When you’ve been out partying at a club you may have noticed someone going around with a camera taking photos. Chances are you may have wondered who exactly they work for and how they make money photographing drunkards like yourself. Well, it’s actually a great starting point for budding photographers and is a great way to earn a little extra cash. Realistically a nightclub photographer should be earning anything from £30-£100 a night if they are being paid directly by the club, so this can be a nice little earner.
- Who could be a nightclub photographer?
- What does being a nightclub photographer entail?
- How do I get my first nightclub photographer job?
- How much will I get paid for my photography?
- What photographic equipment will I need?
- Interview with a nightclub photographer
Anyone can become a nightclub photographer, although it will obviously help if you feel comfortable in the clubbing scene and have the confidence to approach strangers to take their picture. It’s particularly suited for students who are looking to earn a little extra cash during their studies. You’d probably be out all night on a weekend anyway, right?
But it also suits anyone interested in pursuing a career in photography. Don’t be fooled; nightclub photography is not particularly easy and producing good quality pictures that work with the lighting and which capture the atmosphere and mood of the night requires some skill.
As a nightclub photographer you are getting paid to photograph people as they are clubbing, as well as taking photographs of the crowd as a whole. It’s your job to make the club look as appealing and attractive as possible, whilst also capturing memories of people’s good times.
Some may think that is where the job ends, but that is not the case. You will then need to upload the photos online for the club to use. This can be a lengthy process, and you will likely be expected to do it the following day or even straight after you finish taking pictures. Some photos will probably need editing and resizing and this can all take some time, so you must have a real passion for getting the best photos you can.
To begin with it would be worth contacting the clubs in your area directly and asking them if there are any available nights you could do. It is always helpful if you know someone who works in the club who can put in a good word for you such as the DJ, promoters or manager.
If not, start networking so the staff get to know you. Offer to do photography at an event for free so you can prove to them you have the skills required. Don’t, however, continue to work for free. The club will be drumming up business from your work and should, therefore, be paying you.
Another way in might be to work for companies who employ you to sell key rings and pay you commission. This is not the most rewarding form of nightclub photography, and we certainly don’t recommend it as a long term job.
You will still take photos but the only money you will make will be a commission from selling key rings using the photo you took (the company should provide you with a key ring cutter and printer). In other words, you do all the hard work and then only get a percentage of your sales. However it has allowed photographers to prove themselves and move on to getting paid for their photography.
It’s also worth checking on craigslist.co.uk to see if there are any advertised photography jobs in your local area.
As you are self-employed you get to choose how much you get paid per hour, although some clubs might have fixed rates. Whilst you shouldn’t be greedy and price yourself out of a job, it’s also important to make sure you charge a fair amount.
You should probably be charging at least £20 per hour, possibly even £30. It might sound steep but remember you are working anti-social hours, you will be spending a fair amount of time editing images and you will have probably forked out a fair bit on your equipment.
You will need a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. These can come as cheap as £200 but for top of the range models you can pay around £2000. Whilst a good quality camera will come in handy, don’t forget that you will be bringing it to the club which is packed full of intoxicated, clumsy people, so it may not be wise to bring along the most expensive model that money can buy.
You will also most likely need an external flash, which are around £20-£60, and you might consider buying a diffuser to go with that, which will help evenly distribute the light from your flash. You will also need a memory card, preferably around 4 gigs, so that you don’t run out of space. Finally it is worth owning photo editing software like, for example, Adobe Light Room (Student edition: £59.99) which should provide you with all the tools you will need to make your pictures perfect.
Admittedly this is all quite costly so photography will need to be something you are generally passionate about if you are to make this financial cost worth it. However we emphasise again that you don’t need to buy top of the range, buying cheap will be safer in the clubbing environment and preferable if you’re not sure how long you intend to pursue photography.
Moneymagpie interviewed Leon Anderson, who has been earning money as a nightclub photographer for over a year – perfection-photography.net
When and how did you get your first job as a nightclub photographer?
I became a photographer at the end of September 2012. I started with no experience of the job, other than
my basic college level education of photography. I originally started with a company who paid me commission for selling keyrings.
How much would you expect to earn per night?
When working under my independent brand name I was earning £40 per night for just two hours of work.
What is the best thing about being a nightclub photographer?
It has some fantastic perks such as free drinks depending on club management rules, free entry to the clubs and you develop a reputation. By far the best thing is the social reputation you gain, it gives you so much confidence and self-esteem.
Who would suit being a nightclub photographer?
Anybody who has a basic knowledge of photography and who is willing to build and learn new skills. Some computer skills will be handy, especially with Photoshop.
What would be your advice to anyone thinking about giving it a go?
If you have a passion and eye for creativity, go for it and do it with all your heart. It will give a sense of stability in your life and a social life that before I started this job I had only dream about. So my advice is, if you’re going to give it a go, always be willing to learn something new, because you will with every single night out on the job.
For a guide on producing the best possible nightclub photographs visit subtlesensor.com, a site set up by a nightclub photographer for those interested in getting in on the act.