How To Make Money By Selling Pictures Of Yourself
If you think photography is a costly hobby, you’re right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your own photos! How To Make Money By Selling Pictures Of Yourself
In actuality, if you have got a decent phone camera along with a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, there are an increasing number of opportunities to monetise photos you have already taken. And if photography’s already your bag, there are heaps more ways to develop your abilities, 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 up one to get a sneak ), you will have more options for selling pics to stock libraries, to sites 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 nowadays 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 can help buff your pics for the best results, so it is well 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 dollars! 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 such as color correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of resources for tweaking colours, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser / through the program for free.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it is a tougher learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be had for free or a few pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget the bloatware image software bundled into your’puter, phone or notebook. 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 every time.
Selling photos through a stock website 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 need to submit a selection 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 gladly 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, however; combine multiple sites and post pics to them to find the best possible coverage.
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. How To Make Money By Selling Pictures Of Yourself
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 is not registered, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo program (iStore only) provides 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 want to earn more than’likes’, you can also pimp your images through the marketplace. EyeEm divide 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 net or phone.
- Foap is constructed around phone photographers, with everything handled through the app (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you’ll make $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you are able to submit photographs on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photo sells for also goes up the more it’s downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime app (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 plan the customer buys determines how your slice is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription plans, but say you will get a larger cut as your lifetime earnings pass various 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 an image…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Making 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 will need to upload a great deal of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anybody you pap may want to sign a model release form to say they’re OK with you using it (your stock library will have template forms you can print, sign and publish ).
- Assess the account 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 photographs, so if 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 could 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 people find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There’s loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photographs ). You decide what to take, who to market to, and for how much and, like selling through stock libraries, it can be a wonderful little passive income earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch print your holiday snaps, there’s a bit more to it. While you can run off pictures on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means greater profits! How To Make Money By Selling Pictures Of Yourself
That means using a suitable 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 is inspiration below to get you started.
Use a Photo Host
Photographer-friendly site hosts provide you with a safe 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 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’s not everybody’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 could always get your own site 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 have 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, have a hint from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he provided Instagram followers the opportunity to order prints from his feed and made $15k in a single 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 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 more — often using zero set-up costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise tons of products, 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 producing, printing and posting for you, so all you’ve got to do is take the photos!
Blurb lets you create photo books by simply importing your Facebook or Insta images — and you’ll be able to sell your finished book on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could even advertise books on your website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! How To Make Money By Selling Pictures Of Yourself
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photograph on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothes 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 wish 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 market, but you may opt to have your own online store and add a mark-up to the price (which you get as your royalty) instead. It’s free to set up and run a store, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties monthly, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle lets you 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 might 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 shop and grab 20% commission.
- Redbubble begins 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’d like.
Running a print-on-demand store is low-fuss and low-cost — if you are happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to generate cash on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful sellers is that, to earn proper bucks, you’ll need to put in the hours (so the same as a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots 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 customers 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 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 know your aperture from 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!
- Offer to photo events, portraits or parties for friends and family to build up 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 media account with your best pics, let folk know you are available, and tell’em how to get connected. Get cheeky and take alternative promo shots for brands, then tag them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or sites and ask if you can submit photos or cover local events.
- You may have more chance of being 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 become a member of the National Union of Journalists) however, once you’re in, you’re going to 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 may take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and decent pics — and you may well have to give away images for free when you first start out to get noticed. If you’re in it for the career, do not quit. 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 anyplace — and not only when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photographs of daily life and often it’s the simple things which make the best pics — think streets, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, 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).
- Once you start getting sales, get to grips with tax and the freelancing fundamentals. It’ll save you stress in the long run, and can save you money on your tax bill.
- You may not be able to sell photos if they include trademarked products, brands or perhaps certain buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or get the company involved and ask if you require permission to hawk your snaps.
- Don’t just do the same-old or what everybody else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! How To Make Money By Selling Pictures Of Yourself