15 Passive Income Ideas for Photographers Ideas for [2024]

Updated: February 22nd, 2024

15 Passive Income Ideas for Photographers Ideas for [2024]

Passive income can be a great way for photographers to earn extra money. However, it's important to note that developing passive income streams requires significant initial effort. While it's not easy money, maintaining these streams can be simpler once they're established.

Investing in multiple passive income streams is an effective way to increase earnings as a photographer. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert in finance to implement these strategies. With the right approach, it’s possible to generate substantial passive income.

In this blog post, I will share 15 passive income ideas for photographers. Stay tuned for tips on how to get started!

1. Start an affiliate marketing business

Affiliate marketing is a way to earn passive income by promoting other people's products and earning a commission on every sale. As a photographer, you can promote photography-related products, such as cameras, lenses, or editing software, and earn a commission every time someone makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link.

Are you looking for a side hustle to pay you a passive income? Affiliate marketing is one of those side hustles that will pay you well over the long term. It is a way to earn money online by promoting other companies' products and services. You will be paid a commission for each sale you make as an affiliate marketer.

To get started, learn how to find the right product and brand to partner with. For example, you may prefer becoming an affiliate marketer for an eCommerce store, partnering with a manufacturer, and marketing their products for a commission.

How much you can make: $500 — $773,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 55 days (?)

My Affiliate Marketing Business Earns $500K/Year Profit [No Employees]

This case study explores how Spencer Mecham founded Buildapreneur, an affiliate marketing business, and has made over half a million dollars in profit with no employees, relying solely on content marketing through platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.

About
Spencer started Buildapreneur over 6 years ago
Revenue
Spencer grew the business to $80K/month
Read by 22,694 founders

2. Sell digital products

A digital product business allows you to create and sell digital products related to photography, such as Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions, or e-books. Once you've created your products, you can sell them on platforms such as Gumroad or your own website and earn passive income every time someone purchases them.

Digital products are top-rated. They’re easy to create and share and a great way to build a business.

Digital products can be software-based, like an app or game, or information-based, like an ebook or course. They can also be something else entirely—like a membership site or a community. The possibilities are endless!

So what makes digital products such a great way to build a business? Well, first of all, they’re effortless to create. You don’t have to hire anyone else to do it for you; you can do it yourself! And because there’s no risk of having inventory sitting around in your garage, digital products can be sold directly from your website without worrying about moving merchandise.

How much you can make: $10,000 — $1,766,666/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 58 days (?)

My Finance Newsletter & Community Hit A $3M Run Rate This Year

Contrarian Thinking is a premium membership community that teaches its 1.5 million members how to implement cash flow strategies to achieve financial freedom, with a current run rate of $3 million and a goal of $50 million ARR in five years.

About
Codie started Contrarian Thinking over 4 years ago
Revenue
Codie grew the business to $250K/month
Skills
Public Speaking, Copywriting, Community Building
Costs
It cost Codie $5000 to start the business
Read by 5,024 founders

3. Become a social media influencer

If you have a significant following on Social media, you can earn passive income by collaborating with brands and promoting their products. Brands are always looking for influencers with a large following and high engagement rates to showcase their products. As an influencer, you can earn money through sponsored posts, or by selling your own products.

Social media has become integral to people's lives and daily routines. Given the importance of social media, brands are flocking to different social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok in the hope of connecting with their target audience.

A popular approach taken by these brands is engaging social media influencers. A social media influencer has established credibility in a specific industry and has access to a vast audience they can persuade to act based on recommendations.

Anyone can become a social influencer so long as they have the right strategy. Choose a popular niche based on your interests and start creating relevant content.

How much you can make: $2,500 — $300,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $601 (?)

How long does it take to build: 155 days (?)

How I Started A $2.5K/Month Blog About Motherhood, Life And Travel

How one mother built a profitable frugal motherhood, life, and travel blog from scratch, using Instagram, Pinterest, and paid sponsorships to grow from 0 to 18.5K followers and generate $1,500-$3,000 per month in less than two years.

About
Asia started Frugal and Frills over 5 years ago
Revenue
Asia grew the business to $3K/month
Read by 7,066 founders

4. Start a photography blog

Starting a photography blog is a great way to showcase your work, share your expertise, and build a following. You can write about your photography adventures, review gear, or provide tips and tutorials. Once your blog has a significant amount of traffic, you can monetize it with ads, sponsorships, or affiliate marketing.

A photography blog business is a platform where photographers can share their work and connect with a community of fellow photographers and photography enthusiasts. The blog can feature various content, including tutorials, behind-the-scenes stories, gear reviews, and interviews with industry professionals.

To run a successful photography blog, it’s essential to provide high-quality content that resonates with your audience consistently. This can be achieved by staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and techniques and experimenting with different content types to see what resonates with your audience.

