Photo by Alaxender Mils

Is your photo business hurting from not being in a profitable photography niche market?

It can be frustrating when you struggle to financially support your freelance photography business. Whether you’re just getting into the profession or are a veteran, it is a familiar concept that your business will benefit from having a niche-focused approach. It is the key to making money in freelance photography, helping to build your portfolio and gain a signature identity. Niches work like beacons for future clients needing your services. Without a niche market for your photography business, you may struggle to find work and increase profits.

Nevertheless, just because you have a niche doesn’t guarantee lucrative work either. There can be many reasons why you aren’t making good money in photography. For instance, a specific market is becoming less and less popular or too competitive. Rather than being trapped, explore and discover new work that makes freelance photography profitable. It isn’t uncommon to change your niche or take on more than one.

You can still do what drives your love for photography for leisure and perform business services that reel in more revenue for work. Here is a helpful list of some of the most profitable photography niches. Find out which money-making niches best fit your style and how you can get started today.  

Event Photography

An example of a profitable photography niche
Photo by Adam Bentley

Should this be: “your freelance photography business”? Just business generally seems rather vague.

A lot can fall under event photography, from weddings, concerts, and corporate events to holiday parties and conventions. We are all social creatures—therefore, someone is always getting married or hosting a social gathering.

These events have high costs and aren’t foreign to large budgets. Take weddings; they are a unique and euphoric occasion for many clients. They’re willing to pay above and beyond, so everything is perfect. It becomes a profitable photography niche by allowing you to increase your service charges.

Be mindful of which events you offer your services to, though, and do your research. You’re more likely to receive better pay for a big-scale corporate event than for a small family gathering.

Things to Consider:
  • It may be hard to start offering event services if you have never worked in this field. The best approach may be volunteering to shoot small gatherings with family and friends to build your portfolio and work up to more formal events.
  • Events like weddings and concerts can be very fast-paced with high expectations. Brush up on your skills and be prepared for some high-octane work if you want to be successful here.

Commercial / Product Photography

An example of a profitable photography niche, product photography
Photography by Tyler Nix

When you talk about an increasingly growing field, this is one, so jump in while it’s still hot. Many businesses are becoming heavily reliant on eCommerce, augmented reality, and social media to help sell their products. This means pictures, photos, and oh, did I mention pictures?

Companies will place a high value on finding the perfect images of their products because that will help increase sales. Your work will correlate to their success and vice versa. You can start by running photoshoots to showcase your work to businesses. The key is to convince them how you can make their products and services more attractive through quality photography.

Things to Consider:
  • Shooting product photography typically requires an environment where you control aspects such as lighting. You will have to invest more financially in equipment to shoot up to demand, from expensive light gear to a sturdy tripod.
  • Product photography can be very detail orientated and precise for post-editing. Confirm with your clients how they go about their post-production process.

Portrait Photography 

An example of a profitable photography niche, portrait photography
Photo by Ali Nejatian

Who doesn’t love a good old family photo? Seriously, people will shell out money to see their infant in a cute fit doing supermodel poses. From dating profiles to job searching, an impressionable image of yourself is standard for most people. Just as couples are always getting married, people constantly grow families, get new jobs, and document these milestones through photography. This is yet another profitable photography niche that gives you an endlessly growing client list because of the nature of the work.

Getting started with portrait photography isn’t as challenging as some of the other niches. Offer portraits to those close to you, and if they are pleased, you can charge for your service or even advertise on social media.

Things to Consider:
  • It isn’t too difficult to find clients; however, portrait photography can be very competitive. It is harder to justify charging a high price if you are less established. This is because your client may have so many other options for portrait photography.

Social Media Photography

An example of a profitable photography niche, social media photography

Today, almost every business has a social media account, and if you don’t have one as a freelance photographer, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Social media, like event photography, can fall under portrait, product, travel, and more. It’s up to you to highlight your areas of expertise.

As a business, a social media presence allows you to reach a new audience and continually engage with your established community. Because it’s such a popular medium, it can be challenging for businesses to distinguish themselves from their competitors visually. Pssst—that’s where you come in. Companies will pay good money to uphold a great image, giving you plenty of opportunities to land a nice gig or contract.

Things to Consider:
  • Social media can be a profitable niche when you find your footing and captivate your audience. However, it will require you to be well versed with the medium you are on, sometimes including specific marketing and content strategy knowledge. You’ll need to be relatable and up to date with the latest trends to see growing success within this field.

Real Estate & Property Photography

An example of a profitable photography niche, real estate photography
Photo by Francesca Tosolini

There are always houses on the market, and there are always realtors trying to make that known. No question, real estate is one of the most profitable photography niches. Take advantage of this need by going into real estate photography. This can include indoor/interior photography and exterior/architecture photography elements.

Would you buy a place without seeing it? Neither would a lot of people. Photography is essential in this industry, and if you can convince clients your images sell, you can charge a pretty penny for your services.

Getting started with property photography is easy. Look for local real estate agencies to advertise, share your work, and inquire about future hiring or collaborations. You can even expand beyond this by advertising to Airbnb hosts, hotel booking sites, and similar businesses.

Things to Consider:
  • Because there is a big emphasis on how an image will influence buyers in real estate, you may need to invest a higher sum on photography equipment. Not only this, but you should have an excellent grasp of lighting, depth, and framing, especially for interior shots.
  • This niche may also require you to be well versed in post-photography editing.

Fashion Photography

An example of a lucrative photography niche, fashion photography
Photo by Todd Kent

Lights, camera, fashion! Disclaimer, fashion photography can range on a wide scale regarding payouts and profitability (so can other niches, though). Nevertheless, if you can get in with some well-established clientele, you will make a great living in this niche. Networking, networking, networking is the name of this game. The world of fashion photography gets a lot smaller the higher you climb, making it a competitive market.

The start of your business may not be as lucrative as expected. You may need to offer free services at your local retailer or boutique. Be sure to work with various models and experiment with different styles until you find what works.

Things to Consider:
  • Like social media photography, you will benefit from being more socially active. Constant networking, following trends and building a good rapport with clients for potential future work and requests. If you can do this, you will succeed in the fashion industry.

Wildlife / Landscape Photography

wildlife and landscape photography
Photo by Chris Meads

Landscape and wildlife photography are two very different and distinguishable niches in the freelance world. However, when reselling your images, your buyer’s market and clientele almost precisely overlap. Image libraries, stock photo sites, National Geographic, and plenty more hubs for nature photos make either gig a profitable photography niche.

Picking between these two will come down to personal preference, or you can always do both. Regarding photography equipment, wildlife photography may call for more financing because you capture the details of moving subjects or small animals. In this case, focusing on a robust and good-quality lens will be a considerable element for this photography niche.

Landscape photography will be less challenging to start with. However, both will require a fair amount of traveling and similar expenses. When you account for these expenses, you can run a hefty tab. It’s good to factor this in when selling contract services to be accommodated accordingly.

Things to Consider:
  • This is yet another niche with many already established photographers and preexisting client relationships.
  • You should consider how well you’ll fair traveling frequently, how far you’ll go, and if this niche is a viable option. Although traveling isn’t always the case, it is highly likely.

Freelance photography is becoming very popular each day. It has the appeal of flexible hours, independence, setting your rates, and practicing what you enjoy. Jumping into any of these mentioned photography niches won’t guarantee high payouts immediately, but expect to build success over time like anything else. You may even find more success in a photo market not mentioned here or discovered yet. Take the opportunity to explore each of these markets and see how you can leverage a profitable photography niche soon.

Which photo or video niche do you work in, and how do you like it? 


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