Cell Phone Images
If you believe photography is an expensive hobby, you’re right, it can be. But that does not mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! Cell Phone Images
In actuality, if you have got a good phone camera along with a steady hand, you are already in with a shot.
However you get your clicks, you will find a growing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And if photography’s already your bag, you will find 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 have got a digital camera (or fancy picking up one for a steal), 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 usually 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 amount of inventory libraries are catering for mobile snaps, plus you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing program will help buff your pics for the best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a decent bundle (and learning how to use it!) So you can earn more money with your own photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for picture 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 straight 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 persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it directly from a browser / through the program at no cost.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess 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) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, telephone or laptop. Most can make light work of the fundamentals.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries buy’n’ sell digital photographs to use on websites, in books, on products and even 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 photograph 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 may become a stock library contributor. After that, some websites will continue reviewing all your submissions, and will happily bounce any they don’t think meet criteria.
What that means is you will always need to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, however; join multiple sites and post pics to them to get the best possible policy.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their pupil contributor scheme provides you 100% of the sales price of your images for two years. Total win! Your uni will need to be part of the scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Cell Phone Images
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 are 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 comes with a twist: you decide to what extent your images 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 site 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 photos selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to content, themed missions run by big brands, plus you can upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is built 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 make $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you can submit photos 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 start at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime program (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 piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most frequent subscription programs, but say you will find a larger cut as your life earnings pass various levels. To put that into context, once you’ve earned $10,000, you’ll 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 couple of things worth bearing in mind…
- Stock photography is a numbers game: if you want sales, you will need to upload a great deal of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of people are always in demand, but anyone you pap may need 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 publish ).
- Check the accounts terms! When are you going to get paid, and in what currency? What happens to your photos if you want to cancel your account in the future?
- You often won’t get a state in how customers use your photos, so if you don’t need your selfies turning up in advertisements for STDs or benzoyl peroxide, don’t 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 enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your images. It helps folk 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 take, 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’s a bit more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means greater profits! Cell Phone Images
That means using a proper printing lab (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or even 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 take care of the printing and any stamp every time you make a sale. 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 everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you want to give it a whirl, look out for free 14-day trials until 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 gain!
Obtaining prints or gifts to market is also super straightforward; 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 sell photos and other content right from our profiles.
But until then, take a tip 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 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 have 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 with zero set-up costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise tons of goods, none of them really exist until someone buys’em — so there’s no stock to store, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are sites out there that do all the producing, printing and submitting 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’ll be able to sell your final novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can even advertise books on your website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Cell Phone Images
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 let you upload your photos (or illustrations), select which products you wish 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 market, but you can opt to have your own online shop and add a mark-up to the price (which you get as your royalty) instead. 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% but, while it is tempting to dial it up to full whack, keep in mind 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 marketplace, or you can open your own store and catch 20% commission.
- Redbubble begins with a product base cost and lets you add on a mark-up — the default is 20%, but you can tweak it as much as you’d like.
Running a print-on-demand shop is low-fuss and low-cost — if you’re contented with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make cash on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful sellers is that, to earn proper bucks, you will want to put in the hours (so just like a job, sadly). We’re talking uploading plenty of photos or layouts, getting the word out, and generally making an effort!
Selling photos 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 a lot easier to market yourself if your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take time to learn your craft. You may get lucky selling stock if you don’t know your aperture from your elbow, but you can not afford to chance it when someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Work out your rate and be sure it covers your time, your costs and leaves you a little on top for profit. And get insurance for your gear!
- Offer to photo 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’re available, and tell’em how to get in touch. Get cheeky and take alternative promo shots for brands, then label them to get noticed.
- Get in touch with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or sites and ask if you can submit photos or pay local events.
- You may have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket which 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, as soon as you’re in, you’re going to get plenty of saleable photo opps!
While everyone with an Insta account appears to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the reality is that being a freelancer may be the toughest route you may take.
You’ll need a great deal 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’re in it for the career, do not give up. If you are 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 everywhere — 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 make the best pics — think roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or some you’d hate to lose): keep 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 will save you stress in the long run, and could save you cash on your tax bill.
- You might not be able to sell photos should they include trademarked products, brands or even certain buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or contact the company involved and ask if you require permission to hawk your snaps.
- Don’t just do the same-old or what everyone else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! Cell Phone Images