Another key to success is building a strong online presence and establishing yourself as an authority in the photography industry. This can be done through social media marketing, guest blogging, and networking with other industry professionals.

It’s also important to monetize your blog through advertising, sponsorships, and offering paid content or services such as ebooks, courses, or one-on-one coaching.

To stand out in a crowded market, consider specializing in a specific niche or style of photography, such as landscape, portrait, or street photography. This can help you build a loyal following and attract opportunities from businesses and brands in your niche.

Overall, a photography blog business is a great way for photographers to share their work, connect with others in the industry, and monetize their passion for photography. With dedication, hard work, and a focus on building a strong online presence, founders can turn their blog into a successful and rewarding businesses.

How much you can make: $1,200 — $15,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $3,500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 440 days (?)

How I Solo Built A $1.2K/Month Blog Site For Indian Photographers

Founder Manthan Gajjar built his photography blogging platform, pewdoc, as a side hustle project and now generates $1.2K per month by publishing trending photography content for newbies. He shares his process of building a blog on a low budget, gaining traffic through consistency and SEO knowledge, and using social media advertising to attract customers and retain readers through newsletters.

About
Manthan started PEWDOC over 4 years ago
Revenue
Manthan grew the business to $1.2K/month
Read by 1,851 founders

5. Create an online course

If you have expertise in a particular area of photography, such as portrait, landscape, or product photography, you can create an online course and sell it on platforms such as Udemy or Teachable. Once you've created your course, you can earn passive income every time someone purchases it.

An online course business involves creating and selling digital classes teaching specialized skills or knowledge to subscribed students.

As an entrepreneurial course creator, you identify educational gaps around topics you have expertise in and develop engaging video lessons and supplementary materials.

With flexibility around self-paced or cohort-based structures, building a student base provides passive income potential.

For founders who enjoy information-sharing, launching an online course platform presents a lucrative way to monetize your instructional talents with small startup costs by serving eager lifelong learners seeking convenient access to emerging subjects.

How much you can make: $350 — $3,735,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $1,850 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

How This 28-Year-Old Couple Quit Their Jobs And Make $20K/Month Running A Blog

Learn how one couple created a successful personal finance blog, The Savvy Couple, that now makes over $20,000 per month and has sold thousands of digital workbooks and courses, by focusing on purposeful content and optimizing their ROI with efficient time management.

About
Kelan started The Savvy Couple over 7 years ago
Revenue
Kelan grew the business to $20K/month
Costs
It cost Kelan $500 to start the business
Read by 27,276 founders

6. Start a YouTube channel

Starting a YouTube channel is a great way for photographers to showcase their skills, share their knowledge, and build a following. You can create tutorials, gear reviews, behind-the-scenes videos, or even vlogs about your photography adventures. Once you have a large enough audience, you can monetize your channel with ads, sponsorships, or merchandise sales.

How much you can make: $13,000/month

How A Young Entrepreneur From Nigeria Started A Profitable Blog

This case study follows the journey of a young entrepreneur from Nigeria who started a profitable blog generating a monthly revenue of $1,500+ through sales of advertising space, sponsored posts, and information products, and shares his strategies for success including a Twitter growth challenge and guest post pitches.

About
Emenike started Entrepreneur Business Blog over 7 years ago
Revenue
Emenike grew the business to $13K/month
Read by 10,862 founders

7. Start a stock photography business

Stock photography is a way for photographers to earn passive income by licensing their photos for use in various media, such as websites, magazines, and advertising. There are many online platforms, such as Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Getty Images, where photographers can upload their photos and earn royalties every time their images are downloaded or used.

Stock photography is typically sold on an exclusive basis to one buyer for a single usage fee. Stock photos are often available in different sizes, resolutions, and file formats. Businesses most commonly use stock photos for marketing purposes.

Stock photography is the supply of photographs often licensed for specific uses. Stock photos are the perfect marketing and advertising resource for website owners and bloggers.

You can build an impressive portfolio and earn a passive income by uploading high-quality stock photos.

To start a stock photography business , invest in some good photography gear and learn how to take stock photos. An excellent online presence can help you sell your stock photos faster and at profitable margins.

How much you can make: $1,200 — $45,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $3,500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

How I Started A Commercial Product Photography Business

Pro Photo Studio founder Tsour Lee Adato shares how she turned a $5k investment into a business that services over 500 clients annually and makes approximately $350k per year with plans to expand and become a 7-figure business while offering advice to fellow entrepreneurs to always be innovating, learning and growing, and not to undervalue themselves.

Revenue
Tsour grew the business to $45K/month
Costs
It cost Tsour $5000 to start the business
Read by 14,614 founders

8. Print on demand business

A print on demand business allows you to upload your photography designs to an online platform and sell them as products such as prints, t-shirts, mugs, or phone cases. The platform handles the manufacturing, shipping, and fulfillment, so all you have to do is upload your designs and promote your store.

