How to Start a Photography Blog that Makes Money (8 Steps)

Italian Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy

That’s an awesome photo. Italian Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy.

There are few niches as perfect as the photography niche.

Ironically, I have no interest in photography nor starting a photography niche.  Despite that, I recognize that it’s a truly awesome niche.  It does help if you have a keen interest in it.

Here are the reasons why I like the photography niche:

1. Everybody is a photographer these days.

Seriously, everyone with a camera phone is a photography.  We take gazillions of photos daily.  Whether we ever look at them again is irrelevant.  The key is we capture the moment.  The point is people are wild about taking photos.  A percentage of us digital click-happy society want to learn how to take and/or edit better photos.  Therefore, the level of interest in photography is exploding.

Also, the fact most people are on social media, which is highly visual, means many people want to take great photos and post them for the world to see.

2. Ads pay well and there are plenty of products to promote as an affiliate.

The CPC for “photography” in Ahrefs is $6.00. That’s pretty high for a niche this size.  That means ads on a site could pay well.  Moreover, there are tons and tons of physical, info and software products you can promote as an affiliate.

3. Many sub-niches to focus on with huge audiences.

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See my list of sub-niches in “Step 1” below.  The potential topics are pretty much unlimited, especially since new technology comes along weekly.

4. Great B2B/B2C hybrid opportunity.

There are tens of thousands of aspiring professional photographers.  Someone compliments their photo and the next thing you know, they’re selling services.  I jest… kinda.  Many people dream of earning a living as a photographer.  If you know marketing or other business topics, you can cater a website to them.

Step 1:  Choose a photography niche or focus

19 Photography sub-niches to consider:

  1. Wedding photography: While we all have cameras on our phones, brides and grooms still want professionals there with better equipment to photograph their special day. Wedding photography is big business and there’s a lot that can be written about it.
  2. By device:  This would be a photography/tech blog. If you’re wild about iPhone cameras, you can dedicate a blog to iPhone cameras and photography such as apps, software. tips, tricks, etc.
  3. Gear and equipment reviews: This sub-niche could be incorporated into any photography blog.  If you blog about wedding photography, for example, you’d include reviews and write-ups on the gear and equipment needed.
  4. Night photography: Not a huge topic, but some people are into it and a lot of people would love to know how to take better photos at night (especially with phone cameras).
  5. Product photography:  This is a smaller audience than your smartphone camera audience, but if you know product photography, it’s a very lucrative topic because you’re blogging for professionals who will pay for good information.
  6. Selling stock photos:  If I were to become a photography, I would focus on selling stock photos.  I love this business model because you retain a great deal of control over your life and you earn residual income.   It’s slow-going in the beginning, but if you build up a huge portfolio of photos and figure out what people want to download, you can make a nice living selling stock photos.  Then you blog about how you did it.
  7. How-to blog:  You can potentially publish thousands of how-to blog posts (and make videos) for the photography niche.  These articles can take a long time put together, but it’s not hard if you know what you’re doing.
  8. Photoshop or other photo editing platforms:  If you’re an expert in Photoshop or other advanced photo editing software platforms, you can build a successful site that teaches the software.
  9. Aerial/Drone photography:  This is a fast-growing photography niche.  More and more people buy drones and take photos with it.  There’s a huge commercial segment to it as well.  However, drones are regulated in some jurisdictions so be sure you’re familiar with the regulations.
  10. Photography for realtors:  I’m astonished when I see real estate listings with lousy photos.  As far as I’m concerned, one of the most important things a realtor can do for listing clients is getting really good photos of the property (inside and out).  Aerial shots are good too.  This is a huge market and a lucrative audience.
  11. Action photography:  Getting great action shots aren’t easy, yet many people want to such as their kids’ soccer shots, etc.  If I were covering this sub-niche, I’d do so with a focus on smartphone cameras because that’s a bigger audience.
  12. Landscape photography: Teaching people how to take great landscape photos is decently in demand.  You’d probably need to couple this with other sub-niches.  Again, include tips and tricks for smartphones since most people taking photos use a smartphone camera.
  13. Black and white photography:  This is an artsy approach to photography.  I’m not big on black and white, but many people are.  Again, include smartphone photos in the content.
  14. Nude photography:  With explosive growth in adult sites as well as people having in interest in it for personal reasons, there’s a big market for teaching nude photography.  However, be careful if you use AdSense on your site.  AdSense will block ads and notify you of violations if you put ads on pages with nude or semi-nude photos.
  15. Newborn photography:  Again, you have both a professional and amateur audience with this sub-niche.  You could publish content for both audiences easily.  Teach it using higher end equipment as well as smartphone cameras.
  16. Fashion photography:  With Instagram, everyone wants to become a celeb.  Many do so to showcase their clothes and style.  Therefore, there’s big growth in how to take great fashion photos.
  17. History of photography:  This is probably not sufficient on its own, but definitely something you could add to a photography blog.
  18. Portrait photography:  Again, both commercial and consumer interest.
  19. Trade rag for professional photographers:  This would be a marketing tips blog for professional photographers.

