A Look Inside My Food Photography Side Hustle

May 22, 2023

I'm Amy! I'm a small business educator who got hooked on entrepreneurship after starting a cleaning business in college. Since my Clorox days, I've built many businesses. I've sold businesses. And I've helped small business owners do the same.


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On today’s episode of Side Checks Podcast, I am bringing you on an exclusive VIP look inside my food photography side hustle.

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My Food Photography Side Hustle

You may not know this about me, but I have a side hustle in food photography. Three days a week I am cooking inside my kitchen and photographing the entire process. My side hustle has been inside my life for three years now. And today I am beyond blessed that this side hustle attributes so much to my career and my household’s income.

Today on the podcast, I am walking you through an inside look of my food photography side hustle. We are going to be talking about what it is that I actually do, the product that I sell, sales, profit margins, hiring, the good, and of course the bad. You can also take a look at my Q1 2023 Income Report for my food photography business right here. This article walks you through financial decisions, what went well during Q1 and what did not.

Growing A Side Hustle

Growing a side hustle can be an amazing adventure. Entrepreneurship does not become successful when it becomes “full-time”. Nor does a business need to operate 5 days a week for it to be successful. If you’re curious and ready to start your own side hustle, download my Free 10-page Side Hustle Starter Kit right here. This download will walk you through your first steps in starting that business idea!

In this episode, I do mention that this business is part-time. I operate this business today 3 days a week. And beforehand, this business operated as a side hustle alongside my corporate role.

Weekly Work Flow

Inside this episode, something that I mention is my weekly workflow. For my business there are a few key parts that need to happen in order to run each week. My workflow stages:

  • recipe development
  • grocery shopping and scheduling
  • cooking and shooting
  • editing and listing inventory

The process begins with recipe development. For my business, I create exclusive recipes that I then sell to food bloggers. These recipes are easy to follow, use simple ingredients, and are family-friendly. Each week I batch develop recipes for myself and my contractors.

From there, I create my weekly shooting schedule and my master grocery list. Each Wednesday I grocery shop for my shooting days. Batch grocery shopping like this saves so much time over the weeks. Learn more about batch working here.

Each Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I shoot for my business. This typically happens in the middle of the day. Therefore, I have the mornings and afternoons to tackle admin tasks such as culling and editing photos.

Listing new inventory is the last part of my weekly workflow. This process always occurs at the end of each week.

Recipe Development and Photography

For my food photography side hustle, it’s important that recipes are simple. The best-selling recipes are easy to create, use simple ingredients, and are family-friendly. Therefore, I must create recipes with this in mind.

The photography for each recipe can be thought of as instructional. The photos are captured to visually demonstrate how to cook the recipe through each step. And the final photos, what we refer to as the “hero photos”, are created to be scrolling-stopping images.

These final photos are typically what is used to promote each recipe on the website and search engines like Google and Pinterest. Per the recipe, I shoot about 170-200 RAW images. And from there, about 70 images are edited and included in the gallery.

Hiring and Contractors

In October of 2022, I begin making my first hires. Hiring contractors for my business became a large part of how the business continued to produce new inventory and make sales without me being the one who was clocking in each day.

With contractors, I have been able to create more inventory, reach a higher net revenue each quarter, and clock less hours for myself.

Today, my food photography side hustle has 4 independent contractors. Each contractor grocery shops, cooks, and shoots recipes that are inside their queue. They are not responsible for editing or creating the recipes. They receive 100% reimbursements for groceries, are paid per recipe, and receive a monthly commission-based bonus.


Sales is another major topic inside this episode. In this episode I break down unit price, monthly sales, profit margin, taxes, and cost of goods sold.

This side hustle does not contain a lot of overhead. Instead, the majority of the cost comes from expenses. For example, grocery costs and labor costs.

Each unit of inventory sells for an average of $250. From here, 33% of this goes directly toward taxes. Another 30% is reserved for labor costs. From here, I earn 20% and the remaining income is set aside in company savings. Company savings is used for absorbing risk, investing, and bonus pay structures.

Creating Your Side Hustle

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or on Spotify to capture the full message. Inside the episode, I walk you through both the pros and cons of running this food photography side hustle. I break down my biggest wins and lessons learned along the way.

If you’re curious and ready to start your own side hustle, I would love to support you! You can download my Free Side Hustle Starter Kit right here. This is a free 10-page guide that helps you take the first steps in turning in any into a business.

And if you need a side hustle business idea, I have 97 of them! Download my free list of 97 Creative and Profitable Ideas For A Side Hustle right here. This list will have you thinking outside the box!

I'm Amy Schmidt

Hi there!

I'm a small business cheerleader, strategist, and course creator who loves seeing others earn income in unconventional ways. I started a cleaning business in college and have side hustled since, selling my latest part-time business for $151,000.

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I'm Amy Schmidt, your new business strategist!

I'm a small business development and sales strategist who loves seeing others earn income in unconventional ways. I started a cleaning business in college and have side hustled since, selling my latest part-time business for $151,000

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