Fill In the Blanks Contest Question: “I Want to Make a Side Income with Photography so I Can __________.”

Let's talk about money.


“We're creative artists! Leave the boring money talk for the accountants…”

Now I know you're a photographer. And you're probably a pretty darn good one at that. That's awesome.

But I also know you're reading this blog with the hope of making a little (or maybe even a lot!) of extra cash with your camera on the side. That's awesome too.

But let me ask you a couple of questions

  1. Why do you want to make extra money?
  2. And what exactly do you plan to do with this extra cash once you land some paying gigs?

Having a powerful why and what can be a huge motivational factor that ensures you push past your hurtles to success or decide “this photography business stuff is just too hard” and give up.

When I decided I wanted to make money with my camera, it was so I could afford a $1000 lens (the game-changing, jaw-dropping Nikon 18-200mm VR, to be exact).

A Thousand Dollar Toy

That's what a lens is to a hobbiest. A thousand dollar toy.

And with a baby on the way, there was no way my family could afford a “Thousand Dollar TOY!”

“We Can't Afford It”

I have always cringed at those four words.

And I have nothing against my partner for saying them. It was absolutely true – we couldn't afford a $1000 anything!

But I couldn't let it go. I wanted that lens SO bad.

Then, a really wonderful question popped in my haed. I asked myself…

“So…how could I afford this lens?”

The answer was to EARN it…but NOT with my regular 9-5 day job which pays for the roof over our heads and the food on the table.

My partner and I agreed that any money I made with my photography “hobby” could go directly to fund my “toys”…completely guilt free.

Guilt-free toys!? Game on!

That's the day I became a pro

…and opened my doors for business. It wasn't easy. But it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be either.

In just a few months I had booked a couple of weddings (with friends and family who loved my photography and my prices) and I earned enough to purchase my dream lens with the deposit money.

So for me my part-time photography business has never been about “making more money.” It is always about “making more money so I can ________.”

How 'bout you? How do you “fill in the blanks?”

If you need some inspiration, here's a small list of why's and what's you can use for some motivation.

“I want to make more money so I can __________”

  • Pay down my debt
  • Take that much needed vacation
  • Buy a new lens (or bag, or tripod, or body)
  • Buy a new computer
  • Save for my kids college

Nail down a specific goal for your photography income and you'll find you have some SERIOUS motivation to get your butt in gear and land some clients (or just start by building your website).

But there are two more money tips I need to tell you about before you go hit the streets and the cash starts rolling in:

1. Open a separate checking account to track your business finances. Trust me, it'll make your life WAY easier.

2. Start and stay on a personal and business budget. What's the point of makeing more money if you don't have control over how it's spent now?

And with that, I want to tell you about the budget tool that I use. I love and promote it cause it's the first personal finance tool that I actually enjoy and have stuck with for any length of time.

It's called – You Need A Budget (gasp!)

This isn't a review post and I'm not even going to try to list out all of the benifits this piece of software can do for you.

But if you have ANY money problems at all, please do yourself a favour and check this program out.

Watch their video then download their full-feature 60-day free trial.

It's life-changing.

With just my photography business income I have been able to:.

  • Build up an emergency fund
  • Pay off my credit card debts (both personal and business)
  • Pay for my photography gear and software
  • Take my partner out for a nice dinner once or twice. :)

You won't know how powerful this stuff is until you try it.

CONTEST! Win a FREE Copy of “You Need A Budget”

It's contest time! (I'm so excited…can't you tell?)

The good people at YNAB have given me a FREE copy of their software and I want to give it away it away to one of my blog readers.

All you need to do to enter the contest is leave a comment below and answer the following question:

“I want to make a side income with photography so I can __________.”

One entry per person, and I will randomly select a winner in one weeks time.

Good luck!

(I'm so excited!!) :)

Update: And the winner is………..Max! Congrats on winning a free copy of the YNAB budget software.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment. Though you didn't win the contest, I hope that you lit a flame in your belly by figuring out your strong “why” for trying to earn a little income on the side. :)


  1. Linda Whitworth says:

    So, here’s my answer: I Want to Make a Side Income with Photography so I Can contribute some much needed money and do something I love.

