Create a Revenue Stream with a FUN Photography Class for Beginners

I believe to the core in beginner level photography workshops! I’ve talked about the marketing benefits for your client photography business and how workshops can help you attract better quality inquiries super in demand for your specific photography approach.

But, I’ve really beaten around the bush with the money conversation.

How much can you make from teaching a workshop?

Let’s go there in this post.

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I’ve avoided this topic, because I don’t want to come off sounding like this is a get rich quick scheme.

These classes are DEFINITELY not that!

They take some authority, planning, transparency, and both a skill and love for teaching. Still, they’re short & sweet to run while your students make strides in their photography.

The fact is, a beginner level photography class is a way to serve others in an authentic, impactful way that brings money into your bank account.

Meanwhile, you get to talk about something that comes easily to you and makes you all giddy! Win/win all around.

Real quick, grab this free workbook to help you rock each phase of running a successful workshop:

teach a beginner photography class

So literally, how much can you make teaching a beginner level photography workshop?

Personally, I’ve made between $570 – $1500 per workshop. A pretty nice revenue stream, right?!

My workshops run about 3 hours and I allow 5-10 students max. I love the intimacy of a smaller class size (like 5 people), but know I can handle up to 10 students and stay within my time window of 3 hours.

How much you’ll make will depend on:

  • The number of seats you sell
  • Your price
  • The frequency in which you offer your class
  • Any upsells you may have ready for your students
  • Your follow up plan that leads students into your upsells (such as an ebook, editing videos, 1:1 mentoring, and even a session)

In the beginning, I wasn’t using workshops as a way to lead students into working with me further, so I had no upsells.

I priced myself super low in the beginning. I priced low out of fear – am I good enough? – and also, because I cared more about getting in front of a room of my dream potential clients over making a bunch of money. As my experience grew in both photography and teaching, my workshops grew more profitable.

Even at the low end – $570 – that’s still a healthy addition to my bank account for MINIMAL expenses and time – don’t ya think?!

All in all, don’t take what I’ve done as gospel. Set your own prices based on what you WANT to make. Don’t take on everyone else’s money blocks or compare your workshops to anyone else’s. At no other workshop will your students get YOU besides at your own workshop.

What are the expenses you may encounter?

The hardest part is creating your workshop. It’s the most time consuming aspect and often the thing that sends you into a mind game of “Is this enough content? The right content? Too much content?”

So, you may opt to buy a workshop package that guides you along the way with some done-for-you pieces to get it done well, really fast.

This is only a one time expense that’s likely recovered with your first workshop. Once your workshop is created, you get to reuse it as much as you want!

You’ll set aside money for taxes, just like you would for a session, of course. You also may:

  • buy a legal document for the terms of participation to hold you harmless and other legalese that might apply to you. Again, a one time expense.
  • print out handouts and cheat sheets and grab a new pack of pens. Minimal expenses with only 5-10 students.
  • accept money through your site and spend a little on your merchants, like PayPal or Stripe.
  • offer a bring a friend incentive.
  • need an email service provider, such as ConvertKit (what I use), for automated follow ups and upsell offers.
  • go the extra mile and bring in food, a swag bag, or offer some door prizes. Me, I simply provide bottled water.
  • opt for a paid location. (I’ve never done this personally.)

Honestly, that’s really it!

Once your workshop is created, the expenses are next to nothing.

You may also structure your workshop around another expense:

a charitable donation.

Ever get asked to donate a session at a school or medical expense fundraiser?

In 2017, with workshops, I gave $600 (40% of seat sales) to the International FPIES Association while also added $900 to my bank account + my students had a transformative experience!

That’s not including the upsells to my pre-recorded editing videos. Bonus: One student inquired about a family session too before moving out of their home. Timing didn’t work, as I had surgery, but STILL. #opportunity!

Your workshop is a purely feel-good revenue stream.

Grab this free workbook to help you rock each phase of running a successful workshop:

teach a beginner photography class

How often can I run a workshop? (aka how often can I capitalize on this revenue stream?)

Instead of consistently offering workshops (unless you believe you have the audience for them already), I recommend offering workshops in seasons. Pick 2-4 months in the year where workshops fit into your shooting schedule well.

Open up registration for, say, 3 workshop dates. You promote the heck out of them throughout a certain month with a deadline for registration.

I’ve had success promoting my workshops in November and offering workshops in early December and late January, for example.

If you do 2 workshops every season, that would be 8 workshops a year. How many is truly up to you, but having some structure around registration open and close is vital to create a sense of urgency (aka help students take action!).

So what other questions do you have about the money honey? Ask below!

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Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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