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January 22, 2018

Turning your winter photography into a side hustle or full blown income.

If you have ever thought about making an income with your winter photography I’m happy to tell you that this is possible.

Let's face it, Gear is expensive, traveling to great destinations to experience and photograph the landscape is expensive, heck traveling full-stop costs money. The ability to have your photography fund your adventures is a hell of an opportunity.

With the help of Joshua Cripps and our great friend (not to mention Vallerret team shooter) Lukas Reidl, we’re going to offer a few ways in which you can achieve an income from your winter photography, whether some side cash or a full-blown income.

I’m going to preference these money-making ideas by saying, the best way to build a sustainable cash flow is to use the “Income Octopus” where you generate income from different streams. Whilst you might choose one of these methods as your first thing to focus on, adding one or two more will help increase the amount you earn and even increase the value of your other streams. I will come back to this a little later.

Winter Photography income with Information Products

man taking a photo on a cliff

Selling Prints is a hard game to win, However with the growth of photography people are willing to pay for your knowledge of how to take a good photo so they can print their own work to hang on the wall.
Here are some ideas for Information products:
– An Ebook i.e “photography for beginners”,
– Getting a local group of beginners together for a 6-week photography boot camp.
– Sell your LightRoom Presets, Photoshop actions or Premier pro LUTZ’s

Winter Photography income as a “Youtuber”

Winter photography income

You can earn youtube ad revenue from the number of views you get on each video. Whilst this won’t be a lot of cash to begin with, I think you earn something like $2 from 1000 views, you can earn a little whilst at the same time build a community and a group of followers.

How do you create videos that people will watch? Curate your videos! Make sure the viewers are watching because of you as much as they are watching for the information. You need to be entertaining and informative.  If people are stoked on the short form tips you are putting out there then they are more willing to pay for the in-depth online courses and even more, your workshops. Get people really excited about the content you are putting out. The more excited they viewer is about your work, the more excited they are about paying for it and the more money you will make to keep doing what you are doing.

How to grow your youtube channel.

  • Quality of the content. Good light and good audio. If you want some tips on videography, check out Rickard Croy’s video on “videography for the Photographer” and download our videographer's cheat sheet here!
    You don’t need expensive gear but a mic to improve your audio and just thinking about the light whether natural or artificial will go a long way.
  • Deliver it in a simple and accessible way. Josh Cripps has a fantastic Youtube channel “Professional Photography Tips”. He spends a few hours planning and scripting his dialogue making sure to add in entertaining chat but also cutting out all the fluff and irrelevant information.
  • Use the “Call to Action” business stuff, i.e youtube best practices as it really does work.
  • Youtube is the second biggest search engine. So your title and thumbnail are important. Organic search can drive a lot of views to your channel, so things like “what is aperture in Photography” can get you a lot of views. Providing you have created good clean and entertaining videos, those organic searches will come back to view your other videos.

Winter Photography Income with Workshops.

photographers taking ski photos

It does seem like there is an overwhelming amount of people providing workshops. This is a double-edged sword. It means there is a demand for people willing to pay to go to a workshop but it also means there is a lot of competition.

I would suggest you start with workshops to destinations that are not being overly worked. For instance, it will be a hard sell to get a group of people to join you on a trip to Iceland if you are starting out, but perhaps you know a particular national park like the back of your hand. For marketing purposes, this will be easier to stand out. If you can drive there with a carload of people it will also be less risk and a lower cost making it easier for people to sign up.

Winter photography income by Building an email list.

photographers in the field making a living

Email is a massively effective marketing tool. It’s a powerful way to engage and communicate directly to your perspective and existing customers. If you have a website you should be doing this, even if you are not selling anything yet.

Here is how this works.

People come to your website and the first thing they see is your expensive tutorial or 4-day workshop. Chances are that they won’t buy as you haven’t done anything to build their trust and educate them on the thing you are selling.

Instead, when people come to your website or find your content, you then offer them something free in exchange for their email. Let’s say, “a packing guide for winter photography”. Once they are on your email list you have their permission to keep sending them awesome tips and build their trust. Now the time comes when you announce you have this amazing tutorial or workshop, they are then excited, they trust and believe in the product you are selling and boom you have a sale.

A great free email tool is Mailchimp. Check it out and start building your email list.

Use your “Unfair Advantage”

You might have heard that most businesses fail within the first 5 years with a large cause of this due to businesses not standing out from their competition or lacking the ability to solve a problem.

Think of how you can stand out from the crowd, what problems exist in photography and what you have that is unique to you and thus your “Unfair advantage”.

Now back to the Income Octopus.

Here is an example of how this works

Income octopus

As I mentioned, one tentacle can compliment the other. For example, you are earning Youtube ad revenue but the information you are providing for free then entices people to visit your website, sign up to your email list and then purchase your presets, or join you on your 6-week photography bootcamp which you have for two hours every Wednesday around sunset. The Youtube “tentacle” then increases the value of your email list.

As the last thought, these are all ideas that in some way or another revolve around teaching. There are many ways to skin a cat and earn an income through photography, so if you can’t see yourself sharing your knowledge or acting as a teacher then you might want to look at exchanging the workshop for selling stock images or contacting tourism boards regarding content creation.

This article has been created with the help from the “Photopreneur Podcast”.  You can listen to the original interview with Joshua Cripps joining Lukas Riedl and myself on the episode “You-tube, workshops and educational products with Joshua Cripps.”

Good luck and leave a comment below if you have any questions or success stories.

Carl van den Boom

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