9 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY AS A FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER
An interesting topic seeing as so many people feel they are a fashion photographer
How can you make money in Fashion Photography and how do you make money as a Fashion Photographer? I get asked this question so many times. It’s a tricky answer which a few years ago was really a simple answer. Since the explosion of social media and especially Instagram for Photographers, it has become increasingly difficult to find work out there. There are so many photographers now since the liberation of photography with digital photography and cameras.
The problem really is so much more about who you know and about relationships, although some photographers really do make it without following the traditional route that I followed. Becoming an influencer and being liked by your crowd seems to be an attraction to agencies, producers, brands alike and why? Well, its all about your reach. If you have a good reach then advertisers are more drawn to you rather then just your content.
Being realistic, there is no great way of measuring an advert placed in a magazine easily apart from sales of the magazine and one increased sales, but not with any realtime metrics. These days it’s all about your metrics and your presence online. Being totally honest with you all. My jobs used to fly through the door. Most of my work happened via my website and direct bookings which led me onto some super brand work. These days this is less so and I have seen work go to the photographer who may not be that good and not have that many previous clients or indeed history in working with clients which was SO IMPORTANT even 5 years ago! If you have great metrics and an average style and you travel around a lot then you are prime estate.
I am fortunate in the fact that I have good social media and been around a while but going out there now is challenging. you have to NOT FOLLOW the crowds and really be yourself and follow your own instincts. There is a danger by following what everyone else is doing online then you are sinking in the mire of the photo has-beens! The sea is flooded with great photographers but ones who follow the crowd. I have in the past fallen into this category. I have followed the crowd and sunk, only to pick myself up again and sink again. You have to have a vision of destiny and of your end game. Be in control of this and you are on course to keep your head held high and above the water. Her re some ideas of how you can exist and make money to keep your dream alive.
BE A CONTENT CREATOR:
What is content creation? well is just another name that people use just like a digital asset. Photography and more so the video is content creation. This is the new buzz word and in fact, the reason that I go quiet in my fashion productions is normally that I am content creating for brands outside of fashion too. I set up a production company called www.nadermedia.com and work as the director in this. The ability to shoot not just photography but video too is your strength and makes you more employable. Take your sill production ability into moving video content. Clients can sometimes not really know what to do with the content you create but here’s a tip. Manage their content with facebook ads!! learn this and you will be set up for life. A setup fee and then monthly payments as you manage the ads for your clients build a strong residual income. Do some post-production and retouching, editing and grading to upsell your work. If you can’t do this then learn how to!
Shooting for an editorial has never paid much but its offset to give you coverage and credit. Magazines would always give credit but nowadays most magazines are going online so its a different audience. Editorial allows you to test out your style and show this to other brands who may book you. Sometimes shooting editorials is a great way to get your work seen across many social networks and a good collaboration should get you seen online which will allow your photographers profile to grow and then attract actual clients. This can also work with models and model tests.
TESTING MODELS FOR MODEL BOOKS:
Working with models is saturated, testing for model portfolios and shooting model books is a great way of building your brand. How? well if you do great shots that fit in with a model agency style or brand. Then the pictures are added to a book and to the model agency website. This increases your profile and gives your photography a platform to get seen. You can even get paid between £150-£300 per model shoot and so potentially good money in a day as you start out.
So how does this help? well the model adds their new images to their book and go out to view clients and potential work on go-sees, clients as they look through, will often ask shot a particular shot if they like it and then, of course, the model mentions your name. The model at the go-see also mixes with other models from other agencies and they look at each other’s pictures and this can lead you getting more model test photography for model portfolios. This is a great stealthy way of building your brand.
ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS FOR BRANDS:
So now you have done the above two topics, shooting model portfolios and also shooting editorial plus the odd bit of content production. This gives you a good presentation portfolio. You are now open for business with brands. So starting off with small start-up business entrepreneurs is a great way to get further up the ladder. Often they have small budgets but want big productions! this work is a great way of building a relationship with the brand. As they grow so they come back to you.
