Make Money as a Nature Photographer

Make Money as a Nature Photographer

Whether as a passion, for the thrill of travelling around the world or as a form of making revenue, nature photography is one of the most sort-after forms of photography.

If you’re looking to make money as nature photographer, chances are you may have come across a picture that completely took your breath away.

Though it can exhilarating to see your work published in a magazine, at an exhibition or even in a calendar, nature photography does have its own challenges.

Here are some factors to consider, if you’re looking to earn an income in nature photography…

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1. What area of nature photography do you want to pursue?

Nature photography constitutes a lot of things, is it the beauty of a landscape that inspires you? How aesthetic plants appear through the telephoto lens? Or is wildlife more of your thing?

Carefully decide your area of interest, and then determine how marketable it is.

For instance, does the market really need another wildlife photographer or is the field already too competitive? Even though your heart may be in the right place, how profitable your venture is, will largely depend on the market.

2. Your photography skills and work quality

In order for someone to buy your pictures, quality is crucial. Some good advice from an expert coupled up with great photography skills will be adequate for you to get paid.

Offer to pay a well-versed photographer in exchange for their guidance.

Alternatively, sign up to workshops that provide training, technical and creative advice that you can apply.

Your photography skills and work quality

Local clubs are also a great way to meet people with like interests, who can inspire you, while giving you honest feedback on your work.

Also, it goes without saying, practice makes perfect. By doing the same thing over and over, you’ll learn more ways to be creative, and find out what works and what doesn’t.

3. Type of imagery you’re selling

To start making income as a nature photographer, you have to determine what you have to offer in terms of imagery. Is it stock photography, fine art prints or will it serve as a representation of other products?

Knowing your type of product makes pinpointing your clients an easier task. Note however, that nature photography is an overcrowded and extremely competitive market, thus earning a living can be a bit of a challenge.

While few photographers can earn between $300 to $1000 if they sell enough prints, most stock agencies pay less than $1 per image.

Thus if you choose to sell to a magazine, then it should mostly be for the exposure.

4. Prospective clients

Once you’ve established your product, do your market research and find out who your potential buyers are.

Avoid the common mistake of first taking pictures and then looking for buyers, as this may prove counterproductive for your profit-making endeavor.

5. Competition

Are you capable of competing with successful photographers who’ve been in the industry longer than you?


By assessing your competition, you’ll find out how unique the niche is, who you’re up against, how to make your products more attractive and where to find potential clients.

6. Are you business savvy?

Since selling photographs is technically a business, you need to be business-minded to make it a profitable. Can you set up charges to cover all your expenses and still make profit?

Are you making enough sales to keep your business running? Can you negotiate? These are some of the key factors you’ll have to deal with to keep your photography business afloat.

7. Marketing

Now that you’ve determined your product, how do you intend to inform your prospective customers about it? Your success is determined by how brilliant your marketing is.

Here are some ideas:

> Create a professional website. Ensure you invest in a website that is attractive yet professional. It should be easy to navigate, loads images fast and easily accessible (Get 2 free websites along with free training HERE).

> Create a portfolio of your best work, ideally those that showcase a variety of subjects, techniques and locations.

> Attend events where you’ll be able to meet and network with other nature photographers.

> Approach agencies in person. Although most agencies already have a ton of contracted photographers, you never know who’s on the lookout for your kind of work.

> Send idea proposals to publication companies. Do thorough research prior, be original and attach a link to your portfolio. Avoid spamming, and only send a polite follow up, if you don’t get any response within a month.


In order to make money as nature photographer, you need more than just the skills. You have to know your way around the industry and learn how to make yourself stand out, for clients to take an interest in your work.

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10 comments on “Make Money as a Nature Photographer

  1. Interesting article on how to use Photography to earn an income online. I never thought about it until now that stock photo websites buy a lot of their photos from nature photographers. It would really pay one to travel while taking pictures for a certain project. Needless to say how much fun this would be.

  2. Hi, thanks for the few tips! I actually created account and tried to upload like 100 of my best pictures to one of the leading image companies. They burst my magical bubble real quick. Only 3 out of my 100 pictures were worthy of their very strict requirements. In a few months my 3 pictures (remote wildlife) made like 50 cents!
    So making money with a camera is very tough business.
    That’s why I’m greatfull for these tips! It would be great to come up with a list of image paying sources as it took me a while to find one and I’m not too happy with it.

    1. Oh I’m sorry to hear that Phillip – some of these companies can be a real pain in the ass (and are run by photographers who have no more talent than the average Joe!). Don’t give up on it mind – there is money to be made here! 🙂

  3. Very great review on nature photography. It was ironic that I came across your page browsing the web. I myself would say I’m an amateur nature photography I do have a passion for it and your site has provided me with some new insight on how to take my hobby to new levels and create another source of income. All the best, JRay

  4. I actually never thought about nature photography as a business opportunity.
    In my opinion, being an independent nature photographer can be exciting and enjoyable work, but the road to reaching that level where you established your position as a go-to nature photographer can be very hard.
    I guess you need to have a lot of talent to be able to break through the masses and get noticed, especially when the market is tough as you mentioned.
    Talking about markets, I have a question: As a photographer, how do you know which type of nature photography is overcrowded and should be avoided?

    1. I’m a little bit confused by your question Dejan – we have a breakdown in English between us! 🙂

      I think most of the nature photography corners are overcrowded if I’m honest with you, which is why you need to provide enticing work!

  5. Now this is very interesting. I myself am not a photographer, but my dad is. I wonder if I can get him into this, maybe it could really help him out. Thanks a lot for this article. I’m going to bookmark this for further reading.

    Should a photographer offer a website of some kind? How should they go about marketing themselves and making money?

    1. A website would be great if you have the time and dedication to maintain it Jaylin – you could always affiliate camera equipment from Amazon for some extra income off it!

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