    I suffer from very bad depression and anxiety. And because of the anxiety, I can’t work. The everyday get up and go sends me into a tailspin (as a response to some fairly traumatic events I experienced). I tried going back to work part-time. 20 hr/wk. After 5 days (not consecutive, either) I had a complete meltdown and couldn’t function for something like 2 days. Sometimes, just knowing I have to leave the house to go somewhere will start the domino effect.

    Anyway, my psychiatrist made a list of goals for me. Small, simple ones. One of them was to get out and take pictures (I told him I love photography). Just one step…one day a week. Well, life fell apart and that went out the window. BUT, I hit the reset button, so to speak, and here I am. I sit outside with the dog and notice the little stuff. I’ve resurrected some old photos that I did in a “previous life” and have been using them. I’ve gotten some great feedback and people actually like my work!

    Anyway….sorry for the short story..but that’s my story and why I want to make money doing something I am passionate about. It’s keeps that little voice at bay that tries to tell me I’m useless.

  2. Photography is certainly one of the more expensive hobbies that’s for sure! But this all looks interesting, I fully agree with encouraging people to budget!

  3. You never know what you can do till you try! Thank you for sharing experience of your own. I like that kind of post, they are very inspiring and motivational! :)

  4. “I Want to Make a Side Income with Photography so I Can __________.” <— my answer is so that I can make money out of something I absolutely love and stop doing the less interesting job I don’t love quite as much.

  5. Great article, I luv how it ties into Photography, business and accounting aspects. “I want to make a side income with photography so I can better balance my budget and see what each dollar can do for me.”

    • Hi Carl,
      Glad you liked the article. I too would like to “tip the scale” on the balance of my budget. :) Regardless of your photography income, I highly recommend using a budget tool like YNAB. Using it has made me feel SO much better about my finances.
      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Have a great day.

  6. Ryan thanks for the article and to respond to your questions

    “I Want to Make a Side Income with Photography so I can make a fulltime income in photography,and expand my business doing what I love capturing amazing imagines and creating art from weddings, lifestyle, travel and food!!

  7. Anastasia says:

    I want to make some side income with photography so I can buy another dslr for my daughter so she will make some side income with photography so she can… :)

  8. … So my wife can stop thinking that my hobby is a waste of time and money !

  9. Well, I’m not a photographer at all, but, I’d want to make some side income with photography so I can buy YNAB, cause I desperately need a budget ))

    • Hey Max – we don’t discriminate around here. We’ll include you in the random draw for YNAB. It’s a sweet piece of software. And maybe YNAB should change it’s name to YDNAB (You Desparately Need A Budget)! :)

  10. I want to make a side income with photography so I can grow my portfolio, setup my retirement and help my pops out whenever he needs it.

  11. Lynn Rae says:

    “I want to make a side income with photography so I can reach the day when leaving my (ho-hum) day-job turns into a reality, where I take more and more pictures of homeless shelter animals!” ~ Lynn :-)

  12. “to supplement my day-job income and expand my career focus in the future”. Always looking for new software to try – thanks and great blog content as always! BTW, my first paying gig went great last night – and now it’s time to edit and keep saving for a flash!! Angela

    • Congrats Angela on your first gig. That’s great!! And a flash is a great goal – you’ll love paying for it with your gig money. :)

  13. Hi Ryan this is a good idea . I really need a motivator to push through my fear of Promoting myself so here it is!

    Pay down debt
    Build up cash reserves
    Take my family on holiday


  14. Great post, Ryan! Just the kind of motivation I/we needed.

    I want to make a side income with photography so I can invest in equipment and professional development… and provide those little extras for my family.

    • Hey Geoff – I love buying new equipment, books, and courses with my photography income. It’s so rewarding. Thanks for your answer and good luck in the contest!

  15. “I want to make a side income with photography so I can pay off my debt and start saving again, as I used to.”

    I look forward to trying the YNAB program. Thanks for pointing it out! I have set up a budget in MS Excel, but it is not perfect and time consuming to maintain.


    • Hi Kevin – My family is also in a big “getting out of debt” kick – Dave Ramsey style. YNAB will definitely help! Good luck. Ryan

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