How to Start a Photography Side Hustle with Only Your Phone

I have always had a love for taking photos, that’s for sure. When I was 12 I used to use my allowance money to buy disposable cameras from KMart and then have them developed a week later. The one-hour film development guy and I were on a first-name basis. If you don’t know what film is, you can learn more here. Anyway, beyond taking 18 secret pictures of my crush and 6 of myself (I would like to think I invented the selfie), I had no photography experience when I started my own photography business at the age of 23. Now, with the technology, most phones offer I want to share some strategies on how you could start a side hustle as a photographer using only a camera phone.

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Side Hustle Photographer

If you are just looking to make some quick money as a side hustle for extra income, gather some quick ideas on how to make this happen. Some examples:

  • Offer holiday photos to families at a local park for $100
  • Shoot for family events like reunions or birthdays
  • Work with Instagram influencers in your area to help them get more Insta-worthy photos

These are great ideas that you can easily offer to people if you have a high-quality camera available to you, even a phone. However, just make sure to fully disclose the type of camera you have available and be sure to keep your prices affordable.

Serious photographer

On the other hand if you are hoping to turn this into a serious business, then I highly recommend my Home Boss course, but also considering the following things:

  • What type of photography do you want to get started with
  • Research the equipment or skills necessary for this
  • See if you can start as an apprentice for someone

Deciding that you want to be a serious photographer takes more time, effort, and funding but can definitely be worth it. However, you may want to consider starting with a low-investment side hustle strategy to start out with in order to make sure it’s a good fit.

Get a camera

This may seem obvious, but ya never know.

When I first started my photography business I had a Nikon D40. However, I have been taking our travel photos and videos on my iPhone 11 Pro lately and continue to get compliments on the quality.

What I’m saying is, yes, you need a camera to start a photography business, but you don’t necessarily need to break the bank or invest in something new and expensive. If you are looking to go pro without spending all your dough (ooo that was a slick rhyme) a great place to look for a used camera would be Mercari.

Can you actually take good photos with a phone?

I actually paid a friend $100 to take photos on an iPhone 11 Pro this fall so that I had some I could use for Instagram and my website! Here are some quick shots that have from from that session and from a few of our hikes.

Reach out to people you already know

When I started my photography business, I reached out to a few friends I knew who had kids and offered to take photos for free. After all, new parents usually want a ton of photos of them with their children but can’t always afford to make it happen.

You don’t have to reach out to only families of course. If you are wanting to do more Instagram-style photo shoots starting seeking out people you know who are already pretty active on Instagram and would love to have some free photos taken.

Build your portfolio

Once you’ve gotten some photography experience under your belt, take the time to edit the photos and start displaying them. You could easily do this by putting them on your Instagram or Facebook page!

If you are just wanting to create a side hustle as a photographer in order to make some additional money, there isn’t really much need to start a full-on website. My biggest recommendation is to take full advantage of what is already available to you and for most people that is social media.

Create an offer they can’t refuse

Once you have some great photos on your record, make sure you are displaying them proudly anywhere you can. Like I said, any social media that you already have established is a good start.

Then, start offering your services to other people and make the offer really awesome.

For example, if you are taking Instagram photos for people, you could charge $100 for one hour, edit 30 photos on the spot and Airdrop them right to their phones so they get their pictures that day! (People love things that are instant!)

Offer mini sessions

Another great way to make some quick income with phone photography would be to choose an awesome location like a local park and start advertising that you will be there for “Mini Sessions”.

Set up time slots for people to come (maybe 30 – 60 minutes depending on what you’re offering) and charge a little less for your photography services.

These sessions can be an awesome way to make extra cash in just one day.

Get creative (even in a pandemic)

Right now I’m writing this post during Covid where most people shouldn’t even be going near one another. My biggest recommendation to you is to take full advantage of this!

I have literally seen a well-known social media personality pay to have her friend take photos of her through video chat!

While I’m not sure I could pull that off, you could always start offering quarantine photoshoots like other photographers did during the beginning of the pandemic.

Another thing you could offer to do, if you’re a big hiker like me is offer to take professional photos of people with the gorgeous scenery. They can Venmo you payment and you can Airdrop them their photos right there. Heck, you don’t have to charge more than $10 for some great shots. Yeah, it might be a little awkward but it could work!

Remember, you are only limited by your imagination!

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How to Start a Side Hustle Doing Photography Using Only Your Phone