Sell Images On Stock
If you believe photography is a costly hobby, you are correct, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! Sell Images On Stock
In fact, if you’ve got a decent phone camera along with a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
However you get your clicks, you will find an increasing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And if photography’s already your bag, there are 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 celebration for yourself!
If you’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking one up for a steal), 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 photographs (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this is not necessarily the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing amount of stock libraries are catering for mobile snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing software will help buff your pics for best results, so it’s well worth sniffing out a nice package (and learning how to use it!) So you can make more money with your own photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for photo editing. But they cost dollars! Do not 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 persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it directly from a browser / through the program for free.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it is a more demanding learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be obtained for free or a few pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget 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 buy’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 each time.
Selling photographs through a stock site 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 selection of pics (and be accepted) until you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they don’t think meet standards.
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, though; combine a number of websites and post pics to them to get 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 images for two years. Total win! Your uni will need to be part of this scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Sell Images On Stock
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you could get anywhere from $20 to $500 depending what it’s used for. If you’re not a student, or your uni is not enrolled, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo app (iStore only) earns you a 20% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair has a twist: you decide how much your pictures sell for. Picfair then add 20 percent 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 want to earn more than’enjoys’, you could also pimp your pictures through the market. EyeEm split every sale with you 50/50, with photographs selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to articles, themed missions run by large brands, plus you can upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is constructed around telephone photographers, with everything managed through the app (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you will earn $5 a pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you can submit photographs on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime provide up to 60 percent for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the longer it is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting a phone, start with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15 percent of a picture’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 sort of licence or subscription program the customer purchases determines how your piece 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 different levels. To put that into context, as soon as you’ve earned $10,000, you’ll be bumped up to the heady heights of 38 cents a picture…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Earning money with stock photographs can involve a significant cash-in, but there are a few things worth bearing in mind…
- Stock photography is a numbers game: if you want sales, you’ll need to upload a great deal of quality pics to several sites.
- Photos of individuals are constantly in demand, but anybody you pap may want to sign 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 submit).
- Check the accounts terms! When are you going to get paid, and in what currency? What happens to your photos if you would like to cancel your account in the future?
- 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 advertisements for STDs or hemorrhoid ointment, do not upload’em!
- Sign-up for contributor newsletters, as they can clue you in on what sells, what to snap next, as well as 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 liberty 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 income 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 laboratory, better quality means higher profits! Sell Images On Stock
That means using a suitable printing lab (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or perhaps 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 website hosts give you a secure place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (so you can show’em away ) and shopping tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even take care of the printing and any stamp 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 is not everyone’s cup of cocoa! If you wish to give it a whirl, look out for free 14-day trials before you pony up the money: try Zenfolio or Smugmug.
Get Your Own Photo Shop
As an alternative, you can always get your own site or Etsy shop and hang onto more of your profit!
Getting prints or gifts to market is also super easy; go for print-on-demand and you won’t need to store some stock (or be out of pocket if you can’t shift it!) .
Sell on Social Media Platforms
Eventually the social media giants will wise-up and begin letting us sell photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, have a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered Instagram followers the opportunity to order 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’s worth a shot!
The best thing about selling on social media is that you don’t even need a website: your feed is the portfolio, and you’ve got a enormous potential audience!
Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to generate moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and much more — often using zero setup costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise a great deal of goods, none of them actually exist until somebody buys’em — so there is no stock to shop, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are sites out there that do all the printing, printing and posting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos!
Blurb lets you 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’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Sell Images On Stock
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 begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits let you upload your photographs (or illustrations), select which products you want to sell them on, and give you a cut of the profits if they sell.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their marketplace, but you can choose to have your own online shop and add a mark-up into the price (which you get as your royalty) instead. It is free to set-up and run a store, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties monthly, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle enables you to set your own royalty rate between 5% and 99% but, while it’s 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 harder 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 catch 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 store is low-fuss and cheap — if you are contented with the occasional sale, it can be a wonderful way to generate money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful sellers is that, to earn proper bucks, you’ll need to put in the hours (so just like a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading plenty of photos or designs, getting the word out, and generally try!
Selling photographs anonymously online is simple 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 freelance photographer:
- Know your niche. When it’s individuals, pets, food or something completely left-field, it is a lot easier to market yourself if your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take the time to learn your craft. You may get lucky selling stock if you don’t understand your aperture from your elbow, but you can not afford to chance it if someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Work out your rate and make sure it covers your time, your prices and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance to your gear!
- Give to photograph events, portraits or parties for friends and family to develop a portfolio, and ask them to spread the word for you. Or hunt out your favorite bloggers and pitch them your pic ideas!
- Batter your social media 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 label them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or websites and ask if you can submit photographs or cover local events.
- You may have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than getting 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) however, as soon as you’re in, you’ll get plenty of saleable photo opps!
While everybody with an Insta account appears to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the truth is that being a freelancer is probably the toughest route you may 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 start out 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 ideas on this page in the meantime!
Bonus Tips for Aspiring Photographers
- Carry your camera anyplace — and not only when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photos of daily life and often it’s the simple things that produce the best pics — believe streets, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you’d hate to lose): keep copies on an external drive or in cloud storage (Dropbox provides 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 term, and can save you cash on your tax invoice.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos if they comprise trademarked products, brands or even certain buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or contact the company involved and ask if you need 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 fashion. Amen to that! Sell Images On Stock