It is difficult to make a living from photography. Many photographers are asked to work for free even when they use a free pc photo editor to retouch their photos. Photographers have a problem. We are many. So there is a lot of supply.
Even a lot of very good photography. Unfortunately, the demand for photography is low. There are relatively few photography assignments available. Clients, therefore, have a lot of choice and can, therefore, offer low (or even no) compensation. If you don’t do it, ten others are interested. So it is good to realize that your photos are worth nothing if there are easily available, or almost free, alternatives.
Then you can grumble that there is no money to be made with photography, or other photographers who work for less money, or that people do not want to pay for your knowledge and expensive equipment, but that does not change anything. You also do not pay quickly for something that you can also get for free.
There Must Be Added Value.
The only way to get paid well as a photographer is when you are the only one who can deliver what your customer is looking for. There shouldn’t be an easy another way to get similar photos.
Nowadays everyone has a camera in their pocket but not a free pc photo editor. A camera that is perfectly capable of taking beautiful photos. If you take photos that anyone can take, no one will pay you for your photos. Your photos gain value when they are scarce. You cannot create scarcity through better equipment. Even scarcity by a certain technique is relatively easy to copy by others. Scarcity from equipment or technology is only temporary.
The only way to make your work scarce as a photographer is through your reputation. Your photos gain value because you are the one who took the photo.
If you are what makes your photos unique, there is no cheap alternative. No one else can be you. Making money with your photography is no longer a problem.