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Creating Passive Income for Your Photography Business

December 26, 2012 Business, Marketing & Self Promotion 4 Comments

Written by: Charlie Borland

Guest post by Carmen Brettel

Maintaining an online portfolio for your photography is crucial to attracting new clients and booking more work. While your photography may be your bread and butter, it can be limiting. Session work, editing photos and managing clients is a lot of work that requires long hours. You can only do so much as an individual, and when you reach your limit, so does your income.

Creating passive income is the best way to increase your income without having to increase the amount of hours you put in (as if you had any more to give anyway). If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few ideas for passive income that may suit your photography business:


Advertising is a great way to make extra money with your blog or website without doing anything. You add the banner or the code to your header, your sidebar, or your posts, and when someone clicks on the ad, you make a few cents or a few dollars. The more traffic you get to your site, the more advertising clicks you are likely to get and the more money you are likely to make.

If you have a really popular blog or website, you can sell advertising directly, charging a flat rate for certain ad sizes and run times. By selling ads directly, you can make more money and are not subject to the whims of your visitors.

Affiliate Marketing

Similar to advertising, affiliate marketing is conducted through text links or banner ads. However, you don’t get paid when someone clicks on the link. Instead, you get paid when someone clicks on the link and actually buys the product. You earn a commission on the sale, which can be a few dollars or even a few hundred dollars.

Affiliate marketing is a natural fit for photographers, as you can feature all your favorite cameras, lighting, and other gear. Since these items naturally have a higher price point, you also have more potential for higher revenues.


People are willing to pay you for your talent, and they’d also probably be willing to pay you to teach them what you know. You can write an e-book sharing your tips for taking better photos, or creating better lighting, or producing more professional-looking edits. Whatever the topic, e-books allow you to showcase your expertise and to position yourself as an authority, which will also help you sell more photography services.


Some people are better visual learners. Create DVD tutorials and courses to appeal to this demographic. You can create short tutorials or full-blown courses sharing your tips and secrets for great photography. Or you can share your wisdom on photo editing or even marketing a photography business. Whatever you create, you will only have to put the work into producing it the first time. After that, you can just sit back and collect the money.

Online Courses

Some customers want something a little more comprehensive than an e-book or DVD. Instead of learning about a single technique, they want to learn how to get started taking more professional photographs, or they want to learn how to take their photography to the next level. You can create a comprehensive online course that can be taken through videos, e-books, and online modules.

Because the material is more comprehensive and the course longer, you can charge much more for it — greatly increasing your potential passive income.

Developing streams of passive income is a great way to supplement your photography business so that you can stay in the black without having to run yourself ragged hurrying from one photo shoot to the next. Selling advertising or affiliate products, or creating your own products such as DVDs, e-books and online courses,, are all great ways to increase your income through your site and to free up more time to focus on the things you love: Creating beautiful photographs.

What forms of passive income do you use on your site? Share your strategies for success in the comments!

Carmen Brettel is a writer and manager for Studentgrants.org, where she has recently been researching returning student grants. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys gardening and volunteering at animal shelters.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Michael Frye says:

    These are all good ideas. Generating passive income has become a major goal of mine over the last couple of years and it’s starting to pay off. There’s a bit of a snowball effect: the more income you generate passively, the more time you free up to create more passive income streams. You probably know this Charlie, but a great resource for information about this subject is Pat Flynn and his Smart Passive Income blog. HIs podcasts are great.

  2. admin says:


    When I went pro over 30 years ago, stock photography was the passive income at the time and I put a lot of energy and money into creating a lot of it. As we witnessed times have changed and stock imagery has a low return on investment these days. Instead of a few income streams it is all about many smaller but effective revenue streams. I’ll check out Pat Flynn.



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