Income potential for photographer vs. videographer

I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of photography and video all week in an effort to help you decide which is best – selling photos or short video clips for income.

So, let’s take a look at the math and which one earns more…

On Thursday, Tom said he thinks the income potential for videographers just starting out today is higher than income potential for photographers. And this is probably true if we compare complete beginners in both markets (that is, two people who start today without any training whatsoever before taking our programs).

Video is big right now, and there aren’t a lot of people who know how to do it right.  When companies find someone who can, they don’t really care how long you trained, they just want a good video and they’re happy to pay you for it.

Photography, on the other hand, is still relatively easy to break into. But Tom’s probably right – it’s probably not as lucrative at the start because there’s more competition.

That said, photos typically have a longer shelf life, because they can be spread across markets.  A single photograph can sell as fine art, as editorial to a magazine, and also as stock (though you might not want to sell it as “microstock”…or your fine art and editorial buyer might get mad that they paid $200-$300 for your image only to find it on sale in an online stock agency for less than $10.)

Rich Wagner’s best-selling photograph has earned him more than $20,000 in total sales over time, and it’s been sold as fine art, editorial, and to companies looking for photos for their website.  Video is a bit more limiting in that regard.  And when you request fees of $4,000 or so, you often give away all your rights to the footage and guarantee you won’t use it elsewhere.

It’s great money upfront.  But over time, photography might be a bit more lucrative.

Kristin Bentz, one of your fellow readers, used what we taught her about selling photos locally to earn more than $6,000 in a single weekend for her photos in her hometown of Phoenix, AZ.  And that success is repeatable. She can sell the same group of photos again and again the same way until she tires.  Something that’s not so easy with video.

And, of course, doing both is best.  When you’re standing in front of the Taj Mahal or taking in the views of Coyote Falls, why not take a few photos and spend an extra minute or two recording video clips?

It’s very likely your magazine editor would like both… as would your hotel, the restaurants where you eat, etc.

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[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]