A print-on-demand business involves selling customized products without upfront inventory costs.

The business model utilizes dropshipping production and fulfillment services to print custom apparel, home goods, phone cases, and other merchandise one order at a time.

By leveraging online marketplace platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy as virtual storefronts, print-on-demand sellers can focus on designing trendy and unique products while reaching global audiences.

With minimal startup costs and the freedom to run operations from home, launching a print-on-demand model empowers aspiring founders to monetize their creativity and build ascalable business at their own pace.

How much you can make: $200 — $3,000,000/month

How long does it take to build: 30 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 5 hours/week

How I Started A $330K/Month Ecommerce Specialized In 3D Printing

Founder Roy Kirchner shares how he started an eCommerce business specializing in 3D printing with an initial investment of $65,000, which now averages monthly gross sales of $330,000 and has partnered with international manufacturers and local businesses while offering technical support and education.

About
Roy started Ultimate 3D Printing Store over 8 years ago
Revenue
Roy grew the business to $330K/month
Costs
It cost Roy $65000 to start the business
Read by 29,030 founders

9. Start a podcast

A podcast can be an excellent fit for photographers looking to generate passive income. By creating a podcast focused on photography, photographers can monetize their show through sponsorships or ads, generating passive income.

The podcast business involves creating and producing audio content that people can listen to online.

It’s a popular form of entertainment and information-sharing.

To start a podcast business on a budget, you'll need a few key steps.

First, choose a niche or topic that you're passionate about and that has an audience.

Next, get basic recording equipment like a microphone and headphones.

Then, find a free or affordable hosting platform to publish your episodes.

Finally, promote your podcast through social media, online communities, and word of mouth to build an audience and potentially attract sponsors or advertisers.

How much you can make: $400 — $1,020,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $2,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 2 hours/week

How I Started A Successful Podcast Production Company

A successful podcast production company that grew from one client making $15/hour to a team of 10 contractors producing over 30 shows per week with revenue of over $10k/mo, primarily through referrals and with a focus on providing high personal touch and being picky about working only with clients who are a good fit.

About
Jeremy started Counterweight Creative almost 8 years ago
Revenue
Jeremy grew the business to $16K/month
Read by 17,640 founders

10. Start a travel agency

A travel agency can be an excellent fit for photographers who have a passion for travel. By creating a travel agency focused on photography tours or workshops, photographers can generate passive income from clients who sign up for these trips.

Are you a passionate traveler with entrepreneurial skills? Then starting a travel agency can be a great career choice for you.

As a travel agency, you'll be responsible for linking travelers to providers of all the travel and tourism-related services such as accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, tour guides, local adventure, etc.

Starting an online travel agency is a lot easier than you might think. You'll need to perform market research, get a few necessary certifications (such as your IATA number), study competition, build a website, and do proper marketing.

To maximize earnings, negotiate discounts from the industry service providers, and charge travelers within the market rate.

How much you can make: $2,000 — $114,200,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $1,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

How I Started A $2K/Month Side Hustle Selling Vacations

Marissa Daniels runs a successful travel agency, Spread Your Wings Travel, that hit $100,000 in sales within a year of launch and provides payment plan options for its all-inclusive vacations, and she hopes to help 100 families supplement their income through the business.

About
Marissa started Spread Your Wings Travel Agency about 5 years ago
Revenue
Marissa grew the business to $7K/month
Costs
It cost Marissa $200 to start the business
Read by 17,118 founders

11. Start an ecommerce retailing business

Ecommerce retailing businesses allow photographers to sell physical products like prints, calendars, or other photography-related items. This can generate passive income as the products can be sold repeatedly without requiring much effort on the photographer's part.

How much you can make: $2,500 — $3,000,000/month

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

How I Partnered With Mark Cuban To Start A $250K/Month Company Selling eBikes

Tower Electric Bikes is a direct-to-consumer eBike brand co-founded by Stephan Aarstol and Mark Cuban, which has done over $36 million in sales since its $150,000 investment in 2012, and produced and sold everything from paddleboards to electric bikes for half the retail price, with the aim of creating the world's first famous eBike brand.

About
Stephan started Tower Electric Bikes almost 14 years ago
Revenue
Stephan grew the business to $300K/month
Costs
It cost Stephan $30000 to start the business
Read by 25,784 founders

12. Start a graphic design business

A graphic design business can be a great option for photographers who have a background in design or a knack for creating visually stunning content. Photographers can create digital assets like logos, social media templates, and print designs that can be sold online through marketplaces like Creative Market or Etsy. This can generate passive income as these products can be sold repeatedly without requiring much effort on the photographer's part.

