Selling Stock Photos On Etsy
If you believe photography is a costly hobby, you’re right, it can be. But that does not mean you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your photos! Selling Stock Photos On Etsy
In actuality, if you have got a decent phone cam and a steady hand, you are 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, you will find heaps more ways to develop your abilities, and income; from selling your Insta inventory to pulling a Brooklyn Beckham (famous parents optional).
You know the drill: read, learn, and give it a bash for yourself!
If you have got a digital camera (or fancy picking up one to get a sneak ), you’ll have more options for selling pics to stock libraries, to websites for prints, or for print-on-demand products. This is because cameras will usually produce larger file photos (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams nowadays so this isn’t necessarily the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing amount of inventory libraries are catering for mobile snaps, plus you still have a shot at the other biz ideas below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing software will help buff your pics for best results, so it’s worth sniffing out a nice package (and learning how to use it!) So you can make more money with your photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for picture 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 out of your digital camera and save them as JPG, TIFF or PNGs. OK for basic edits like color correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of tools for tweaking colours, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the 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 tougher learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing programs to be had for free or a few pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Do not overlook the bloatware image software bundled into your’puter, phone or laptop. Most can make light work of the basics.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries buy’n’ sell digital photos 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 photos through a stock website is a top way to browse passive income streams: you can upload a photo once and sell it over and over again, pretty much forever!
You might have to submit a choice of pics (and be accepted) until you may become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will continue reviewing all your submissions, and will happily bounce any they don’t think meet criteria.
What that means is you’ll always need to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, though; join multiple websites and post pics to them to get the best possible coverage.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their pupil contributor scheme gives you 100% of the sales price of your images for two years. Total win! Your uni will have to be part of this scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Stock Photos On Etsy
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you could 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) earns you a 20% reduction.
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 site butif you want to earn more than’likes’, you could also pimp your images through the marketplace. EyeEm divide every sale with you 50/50, with photos selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to articles, themed missions run by large brands, plus you’ll be able to upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is constructed around phone photographers, with everything handled through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you will make $5 a 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 cash and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photo sells for also goes up the longer it’s downloaded: newbie images start at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting on a phone, start with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15% of an image’s sales price, but guarantee a bigger cut if you make the pic exclusive to the website. Photos typically sell for #7 or #20 a go, but the type of licence or subscription program 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 larger cut as your lifetime earnings pass different levels. To put that into context, as soon as 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 substantial cash-in, but there are a few things worth bearing in mind…
- Stock photography is a numbers game: if you want sales, you will need to upload lots of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of people are constantly in demand, but anyone you pap may need to signal a model release form to say they’re OK with you with it (your inventory library will have template forms you can print, sign and publish ).
- Assess the accounts terms! When will you get paid, and in what currency? What happens to your photos if you want to cancel your account later on?
- You often won’t get a say in how customers use your photos, so in case you don’t want your selfies turning up in ads for STDs or benzoyl peroxide, do not upload’em!
- Sign-up for contributor newsletters, as they could clue you in on what sells, what to snap next, and even how to improve your camera or editing skills.
- Add plenty of keywords when you upload your images. It helps people find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There’s loads of freedom in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photos). You decide what to shoot, who to market to, and for how much and, like selling through stock libraries, it can be a nice little passive revenue earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch publish your holiday snaps, there is a bit more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means higher profits! Selling Stock Photos On Etsy
That means using a proper printing lab (one which specialises in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or even selling restricted or signed editions. Seems like a drag? Not necessarily; there is inspiration below to get you started.
Use a Photo Host
Photographer-friendly site hosts give you a secure place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (which means you can show’em off) and shopping tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even handle the printing and any postage each time you make a sale. Hashtag hallelujah, right?
But the big catch is, not only do they charge for hosting your website, they also take a cheeky cut from each sale — and that is not everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you want 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 can always get your own site or Etsy shop and hang onto more of your profit!
Obtaining prints or gifts to sell is also super straightforward; go for print-on-demand and you won’t have to store any stock (or be out of pocket if you can’t shift it!) .
Sell on Social Media Platforms
Eventually the social networking giants will wise-up and start letting us sell photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, take a hint from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he provided Instagram followers the chance to order prints from his feed and made $15k in one day. Obviously it helps if you’ve already got a solid fanbase, but if you have talent (and the ideal 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 much more — often using zero set-up costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise a great deal of products, none of them actually exist until someone buys’em — so there is no inventory to store, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are sites out there that do all the printing, printing and submitting for you, so all you have to do is take the photographs!
Blurb lets you create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta images — and you can sell your finished novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could also advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Selling Stock Photos On Etsy
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photo on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothes and PJs; and you do not even need a glue gun to begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose which products you want to sell them on, and give you a cut of the profits if they market.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their marketplace, but you may opt to have your very own online store and add a mark-up to the cost (which you get as your royalty) rather than It’s free to set-up and run a shop, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties each month, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle lets you set your own royalty rate between 5% and 99 percent but, while it is tempting to dial it up to full whack, remember that your cut is added to the sales price: go OTT and you may find it more difficult to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you can add a mark-up of $1 to $20 on items sold through the market, or you can start your own store and grab 20% commission.
- Redbubble starts with a product base price 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 shop is low-fuss and low-cost — if you’re happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful vendors is that, to earn proper bucks, you will need to put in the hours (so just like a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots of photos or layouts, getting the word out, and generally making an effort!
Selling photographs anonymously online is easy enough. But if you want to build a rep, get more glory or just have customers of your own, here are some tips to get started as a freelancer photographer:
- Know your niche. Whether it’s people, pets, food or something totally left-field, it is easier to market yourself if your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take time to learn your craft. You can get lucky selling stock in case you don’t understand your aperture out of your elbow, but you can’t afford to chance it when someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Work out your rate and be sure it covers your time, your prices and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance for your gear!
- Give to photograph events, portraits or parties for family and friends to develop a portfolio, and ask them to spread the word for you. Or hunt out your favourite bloggers and pitch them your pic ideas!
- Batter your social networking account with your best pics, let folk know you are available, and tell’em how to get connected. Get cheeky and choose alternative promo shots for brands, then tag them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or websites and ask if you can submit photographs or cover local events.
- You may have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket that can get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You’ll need to apply each time (or be a member of the National Union of Journalists) but, once you’re in, you’ll get loads of saleable photo opps!
While everyone 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 adequate pics — and you may well have to give away pictures for free when you first begin to get noticed. If you are in it for the career, don’t give up. If you’re in it for the money, get your game on with the other ideas on this page in the meantime!
Bonus Tips for Aspiring Photographers
- Carry your camera everywhere — and not only when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photos of daily life and often it is the simple things which produce the best pics — think roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or some you’d hate to lose): maintain copies on an external drive or in cloud storage (Dropbox provides you 2GB of space for free).
- As soon as you start getting sales, get to grips with tax and the freelancing fundamentals. It’ll save you stress in the long term, and could save you cash on your tax invoice.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos if they comprise trademarked products, brands or even 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.
- Do not just do the same-old or what everyone else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in vogue. Amen to that! Selling Stock Photos On Etsy