Thursday, June 09, 2005

Make Money With Your Digital Camera

There are many benefits to using digital cameras rather than their film-based counterparts. By using a digital camera, photographers can shoot as many images as they like; they only expend real cash when they decide to print out the images. This is great for amateurs for two important reasons. First, of course, they can get more practice in order to hone their craft. The only way to get better at taking pictures is to do it over and over. In the days of film, this kind of practice represented a major expense. Now, photographers can review and critique their shots on their computers without spending a dime. Second, this allows amateurs a good way to make a little extra money with their cameras.

I know several people who have very nice (i.e. expensive) digital cameras. These cameras yield high-quality images that are suitable even for print in magazines. Some of the photographers that I know are so passionate about their hobby that they would like to turn it into a paying gig, but they are a little hesitant to quit their day jobs to make a serious run at photography. Digital cameras are allowing them to test the waters a bit in order to see how much income they could reasonably expect to receive.

For example, one of my photographer friends has a 10-year-old son who is in Little League. So my friend brings his camera, a laptop, and a portable printer to his son's games on the weekends. My friend takes hundreds of action shots, not only of his own son, but of every single kid out there. Then, he goes around to other parents and shows them previews of their children's pictures. If a parent likes a particular shot, my friend prints a photo on the spot and sells it for $8. If nobody wants to buy a picture, the only thing my friend has lost is time. He just clears the memory card and moves on to the next game. On a good weekend, my friend easily clears $250. That's not enough to allow him to get into photography full-time yet, but the money allows him to slowly move to better and better equipment. After several good weekends, my friend will have acquired enough funds to purchase a new lens or a better printer. He's going to keep doing this through the baseball season and then for soccer and football in the fall.

You can do this, too. Their are various sports leagues throughout the summer and fall, so it's not too late to get started. Just remember that you have to build your reputation, so don't skimp on the photo paper. Give your customers high-quality prints and they will come back for more. Give them junk and you will, at the most, make one sale per person. If you like your results, then you can reinvest in better equipment to try to take your skills to the next level. If not, then you haven't really lost anything. You'll never know until you try!

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