Of course, your blog can cover multiple topics listed above.  The list could go on as well (although the above is a fairly extensive list of sub-niche ideas).

Step 2: Logo and name for your photo blog

Because photography is a visual niche, it’s a good idea to commission a professional-looking logo as well as settle on a memorable blog name.

Generally speaking, I’m a fan of building website brands which involves a good name and a good logo.  Personally, I think the name is more important than the logo, but if you have $20 or so, that can get a decent logo on Fiverr.  While I would never order articles from Fiverr, I’ve had good success ordering logos.  There are some skilled logo designers offering their services on Fiverr.  Do expect to pay more than $5.

Avoid choosing a domain name because it’s some awesome keyword.  While effective 6 years ago, what you end up with is some generic sounding blog name.  Instead, come up with something unique and that is memorable.

Examples of bad photography blog names:

  • Nightphotoraphy.com
  • Learnphotography.com
  • HoustonPhotography.com

Examples of good photography blog names:

  • YourNamePhotography.com OR YourName.com.
  • Kerchunk.com (as in the sound an oldschool camera makes).
  • Aperture.com
  • Megapixel.com
  • Saycheese.com

IMPORTANT:  You do need to ensure your blog name is available as a domain.  When I dream up blog names, I immediately check availability in GoDaddy.  As you noticed, I had to add “blog” modifier to Fatstacks because Fatstacks.com wasn’t available (actually it’s available but the seller wanted thousands of dollars for it).

DOUBLY IMPORTANT:  If your domain is available, check it in Wayback Machine to ensure it wasn’t some spam site a few years ago.  I failed to do this step recently and ended up with a site that I concluded had been penalized by Google.  No matter what I did, nothing ranked.  It was a disaster.

Step 3: Setting up your photography blog

While this might seem the most daunting step in the beginning, it’s really easy these days.

First, of all, go with WordPress.org.  It’s the most-used website platform.  It is free (other than hosting and a good theme).  While there’s a bit of a learning curve, it’s by far the most popular website building platform for a reason.

The big decision is which hosting you’ll use.  When I started out, I went with Bluehost and used them for years.  I still recommend it.  Once my sites grew to high traffic sites, I switched to Kinsta which is better, but also more expensive.

I always recommend saving money when starting out. Bluehost can easily handle 50,000 monthly visitors.  Moreover, Bluehost offers all the help you need to install and fire up your WordPress website.  In fact, it only takes a few clicks and then a few clicks to install the WordPress theme.

From there, the fun starts.  Actually, for a theme, I recommend getting something that looks good, is well coded and performs well.  The two theme developers I’ve used the most over the years are MyThemeShop and StudioPress.  Both offer a large collection of themes (designs).  They have good support and because they are fairly large theme companies, they consistently roll out updates when needed.

Step 4: Optimize your images

Chances are you’ll publish a lot of images on a photography blog.  The more, the merrier, whether how-to articles, galleries, etc.

