Photos And Selling
If you think photography is a costly hobby, you are right, it can be. But that does not mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! Photos And Selling
In fact, if you’ve got a decent phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But 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 luggage, 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 bash for yourself!
If you’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking one up for a steal), 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 usually produce larger file photos (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this isn’t necessarily 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 thoughts below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some type 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 photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for photo editing. But they cost bucks! 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 such as 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 simplifies the same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the program at no cost.
- GIMP can do much of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it’s a tougher 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 image software bundled into your’puter, telephone or laptop. Many 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 advertisements, 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 continue reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they do not think meet criteria.
What that means is you will always have to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, however; combine 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 pictures for 2 years. Total win! Your uni will have to be part of this scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Photos And Selling
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’re not a student, or your uni isn’t registered, 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 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 website but, if you wish to earn more than’likes’, you can also pimp your pictures through the market. EyeEm split every sale with you 50/50, with photos selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to content, themed missions run by large brands, plus you’ll be able to upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is constructed around phone photographers, with everything managed through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you will earn $5 per 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 offer up to 60 percent for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the longer it’s downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15% of a picture’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 type of license or subscription plan 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’ll get a bigger cut as your life earnings pass different 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 an image…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Earning money with stock photos 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 a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anybody you pap may need to signal a model release form to say they are OK with you with it (your stock library will have template forms you can print, sign and publish ).
- Check the account 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 state in how clients use your photos, so in case you don’t want your selfies turning up in ads 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 loads of keywords when you upload your pictures. 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 shoot, who to sell to, and for how much and, like selling through stock libraries, it can be a nice little passive revenue 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 pictures on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means greater profits! Photos And Selling
That means using a suitable printing laboratory (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or even 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 site hosts provide you with 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 postage 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 is not everyone’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 could always get your own website or Etsy shop and hang onto more of your gain!
Obtaining prints or gifts to market is also super easy; go for print-on-demand and you won’t have to store some 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 start letting us sell photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, take a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he provided Instagram followers the opportunity to purchase prints from his feed — and made $15k in a single day. Obviously it helps if you’ve already got a solid 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’ve 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 with zero setup 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’s 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 enables you to create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you can sell your finished novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can even advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Photos And Selling
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photograph 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 allow you to upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose which products you wish to sell them on, and then give you a cut of the profits if they sell.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their marketplace, 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% 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 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 grab 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 shop is low-fuss and low-cost — 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 make 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 making an effort!
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 freelance photographer:
- Know your niche. Whether it’s individuals, pets, food or something totally left-field, it’s 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 if you don’t understand your aperture out of 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 profit. And get insurance for your equipment!
- Give to photograph events, parties or portraits 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 in touch. 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 sites and ask if you can submit photographs or pay local events.
- You might have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket which could get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You will need to apply each time (or become a member of the National Union of Journalists) but, as soon as you’re in, you’ll get plenty of saleable photo opps!
While everybody 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 may take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and adequate pics — and you may well have to give away images for free when you first begin to get noticed. If you are in it for the career, don’t 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 everywhere — and not just when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photos of everyday life and often it is the simple things which make the best pics — believe streets, 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 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 run, and can save you cash on your tax bill.
- You might not have the ability 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 own snaps.
- Do not just do the same-old or what everybody else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! Photos And Selling