Best Sell Stock Photos
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you are right, it can be. But that does not mean that you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your own photos! Best Sell Stock Photos
In fact, if you’ve got a decent phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, you will find a growing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And when photography’s already your bag, there are heaps more ways to develop your skills, and income; from selling your Insta stock to pulling a Brooklyn Beckham (famous parents optional).
You know the drill: read, learn, and give it a celebration for yourself!
If you’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking one up to get a sneak ), you will have more options for selling pics to stock libraries, to websites for prints, or for print-on-demand products. This is because cameras will generally produce larger file photographs (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this is not always the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing number of inventory libraries are catering for mobile snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz ideas below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing program can help buff your pics for best results, so it’s worth sniffing out a decent package (and learning how to use it!) So you can make more money with your photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for photo editing. But they cost bucks! Don’t crack open your wallet until you’ve checked out the freebies:
- FastStone Image Viewer can open RAW files directly from your digital camera and save them as JPG, TIFF or PNGs. OK for basic edits like colour correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of resources for tweaking colors, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the very same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the app for free.
- GIMP can do much of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it’s a more demanding learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be had for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t overlook the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, phone or notebook. Most can make light work of the basics.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries purchase’n’ sell digital photographs to use on websites, in books, on goods as well as in ads, together with the photographer getting a cut of the sale every time.
Selling photographs through a stock website is a top way to surf passive income streams: you can upload a photo once and sell it over and over again, pretty much forever!
You may have to submit a choice of pics (and be accepted) before you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they do not think meet criteria.
What that means is you will always have to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, however; join multiple sites and post pics to all of them to find the best possible policy.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their student contributor scheme gives you 100% of the sales price of your pictures for two years. Total win! Your uni will need to be part of this scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Best Sell Stock Photos
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you might get anywhere from $20 to $500 depending what it is used for. If you’re not a student, or your uni isn’t registered, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo program (iStore only) provides you a 20% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair has a twist: you decide how much your images sell for. Picfair then add 20% on top for their cut, but the sales price you set is what you get if your image sells.
- EyeEm: if Instagram and Alamy had a love child, this is what it would look like. EyeEm is a photo sharing website but, if you wish to earn more than’likes’, you could also pimp your pictures through the marketplace. EyeEm split every sale with you 50/50, with photographs selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to articles, themed missions run by big brands, plus you’ll be able to upload pics via the web or phone.
- Foap is built around telephone photographers, with everything managed through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you will make $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you are able to submit photos on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60 percent for exclusives. How much your photo sells for also goes up the longer it is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting on a phone, start with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15 percent of a picture’s sales price, but promise a bigger cut if you make the pic exclusive to the website. Photos typically sell for #7 or #20 a go, but the sort of license or subscription plan the customer purchases determines how your slice is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription programs, but say you’ll get a bigger cut as your lifetime earnings pass various levels. To put that into context, once you’ve earned $10,000, you will be bumped up to the heady heights of 38 cents an image…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Earning money with stock photographs can involve a significant cash-in, but there are a couple of things worth bearing in mind…
- Stock photography is a numbers game: if you want sales, you’ll need to upload lots of quality pics to several sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anyone you pap might want to sign a model release form to say they’re OK with you using it (your inventory library will have template forms you can print, sign and submit).
- Assess the account terms! When will you get paid, and in what currency? What happens to your photos if you would like to cancel your account later on?
- You often won’t get a say in how clients use your photos, so in case you don’t want your selfies turning up in ads for STDs or hemorrhoid ointment, don’t upload’em!
- Sign-up for contributor newsletters, as they can clue you in on what sells, what to snap next, and even how to enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your pictures. It helps folk find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There is loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photographs ). You decide what to take, who to sell to, and for how much and, like selling through stock libraries, it can be a nice little passive income earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch publish your holiday snaps, there’s a little more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means greater profits! Best Sell Stock Photos
That means using a suitable printing laboratory (one which specialises in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or perhaps selling restricted or signed editions. Sounds like a drag? Not necessarily; there’s inspiration below to get you started.
Use a Photo Host
Photographer-friendly website hosts give you a secure place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (which means you can show’em away ) and purchasing tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even handle the printing and any postage every time you make a purchase. Hashtag hallelujah, right?