It’s very important you optimize those images.

2 very good tools to use which are free are:

  1. Bulkresizephotos.com:  This makes it easy to resize photos.  Sometimes images are ridiculously big (5,000 px wide), which is not necessary.  At most, they should be 1,800 pixels wide if you offer a lightbox (image pops up when you click on it).  Otherwise 800px wide is good enough (which is usually a tad bit wider than most content sections of a blog).
  2. Optimizilla:  This free online tool optimizes images which means reducing the file size so your images load faster.  Speed is important.  Optimizing images won’t hurt the appearance of your images but will make it so they’ll load faster.

When I started out I did none of this.  I ended up with galleries with images that were 2MB in file size which is insane.  They took forever to load.  I also had images 4,000px wide, which is also crazy.

These days, I’m fanatical about optimizing and resizing images so they load as fast as possible.

Step 5: Keyword Research

Keyword research is your foundation for finding article topics. I love the KW research process.  Interestingly, these guys who publish successful niches, don’t do any keyword research at all.

I’m a good enough is good enough type of person with most things except keyword research.  I put in a lot of effort into researching keywords to find gems that I believe will rank relatively easily and still attract a decent number of visitors.

Over the years I’ve honed my KW research methods to find good article topics and ranking opportunities. I love the process because it works.  While I don’t rank for every keyword I target, I do pretty good.

Good keyword research involves a lot of trial and error.  I input all kinds of seed keywords that generate all kinds of keyword ideas.  I sift through thousands of options each month looking for the gems.

For instance, starting with “photography” is okay, but your competition does the same.

What you want to do is start with different seed keywords to generate the lists that you go through.  If you start with a seed keyword nobody else does that generates relevant keywords, you probably end up finding low competition opportunities with okay monthly search volume.

I teach several unique keyword research methods in my course.

Step 6: Create and publish photography blog content

If you like photography, content creation will be fun.  I choose niches that I enjoy so I can have fun writing content for them.  While I don’t write all the content (I outsource much of it), I enjoy writing an article each day for one of my sites.

For example, I recently lost a bunch of weight and needed new pants and shirts.  I bought a bunch of clothes and then it occurred to me I should see what happens if I wrote about the stuff I bought.  I did that for my multi-niche, “everything and kitchen sink” blog.  It was fun and easy.  So fun in fact, that I launched an apparel for a guys niche site.  Now I can buy all kinds of clothes, shoes and accessories and justify it for business purposes (although I doubt I’ll write it off for tax purposes – a gray area and I don’t welcome an audit over what would amount to not all that much money).

I also love buying clothes; it’s a new interest.  I never cared much before but it’s amazing how getting in shape inspires wanting to dress a bit better.  Besides, my clothes were hanging on my like curtains.

I digress.  Back to the matter at hand.

The point is once you have a good list of keywords from keyword research, have fun writing really great content.  You will need a lot of photos too since it’s a photography blog.

Write it yourself or outsource?

I do both.  I write what interests me for my niche sites (like this article).  I outsource stuff I don’t want to write, but are good topics.

I do, however, often polish the content I get from writers.  This makes it possible to pay a lower rate for the content.  Polishing doesn’t take long.  I put the most time and effort into good introductions.

If you know this topic, you should be able to write one article per day.  Some epic guides may take a few days.  Some shorter articles may take one-half a day.  One a day will get you up and running pretty fast.

Ensure your articles are thorough.  Don’t skimp.  Include loads of photos and screesnhots.

You aren’t the only photography blog, so you have to do a good job.

If you don’t know photography, due to its technical aspects, you should choose a different niche.

How to structure your photo blog content:

Lead image:  I kick of almost every single article I publish across all my niche blogs with a top featured image.  I invest in Shutterstock and istockphoto subscriptions so I have a great selection of images to choose from, but there are free stock photo options.  That said, given it’s a photography blog, you really should take your own photos.

