“Please could you tell me how to make money with your photographs? This is a question that is asked of me very often by email. A majority of people who ask me this question are students entering their adult workforce and trying to plan everything.
But I do not think this is the right approach when addressing a passion for making money. Start by finding a full-time job to pay your bills. This is my first tip. But do not do it if it poisons your creativity and your individuality because there is a real danger that it will happen.
But if you follow my advice, then continue and pursue your passion, let it become your full-time job gradually, that’s what I did. I think this approach is a lot safer and logical if it’s really a passion, not just a temporary interest.
How Do You Know If It’s A Passion?
If you think about it all the time, day and night for years; you know it’s a passion. When you wake up on Sunday at 4am to see the sunrise but you do not see it and come back to the same place to see this wonderful natural phenomenon; it’s a passion but also a tenacity. If you sit on your sofa and pretend to take pictures, it’s a temporary interest. If you spend more time discovering the new camera than doing it, it’s not a passion but an obsession.
Before you can even think of making money from photography you need to ask yourself a few questions. First of all why do you want to photograph? Define what it’s like to be a photographer and then ask yourself if you want to be successful with your photos.
A Simple Example
I did not become a photographer not to become rich, I never did. I left the safety of a job and a well-paid career in London to live more simply to afford to become a photographer. I like nature, to be free. Ideally away from people most of the time. I want to have time to explore my creativity. Photography is by no means my only artistic interest.
I never really enjoyed working and I did not have a lot of credibility as a photographer. Yet, I patiently developed my talent for 20 years. When I say I have never really enjoyed working, I just want to emphasize the fact that we are all conditioned to think of having a normal active life of 9 to 5, stuck on a screen, watching the news to be done to say what to think of the rest of the world. We are under stress and the illusion of the need to have a career and the endless need to progress; pay the mortgage, have children, adapt to the mold. We transform ourselves into robots coming out of the same mold.
And when I say credibility, I mean that shitty boss we all have had, who has his own insecurities but uses his so-called power over his employees to pay for them with crumbs. I had my share of these bastards, but I thank them for fundamentally changing my desire to have a career and become a photographer. Anyone in my life, teachers, family, friends, who did not believe in me motivated me.
In my early days, I became a photographer after going through difficult times, but gradually as my pictures improved, people began to take an interest in my work. After all these steps, I can finally choose my camera. I lead a humble life out of photography and my passion, but I am happy. I work with brands like Peugeot and Adidas regularly and sometimes have to pinch myself to remind me that I am a photographer.
Do Not Live In Illusion
But I took my time, living in reality and not in the illusion of becoming rich. I had a full time job until I was 100% ready to become a photographer. Find yourself why you want to become a photographer. Put all your passion into becoming a better person. Some unscrupulous people will look at your work, not understanding the basic principles of business.
By working hard while others will be at the bar, maybe you will lose some friends who will not understand you, but if one day you can break free from your robot life and live your passion, you will not become not necessarily rich, but you will be free!
About The Author
Nicholas Goodden is a professional London photographer specializing in urban photography, street photography and visual content, such as cinemagraphs and timelapse. You can discover his work by visiting