Looking for ways to make money with photography? Learning how to teach photography to make additional income in your photography business during your slow seasons, or any time of the year, teaching basic digital photography classes is a great place to start. I know because I've been teaching photography in my own business for many years. I started teaching photography classes as a way to supplement my wedding photography business during the slower summer months. You might have questions such as, "how do I start teaching photography?" or "how do you teach a photography workshop?" In this post I'm going to answer those questions and more by looking at 8 different things you can do to level your photography business and make money teaching photography.
Teaching basic digital photography is the perfect first place to start. If you're wondering what to teach in a photography workshop, here are some ideas:
You can teach topics like:
I've found that some photographers put off teaching photography because they might not feel like an expert photographer. Some people may ask, "Can I teach photography if I'm not an expert?". If that's you, I think you will very soon discover that you know know a lot more about photography than the average person does, especially if you own a photography business.
For example, when I was teaching photography classes in my area, I was surprised to find out just how many students came to class not even knowing how to put the battery in their camera.
I've had students students that are given cameras as a gift and didn't know the first thing about how to take pictures, so they would bring a brand new DSLR camera to class in an unopened box. I also had some students that were retired and had planned to travel to other countries come to my class. They went in and bought whatever camera the person at Best Buy recommended and had no clue how to use it, which is why they signed up for my class.
If you still feel nervous, this photography curriculum will help make your first experience teaching an easy one as all the hard work has been done for you. You can print out the lessons and create a .pdf and e-mail to your students ahead of the class or after.
Now that you know what you are going to teach, lets' talk about how to structure your photography class. When teaching photography to adults you will just want to have a one day class, rather than splitting it up over the weekend or several evenings. It's difficult enough for a lot of adults, especially moms, to find a block of free time in their schedules, let alone multiple blocks of time. So start out with one 2 - 2.5 hour class. The length of time will largely depend on if you plan to have a practice session after the class. I started out with making time slots available on Tuesday evening, Friday evening and Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I chose two weeks out of the month. That way it gave students the option if they were busy on a specific date. I limited each class to no more than 10-12 people. Once the class was full, then I closed it and opened up other dates. This seemed to work great.
How much should I charge for my photography classes?
You can charge anywhere from $75-$150 and sometimes even more per student… depending on your area and the market, whether you are giving a lecture or including a shooting session with models, backdrop etc… The more elaborate you get the more you can charge. You could charge one price for the “lecture only” session and then let them “add on” for a lab session on a separate day where you go out and give them more hands on experience. You’d want to charge a bit more for this so the number of students can be limited and you’ll be able to give enough attention to each student to make it worth their time and money. If you need curriculum to help your first teaching experience go smoothly you can find it by clicking here... All the text has been written for you. This will save you so much time and will pay for itself when you get your first student.
Teaching private lessons will most likely allow you to make more money per student per hour than with a regular class. You can start out charging $150 per lesson (1.5-3 hours – depending on the students needs). Sometimes they may ask you to come to their home to teach them, so be sure to account for additional travel fees when you price your photography class, especially with the way gas currently priced.
If you decide to mentor other photographers in the business aspect of photography you could make even more. But make sure you’re not teaching your competition. If you're mentoring other photographers try offering a workshop that is outside your target area and market people outside of the area you service. Another option is to teach a photography class to people who shoot different subjects/genres than you do. For example if you shoot weddings, maybe you can target people who like to shoot travel or landscape photos. Even if the students you mentor do decide to go into business take it as a compliment and add them to your list of clients you’ve helped learn how to start a photography business... you may even be able to charge a premium as a result. And keep in mind… there are plenty of clients out there for everyone. As a business you will have a USP (unique selling proposition) that makes you stand out from other photography businesses in your area.
Parents are always looking for hobbies for their children. Offering to teach photography to kids is a great way to reach a whole new base for your photography business. I'll talk more about other ideas for teaching photography to kids later on in this post. But for now let's focus on teaching private lessons to kids. I've found that parents that reached out to me for private lessons for their children usually have kids that are not comfortable in group settings, or perhaps they want to learn a fun new hobby just with a friend. Either way, the concept is similar to teaching adults. You may even want to add an element of fun with the kids such as taking them to a zoo or park to practice after you teach the basics of digital photography to them first.
