Looking through a lens and capturing a certain perspective provides a photographer with a creative – and, often, very lucrative – career. As with many careers in the digital age, photography is evolving with new opportunities and revenue pathways.

This guide looks at the state of photography today so you can learn how to pivot in your photography career and become a better photographer – and photography business owner.

The Demand for Visual Content

While some say the career of a professional photographer is dying, the statistics show that it is a career that is simply evolving into the digital world. Traditional portraits and other similar types of photography may be on the rapid decline, especially with the advent of cameras on smartphones and easy-to-use digital cameras, but the demand for visual content is surging with no signs of slowing down.

The demand for visual content for online marketing is rapidly increasing.  Numerous statistics reveal all types of target audiences pay more attention to visual content as a Hubspot article noted:

  • Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorite picks, and 150% more re-tweets.
  • Socialbakers.com looked at the top 10% of posts made by more than 30,000 Facebook brand pages and concluded that those posts that had photos accounted for 87% of the total interactions.
  • Images and photos are the most important tactic in optimizing social media posts, according to numerous social media marketing researchers.
  • Visual content is a key component in each of the top 5 most effective B2B marketing tactics.
  • 70% of marketers will increase their use of original visual assets in 2015.
  • The Social Media Examiner found that marketers want to learn the most about how to create original visual assets.

This incredible demand for visual content means a new direction for your talent. It also illustrates the opportunities now available to take your photography talent online and market directly to stock photography companies and Internet Marketing firms that want your visual wizardry.

Photography Pay Rates

There is a wide variance in photography pay rates based on the type of photography you do and whether you work for an agency or you operate your own photography business.

According to PayScale, there is an extreme variance in what you can earn as a photographer. Depending on experience and the type of commercial photography you specialize in, you can make between $10.28 and $104.34 per hour with a median hourly rate of $24.76. Annual salaries can be anywhere from $20,496 to $209,119.

Also do research into what each stock photography company is willing to pay for photos as this is typically a per photo fee. You can also check with other media agencies that might be looking for everything from people and landscape photos to celebrity photos. You can also find fee-based project work for staged and modeling photography.

A Portrait of a Photography Business

Since fewer people are looking for low-end photographers because they are relying on their tablets, smartphones, and other devices to help them take and share pictures, your photography business has to have a solid strategy for offering something different and valuable to your target audience.

You will need to spend time determining what photography niche to specialize in and how you can serve those clients differently than the other freelance photographers you are now competing with in this crowded space.

Your marketing strategy can provide a way to set you apart, including a beautiful and visual website that is mobile-compatible and the ability to leverage numerous photo apps that enhance your photography skills.

Besides marketing and developing customer relationships, however, there are many operational strategies that you need to focus on as a small business, including creating contracts, managing time on projects, and keeping current and accurate financial records. The good news is that numerous tools and apps are now available to automate many aspects of your business so it can be running smoothly while you are taking pictures.

A Photography Guide: State of Photography

If you want to learn more about being a photographer and running your own business, check out Due.com’s guide to being a photographer.

It includes numerous tips on starting and operating a business – from finding clients and marketing to creating contracts and sending invoices.


My name is Nina Gass. I focus as a copywriter, writer, and editor involves working with customers around the world with money advice.

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