Last updated on April 11th, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled many photography job contracts that are client-facing.
As an obvious result, this caused many photographers to be strapped for cash.
So, what is a photographer to do? Try to make income from home. A suggestion is to monetize your website through photography affiliate marketing.
Why Join a Photography Affiliate Marketing Program?
Even though most photographers aren’t in the affiliate marketing business, it’s a good idea to place some affiliate links on your website (you should have one). In the chance a person clicks on one of the links and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission off the sale.
The objective is to earn passive income.
There is also the scenario of competitors visiting your site and might want to purchase one of the tools or software that you use. You should try to make money off your competitors or even other photographers that are just hobbyists.
Some photographers run workshops or operate photo tours. When business picks up again, these in-person photography jobs are a great chance to subtly promote photography products via your website, email marketing, or affiliate coupon codes.
However, I should mention that Photography affiliate marketing isn’t easy. It can be quite the grind, especially considering sales are down across several markets.
On the other hand, since many photographers have a lot of downtime right now, and still paying for internet services, it’s practical to monetize your website. It doesn’t cost anything and will just take some time.
Keep in mind this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Your monetizing your photography website for some passive income for the long-haul. As a result, you can earn extra money even when you start working with clients again.
How to Monetize Your Photography Website
The straightforward approach to monetizing your website is to place an affiliate URL link (if available) to any product or service you use and mention it on your website.
But there’s more to it.
You’ll need to be part of a photography affiliate program which I’ll mention a few later.
Now going back to your website. You’ll need to have page about your gear, process, or photography workflow. On this page you can place some affiliate links.
Make sure to have a decent amount of written or media content, so your links to plain text ratio doesn’t look spammy. Also, remember that large image files tend to slow down page speed, which is bad for the user experience. As a result, don’t go overboard with images on one single page unless your website and images are speed optimized.
Another standard area to place your affiliate links are at the footer of your website. My footer refers to the hosting, design, and platform of this website. The footer doesn’t get as much traffic as the top or header of a page, but I look at them all the time. And having a footer with links is standard web design practice.
Also, I notice many professional photography websites lack a blog or only have a few blog posts.
Blogging about photography is an efficient and personable way to connect with prospective clients and start building a relationship. The cliché of a customer’s first interaction with a business or entrepreneur is with their website applies here.
And of course, a well written blog is an effective area to place your photography affiliate marketing links.
Here are a few photography blog topic ideas you can write about:
- Why I love X Photography where X can be wedding, pet, commercial, etc.
- Y Reasons Z is the Best Camera where Y is a number and Z is a camera model, and X as above.
- What My Post-Processing Editing Looks Like.
- 6 Amazing Photos on My Travels to X where is a destination.
In addition, it’s beneficial to setup your content with SEO in mind. But the most important aspect of your content is to be genuine. Don’t make your blog posts look like a click-bait landing page to sell a product.
Photography Affiliate Programs to Consider Joining
I’m going to provide you a list of photography affiliate programs that are worth checking out. Some are obvious but are listed just in case.
1. Photography Portfolio Websites
As a photographer, you should have a portfolio website or a business website to show to potential clients.
Many photographers use one of the big photography portfolio websites:
- Photoshelter – $6 to 165$ per sale
- SmugMug – 15% commission on annual plans
- Zenfolio – 30% commission
- Wix – $100 per sale
2. Photography Software
Place affiliate links for the different types of photography software you use. You can also write reviews about them on your photography blog.
- Capture One – 25% commission
- Skylum Luminar – 20% commission – join the affiliate program here
- Adobe – 85% commission of one month’s subscription fee
Adobe’s affiliate commission fee is really low, especially considering many photographers already use it and sales will be limited. But hey, you never know.
3. Photography Equipment
Your photography gear is most likely your largest business expense. And many photographers, professional or not, are willing to payout thousands of dollars for new or upgraded equipment. This has the potential of earning you a large amount in commission.
4. Photography Tutorials
If you have taken an online, paid photography tutorial, then it’s a good idea to recommend the course if you found it beneficial.
There are photography specific online courses and websites that offer a broad range of digital courses. Here are some of them.
- Creative Live – 20% commission on new monthly sales,
- LinkedIn Learning – $40 commission on monthly subscriptions
- MasterClass – 25% commission, join the affiliate program here
The commission rates I mentioned are base rates and can vary depending on sales performance.
There are plenty more photography affiliate programs which you can find on Google.
As I mentioned earlier, photography affiliate marketing isn’t easy. But as long as you have a website, it doesn’t have any other upfront costs other than some time and dedication.
And extra reading and writing content will give your brain some much needed exercise.