37 Paid Gigs That are Only a Phone Call Away

A list of Typical under-photographed events, that are available to the public or take place in public places. A simple phone call should be able to land you one of these easy gigs in which you an negotiate payment for. It’s a building block for you which can lead to a larger client base, or build your portfolio.

1. Recreational Sports Playoffs – Sounds bizarre, but for lots of adults, playing on a rec team (and going to the local watering hole afterwards) is an important part of their lives. Take action shots and planned team shots for the playoffs of a local rec sport league. You’ll shoot over a hundred people in one evening, so only a small # have to buy for it to be worth your while.

2. Corporate Meetings – Big companies have LOTS of money, and often value professional images that they can use in promotional materials and to maintain the momentum from a big sales meeting. With all the other details they often won’t think about hiring a photographer.

3. Conferences – Find out what conferences are going on in your area and offer to shoot them. Many conferences want high quality photos to use on their promotional materials and to build community around the event. Give them your pitch as to how your photos will make the difference.

4. Babies – Parents always want pictures, pictures and more pictures, and their babies grow up so quickly! Parents have so much on their minds (like diapers and puke) that they may not have booked the first photos yet.

5. Celebrities – Pictures of celebrities are always valuable (especially if you can catch them off-guard). Keep your eyes open or check out local celebrity hot-spots.

6. Kids Sports – Parents love photos of their kids… generally, and special moment involving kids can sell well. Try taking pics of local youth sports teams (be cautious to be professional so parents are not concerned). Pass out cards with information on where/how the photos can be purchased.

7. Sr. Portraits – In many cities this is a fairly “locked-down” area of photography, with a few pros having a monopoly over the local schools. All it takes is getting a few seniors – if you take great pictures they WILL tell their friends.

8. Graduations – Shooting graduations can be a great way to make some extra cash and build a portfolio (plus relationships with schools for other events). People want pictures to capture and remember this milestone in their lives, and often times, all it takes is a few phone calls to a local school.

9. Bands – Bands need photos for everything – albums, websites, to promote shows, etc. You can also sell some pics to their groupies along the way 

10. Corporate Executives – Most companies have their corporate execs speaking and on their websites, and having standard head shots is important. Call up some companies and see who is in need of your services.

11. Pets – Dogs are mans best friend – right? Pet photography can be difficult (and sometimes frustrating) but many families will pay to have great pics of their family friend. Plus – they need a good photo in case he goes missing ;P

12. Tourist Attractions – Take shots of families at tourist attractions. While selling onsite requires a vendor license in most cities, taking photos and directing them to your website where they can purchase is a great way to make some sales.

13. Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties – OK, some parts of these nights will probably not be photo-friendly, but when the bride and groom are getting their closest friends together to celebrate their last night of freedom, they are sure to want some memories. Agree in advance as to what you will or won’t shoot (to avoid inappropriate pictures).

14. Baptisms/Christenings – While families often don’t want to hire a professional photographer (they remember how much they paid for their wedding) this is an event worth remembering…. try partnering with a local church.

15. Birthday Parties – Some people spend a small fortune celebrating their birthdays, so why not have beautiful images to capture the moments.

16. Award Ceremonies – Winning an award is a very important moment, yet most award organizers don’t think to have a photographer there to capture it. Scan the paper for upcoming awards ceremonies and offer your services.

17. New Years – OK, this one might be tough, since you probably have New Years plans of your own, but people who pay mucho dinero for parties and dresses will probably be happy to pay a little something to have photos to capture that night. Find the hottest event in town and give them a call…. photographing this crowd could also lead to more gigs in the future.

18. Halloween Parties – What better time to take some photos then when people are dressed up? Find the hottest party in town (preferably one with a costume contest with big prizes) and get your camera down there! You’ll be sure to end up with some awesome shots!

19. Engagements – Photography often focuses on the wedding shots, but what about the engagement? Use the engagement as an “in” for the wedding (if you are a wedding photographer).

20. Fund raisers/Gala Events – These events are sure to draw a well-dressed crowd and media attention, so they are definitely worth photographing. You can even donate your photos to support the charity holding the event.

21. Festivals and Fairs – There is always lots going on at these – it is like a photographers dream  Grab your camera and get shooting.

22. Maternity Wards – You should generally make arrangements with the hospital prior to jumping in on this, but maternity wards are loaded with photo opportunities. You can take photos of the babies, babies and parents, baby and extended family and on and on….

23. Prom – Prom is a BIG event for high school students, and a BIG opportunity to sell some shots. Call up local high-schools and offer to shoot prom – grab couple shots on the way in and candids throughout the night. This is an event that most students will want to remember.

24. Sorority/Fraternity Formals – Along the lines of prom are college formals (usually through fraternities and sororities). College students love pictures of themselves – especially when they are dressed up and have a hot date. Call a few and offer your services….. this is a money making dream.

25. Trade Shows – Trade shows are ripe with opportunities – you can contact the trade show in advance and offer your services… also the vendors at the trade shows may want photos to showcase their participation. Contact the official organizers and some of the vendors in advance to line-up some paying shots.

26. Product Shots – Look for smaller businesses that don’t have high quality images yet…. show them the difference between what you can do and what they are currently using….. a good photo can make all the difference in their sales.

27. High School Reunions – Pay attention to the high school reunion dates for the schools in your area…. people are usually dressed to impress at these, so it makes for a great photo opp.

28. High School Sports Playoffs -Friday Night Lights anyone? High school sports are a big deal in a lot of communities, so this can be a great opportunity to take great pictures, and a stepping stone to photographing bigger live events. Team sports with lots of players work well (because there are lots of different purchasers).

29. Anniversaries – Large family celebrations like mile-stone anniversaries are events that the family wants to remember and capture…. shooting these is also good practice for weddings and other live events.

30. Breaking News – While most larger papers often have set photographers who they trust, many smaller community papers will take new photographers. Find small to medium sized publications and see what events they want shot. If you are having a tough time making the sale, offer to do the first one for free and agree that they will pay for future events if they use it.

31. Company Christmas Parties – OK, so you may need to edit these before sharing them, but companies have lots of money, and therefore make good clients. Budgets for Christmas parties tend to be huge, so a few grand extra for a photographer (after ALL that they are already spending) is an easy sell. Focus on large companies for this one – the extra cost won’t be significant for them.

32. Local “celebrities” – Many smaller local celebrities need headshots to send in for speaking engagements or promotional events. Look around for the guy who cropped his head out of a group picture and give him a call. Nobody likes to look unprofessional.

33. Online Dating Photos – With the rise in online dating, people are dying for shots that show them at their best. Offering this as a service is a niche area in portrait photography. If they are paying for an online dating service already, convincing them to spend some money to put “their best foot forward” shouldn’t be too hard.

34. Cars and Motorcycles – Check the dates for local auto and motorcycle shows – owners and enthusiasts love to be photographed with their favorite vehicles. You can also sell some of your best shots to the show organizers….

35. Local Restaurants – Restaurants are always in need of great photography – of the food on the menu, the outside and the inside. Having high quality stock photography is important for the menu, ads and promotional material and for their websites. Call around and you should be able to find some happy and willing customers.

36. Bars – With more and more companies going online and trying to build fun and exciting websites, there is more of a need than ever for great photography. Call up some local bars and talk to them about the importance of having fresh content on their websites. In a night you can shoot some interior, exterior and fun people shots to give them a variety of images for use online and offline.

37. First Day of School – Contact a local school and offer to shoot the first day. Focus on the younger students (especially those who are having their first day of school ever). Parents want to document this milestone and the kids are looking great in their best new outfits.


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