Can You Make Money As A Macro Photographer?

If you love macro photography and you decide that you want to make money as a macro photographer the next obvious question is, can you actually make any money from your interest? This article explores if that is possible and what is needed.

The short answer is yes you can make money from your macro photography.  There are in fact lots of opportunities for the macro photographer. This can either be freelance self-employed opportunities or as a paid employee. In this article, I’ve shared some of my research into macro photography jobs and freelance work and the types of things that you can do.

While there are lots of opportunities open as a macro photographer, due to the diverse nature of this type of photography it is a highly specialized skill set and not everyone will want or need macro photography. However, for those that do they will be looking for somebody who specializes in this area.

Can You Make Money As a Macro Photographer?

Whether you can make money as a macro photographer will depend on your skills and expertise. Also on possibly your qualifications depend on who is asking for the job, your equipment, your determination, and your dedication to your art. As you can see from the examples below there are lots of avenues you can take while looking to make money from your macro photography.

First, What is Macro Photography?

Macro photography is a photography type that’s where you take photos of very tiny objects or parts of larger objects using specialist equipment and powerful lenses & equipment that allow close-up images.

These photos can be used in many different things. You can use them for scientific, commercial, and medical purposes or even as art in their own right.

Because you’re getting so close to the object that you’re photographing they are brilliant for exploring close-up detail that you might otherwise miss.

How to Start Earning Money As a Macro Photographer

If you want to start to earn money as a macro photographer you need to get your images out there so people can see them and then buy them and to get your name established. Where and how you sell your images will depend on the types of images that you take because some images will sell better in some areas than others.

The top 7 things that you need to do to start earning money are as follows:

  1. Get a great portfolio or macro shots
  2. Have your website up and running
  3. Brand Your Name
  4. Get yourself known in the field
  5. Place your photos where they can be sold
  6. Network
  7. Professional level equipment.

Explore all the ways of earning that are open to you. That way you’ll discover which ones work best for you it may be that you decide that a combination is best for maximum exposure and selling opportunity.

Top Macro Photography Jobs

While macro photographers are typically freelance photographers there are some jobs that do require macro photography.

Forensics Photographers

Forensic photographers take pictures of crime scenes, bodies, etc. While not wholly a macro photographer, macro photography is required because a forensics investigation requires, close-up images of things like fingerprints, etc. This job requires the only specialist skills as a macro photographer but also skills and an understanding of forensics so that you know what pictures to take and how to take them.

Product Photographers — Specifically Jewelry

Often product photographers need to take close-up details of their jewelry items.

While here we have used jewelry as an example, there are lots of different products in different industries that require close-up images.  You might find yourself taking pictures of things like nuts & bolts, microchips or other computer items, etc.

Scientific Magazines & Journals

Scientific magazines and journals do sometimes employ in-house photographers and by their nature, they will need macro photography.

Where to Sell Your Macro Photography

You can sell your macro photography images in all the traditional places

  1. Stock libraries (online)
    Stock libraries are still a popular way to sell photos.  Due to their popularity, they can become saturated so finding unique images but selling can be difficult but it’s worth exploring.
  2. From your website
    If you want to you can sell images directly from your website by setting up a payment system.
  3. Clients
    As a freelancer, your clients can come from any industry or background. You may find yourself and the technological industry taking pictures of microchips or may be asked to take pictures of jewelry or even parts of animals etc.

Making Money From Macro Photography

To make money from your macro photography you need to know what sells and where.  If you plan to sell in-stock libraries check out some of the popular ones and search for best sellers.

Everything comes up from close-ups of pencils, coins human parts, flowers, mushrooms, water animals, and insects. These are all popular subjects for macro photography within stock libraries.

From that look at which of these images have sold and why you think that some are much more popular than others.  They should give you a general idea of where you need to direct your efforts. Note with stock libraries only take a certain amount of any particular image so you want something that is special and unique as well as being generic enough that it will be of interest to enough people to make it worthwhile selling it.

If you’re planning on approaching clients or are having clients then their requirements will be more specific. For example, take a look at this website it is a professional macro service for clients offered by a successful photography company.

If you plan to sell solely from your website online then you will have a whole new skill set to learn because you need to be able to get people to your website in order to sell this requires online marketing skills and knowledge.

Should You Become a Specialist or Diversify?

This is a difficult question to answer because it will depend on the individual’s abilities and interests.  However, you may decide that you want to combine your macro photography with other areas of photography. Either specializing as a micro photographer in that area or as a general freelance photographer in that area.

Ways to set up your business:

  1. Specialize in pure macro photography in many different areas.
  2. Combine macro photography with other types of photography in different areas.
  3. Combine macro photography with other types of photography in one niche subject area for example flowers, insects, etc.
  4. Do paid photography employed work and use your macro photography as a side business.

What Equipment Do You Need To Make Money As a Macro Photographer?

If you want to make money from macro photography you need to have high-quality equipment and specialist lenses & extensions as it is difficult to get close-up shots without them.  You will also need a very stable tripod.

While you’re learning you may get away with cheaper extension lenses but if you want to go into this is a business you want your photography to be the best it possibly can be. These lenses are expensive. However, they are a requirement if you really want to make money as a macro photographer.

Other macro photography equipment you will need is a ring flash, reflectors, etc.

In Conclusion

Yes, you can make money as a macro photographer. However, it can be a long journey and requires lots of other skill sets as well as photography. They should not deter you as this is often the case for photography careers regardless of whether they are macro photography or other types of photography.

It’s best to explore the options and if your photography will actually sell period each area of selling requires its own specific skill-set and knowledge.  

Be honest about the quality of your work. If you believe that it’s up to the standard that you see professional photographers selling. It’s well worth exploring your options.

It may be worth just putting your pictures out there on stock libraries to see what the reaction is and whether you can actually sell.

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