How to start earning as a photographer while in school?

Ways to start earning as a photographer

In today’s digital world, anyone can take a picture using the cameras of their smartphones, but not everyone has the skill of finding the right angle and lighting to get the perfect shot.

Many students nowadays have the ability to take pictures, manipulate and enhance images digitally, and forward them online in a split second due to the current digital technology.

However, they do not see their photography skills and being tech-savvy as something to utilize for earning on the side. This is due to the fierce competition among several professional photographers who already established their name in the market, and the financial burden of buying high-quality equipment to do the job.

Despite the limitations of going after your passion for photography, there are actually career opportunities that not many photographers come across or can sometimes be executed as work from home. Here, we made a list of the different ways to start your student job as a photographer.

Sell stock photos online.

Do you have a collection of images connected by a particular theme such as nature, black and white, fashion or food? Then, stock photography may be for you.

Many stock agencies are now paying photographers for images they upload on their websites. Specifically, these are microstock agencies that pay per image on a royalty-free basis. This means students don’t get credit but get paid depending on the image resolution, the number of downloads per image, and image uniqueness.

Some of these agencies are Shutterstock, Fotolia, iStock, Pond5, and Alamy. If you want credit, try applying to microstock agencies such as Getty Images, Corbis, and Mauritius Images which pay more for exclusive images.

Shoot events.

This may require some camera equipment but this is a great place to start when building your portfolio. There are numerous events to go after when capturing photos like corporate banquets, and weddings.

You can begin in your local area and volunteer to take photos of events for your families and friends. They will feel comfortable because they know and trust you. While volunteering, pitch in your services so they can call you up for upcoming special events.

You can also join photography clubs where you shoot sports events, seminars, or other school activities. This way, you are slowly establishing a network towards a student career in photography.

Shoot portraits.

Aside from shooting events, you can also become a portrait photographer in local studios. These studios are often scattered in towns and are trusted in their communities, where you can apply part-time while being a student.

If you have a small capital, you can set up your own studio enough to cover your portrait services. This job will require post-processing of photos, so be sure that you are experienced in using editing softwares.

Edit photos.

Despite the increasing access to cameras to take photos, it is a critical skill to know how to edit photos. You can learn such skills for free or very cheap at John Academy.

Editing may sound easy since there are automatic edits that exist on phones, but editing is more than that. It involves knowing how to adjust images, crop shadows, enhance light, and delete or add objects. If you believe you are credible for this skill, then you can apply to popular studios, magazine publications, nonprofit organizations, and corporate newsletters.

If they are not looking for a student in their position, then try convincing them to at least get an intern. This will help you meet professionals who can be your potential mentor and expand your network to increase your chances of earning.

Apply to online jobs.

Not all photography jobs require personal transactions with clients. Many companies have started recruiting photographers online.

If you only have your smartphone to take photos, then you are in luck. SnapWire is a platform that connects mobile photographers and business clients. First, clients have to post a photo request that they need and then, mobile photographers compete to submit their best pictures online. You can also make money from celebrity photos.

PR Photos lets you upload celebrity photos and once they are approved and sold to media agencies, you are given a commission on every sale. If you have pictures of special occasions, then you can submit them to Palm Press and earn money. Pictures should be related to friendship,  anniversary, graduation, and other occasions. Specialized photography jobs can also be found in most online job search sites such as Upwork, Guru, Freelancer, Indeed, Fiverr, and more.

Doing photography may be tough and costly, especially that you are also competing with photographers who are not students but well-known figures in the industry. However, you can always start small and these ways we have highlighted above can help you boost your self-esteem and push yourself to try.

We, at, help students with access to information and resources on how to achieve other things while studying.