make money with food photography

If you have always dreamed of being able to stay home with your kids and still help your family, YOU CAN as a food photographer for bloggers.

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Jul 13, 2023

Is Food Photography Profitable?

Is food photography profitable? That’s the first question almost everyone asks before they sign up for Pretty Focused. And it was an essential question for Erin, a high-powered executive for a Canadian Restaurant Group. She needed to know that her decision to launch a food blog and learn food photography was going to be worth it.

Spoiler: It was! In fact, Erin returned her investment on Day 1!

Pretty Focused helped turn Erin’s food blog and her food photography profitable in a very short amount of time. And even better, she went from a chaotic life with lots of travel to being home every day and creating a work schedule that made sense for her and her family. “I never want to return to working for anyone but myself.”

Erin’s Story: From Chaotic Restaurant Executive to Happy Food Photographer and Blogger

Though Erin’s journey to a career she loves wasn’t always smooth, her story is worth a listen. Check it out!

  • Erin was a busy restaurant industry executive who, while making good money, traveled every other week for work and missed out on many important life events, including her daughter’s 7th birthday.
  • Then the pandemic hit, and she (like many restaurant industry employees) lost her job. At that point, Erin decided she needed a big change and launched a new food blog.
  • Unfortunately, it didn’t turn a profit for months, so she tried one last hail-mary—sign up for Pretty Focused, learn food photography, and make her dream a reality.
  • It worked! Now, Erin works full-time as a food blogger and photographer, makes good money, and fits her career into her life instead of the other way around!
  • 0:00 Countdown
  • 1:30 When did you join Pretty Focused?
  • 2:57 What made you interested in food photography?
  • 7:19 What were your photos like before Pretty Focused?
  • 8:25 Have you seen an uptick in blog traffic since the course?
  • 10:16 What made you take the leap and join Pretty Focused?
  • 13:12 What happened after you graduated Pretty Focused?
  • 16:09 What does your food blog and photography look like now?
  • 18:02 Let’s talk exclusives, recreations, and semi-exclusives.
  • 22:06 You can create the food photography career you want.
  • 24:13 What is your stress level like since Pretty Focused?
  • 31:32 How is Pretty Focused different from other photography courses?
  • 37:24 Let’s talk photo fundamentals and structure in Pretty Focused.
  • 44:22 Your photos do not have to reinvent the wheel every time!
  • 47:17 What is your photography work process like?
  • 50:13 How many recipes do you do a week?
  • 52:36 How does Pretty Focused help you set up your business?
  • 53:53 Why would you want to be a food photographer for bloggers instead of restaurants or editorial?
  • 59:15 What is Pretty Focused to you?· 
  • 1:03:38 Last question: What would you have done differently looking back?

Erin Struggles to Generate Income for a New Food Blog During the Pandemic

Like most people’s stories nowadays, Erin’s story starts with the pandemic in early 2020. Before Covid, she was in charge of the US Division of a large Canadian-based restaurant group. “Chaos was my life.” She traveled every other week for work, which meant missing her kids’ football games, and even her daughter’s seventh birthday, but she was relatively happy. Then suddenly, the restaurant industry collapsed within weeks of the shutdowns, and she lost her job (alongside so many others). 

“I had to pivot.” Of course, it wasn’t easy. But Erin was determined.

In the summer of 2020, Erin launched her own food blog and decided to transform her love of cooking and baking into a valid and valuable career. But with no blog experience, it was a tall order. For a year, Erin struggled to figure out how to make her food blog profitable until she finally had enough. Either she had to start generating income by July 2021 or give up her blog dream and return to working corporate.

That’s when Pretty Focused came into the picture.

Erin Joins Pretty Focused to Make Money with Food Photography

While Erin was no stranger to the food and beverage industry, she wasn’t great at getting views for her blog. She needed help. Thankfully, she saw a Pretty Focused ad on Instagram and decided to give it a try.

Up until that point, Erin had minimal photography experience. She had dabbled with food photography since starting her blog, but she couldn’t get the hang of it. Even when she won a month-long mentorship opportunity with a professional photographer, it wasn’t as helpful as she’d hoped. “I found that a lot of them were more commercial or magazine type of styling, not blogging, and so artistic that I felt very lost.”

What Erin really wanted was a formula, “follow these steps and get this,” and that was what Pretty Focused offered. Erin found Pretty Focused in March of 2021 and graduated by July. And within hours of graduating, she earned back her investment in the course.

Erin’s Food Photography Becomes Profitable, and Her Blog Takes Off

Every Pretty Focused student graduates with a portfolio of work. In Erin’s portfolio, she had a range of completed recipes with amazing photos. And while she decided to keep and use a few for her own blog, the others she determined to sell within the Pretty Focused Buyers Club (a private buyers page just for students).

Within a couple of hours of linking her recipes to her Shopify account, they sold for around $1,300.00. Erin literally used the photos she took during Pretty Focused to turn a profit that paid for the entire course within hours of graduation!

And truthfully, the only limitation to Erin’s future income is herself: her time and how much she wants to put into her food blogging and food photography. “I’m in control of the amount of money that I’m making. As much as I want to put into this, I can get out of it.”

Food Photography: Before and After Pretty Focused

Pretty Focused before and after

So how did Erin go from struggle to success so quickly, and can you do it? Here’s a look back at what Erin learned about food blogging and food photography before and after Pretty Focused. The difference is stark.

  • Much Better Photography Composition

Right before Erin started Pretty Focused, she did a blog recipe for Black Forest Cupcakes. At the time, she loved square everything: square plates, spare pot holders, square platters, etc. So for her cupcakes, she stacked all these square elements together on a platter and just took some photos. “The composition was just chaotic!” Worse yet, the lighting was terrible. 

