When you make the decision to pursue photography, it’s scary and thrilling at the same time.

At first, you have so many questions:

• Will I be able to do this?
• Will people like my photos?
• Who am I to think I can suddenly become a photographer?

Bonnie, here. I had all of these questions and more in the beginning. But little by little, I gained the two most important things you need to make money from photography:

1. Skills
2. Confidence

When you’ve got these two things, you can pursue any kind of photography. And you can make it into a side-income or a full-time income. It’s up to you.



When you make the decision to develop your photo skills, it can change your life in so many ways.

Here are my top five benefits of pursuing photography:

1. Extra income (of course). Now that I’m renovating a house, I can really use an extra $10,000 – $12,000 a year. Just knowing I have my photo income sitting in an account, ready when I need it, is empowering. I can get the flooring I want–hooray! (And good knee pads for installing it…)

5 great reasons to develop your photo skills...

2. Trade for cool things. Besides money, over the past year my photo skills have gotten me other things, like personal training sessions and a gym membership at my favorite gym (worth over $100/month).

Since I’d never taken “athletic” shots before, I offered a trade—this way, I could build my portfolio while also getting something in return for my time and skill.

Plus, it was a really fun shoot that gave me access to the Portland Timbers soccer team’s field—something I’d never get otherwise!

Five great reasons to develop your photo skills...

3. Confidence. Last summer I shot a wedding at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Normally, weddings at Timberline feature the mountain HUGE in the background. But this day was so foggy, the mountain never made an appearance—eek!

Instead of panicking, I used my skills to find places to shoot both indoors and out that still gave the look and feel of being on the mountain, and the bride was very happy with the shots! That feels good.

Five great reasons to develop your photo skills...

4. More interesting travels and life. Even if you’ve always loved travel, you see and experience more when you have your camera—and the skills to know how to use it.

There’s a thrill that comes from capturing something you can take home and print. And this translates into daily life, too. With my skills, I can document our adventures, and do it all in a way that gives us beautiful, wall-worthy memories.

Five great reasons to develop your photo skills...

5. Feeling “special.” Being able to make art with a camera is a skill most people don’t have (even though anyone could!). It’s not something you’re born with. You learn it as you go. But people still look at it as some kind of magic. When a client comes back a year later, or recommends me to someone else, it feels great. And I know I can take these skills anywhere and apply them to any number of subjects, from headshots to family photos to stock to magazine articles and more.

If you’ve thought about pursuing photography, but you don’t know where to start… don’t go out and buy a new camera. Start by investing in your skills. With skill comes confidence… and with that, all of the above and more are yours for the rest of your life.

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[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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