How To Sell Stock Photos On Etsy
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you are right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! How To Sell Stock Photos On Etsy
In actuality, if you have got a decent phone camera along with a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
However you get your clicks, there are a growing number of opportunities to monetise photos you have already taken. And when 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’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking up one for a steal), you’ll 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 isn’t always the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing amount of stock libraries are catering for cellular snaps, plus you still have a shot at the other biz ideas below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing program will help buff your pics for the best results, so it’s 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 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 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 tools for tweaking colours, curves and much more.
- PIXLR is a persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the very same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the program for free.
- GIMP can do much of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it’s a tougher learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing programs to be obtained for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t overlook the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, phone or laptop. Many can make light work of the fundamentals.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries buy’n’ sell digital photos 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 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 might need 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 do not think meet standards.
What that means is you’ll always need to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, though; combine a number of sites and post pics to all of 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 2 years. Total win! Your uni will have to be part of the scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. How To Sell Stock Photos On Etsy
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you might get anywhere from $20 to $500 depending what it’s used for. If you are 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% reduction.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair comes with 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 site but, if you wish to earn more than’enjoys’, 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 content, themed missions run by big brands, plus you can upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is constructed around phone photographers, with everything handled through the app (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and splits 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 cash and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime provide up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photo sells for also goes up the more it is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15% of an image’s sales price, but promise a bigger cut if you make the pic exclusive to the site. Photos typically sell for #7 or #20 a go, but the sort of license or subscription program the customer buys determines how your piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most frequent subscription plans, but say you will find a bigger cut as your life earnings pass various 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 a picture…
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’ll need to upload lots of quality pics to several sites.
- Photos of people are constantly in demand, but anybody you pap may need to sign 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 publish ).
- Check the accounts terms! When will you 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 say in how clients use your photographs, so in case you don’t need your selfies turning up in advertisements 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 improve your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your pictures. It helps folk find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There is loads of freedom in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photos). You decide what to shoot, who to sell to, and for how much and, like selling through stock libraries, it can be a wonderful little passive revenue earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch print your holiday snaps, there is a little more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means greater profits! How To Sell Stock Photos On Etsy
That means using a proper printing lab (one which specialises in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or perhaps selling limited 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 provide you with 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 take care of the printing and any postage 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 want to give it a whirl, be aware of 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 website or Etsy store and hang onto more of your gain!
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 not shift it!) .
Sell on Social Media Platforms
Eventually the social media giants will wise-up and begin letting us market photos and other content right from our profiles.
But until then, have 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 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 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 setup costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of products, none of them really exist until someone buys’em — so there’s no stock to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are sites out there that do all the printing, printing and submitting 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 pictures — and you’ll be able to sell your finished book on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could also advertise books on your own website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! How To Sell 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 don’t even need a glue gun to begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photos (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 market, but you may opt to have your very own online store and add a mark-up into 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 each month, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle lets you set your own royalty rate between 5% 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 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 shop and catch 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 shop is low-fuss and cheap — if you’re happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice 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 freelancer photographer:
- Know your market . When it’s individuals, pets, food or something completely left-field, it is easier to market yourself whether your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take the 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 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 to your equipment!
- 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 choose alternative promo shots for brands, then label them to get noticed.
- Get in touch with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or websites 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 could get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You’ll want to apply each time (or become a member of the National Union of Journalists) however, as soon as you’re in, you’re going to get loads of saleable photo opps!
While everybody 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 decent 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 ideas on this page in the meantime!
Bonus Tips for Aspiring Photographers
- Carry your camera everywhere — and not just when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photographs of everyday 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).
- Once you start getting sales, get to grips with tax and the freelancing fundamentals. It will save you stress in the long run, and can save you money on your tax invoice.
- You might not be able 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 vogue. Amen to that! How To Sell Stock Photos On Etsy