography Sessions
What do you do if your local regulations don’t allow you to photograph clients in person? Try a virtual session. Using online video meeting platforms like FaceTime or Zoom you can coach your clients into great poses and find natural light in their own homes that work for creating images – have them tour you through their home prior to your session so you can help guide them to the best areas for capturing great images. Also use a virtual meeting to pre-plan and style their wardrobe. By using your knowledge of lighting, posing and styling you can offer your virtual clients an amazing photography experience from the safety of their own home Either capture your client’s image through the virtual interface, or have them photograph a family member such as a newborn or child and then composite them into an amazing background. Pro tip: have your client clean the lens on the device you are using prior to taking the photos!