Did you know that there are so many ways to earn money as a food photographer? From creating content for food brands to restaurant photography to working as a food influencer on Instagram and even photographing for editorial magazines. Whether you’re a hobbyist, someone just starting out in this space or a professional who’s been in the job for years, this creative business has space for all levels of experience and creativity. So let’s have a look at how you can start earning dollars for your images.
Despite Covid, restaurants in USA generated over $659 million dollars in 2020. Safe to say, restaurants are still operating and making money and the need for photos remain. Whether it’s for marketing, social media or iPad menus, there are plenty of ways you can work with local restaurants to build your portfolio and earn money. You can even pair that with chef portrait work to offer your clients extra incentives.
These days, all you need is a camera, a good looking food feed and a following on Instagram to be able to work with food brands. And when we say following, we’re not talking millions or even hundred of thousands. Just a few thousand and you can start commanding paid work with food brands ranging form Chobani to Starbucks to Alpro. The brand will usually send you their product/ ingredient and you are paid to promote their product in front of your audience. You either need to create a recipe using their product in the food world or show a way to use it in your meals. Micro influencing (when you have just a few thousand followers and are doing paid work) is on the rise as costs to the brand is much less then engaging the services of a larger influencer.
If you take good photos, write recipes that aren’t just accurate but also flavorful and get eyeballs on your blog, then mortising your blog is something you definitely need to be doing. This is when a brand pays you to write a blog post either reviewing their product or promoting it by means of a recipe. You can also monetize blogs by having affiliate links where you are paid a commission for a share of the sale price. And finally, you can create your own e books to sell form your site as well. the opportunities are plenty.
Magazines such as Waitrose, Gourmet Traveller, Bon Apetit and Food & Wine hire photographers each month to shoot their editorial content. This includes photos for both their print and online publications. Editorial photography is one of the most fulfilling ways to work in photography as the shoots allow for creative freedom, you get to work in tandem with a food stylist and or prop stylist and the work can be on retainer if the magazine likes your style. This is also a great marketing tool as agencies and creatives often look at the credits to pick up new photographers for their commercial work.
Larger food brands and restaurants such as Pillsbury’s, KFC, Dunkin Donuts and Kellogg’s have a full yearly advertising calendar and require quality images for both packaging as well as large scale advertising. This is where the big bucks can be made. You’re usually working with large teams and sets with agencies, producers, stylists, retouchers and lighting assistant. Commercial photography requires the highest level of expertise and knowledge of technique.
The last few years has seen the rise of the content creators where photographers work with small scale to large brands creating content for their social channels, blogs and websites. This is when you are paid to photograph content but don’t necessarily need to advertise it on your own social channels. There is so much opportunity within this field from photographing for other bloggers who may not have adequate skills to creating social media posts for larger brands such as Quaker Oats, Oreos, Hersheys and Kraft.
Once you get started in the world of food photography, you’ll notice how diverse this field really is with so many ways to earn an income. And the best part is, there’s space for any level of skill here. How much you get paid is directly correlated with how good your photography is. So if you invest in yourself and your craft, your chances of success are already much higher.
If you’re interested in learning ALL the skills you need to go from an amateur to an expert in your ability to take mouthwatering images so that you can get more clients, charge more for your work and make this your full time career, then sign up for PHOOD’s course on the A to Z of food photography. Doors will open for a very limited time only.