How to become an Instagram photographer and make money on what you love

How to become an Instagram photographer and make money on what you love

Instagram photography has long been an integral part of contemporary art and an important link for online marketing. It is not hard to imagine how popular the Instagram photographers are. For many, this is a great opportunity to combine their favorite hobby and work, so let’s take a closer look at how to become an Instagram photographer and make money on it.

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Who is an Instagram photographer

An Instagram photographer is a person who specializes in taking pictures for the Instagram social network. The difference between an insta photographer and a regular one lies in the special shooting parameters and understanding of the trends of the social network.

Instagram appeared only due to the fact that a smartphone with a camera was invented, with which you can take a picture at any time and instantly share it. But with the increasing popularity of the social network, commercial brands literally rushed into it, which began to advertise and promote their products there. So, professional images appeared on Instagram, for the creation of which brands hire a separate specialist.

The two photos below illustrate why brands should hire an Instagram photographer.

Магазин обуви в Инстаграм
Instagram shoe store posting a photo from the catalog
Магазин обуви в инстаграм
Shoe store, for which a professional insta photographer shoots

The examples above clearly demonstrate why many brands rely on insta photography. This is because professional studio shots look inappropriate and unnatural on a social network dominated by mobile photography. Instagram is primarily a social network, where it is important to create a mood and be closer to people from your target audience, and not to demonstrate the product dryly and without unnecessary details.

Some brands are looking for a specialist who will not only take pictures on Instagram, but also manage a profile. These activities can be combined, as many do, but just ordering a shoot is a very common practice.

What skills a good insta photographer should have

Most people who shoot for Instagram just enjoy taking high-quality pictures, chatting, traveling. They love Instagram, know everything about it, and are active users of it themselves. This is not a profession, but a vocation. You need to feel the rhythm of Instagram, understand its trends and philosophy.

Of course, you can’t do without some professional skills. In particular, to become a successful Instagram photographer you need to be able to:

  • create compositions;
  • choose subjects for shooting wisely;
  • pick a background;
  • work with lighting;
  • choose the right angle;
  • work with photo editors;
  • select filters.

Sounds more and more menacing than it really is. In practice, you need to do everything you would do for your account, but only for the brand. As for personal qualities, there are no specific requirements. Unless, an Instagram photographer should have a built-in sense of style, love photography and be ready to devote a lot of time to it.

This is a profession for those who are ready to constantly sit in a smartphone, carry a Power Bank with them, know how to take cool photos and edit footage for hours.

Why would a photographer need an Instagram profile

An Instagram profile is as much a tool as essential for this profession as a camera. This is the face of an instagram photographer, his portfolio and a recommendation sheet. Therefore, all insta photographers have a beautiful profile, which is a reflection of their professionalism and at the same time a publicity stunt.

See also: How to Instagram a photographer

In addition, in order to succeed in this craft, it is important to know well the platform with which you work, to understand what is of interest to Instagram users now, and what has long gone out of fashion. And for this you need to spend a lot of time on Instagram, that’s a lot.

How to become an insta photographer

One of the benefits of the profession is easy entry. Instagram is a very open community. You can ask any questions to your colleagues, and they will be happy to answer them. That is how many began their journey.

There is no single piece of advice on how to become an insta photographer. Usually, a person first registers on Instagram, opens other people’s profiles, sees beautiful photos, subscribes a lot, and looks a lot. As a result, the entire tape turns into beauty that inspires you. Then you try to replicate a beautiful shot. Then you get to know people who are also fond of this, you get even more involved, you learn what cropping is, you learn to work with photo editors and understand which shot will be good and which will not. And now, after some time, you already know everything about Instagram and know how to take cool pictures, and accordingly you can start selling your services.


As for technology, you don’t even need a professional camera. A few years ago, the word “mobileographer”, meaning a person who takes pictures with a mobile phone camera, sounded ridiculous. Today, most modern smartphones have a much better camera than ordinary devices. Serious things like advertising posters and citylights have been filmed with the help of mobile devices for a long time.

Most Instagram photographers use iPphones for their work. This used to be due to the quality of the camera. Now the quality of cameras is at a high level for other brands as well. However, not all applications required for photo editing have Android support. Of course, the iPhone is not a requirement at all, and you can use any smartphone with a good camera that is convenient.

There are also those who work with professional cameras. From an advertising point of view, it looks professional, but according to statistics, a photo taken with a professional camera diverges on Instagram much worse. In addition, in the domestic community of instagram photographers, uploading photos taken with professional equipment is considered bad manners. At the same time, about 80% of foreign colleagues still work with professional equipment.

Ways to make money

Now there are really many people who make money by creating photos for Instagram. There are several ways to do this.

Provision of paid services

Many brands are interested in a professional who can shoot for Instagram. You can shoot for establishments or brands on a regular basis and even have their Instagram profiles. Usually it looks like this: from time to time, if necessary, you come to the shooting (for example, to shoot a new collection of clothes or the menu of an institution). It can be either one-time shooting orders or permanent cooperation with additional profile maintenance. In the first case, you give the finished SMM photos to the specialist responsible for maintaining the social network, in the second, you independently maintain the page in accordance with the content plan. You can pay for photos by the piece, or for working hours.