In the same way that you sell gift certificates for your photography sessions, you can also sell gift certificates for your photography classes. Who wouldn't want to learn photography? It's the perfect gift for someone who has everything and is difficult to buy for. Offer gift certificates for a private lesson, gift certificate to one of your group photography classes, or even a special access code for an online class. You could even have a buy one get one free so a student can bring their friend. Make sure you price your classes so the "buy-one-get-one-free" offer covers the cost for both students. These are also great for marketing during the holidays. And a great thing for a boss to give to their employees. So think of marketing these to corporate offices during the holidays.
If you’re a maternity photographer, family photographer, newborn photographer or even a wedding photographer, chances are your clients are going to have kids and want to learn how to take great photos of their kids. Why not teach a moms photography class? Now just because you’re teaching them how to take photos of their kids doesn’t mean you will lose clients. It’s not going to take the place of your professional or studio sessions.
Teaching a photography class for moms can be a fun and rewarding experience.
Students will be looking to you as the expert photography teacher and they will likely take your recommendations on whatever you say to purchase (especially if you’re mentoring new and unseasoned photographers). So consider setting up a page on your website for affiliates… this could be called resources for photographers and you could recommend lenses, equipment and any other tools a photographer may need when they are learning how to start a photography business, including educational resources and website templates.
Sign up for an Amazon affiliate account and create a blog post of photography resources including cameras, tripods, flashes and more. You can email a link to your blog post to your students before and after the class to help drive affiliate sales.
Also, if you sign up to teach photography online you can offer affiliate sales for those who promote your class. It doesn't have to be complicated either. Your photography clients can simply share the link to your class on their Facebook or social media pages.
Just as it's important to maintain ongoing relationships with your photography clients, maintaining relationships with your photography students is important as well. Perhaps you set up a photography club you meet monthly or quarterly and shoot together. There could be a membership fee or you could just keep it as a volunteer thing you do to keep top of mind with your students and grow your relationship with them. Whenever they or anyone else needs a photographer you will be the first one they think of!
This would be a good idea if you're teaching landscape photography or nature photography… if you live in an area with a lot of scenery or maybe you live near a national park, etc… You could even take a group to the local zoo and teach on animal photography or the local plant park.
Here are a few ideas for choosing a location for your photo walk event:
Don’t forget to include the cost of admission in the class price. You may even take advantage of group discounts. Or take a day trip to somewhere scenic early in the morning and then make the afternoon a lab session where you teach them how to edit the photos using different filters, etc… If you’re taking people on a chartered bus though you will probably want to check into insurance to make sure you have the proper insurance.
You could opt for teaching an after school program at a local charter school. Charge “x” per child. And don’t forget about teaching photography to homeschool kids. Reach out to the local homeschool groups and communities. They are always looking for field trips to take the kids on. Offer to teach a class for free or offer to have a “field trip” to your studio. You might not necessarily make make money on the front end but think of all the parents and family photography business you could get as a result. Because when you teach you area establishing yourself as the expert in your area. If you want to teach a kids photography camp, you could charge an even higher fee than teaching an after school club. You could teach a kids photography camp either during the summer camp, spring break or winter break. For this you’d want to keep the students to a minimum and make the prices higher… perhaps no more than 10 kids and charge $150-$200 for the week – remember, parents are used to camps being priced a little higher. You’d want to make the lessons longer, perhaps include the time over lunch and have the students eat lunch together so you can get to know them and add extra time at the end for guest speakers and to practice shooting.
Online classes have become increasingly popular, and teaching photography online became very popular at the beginning of the pandemic as way for photographers to earn extra income when they couldn't have in-person sessions. Here are some basic tips for teaching online photography classes.
Teaching photography classes and workshops can be a great way to earn additional income in your photography business. I hope you've found these tips on teaching photography helpful.
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