Graphic designers create logos, brochures, ads, and other marketing materials for companies and organizations. They also design websites and other digital content, including social media graphics.

Graphic designers may specialize in one type of design (such as print or web design), or they can be generalists who do everything from logo design to social media graphics.

Starting a graphic design business can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. It’s not easy, but if you’re passionate about design and want to make a living, starting your own graphic design business is a great way to go.

Consider a suitable pricing structure when starting a graphic design business. You may charge the customers per hour or fixed pricing based on the project’s nature.

How much you can make: $2,500 — $1,000,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $2,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 87 days (?)

How Two Friends Bootstrapped A SaaS Business To $55K MRR

Learn how two friends bootstrapped a SaaS business to $55k monthly recurring revenue (MRR) by creating a simple graphic design tool for non-designers and focusing on content marketing for customer acquisition.

About
Christopher started Snappa almost 9 years ago
Revenue
Christopher grew the business to $83.5K/month
Read by 20,130 founders

13. Start an online food business

Photographers who have a passion for food can create an online food business by selling recipe eBooks, hosting virtual cooking classes, or even creating their own food products. These products can be sold through platforms like Shopify or Etsy, generating passive income for the photographer.

Gone are the days when food lovers needed to leave their homes for delectable delights. Insert: online food business. This venture allows individuals or groups to offer ready-to-eat meals or pre-packaged ingredients for home preparation, straight to customers' doorsteps.

In simple terms, the business centers on creating and selling meals through an online platform. In a world perpetually pursuing convenience and variety, this idea caters to a diverse audience—busy professionals seeking nutritious meals, cooking novices craving guidance, or adventurous eaters exploring global cuisines.

As an owner of an online food business, you'll be involved in menu planning, sourcing ingredients, preparation, packaging, and delivering—while constantly innovating and adapting to the ever-changing food trends and dietary preferences. With the right blend of business acumen and culinary passion, the online food business can offer a unique opportunity to merge profit with satisfaction—giving people the gift of good food while filling a fundamental market gap.

How much you can make: $4,000 — $12,500,000/month

How long does it take to build: 120 days (?)

How We Started A Meal Prep Delivery Business And Did $1.8M In Sales

Healthy Chew is a profitable weekly meal preparation service that grew from 200 to 10,000 weekly bowls in just over 3 years, with an overall sales figure of $1.8 million, achieved through effective branding and personalised customer service.

About
TJ started Healthy Chew almost 8 years ago
Revenue
TJ grew the business to $60K/month
Costs
It cost TJ $500 to start the business
Read by 38,090 founders

14. Start an online advertising agency

An online advertising agency can be an excellent fit for photographers who have experience in digital marketing. By offering services like social media advertising or Google Ads management, photographers can generate passive income from recurring monthly clients.

An online advertising agency helps businesses promote their products or services on the internet.

To start this business on a budget, first learn the basics of digital marketing through free online resources.

Create a professional website and set up profiles on social media platforms to showcase your skills.

Build a portfolio by working on mock campaigns or offering discounted services to friends and family, and gradually market your services to attract clients.

With dedication, you can grow your agency over time.

How much you can make: $2,797 — $1,250,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $2,500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 45 days (?)

How I Started A $120K/Month Online Course For Social Media Marketing Agencies

Iman Gadzhi made over $1.2M in profit within two years with his social media marketing agency and education company, where he teaches entrepreneurs how to start and scale a profitable SMMA, with over 45 of his students making over six figures with their SMMA, and over 300 students having quit their regular jobs.

About
Iman started Grow Your Agency almost 7 years ago
Revenue
Iman grew the business to $120K/month
Read by 14,302 founders

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you build passive income as a Photographer?

Yes, it is possible to build passive income as a Photographer. One way is by selling stock photos online, creating photography courses, selling prints, or publishing books. It takes time and effort to build a portfolio and a brand, but with the right strategy, it's possible to generate passive income in the long run.

How to make passive income as a Photographer?

To make passive income as a Photographer, one can sell stock photos on websites like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock, create online courses on platforms like Udemy or Teachable, sell prints on sites like Fine Art America or Redbubble, or publish a book of their photography. It's essential to have a strong portfolio and a solid marketing plan to succeed.

Is passive income for a Photographer truly passive?

While it's called passive income, it's not entirely passive as it requires effort and time to create and maintain the income streams. However, once the work is done, and the streams are established, it can generate income without active involvement. So, it may not be entirely passive, but it can be a source of residual income in the long run.

Conclusion

Online passive income is an excellent option if you are a Photographer looking for ways to make some extra money. Several options are available, and many of them can be started with little to no investment.

Do your research, find something that interests you, and get started! You may be surprised at how quickly those extra dollars start adding up. What have you got to lose?

meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.