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How Much do Instagram Photographers Make?

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Written by Quentin Hack

Being a photographer is often seen as more of a hobby than a career path. While there were positions you could establish yourself in they were rather scant, especially when compared to other fields. However, the age of social media has brought some possibilities to earn cash as a photographer. It may not end up being your primary job but it’s a great way to utilize your passion to get some earnings as well. If nothing, extra cash can afford better equipment for this hobby.

The primary platform we see pictures get posted on and circulate, as well as one of the biggest social media nowadays, is Instagram. Frequented by photographers, it allows people to reach a bigger audience with their art. As it turns out, the platform also allows for multiple options of getting money from posting your work. Let’s check out a few of those.

Ways of earning money

When you reach a certain amount of followers new options open up. This usually means around 1000 active followers. The numbers themselves aren’t as important as the activity of your followers, frequently liking your posts and commenting followers are important than those who just sit around. However, if the limit is reached the options are decently present.

Earning money as an influencer

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There’s a chance you’ll be approached by brands once you grow big enough but this is never a guaranteed occurrence. One way of getting in contact is by directly messaging the brands you are keen on but the problem is that said brand may not be open to partnerships right now. To locate partnership-ready brands and put yourself out there as an available partner try using influencer markets. Joining one of these markets increases your chance of being seen by brands or seeing brands you’d be willing to work with.

The first market we will be covering is Fohr. This market allows you to connect any Instagram accounts, blogs, YouTube channels, or other social media platforms to it. After doing so, you get a certain “card” based on your connected media and corresponding partnerships. There’s also the ability to access brands’ wishlists, allowing you to take the initiative on connecting with the ones who are keen on getting a new partnership going. If you have your photographs on multiple accounts or a personal blog where you put them up, Fohr gives you a way to put them all in one place for the sake of achieving partnerships.

The second in line is Grapevine. It requires a higher number of followers than other markets, having an entry requirement of 5,000 or more followers. With high follower counts come higher rewards as Grapevine does have a select number of brands that will provide high-quality partnerships to any hobbyist who wishes to achieve some earnings through social media.

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Third in this category is Crowdtap, a platform-oriented towards those creators who have a smaller audience. It also allows you to do small content creation tasks for neat rewards. The rewards usually involve gift cards, which is a pretty decent gain for very simple tasks Crodwtap asks you to fulfill. Sadly, it is exclusive to the U.S. so creators from other countries won’t be able to utilize its services. However, if you are stationed there try it out.

Our last suggestion in terms of influencer markets is indaHash. They focus on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram in terms of cooperation. For photographers, this is perfect, as Instagram and Facebook are most frequently used for posting pictures. The lowest required amount of active followers is 700 but indaHash works with those who have over 10,000 followers as well.

No matter which of the markets you pick, if any, you’ll be covered for brand deals. This is assuming the follower requirement is reached. The photographs from your accounts will reach more people while drawing in partnerships.

Affiliation yourself with a brand

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If you don’t like the idea of being an influencer or influencer-adjacent, becoming an affiliate might be just the thing for you. An affiliate is a lot more invested in marketing the company and making sales for the partners they are affiliated with. In return, they get a cut of the profits.

Affiliating yourself with a brand means adding trackable links and promo codes to your bio, which isn’t too difficult and doesn’t impact much of your day-to-day posting. However, there is a catch. Instagram doesn’t allow outside links on posts. If you don’t want to be limited to a single affiliate, or wish to increase sales through more frequent mentions of the affiliate, consider using promo codes for maximum efficiency. Alternatively, Instagram Stories allows for links and may prove useful for greater incorporation of your affiliate into the account itself.

Make a store for merchandise and better resolution pictures

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This one’s riskier but the payoff is a lot greater. As your followers grow the number of iconic photos found on your account also increases. Some people may start asking about putting your work on t-shirts, mugs, or other such objects. This is a sign that you should create your store. It doesn’t have any actual prerequisites but it’s usually suggested for accounts that have 1,000 or more active followers. The initial investment is a bit higher, mostly time investment, as you need to locate the style of shop you want. After that there’s the creation of the whole shop, making products for display, spreading the word of the store’s existence, and updating the store with new products.

Once the store has been properly set up and maintained the influx of funds should be rather steady. This is due to merchandise pulling double duty as both a marketing tool and money-making option. It’s highly probable more people will join your account as well, pulling even more interaction towards it. While some ideas for merchandise are apparent, for example using a photo you took as a print for a t-shirt, there’s also the ability to simply sell your photos outright. The product sold can be both physical and digital, as the limited resolution of photos on social media allows for the selling of higher resolution variants through other means.

How much can you make

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As for hard numbers, they can vary heavily between the categories you fall into. Influencers will often start off being paid 5 to 20 dollars per post by smaller brands while racking up a high active follower count can allow you more freedom in discussing payment, top influencers end up charging between 500 and 30,000 dollars per post. When discerning how much money affiliates make things are a bit trickier. It’s mostly reliant on how many products you can sell and how big your cut is. Some general figures suggest low-level affiliates earn up to 300 dollars a day, intermediate-level affiliates earn up to 3,000 dollars a day, while the most invested and the most contributing affiliates earn 10,000 a day.

While it’s unlikely you’ll reach that last cap, also known as a super affiliate, other levels are very achievable. Lastly, opening your shop is the hardest to measure and will usually depend on your price tags. Keep in mind lower price tags may result in more profits as more people will rush to purchase the products. Some numbers suggest even beginners with a somewhat established fanbase can earn between 170 to 870 dollars from merchandise a month. This is a fairly low number in comparison to the other options it doesn’t include money earned from unique possibilities photographers have, the aforementioned selling of higher resolution prints, or additional earnings you can achieve by putting ads on the shop itself.

Conclusion

Earning money on social media isn’t too hard if you are a frequently active member. However, earning enough money to live from your hobby is a bit trickier. While there are plentiful options there are always follower requirements involved. If you are invested in this type of lifestyle try utilizing social media marketplace such as socialwick.  to get a starting boost to your account. The word will then spread further to other accounts causing a domino effect of increasing your follower count.

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Quentin Hack

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