But the big catch is, not only do they charge for hosting your site, they also take a cheeky cut from each sale — and that’s not everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you wish to give it a whirl, be aware of free 14-day trials before you pony up the cash: try Zenfolio or Smugmug.
Get Your Own Photo Shop
Alternatively, you could always get your own website or Etsy shop and hang onto more of your profit!
Getting prints or gifts to sell is also super easy; go for print-on-demand and you won’t need to store any stock (or be out of pocket if you can not shift it!) .
Sell on Social Media Platforms
Eventually the social networking giants will wise-up and begin letting us market photos and other content right from our profiles.
But until then, take a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he provided Instagram followers the opportunity to purchase prints from his feed — and made $15k in one day. Obviously it helps if you’ve already got a strong fanbase, but if you have talent (and the right hashtags) it is worth a shot!
The best thing about selling on social media is that you don’t even need a website: your feed is your portfolio, and you’ve got a massive potential audience!
Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to make moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and more — often with zero set-up costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise a great deal of products, none of them actually exist until somebody buys’em — so there is no inventory to shop, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are sites out there that do all of the printing, printing and posting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos!
Blurb enables you to create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta images — and you can sell your final novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can even advertise books on your own website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Best Sell Stock Photos
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photograph on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothing and PJs; and you don’t even need a glue gun to get started!
Most print-on-demand outfits let you upload your photos (or illustrations), select which products you want to sell them on, and then give you a cut of the profits if they market.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their marketplace, but you can opt to have your very own online shop and add a mark-up into the cost (which you get as your royalty) rather than It is free to set up and run a shop, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties monthly, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle enables you to set your own royalty rate between 5 percent and 99 percent but, while it’s tempting to dial it up to full whack, keep in mind that your cut is added to the sales price: go OTT and you might find it harder to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you may add a mark-up of $1 to $20 on items sold through the market, or you can start your own store and catch 20% commission.
- Redbubble starts with a product base cost and allows you to add on a mark-up — the default is 20%, but you can tweak it as much as you like.
Running a print-on-demand store is low-fuss and low-cost — if you’re contented with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to generate money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful vendors is that, to earn proper bucks, you’ll want to put in the hours (so just like a job, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots of photos or designs, getting the word out, and generally try!
Selling photos anonymously online is easy enough. But if you want to build a rep, get more glory or just have clients of your own, here are some tips to get started as a freelancer photographer:
- Know your market . Whether it’s individuals, pets, food or something completely left-field, it is a lot easier to market yourself whether your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take time to learn your craft. You may get lucky selling stock if you don’t understand your aperture out of your elbow, but you can’t afford to chance it if someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Work out your rate and make sure it covers your time, your costs and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance to your equipment!
- Offer to photograph events, parties or portraits for family and friends to develop a portfolio, and ask them to spread the word for you. Or search out your favorite bloggers and pitch them your pic ideas!
- Batter your social media account with your best pics, let folk know you’re available, and tell’em how to get connected. Get cheeky and take alternative promo shots for brands, then label them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or websites and ask if you can submit photos or pay local events.
- You might have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket that could get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You’ll want to apply each time (or become a member of the National Union of Journalists) but, once you’re in, you’ll get loads of saleable photo opps!
While everybody with an Insta account seems to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the reality is that being a freelancer may be the toughest route you can take.
You’ll need tons of patience, perseverance, good shoes and decent pics — and you may well have to give away pictures for free when you first begin to get noticed. If you’re in it for the career, do not give up. If you’re in it for the money, get your game on with the other thoughts on this page in the meantime!
Bonus Tips for Aspiring Photographers
- Carry your camera anyplace — and not just when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photographs of daily life and often it is the simple things that make the best pics — believe streets, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or some you would hate to lose): keep copies on an external drive or in cloud storage (Dropbox gives you 2GB of space for free).
- Once you start getting sales, get to grips with tax and the freelancing fundamentals. It will save you stress in the long run, and can save you cash on your tax invoice.
- You may not be able to sell photos should they comprise trademarked products, brands or perhaps specific buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or get the company involved and ask if you require permission to hawk your own snaps.
- Don’t just do the same-old or what everyone else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in vogue. Amen to that! Best Sell Stock Photos