Intro:  I love injecting personal anecdotes into introductions.  I don’t do it for every article, but when I can, I do.  Other good ideas for intros include statistics and data pertaining to the article.  For example, if your article is about “newborn photography” include some information about how many babies are born each day and year in the USA.  It’s an interesting fact that kicks of an article well.

Body: This is the nuts and bolts of your article, whatever the topic.  Break up your paragraphs into small paragraphs.  Use lots of headings (h2, h3, h4, etc.). Incorporate your photos or your screenshots).

Conclusion: I seldom include conclusions in my content.  I find them annoying and useless.  I go so far as to instruct writers to NOT write a conclusion.  I’m not paying for a bunch of fluff, which is what conclusions usually are.

How long should your photo blog content be?

Instead of asking how many words, it should focus on thoroughness.  However, being thorough usually means it’s lengthy.  I suspect most content will be at least 1,500 words long. Tutorials, probably longer unless most of the tutorial can be demonstrated with screenshots or photos.

Step 7: Getting visitors to your photography blog

Generally, your number one traffic source will be Google search.

If you’re showcasing some fabulous photos, Pinterest may be good.

If you create great video tutorials and product profiles, YouTube can be good.

Otherwise, it’s Google search.

What does that mean?

It means you need to be mindful of a few things.

  1. Target good keywords that aren’t too competitive:  Good SEO starts with publishing content on good topics that aren’t covered to death.  Find obscure topics to write about.
  2. Publish great content:  You want your content to be so good other sites will link to you.  This won’t work all the time, but you need to ultimately put out unique, link-worthy content.
  3. Optimize your image: Because each piece of content will likely have a lot of images, you need to optimize those images for the web.  Otherwise, your site will be slow which can hurt your SEO.

TIP:  Research the types of articles that are most likely to attract links and then publish that type of content.  It can make a huge difference.

CAUTION:  Do not expect SEO to work fast.  It’s very slow.  It takes a long time; painfully long.  But, once you have high levels of consistent SEO traffic, it’s unbelievable.  The traffic and revenue just keep on coming.

Step 8: How to make money with a photography blog

You have a few options to make money from your photography niche blog.  They are as follows:

  • Display ads:  You can put AdSense and other display ads on your site and collect ad revenue.  It doesn’t get much easier than this. With enough traffic, it can earn you quite a bit.  I do pretty well with display ads.
  • Affiliate promotions:  You can review all kinds of photography gear and equipment.  I strongly recommend you buy it instead of doing fake reviews.  Don’t neglect software reviews – there’s lots of software used by photographers (both professionals and amateurs).
  • Sell info products:  If you really know what you’re doing, you can create how-to guides and sell them.  Or, you can create full-blown video courses and sell access to the videos.
  • E-commerce:  You could get in touch with wholesalers and start selling photography gear and equipment on your site.

My personal favorite methods of monetizing niche sites are display ads and affiliate promotions.

See all of my niche ideas here.

Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman
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What do you think? Leave a comment!

  • Marc says:

    I ran three different photography blogs in the past. I’ve sold all of them now, but the last one was only sold a few months ago, so I’ve been in this niche recently. I agree that it’s a good niche, but there is very strong competition for search traffic. There are 5-10 sites that have been around for years and completely dominate the search results. There are not as many competitors as you have in some other niches, but the competition is very top heavy.

    You’ll need to do really good keyword research and find low competition keywords, and your point about keying in on a sub niche is great advice. The blog I sold a few months ago was in a sub niche and that’s the only reason I was able to get search traffic.

    Pinterest was a very good source of traffic for me. At some times I got more traffic from Pinterest than from Google.

    • Jon says:

      Hey Marc,

      thanks for your insights. I love big, competitive niches because you can always carve out an angle and as your site gains in authority, you can expand to compete on more popular topics. That’s great you were able to jump into this niche and do well.

    • Jurgen says:

      Would focusing on a specific camera accessory be a great idea? For example, camera bags. Once the site gets traction expanding it to other things in photography? Or is this a bit too narrow?

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