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How Photographers Can Make Extra Money During The Holidays

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
featured, photo & video

While we’ve already established that it’s perfectly ok to take a break during the holiday season, the raw reality is that a lot of creative types literally can’t afford to do that. Bills need to be paid, gifts need to be purchased, and tax season is coming up quickly. If your usual kinds of work — commercial, wedding, whatever — is extra-slow during the chilly winter months, the lack of income can be an extremely stressful and even scary experience. But there are ways for photographers to make extra money during the holiday season. It just takes a little creativity and, possibly, some hustle.

Here are a few ideas for how you can drum up extra money:

Make portraits. If you’re usually a wedding photographer, portraiture if a fairly natural next step. Consider contacting some of your recent clients to see if they’d like to do a “first Christmas together” or a New Years’ Eve shoot. These shoots tend to be short and sweet, and even if you just sell a few of the images, it can be a way to turn an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon into a business venture. You might be surprised how many of your clients didn’t realize they wanted to sit for a portrait until you send them a polite email. You can even add a line about portraiture in your digital holiday cards (you are sending out digital holiday cards, right?).

Offer gift certificates. As Ann Rea pointed out, gift certificates are a smart way to help your clients get what they need for the holidays. There are a lot of benefits to gift certificates (cash in hand with the promise of work later, basically no overhead, plus, they make people like you!), so there’s really no reason not to have them.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


Look for second-shooter work. During a season when a lot of people travel, other photographers in your area might need a hand with a reliable second shooter. Hit up your contacts to see if anyone needs help with some of their events. The offer might be hugely helpful to a photog in a bind with too much work (yes, there is such a thing).

Copy this guy. Selling your Instagram photos might seem like a weird thing to do, but for photographer Daniel Arnold, it was the difference between not making rent and padding his checking account by $15k. Basically, Daniel offered a firesale on his Instagram images — and tons of people took him up on it. Now, this might not be your exact course of action, but if anyone’s ever expressed interest in purchasing your iPhoneography, now might be a good time to let people know, via Instagram, that you’ve got pieces for sale.

Shoot some stock photography. Stock images are a huge industry as everyone jumps on the content marketing bandwagon. If you find yourself with good light and something that might illustrate a blog post, set up your equipment and start firing away. Light Stalking has smart tips on how to make sure yours are the most popular photos on the site.


‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts


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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.