On average, one photo shot for a brand sells for $ 5-10. With the price list for creating content and maintaining a profile, everything is much more complicated. The price is determined individually for each specific case.

If you are entrusted with full-fledged maintenance and promotion of a profile, you cannot do without process automation. Using Instaplus, you will not be distracted from the main work of filming, and the service will like, comment, unsubscribe, subscribe and watch the stories of your target audience. Instaplus is free to try.

Personal photographer

Bloggers of average skill and above often have their own assistant photographer who accompanies them to all events and ordinary shooting. This way they regularly get high-quality pictures for their profile and they do not need to ask someone from their relatives or friends to take a picture of them every time. You can get a chance to become a personal photographer if a blogger notices your work and offers to cooperate himself or receives a recommendation about you as a professional. You can also try contacting a blogger and offer your services, at first for free. Often, they know exactly what they want, so you are unlikely to find such offers in the public domain with an open competition.

Selling photos

If your Instagram photos are really inspiring and exciting, then believe me, there are many who want to buy them. So, for example, happened to the Brooklyn photographer Daniel Arnold, who sold his collection of photos taken while walking on the iPhone, and earned 15 thousand dollars in one day. And that was back in 2014, when there was still not enough functionality for this.

Today you can upload photos to stock exchangers like Twenty20, 500px and Foap. Depending on the image and platform, the cost of one photo ranges from $ 5 to $ 10. However, you do not give the rights to the photos, so you can sell one image an unlimited number of times.

The latest trends are NFT platforms for photographers like AccessPhoto. Here photographers can sell their works in an auction format and accept digital currencies for payment. Check out the announcement of upcoming auctions from famous photographers on the NFT Calendar to understand how this market works.


Beautiful photos always attract users. Do not be surprised that the profile that you created for yourself or potential customers will gather a huge audience of followers. And having your own small army of subscribers, you need to be prepared for promotional offers.

Influencer marketing is gaining momentum, and today influencer advertising is one of the must-have expenses for almost every brand.

Affiliate Marketing

This method is very similar to the previous one, however, in this case, the instagrammer does not just place ads on his page for a certain price, but aims to attract sales through a tracked link.

For each successful sale, the profile owner receives the profit provided by the affiliate program.

Where to look for clients and how to find the first one

Sometimes the hardest part is getting started and finding your first client. As mentioned above, you will definitely need an Instagram profile to work, and it can just become a starting point.

“Brush up” your profile, add to the description of the services you provide, fill in the contact field so that people who like your profile know that you can take the same beautiful pictures for them and be able to find you. Feel free to write to brands yourself and offer your services as well. There are many ways to become a popular Instagram photographer – hashtags, geotags, brand mentions, advertising. Use everything and the result will not be long in coming.

You can also search for customers on various sites that connect freelancers and customers, as well as by creating a questionnaire on job search sites. Just post your resume, describe your work experience, what you can do and what services you are ready to provide. Add examples of your work and clients will find you themselves.

How much an Instagram photographer can earn

There is no tariff scale. Each brand pays differently and each photographer earns a different amount. For the most part, it all depends on the skill, workload, and personal preferences of the photographer.

Everything is purely individual. Everyone sets for himself the tariffs at which it is comfortable to work, and they can vary depending on the specifics of the project. For example, there are projects that are not fun but can generate good income. There are also those in which you want to take part, regardless of how much they pay for the work.

Generally speaking, the average cost of one sold photo for Instagram is about $ 5. You can charge more if it takes more time to create images for a particular brand, or you can take on additional work to maintain the profile. It all depends only on you and your actions.

Tips and tricks

As in every profession, the field of creating photos for Instagram has its own difficulties and nuances. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with them in more detail in advance so that the work does not cause difficulties:

  • Always keep an eye on the battery status. One of the biggest fears of an Instagram photographer is the inability to take a good photo due to a dead battery. A power bank with a voluminous battery will help a lot in this matter.
  • Keep track of the device’s memory. The second most terrible fear of an insta photographer is the inability to take a picture due to the lack of memory on the smartphone. It often happens that you cannot delete anything, and you need to take a new photo.
  • Pay a lot of attention to lighting. Many beginners neglect these rules and in vain. Understand that the viewer of the photo does not initially feel the same emotions that you feel when looking at the object depicted in the photo. He will not be able to feel the aroma, to fully feel the colors and emotions, if you just make a picture in the moment. Your task is to experience the desired emotion. This can only be done by choosing the right lighting.
  • Master photo editors. Professionals often do not use the filters of Instagram itself. They are too rough and not well-stocked.
  • One in a hundred. Take hundreds of shots and choose the best one or two. Better to waste thousands of frames than never catch the right emotion.
  • Track the experience of others. Take the time to research your competitors to gain invaluable experience. In such a creative work, you need to constantly improve.
  • Be prepared for side effects. Many people find it difficult to use the camera for personal purposes due to the specifics of their profession, such as when traveling or on vacation. You also need to be prepared for the fact that most people still do not take this profession seriously.

From the outside it may seem that nothing is easier than taking a few pictures a day. But now you know almost everything about the life of an instagram photographer and you can imagine that it is not so simple. In fact, this is quite painstaking work, but it pays off with interest, and if you treat the craft with love, it can be a great pleasure.

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