You could set up an informal agreement which states that you agree to do these first few shoots at an agreed rate but as they grow their business, they will still use you a better price reflective of their position I the market. They retain your service. Not all like to do this method, some clients will use you to get their initial images then want to move on. Don’t listen to the ” next time we can pay you a better price” as they never do. They are using your creativity to bounce them up the ladder. Get some agreement in place, however, these startups are a great way to grow your brand and of course your content. As long as you are aware of this then you will be fine. Don’t get desperate
RETOUCHING & POST-PRODUCTION FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS:
If you’re great at retouching and post-production for your won work, then why not use those skills to do the same for other photographers? Photographers need retouching and whilst I do my own for certain work, it’s really important for me to know where I can get great retouching as firstly some clients request a specialist but other photographers don’t have the skills or even the time but require a great solution which of course can be you. Your style of retouching with a few changes might just be what another photographer requires. The best way to go about this is to post your work on Instagram. Instagram for Photographers is a super way to get seen and attract work. If you’re on the point then send out a DM to the photographer asking if you could do a test on their work. This could be just what you need to get seen. Your retouching seen on a great photographers’ feed will get you seen. They will do a shout out on insta stories on Instagram and help promote you
When you first start off in photography either from university or by just wanting to change up into photography from another job. Assisting is a great way to get some skills and opportunity to see how its all done. However, I get approached daily by hundreds of aspiring photographers who wish to assist me. The truth is I don’t have space or the opportunity most of the time. Be prepared for rejection but if you are successful then assisting a photographer even on a per-day ad-hock basis is great to build your brand.
BECOME A STOCK PHOTOGRAPHER:
Stock photography can still net you a great monthly residual income, the challenge is creating content in suitable numbers to make a difference. I actually supplied images to stock and have around 4000 images in stock agencies around the world and it generates a basic income. The market is saturated and many images are out there, however finding your niche is essential to build your brand. Snapping away is great but a direction in what you want to have a focus in is essential to your success and selling images.
I will be doing a video and blog content demonstrating the process of shooting stock photography. As a fashion photographer or lifestyle photographer then you have a greater chance of capturing an image that can sell into fashion covers. Likewise, landscapes and editorial images also sell well and my best buddy owns a top London stock agency where my stock is. I can always supply a link and details if needed.
E-commerce or e-comm are images shot for online selling and often quite plain in appearance. You can shoot them on white and most of the looks are quite static. So Assos is a good example as is Next. Shots are very simple and repetitive and can be priced per shot. Not much pr shot however but if you are shooting many then you stand to make good money. This work is normally more like a process and needs a regular rhythm and style to the images. Catalogue work needs the formula and if you get this correct you can pick up some lucrative contracts as not everyone wants to do these shoots. There is also the Hero shots that normally surround the page and give the lifestyle to the catalogue fell. These are normally taken by another photographer and most of the time on a location. Boohoo and Misguided are great examples of this. Great fashion locations and interesting fashion for e-comm websites that sell in volumes.
LOOKBOOK FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY:
Before the digital age, fashion photography lookbooks were physical books that fashion brands would have printed to showcase their latest collections. These would be sent out at shows and posted to potential customers and given to online retailers and stores. These would carry the brand message and today they have become digital. lookbooks are most essential and give an overall impression of this season’s look. It’s great to photograph these and mostly you get paid a lower rate than a campaign but you can line these up. These happen 2-4 times per year if not more. In the fashion industry, brands like Next will have newness added per month and this is a selection of new items every month which will need photography. Normally a day rate but add to your main lookbook shoot. Bigger companies will do more of these more often.
Today, most lookbooks are digital and live on a brand’s website. Some are designed like traditional lookbooks with slides of images that can be digitally “flipped through.” Others are more creative or interactive.
Get ahead in making money as a Fashion Photographer final thoughts
Just 9 tips to help you make money as a fashion photographer. I hope you found these a little help and of course there are many other ways you can make money in photography. Its a game you have to get great at to stand out and get the bookings but these few tips should help you on your way, they did for me!
Any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section!