Once you break away from auto and start to use the more creative modes such as manual, aperture priority and shutter priority, you can start to produce images that really stand out from the crowd.
Now that your images are more professional looking, they are more attractive as commercial images which means you can start to make money from them!
You can train to be a wedding photographer, a portrait photographer, commercial photographer, property photographer or even a stock photographer.
Most of these industries require a large investment in equipment, advertising and time set aside for meetings, displays, album, book and slideshow creation and usually only earn money once.
The latter of the above list is stock photography...something many people think is either out of their league or reserved for the professional photographers but it is an industry that continues to pay dividends on images for as long as they are for sale.
In the past, it was virtually impossible for the amateur or beginner photographer to break into this field as the criteria for acceptance was fairly strict.
In around 2004, microstock was born.
Microstock gave us not only affordable, high quality stock images that anyone could afford, but it gave many amateur photographers the chance to earn money using just their DSLR camera and lens.
Photographers from all walks of life, some professional, some amateur and many beginners jumped at the chance and started uploading images. Some of those beginners are now full time, professional stock photographers making a very nice living from selling their images.
The industry is still growing and the opportunity is still huge for anyone wanting to get into stock photography. You can work at your own pace and know that the more effort you put in, the more you could earn.
For a great resource which covers everything you need to know to get started in stock photography,
check out How To Sell Stock Photos by Nick Stubbs