How to Make Money with the Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Photographers

Woman sitting down at a desk with a laptop and writing down ideas for affiliate programs for photographers

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you get paid by a company for referring customers to them.

A very large number of companies (and often very well known companies) have affiliate marketing programs in place these days, as it is so common for them to get referrals from everyday people.

These referrals often come from a person with a website, like a travel blogger or a personal finance blogger, or it could even be a photographer with a website. There are different types of promotional content out there besides blogs/website content (like ads or email campaigns), but for photographers, a blog is going to be the most common method to do affiliate marketing.

What type of affiliate marketing is right for photographers?

If you search for affiliate marketing programs for photographers, you’re probably going to find lists with programs such as the B&H affiliate program or Adorama’s affiliate program. Basically, affiliate programs for photography equipment.

And this is certainly one possible approach for photographers to take.

However, this is not typically what I would advocate if you’re just getting started with affiliate marketing. Why? Because you will probably be competing with much larger and more well-established websites to essentially publish gear reviews. This is tough because it’s going to be hard to create a gear review blog post that would outrank these sites.

Instead, I recommend that you get a little more creative and broaden your lens so to speak (yes, pun intended).

Yes, you are a photographer, but you are more than that too. You are a small business owner, and you might be a parent, a pet-owner, plant-lover, foodie, expert in your city, or any other number of things.

And to your clients, hopefully you are more than just their photographer. Hopefully, you are a trusted advisor for them as well on any number of related topics. For example, as a newborn or family photographer, you might write blog posts such as “10 Date Night Ideas for New Parents.”

You might frequently give advice to clients or potential clients on much more wide-ranging topics than just photography. You help them in all sorts of ways! And if you don’t yet, affiliate marketing is a great way to get started doing just that.

The way I view affiliate marketing for photographers is that is an opportunity to not only be helpful for you from a passive income standpoint, but it’s also an opportunity for you to become a better photographer by adding value to your clients’ (or potential clients’) lives in whole new ways!

How to find affiliate programs

There’s no single correct way to find affiliate programs that are the best fit for you.

But there are two ways that I typically approach searching for affiliate programs when I’m looking for myself. Both involve setting aside some time for brainstorming and definitely getting creative.

The first way is to start by thinking of products, services, or things that you would already recommend because you love using them yourself. Then go through that list and do a google search for each one to see if it has an affiliate program already in place. (You’ll just do a google search for the name of the product service plus “affiliate program” added afterwards). If you see that there is an affiliate program already, you are in luck! All you have to do now is apply and then start creating content.

The second way sort of works in reverse. You’ll apply to an affiliate network (or perhaps you already have applied and are part of one). Affiliate networks typically have thousands of companies as part of their network and you can apply to the company through the affiliate network. Once you are a part of the affiliate network, you can browse through the companies to see which ones spark ideas for content for you.

Desktop supplies with a keyboard, mouse, microphone, and notepad

Implementing affiliate marketing for photographers

Pretty much all you need to get started implementing affiliate marketing is to have your website set up and apply/join an affiliate program to start making content.

You’re going to start writing blogs on your website that in some way feature the product or service you are including.

When you’re doing this, you will of course want to think about what keywords people might be searching for and try to meet these needs.

However, in my opinion, rather than starting with the end goal of trying to sell something or promote something, the biggest key here is that you should be coming from a genuine place of service. People know when you’re just trying to sell them something, and usually it’s not very effective.

You should be more interested in genuinely helping and adding value for people. Think about posts you would want to write anyway regardless of whether there is an affiliate program. Think about what would help your clients (because that’s good for your business anyway, right?)!

For me, a lot of times the affiliate part is a very, very small part of the content that I am writing. I’m writing a post or article that is truly meant to answer questions my audience might already have and give them information they want or need. The affiliate component should actually be helpful to them in achieving their goal.

How to get started

I think the best way to get started is just to pick ONE idea.

Don’t get overwhelmed by tons of ideas or which would be the “best” idea. Spend a little time brainstorming but then just pick something and get started.

I typically recommend ShareASale as a good affiliate network if you’re just getting started. They are one of the largest networks and have thousands of companies, including the examples listed below.

Example ideas of affiliate programs

KEH Affiliate Program

If you do want to get started with camera equipment, KEH Camera is actually already part of ShareASale so it’s easy to apply within the network at the same time you’re applying for other companies too.

Etsy Affiliate Program

Etsy (also part of ShareASale) is one of my favorite affiliate programs for photographers because it is so incredibly versatile. For example, using the same idea as earlier, if you’re a family photographer writing a post about Date Night Ideas, you could search on Etsy for “date night” and you’ll find hundreds of products that are perfect for date night ideas. Add some of these in with your own ideas like movie night or a wine tasting night and you have a post that is both helpful for your clients and includes affiliate links. This example is just the tip of the iceberg with Etsy. There are SO many different ways to approach this.

Wedding Hashers Affiliate Program

This is just another example of a program within ShareASale that would very easily fit within the photographers realm. Wedding Hashers is a company that comes up with wedding hashtags for couples. If you’re a wedding or couples photographer, you can easily see how this could be turned into a helpful blog post for your clients.

More affiliate program ideas

Need more ideas for affiliate programs? Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Avantlink
  • AWIN
  • Partnerstack
  • Impact
  • Commission Junction (CJ)

The opportunities are endless

When it comes to affiliate ideas, you are really only limited by your own imagination and your time to create content. It’s a great way to generate some passive income and serve your clients at the same time.

Give it a try! Start with just one idea and see where it goes!

Have questions about affiliate marketing for photographers?

Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you!

Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

Post may contain affiliate links. While I may receive a small amount through affiliate links, it is always at no cost to you and all opinions are entirely my own.

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