Sell Mobile Stock Photos
If you think photography is a costly hobby, you are correct, it can be. But that doesn’t mean that you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your own photos! Sell Mobile Stock Photos
In fact, if you’ve got a decent phone cam and a steady hand, you’re 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 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 have got a digital camera (or fancy picking one up to get a sneak ), 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 thoughts below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing program can help buff your pics for the best results, so it is 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 picture 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 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 colors, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the app for free.
- GIMP can do much of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it’s a more demanding learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing programs to be obtained for free or a few pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t forget the bloatware image 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 photographs to use on websites, in books, on products as well as in advertisements, together with the photographer getting a cut of the sale every time.
Selling photographs through a stock website is a top way to surf 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 keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they do not think meet standards.
What that means is you will always need to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, however; join a number of websites 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 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. Sell Mobile Stock Photos
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 are not a student, or your uni isn’t enrolled, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo app (iStore only) earns you a 20% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair has a twist: you decide to what extent 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 website but, if you want to earn more than’enjoys’, you could also pimp your images through the market. EyeEm split every sale with you 50/50, with photos 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 web or phone.
- Foap is built around telephone photographers, with everything handled through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you’ll earn $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 provide up to 60% 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 on a phone, start with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms 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 licence or subscription plan 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 bigger cut as your lifetime 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 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 constantly in demand, but anyone you pap might 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 ).
- Assess the account terms! When are you going to 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 photographs, so if you don’t want 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, and even how to improve your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your pictures. It helps people find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There’s loads of freedom in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photos). You decide what to shoot, 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 print 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 laboratory, better quality means higher profits! Sell Mobile Stock Photos
That means using a proper printing laboratory (one which excels 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 give you a secure place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (so 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 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 everyone’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 can 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 have to store some stock (or be out of pocket if you can’t shift it!) .
Sell on Social Media Platforms
Eventually the social media giants will wise-up and start letting us market photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, have a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered Instagram followers the opportunity 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 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 the portfolio, and you’ve got a massive potential audience!
Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to generate moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and more — often with zero set-up costs.
The real 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 stock to shop, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are websites out there that do all of the printing, printing and submitting 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’ll be able to sell your final novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could also advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Sell Mobile Stock Photos
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 allow you to upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose which products you want 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 marketplace, but you can choose to have your own online shop and add a mark-up to the price (which you get as your royalty) rather than 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 percent but, while it’s tempting to dial it up to full whack, remember that your cut is added to the sales price: go OTT and you may find it harder to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you may add a mark-up of $1 to $20 on items sold through the marketplace, or you can start your own store and grab 20% commission.
- Redbubble begins with a product base cost 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 contented with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to generate money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful vendors is that, to make proper bucks, you’ll want to put in the hours (so just like a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots 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 clients of your own, here are some tips to get started as a freelancer photographer:
- Know your niche. When it’s people, pets, food or something totally left-field, it’s a lot 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 know your aperture out of your elbow, but you can’t afford to chance it if 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 profit. And get insurance for your gear!
- Give to photo events, parties or portraits for friends and family to build up a portfolio, and ask them to spread the word for you. Or search 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 connected. Get cheeky and take alternative promo shots for brands, then label them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or sites and ask if you can submit photographs or cover local events.
- You might have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket that 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 is probably 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 start out to get noticed. If you are in it for the career, do not 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 companies and brands are after photographs of everyday life and often it is the simple things which produce the best pics — think roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you’d hate to lose): keep 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 term, and could save you money on your tax invoice.
- You might not be able to sell photos should they include trademarked products, brands or even specific 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 everybody else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in vogue. Amen to that! Sell Mobile Stock Photos