Professional photographers are busy people, but sometimes they need to fill in the gaps when demand slows down. In any case, it never hurts making some supplemental income on the side, and the more niches you have experience shooting the more marketable you are.

Here are eight ways that just about any photographer can use his or her skills to make more money:

Cars and homes

Automobile enthusiasts are a great target market for promoting your services. Car nuts will go to great lengths to obtain thrilling images of their rides, whether it’s under the hood, in the driver’s seat or the car’s well-polished exterior in an urban sprawl scene.

car

Photo from Ricky Flores

The best way to seek out demand for this type of photography is to browse online communities and niche forums. Proud owners congregate in forums and social networks to show off their vehicles and organize meet-ups, and this can be a great lead for new business.

Some people also look for images of their family’s home as gifts or sentimental wall hangings. A wide lens and some nice morning light can yield great exterior photos of a home with minimal time invested.

People selling their things

There are always people selling stuff. Whether it’s an antique armoire, a college kid’s secondhand course books or a used vehicle, serious sellers look for quality photographs of their belongings.

E-commerce is a booming business made evident by the rise of eBay and Amazon in the last decade or so. Product photography is still in high demand, and although it may not be the most stimulating pursuit in the world it can be relied on for a source of supplemental income.

Craigslist has now emerged as a growing marketplace as well, and one that can be taken advantage of on a local basis by professional photographers. It’s a much more low-profile business model for buyers and sellers that carries its own pros and cons, and dealings are entirely under the table.

Landlords and rental property

In fact, Craigslist can be a great place to start if you’re going to market your skills to landlords. A tip from a smart co-worker pointed me to the potential profitability of this field – start networking with landlords to get more business going on the side.

aptphoto
Photo from ashkyd

My personal experience with apartment hunting gave me a better idea of how important good photos are to potential buyers. There are a plethora of listings that lack clear images of housing interiors, and smart landlords are the ones who make their places stand out with stunning photos. Charging a flat rate per room can be a great way to make quick money while building a solid word-of-mouth network in the local community (eventually yielding more business for you).

Passport photos

Passport photos are nothing special, but they’re tough to execute properly for the average person. The government offices charge steep rates for one-time passport portraits when individuals have to apply for or renew their identifications.

Luckily this comes as an advantage to professional photographers. Following the specifications for passport photos isn’t difficult for a trained photographer, so executing an acceptable portrait can be accomplished with little effort. If you get people lining up for passport photos, then it’s another great way to make a little side income.

Pets

We’re all familiar with the inescapable masses of cat and dog photos flooding social media networks on a daily basis. People love photos of their household companions, and offering professional portrait sessions of pets and their owners can make a profitable return.

pets
Photo from widmatt

Invest some time into Facebook and Twitter trends to capitalize on the phenomenon. If you get a few pet shoots under your belt and begin advertising on social media, you’re bound to get genuine interest in no time.

Pet portraiture can be achieved on-location and is a year-round business – sunny days, leaf piles and snowy backyards are all desirable locales for playful animal shots. It’s not far off from human portraiture, and the candid expressions of house pets are often far easier to accomplish than those of people. An hour of shooting and another one editing can be enough to give a client professional results and generate some revenue.

Corporate portraits

Corporate America’s employees can be your best friends. New businesses often need portraits of their company’s upper management and workforce for various reasons. Office environments use photos for network profiles (email, messaging and communications) and many businesses use employee portraits on websites and advertising materials.

corporateportrait
Photo from Samantha Lauren Photographie

Photographing an organization’s employees en masse is not an exceedingly difficult task. With some basic three-point lighting or good natural light at your disposal, an hour or two can cover just about any number of people if you’re using a reliable setup. I’d recommend pricing your work based on the number of photos you’re producing as opposed to an hourly rate (remember that each photo will require some degree of post-production on your end).

Companies are constantly changing their rosters as employees are hired, fired and promoted. And the more often the office staff changes, the more often they’re seeking photographers.

Stock

Stock photography is one of the most diverse and accessible approaches to supplemental income. The great part about stock is that it encompasses just about every photographic genre, so just about any type of photographer can embrace it.

And you don’t necessarily need to invest extra time into shooting specific stock photos. If you’ve been a practicing photographer for quite some time, then you undoubtedly have a plethora of extra, unused images from hundreds of past shoots. You can provide these hibernating images to stock agencies and potentially make some money while you’re sleeping if individual proprietors show interest in licensing the photos. There are a few different types of licenses that you can offer your pictures for, and each one delivers different amounts of compensation to you.

Retouching old photographs

Use your Photoshop skills to your fiscal advantage. I constantly find postings (on Craigslist and elsewhere) where people are seeking a skilled imaging professional to retouch or restore their decaying family photo albums.

oldphoto
Photo from anyjazz65

Yes, this may not be the most exciting job in the world, but it’s a breeze if you know what you’re doing and can make a pretty penny if you’re looking for supplemental income. Meticulous care with the clone tool and a few hours of restoration can get the job done and really impress someone who values their aging, boxed-up memories.