How To Make Money Selling Photos On Etsy
If you believe photography is an expensive hobby, you are right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your photos! How To Make Money Selling Photos On Etsy
In fact, if you have got a decent phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, there are a growing 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 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 generally 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 number of stock libraries are catering for cellular snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz ideas below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing software will help buff your pics for best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a nice package (and learning how to use it!) So you can earn more money with your 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 straight from 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 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 directly from a browser through the app for free.
- 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 had for free or a couple of 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 notebook. Most can make light work of the basics.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries purchase’n’ sell digital photos to use on websites, in books, on products as well as in ads, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each 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 choice of pics (and be accepted) until you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some websites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they don’t think meet standards.
What that means is you’ll always have to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, though; join a number of sites and post pics to them to find 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 need to be part of the scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. How To Make Money Selling Photos On Etsy
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 is not enrolled, 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 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 wish 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 built around phone photographers, with everything handled through the app (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you’ll 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 money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60% 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, begin 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 plan the customer purchases determines how your slice is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most frequent subscription programs, but say you will get a larger cut as your life 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
Earning money with stock photos 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 several sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anybody you pap may want to signal 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).
- Check the accounts terms! When will you 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 customers use your photos, so if 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 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 images. It helps people find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There is loads of freedom 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 publish your holiday snaps, there is a little more to it. While you can run off pictures on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means higher profits! How To Make Money Selling Photos On Etsy
That means using a proper printing laboratory (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert 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 provide you with 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 handle the printing and any stamp each time you make a purchase. 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’s not everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you wish to give it a whirl, be aware of free 14-day trials until you pony up the cash: 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 gain!
Obtaining prints or gifts to market is also super straightforward; go for print-on-demand and you won’t have to store some 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 market photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, take a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered 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 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 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 much more — often with zero set-up costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of goods, none of them really exist until someone buys’em — so there is no inventory to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are sites out there that do all the producing, 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 pictures — and you can sell your final book 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! How To Make Money Selling Photos On Etsy
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 photographs (or illustrations), select which products you wish 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 market, but you may choose to have your very own online shop 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 store, 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 might find it more difficult 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 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 like.
Running a print-on-demand shop is low-fuss and low-cost — if you are happy with the occasional sale, it can be a wonderful way to generate money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful vendors is that, to make proper bucks, you will want to put in the hours (so the same as a job, sadly). We’re talking uploading plenty of photos or layouts, 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 freelancer photographer:
- Know your niche. Whether it’s people, pets, food or something completely 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 know your aperture out of your elbow, but you can not afford to chance it when someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Workout your rate and make sure it covers your time, your prices and leaves you a little on top for profit. And get insurance to your equipment!
- Give to photo events, parties or portraits for family and friends 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 networking account with your best pics, let folk know you are available, and tell’em how to get in touch. Get cheeky and take alternative promo shots for brands, then tag them to get noticed.
- Get in touch with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or websites and ask if you can submit photos or cover local events.
- You may have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket which 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’ll get loads of saleable photo opps!
While everyone with an Insta account seems to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the truth is that being a freelancer may be the toughest route you can take.
You’ll need a great deal 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 are 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 just when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photos of daily life and often it is the simple things which make the best pics — believe roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you’d hate to lose): maintain copies on an external drive or in cloud storage (Dropbox gives 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 might not be able to sell photos should 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 require permission to hawk your 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! How To Make Money Selling Photos On Etsy