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.
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.
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.
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.