Since Pretty Focused, Erin’s redone many of those early photos, and the updates are truly night and day. It’s amazing what learning the fundamentals of food photography can do.

Check out our photography gear recommendations to get started.

  • Much More Blog Traffic Since Pretty Focused

Since finishing Pretty Focused, Erin has seen her food blog traffic increase by quite a lot. It actually “started quadrupling year-over-year.” It went from around 17,000 monthly sessions to 250,000 monthly sessions. And now, when she searches for recipes, sometimes her photographs are the very first Google results. “Google can tell they’re really good photos!”

Basically, Erin went from not making any money blogging to being able to qualify for any ad network she wants! That’s how you make food photography profitable!

  • Consistent and Flexible Income with Food Photography

Right after graduation, Erin made consistent money with her food photography. Every month, she sold six to eight exclusives and another 8-12 recreations. It was a lot of work, but it was consistent. “I consistently sold out within minutes, and it sustained me for a long time.”

Now, Erin allows her food photography to be as flexible as she needs. Month-to-month, she adjusts how much work she wants to do based on the income she’s looking for. “When I need to lean into other things and have more flexibility and have more time away, then I don't have to do anything.”

  • Setting up a Profitable Food Photography Business

“The thing about the Pretty Focused course is that it's about creating your business. And so you can have a Shopify site, you can sell only through the Buyers Club, you can do whatever.” Pretty Focused gives you the skills you need and crafts an outline for success. Then you can make it what you want.

Best yet, you’re not alone in your food photography journey. Through the Pretty Focused Facebook group, you’ll gain a vibrant community of other graduates that will help you get set up on anything you want. And you can even take your learning further with one or two Master Classes.

Check out Melanie’s story about being a single mom and launching a successful food photography career.

What Should Someone Know About Making Money with Food Photography?

Is food photography profitable

Have you been thinking about launching your own food blog or trying food photography? Go for it! Erin knows first-hand all about making a career in food photography profitable. And it’s not as scary as you may think.

  • You Do NOT Have to Be Creative to be a Food Photographer

Erin does NOT see herself as an “artistic or creative type at all.” She is a very structured and by-the-book type of person who sees the world in black and white. So, food blogging and food photography were definitely intimidating, but she loves cooking and baking, and that’s what really matters. 

Whether you’re a creative thinker, a free spirit, or a very analytical individual, you can be a food photographer. The key is to get the fundamentals down and build from there. And that’s what Pretty Focused offers—the fundamentals of incredible food photos. “I really don’t think I would have been able to build a successful career in food photography if I hadn’t been able to latch onto the structure provided by Pretty Focused.”

That’s not to say that Erin’s photos are basic and boring. She’s not limited at all. “I do variety; don’t get me wrong. But my composition is very formulaic, and that’s exactly what I need.”

  • Your Photos and Business Do Not Have to Fit a Cookie-Cutter Design

There are many food photography courses out there that are very cookie-cutter designed. Every photographer that graduates comes out with images that look exactly like everyone else’s, but that’s not the case with Pretty Focused. Instead, Pretty Focused provides a formula and a package that anyone can adopt to fit their unique style.

Better yet, Pretty Focused teaches you how to make the business side of food photography work for you. For example, “even little things like whether you get paid before or after your work, or if you have a one-week turnaround or a 30-day turnaround can be adjusted to your needs.”

Pretty Focused teaches you how to craft the different elements of your photography business to make YOU happy and utilize YOUR skills—no one else’s.

Kim’s story is anything but cookie-cutter, and Pretty Focused worked for her.

  • Beautiful Photos Aren’t the Same as Sellable Blog Photos

Before Pretty Focused, Erin thought she knew about taking great photos. She could look at inspiring photos online and notice when they were very beautiful. But a gorgeous pie photo doesn’t necessarily mean you want to eat it or make it.

Pretty Focused is all about learning how to do food photography in such a way that someone online wants to stop, click, and get the ingredients. Erin had to realize that the more abstract style of beauty she enjoys isn’t what delivers sellable photos and recipes. There are differences in aperture, food composition, styling, and more that all need to be adjusted for profitable food photography blogging.

“Being able to learn those differences was really great! I've talked with several people that I knew as photographers before they came over to Pretty Focused, and every one of them has said, ‘Oh, I learned so much, and I'm using my camera completely differently than I was using it before.’”

Learn why food bloggers hire photographers in our recent blog.

Pretty Focused Is Designed to Make Food Photography Profitable For You!

Is food photography profitable

Pretty Focused is a photography course that guides anybody, step-by-step, through how to not only develop and shoot great photos but also build an awesome business! But it’s about even more than photography; it's also about community. With Pretty Focused’s Facebook Group and personal coaching, you’ll build relationships that will help guide you throughout your career.

Pretty Focused can be what you make of it. It is specific to your strengths, your opportunities, and your photos—all in order to help you grow a profitable food photography business. 

“Whether you want this forever or not, try your hand at making an income from this. There's absolutely no reason not to!”

What if you could turn your passion for cooking and photography into a dream career?

Pretty Focused – Food Blog Photography helps aspiring food photographers get hired. Whether you’re looking to make a full-time income or just supplemental income, there is something for everyone inside our course. Plus, with the support of a community and top-notch coaches, as well as our Buyers Club that connects you with clients, you’ll have everything you need to succeed.

So if you’re looking for a new career or just want to explore the possibilities of working from home as a food photographer for bloggers, join the Pretty Focused Roadmap and learn if this is right for you.

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