7 of the Highest Paying Fields in Photography

Its no secret that running your own photography business is the most profitable way to make money with Photography. Sure many people have made careers as second shooters, photography assistants, and studio managers but if you are looking for the quickest way to reach complete financial freedom as a photographer you must learn to run your own business. 

However, running a generic “Photography business” is not enough. When people are looking for a photographer to hire they are looking for a specialist in a certain field. Think of it similar to a Doctor. You aren’t going to go to a Physician when you know actually need to see a Dentist. By looking from the outside in you can begin to better understand how you can better position your photography business for longterm success.

There is a common rhyme in the business world that goes “There are riches in the niches.” (Unless you pronounce niches like ‘neeshes’ - then it just becomes a very difficult sentence). Regardless of your pronunciation there is truth to that sentence — but which niche should you choose? Need some ideas? Take a look at the list of the highest paying fields in photography below. 

1. Fashion Photography

Fashion Photography focuses on the photography of clothing. Every clothing brand in the world hires photographers to capture their brand through photographs and the big name brands pay a lot. It is undeniable that this field of photography has the highest paid photographers and it is in fashion photography where photographers have been able to garner their own fame. Another benefit to this field of photography is the influx of brands in the market. Every instagram brand and Shopify store is actively looking for you right now.

Who are your clients?
Clothing Brands, Fashion Shows, Boutiques, & anyone who sells a product. 

Pro Tip: Reach out to brands in your area that you can find on Instagram.

2. Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is definitely one of the most rewarding fields in photography. The couple is inviting you into the most important day of their life and letting you capture it. On top of that there are a ton of financial benefits to being a wedding photographer. You can expect your jobs to always be well paid, booked far out in advance, and they usually only last a couple hours on a weekend leaving you with ample time to run the business side of your photography. 

Who are your clients?
Engaged couples, Parents, & Churches.

(With divorce rates skyrocketing are repeat wedding clients too?)

Pro Tip: Become more active in your church and always attend Bridal shows.

3. Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography is definitely one of the most interesting photography fields. Portrait photography typically captures a subject in their natural habitat. Painters at their studios or Chefs in their kitchen. Almost anyone who hires you for portrait photography has a story. Magazines and Websites all need portrait photographers for the story’s subject. One of the biggest perks of this job is how much networking you will be able to do. Networking = more clients = more income.

Who are your clients?
Magazines, Websites, & Private Individuals.

Pro Tip: Portrait photographers are always credited in magazines. Reach out to them and see if they have any work that can be sub contracted out to you.

4. Corporate Photography

Every business, especially larger ones need photographs of their employees. For corporate photography you will either be on location at their office or you can bring the employees into your own studio. What is great about large corporate photography clients is that they are always hiring new people and always in need of them being photographed.

Who are your clients?
Business Owners & Corporations

Pro Tip: Book your corporate clients on a yearly retainer so they keep coming back for more.

5. Food Photography

As a food photographer you are responsible for showcasing the establishments food and drinks in the most appetizing way possible. The most difficult part of this job is convincing restaurants they need it. Typically, only high end restaurants are actively searching for food photographers but if you are good at sales the majority of restaurants do not have quality photos for the social media accounts and Yelp. The biggest benefit? You get to eat your subject at the end of the shoot.

Who are your clients?
Restaurants, Breweries, Food Magazines & Websites.

Pro Tip: Cross sell social media management to restaurants who don’t have an online presence.

6. Architecture Photography 

Architecture photography deals primarily with photographing real estate. You get to capture buildings and homes that are being built, sold, or rented. You get to see a ton of cool buildings and you spend the majority of your day by yourself instead of with clients.

Who are your clients?
Architects, Contractors, Real Estate Agents, & Hotels.

Pro Tip: Find Airbnb listings who have cell phone photos for their listing. Reach out to real estate agents on Zillow who have active listings. 

7. Film Set Photography 

Film Set Photography captures the behind the scenes of film production. You will be responsible for getting shots of the cast and crew prepping for scenes. I have heard film set photographers make around $50 an hour but most shoot dates go over 12 hours where you will get time and half for your photography. In addition, you’ll get the chance to be an insider to some of your favorite shows.

Who are your clients?
Producers & Indie Filmmakers.

Pro Tip: Each state has a government site that lists productions in the area with their contact info.

Honorable Mention: White House Photographer

I personally couldn’t imagine the pressure of being a White House Photographer but they do get paid well. Its been reported that both the current and the previous administrations photographers have made around $200K a year. Sure some photographers make more than this in other fields but once your 4 or 8 year gig is up you can guarantee endless high end clients for life and almost certainly a tell all book deal.

Who are your clients?
The President of the United States of America

Pro Tip: If you have a pro tip on landing a job as a white house photographer please reach out to me!

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