View Full Version : Financing My Hobby

10-02-2007, 14:51
Just curious....what has been your experience in using underwater photography as a way to make a bit of money to pay for the hobby? Is this a real possibility if you get the gear and some expertice in taking good photos or is it mostly a pipedream?:dunno:

10-02-2007, 14:59
While there are people who make a living with underwater photography, I would guess that it's mostly a "pipe dream"

10-02-2007, 15:08
While there are people who make a living with underwater photography, I would guess that it's mostly a "pipe dream"
Have to agree..

Probably on the level with being a professional <sport> and etc..

10-02-2007, 15:16
Maybe you should contact some of the dive publications, or perhaps a close by college or marine life facility. Find out the market and how to get involved.

Some "pipe dreams" have become very profitable for those who dared to follow them.

I have a friend of a friend who makes quite a nice living as a wildlife photographer in the Colorado/Wyoming area. We all thought he was crazy too, but it has worked out well

So go for it, I Say..........

10-02-2007, 22:38
One married couple in the ScubaDillo Dive Club is living that "pipe dream". If you read Dive Training magazine, you see their articles and photography in 6 to 8 feature articles per year (most recent article was August issue). They also shoot for another diver mag (name escapes me) and they travel the world to dive, shoot photos, and exhibit their art. Their names are Dave Prichard (PrichDave) and Lily Mak (SeaLily). They are also PADI instructors and offer classes to the 'Dillos.

10-03-2007, 08:55
I would say you have to be really serious and dedicated to make it work. Real professional equipment is not going to be cheap and you may have to sell quite a bit just to break even over your equipment costs...not to mention paying for the dive trips themselves. Photographers will often wait motionless in one spot for most of a dive waiting for the perfect opportunity. You have to really know your equipment and be on top of your technique as well. Many of the most successful photographers also end up supplementing their incomes writing books and teaching classes as well. Personally, I'll keep it at a hobby level only.

10-03-2007, 10:29
You can't really make any money in underwater photography for the simple reason that there isn't much demand for it.

10-03-2007, 10:34
One of the best ways to make $$ in underwater photography is to be the DM or instructor taking photos all week of the divers & all of the cool stuff during the week & selling the cd's to the divers.

I have a friend who is a great u/w photographer www.beautybelow.com (http://www.beautybelow.com) and has taken a job on a live aboard teaching u/w photography and videography. He had a show while he was living in Roatan with some other photographers (u/w & topside). I know sales were good at the open house but pretty much died after that.

10-03-2007, 10:58
I think that's the ticket right there. Rather than the occassional photo to a magazine, you provide more of a service by giving divers the memories of their own trip...and the photos wouldn't have to be magazine quality. A videographer with a little editing software knowledge could easily sell mass-produced DVD's to a group for $20, $30 or more a pop.

10-08-2007, 22:17
The rapid advancement of uw digital cameras/housings has tremendously increased the number of available stock photos - it is really difficult to make money just selling pictures (now if you are also a good writer and can deliver a complete story, your chances are better).

Digital has allowed novice photographers to climb the learning curve much faster, and you immediately know if you captured a good shot. I have several friends that are very good uw photographers, and they don't really make enough to break even (but they have some really nice toys) - but a nice shot can win a competition and get you free scuba/camera gear or often dive trips for prizes.

11-05-2007, 22:52
To help finance my addiction I got togather with a local
PADI instructor and took pics of his classes on thier OW cert dives . Downloaded them while they were working on thier logs , cut some CD's and ran them as a slide show. Almost every one would donat $5 or more for a copy right on the spot. Helped pay for the camera.

Byte Me
11-05-2007, 23:12
If you're not looking to "just get rich" doing it there is another angle you could pursue, especially with the video, photo, writing thing all going at once. Turn it into a Schedule C business for yourself. There are tax rules that you need to be aware of so that the venture isn't deemed a hobby, but if you follow the rules you can deduct all of your gear, trips, training, etc. within rules of the tax code and while you may not be getting rich you're at least defraying the cost of diving!

I'm doing this very thing with a home theater consulting business. It started as a way for me to work through distributors to get gear for myself and friends at wholesale. All of a sudden your friends tell friends, etc. etc. And while I'm not going to retire or quit my day job it's kept my home theater gear up to date and essentially free over the last 5 years through the discounts off retail, tax write-offs, sale of older gear and little bit of $ I mark up to further removed acquaintances.

11-06-2007, 04:37
I have to agree with setting up a small business and claiming gear and expenses back through your tax. Different rules for different countries of course.
Things to look at to make some money are as mentioned before taking snap shots of divers, OW students, intro divers etc etc.

Also think about basic shots that are very easy to do....Subjects that everyone relates (not just divers) too. ie Starfish, turtles, Nemo etc etc. Have them printed on canvas to a decent size. It might be even shots of your local area or at the beach etc etc. You be surprised what different people like.

Enter into photo comps or see if you can have a shot of yours hang in a shop or cafe. It doesnt have to be a award winning perfect shot. If it doesnt sell you can give to family and friends as xmas presents. You might get some exposure and maybe make some money to pay off all the thousands you spend on dive and camera gear.


11-06-2007, 04:46
The tough part is choosing the right photos, editing the hundreds of them and then printing them...

Maybe I'm just lazy. :smiley9:

11-06-2007, 05:47
The tough part is choosing the right photos, editing the hundreds of them and then printing them...

Maybe I'm just lazy. :smiley9:

Editing the thousands of shots. Things that you really like not selling because non diving people dont know what they are. Rare fish and nudibranchs as an example.

Its something to do when you cant dive and it puts you into the mood to do more diving than sitting in front of a computer playing with photoshop.

11-06-2007, 08:11
I think that maybe you could do it if you could get some good contacts like some magizines

11-06-2007, 09:02
Problem is, I'm stuck in ST forum! I can't get out of here. Where's the exit!

11-06-2007, 09:55
Silverload...i'm hanging on your coat-tails.....so if you are out....then i'm following....i'm ffeeling faint......no fooood......
oxygennn.....lowww......neeed.....watter... HEEELLLLPPPPP!!!!

But you guys have inspired me....thank you...im gonna look into getting a camera and setting up shop...couldn't hurt...unless a bull shark doesn't like the flash...then it could hurt

11-06-2007, 10:15
Acually I find it alfully hard to get close enough to a Bull Shark to get a good pic . They seem to take off a the fireing of my strobe.

11-06-2007, 15:12
Acually I find it alfully hard to get close enough to a Bull Shark to get a good pic . They seem to take off a the fireing of my strobe.

Hold off until you see the blacks of its eyes before you fire.:smiley20:


12-11-2007, 21:20
Too many photogs, not enough magazines. Oh well, I have a photo of me printed in a magazine, and in a later issue, a photo I took in the magazine. (hint: A photo of the editor receiving a prize onstage is an easy sell!) And some of my photos appear form time to time onthe Scubaradio website - a half a dozen are their now - all of a bueatiful mermaid named Crystal. -- Whoosh - where did everyone go?

Scuba Gear and Scuba Diving Equipment - Discount dive gear (http://www.scubaradio.com) - then look for the Weeki Wachi chatroom dive.