Sell My Images
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 make money from your photos! Sell My Images
In actuality, if you’ve got a good phone camera along with a steady hand, you are already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, there are an increasing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And if photography’s already your luggage, there are 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 up one for a steal), you will have more options for selling pics to stock libraries, to websites for prints, or for print-on-demand products. This is because cameras will usually produce larger file photographs (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this isn’t always the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing amount of stock libraries are catering for cellular snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing program will help buff your pics for best results, so it is worth sniffing out a decent bundle (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 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 such as colour correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of resources for tweaking colors, curves and much more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises 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 reckon it’s a tougher learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing apps to be had for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget the bloatware image software bundled into your’puter, telephone or laptop. 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 as well as 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 surf 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 can become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will keep on 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. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, however; join multiple sites and post pics to all of them to get the best possible policy.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their student contributor scheme provides you 100% of the sales price of your pictures for two years. Total win! Your uni will need to be part of this scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Sell My Images
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 isn’t registered, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo program (iStore only) provides you a 20% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair comes with a twist: you decide how much your pictures 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 but, if you wish to earn more than’likes’, you can 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 content, themed missions run by large brands, plus you can upload pics via the web or phone.
- Foap is constructed around phone 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 cash and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60 percent for exclusives. How much your photo 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, start with the free Dreamstime app (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 sort of licence or subscription program the customer purchases determines how your slice is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription plans, but say you’ll 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’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 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’ll need to upload a great deal of quality pics to several sites.
- Photos of individuals are constantly in demand, but anyone you pap may need to sign a model release form to say they’re OK with you with it (your stock library will have template forms you can print, sign and submit).
- Check the accounts 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 later on?
- You often won’t get a state in how clients use your photographs, so if you don’t need your selfies turning up in ads for STDs or benzoyl peroxide, don’t upload’em!
- Sign-up for contributor newsletters, as they could clue you in on what sells, what to snap next, as well as how to improve your camera or editing skills.
- Add plenty of keywords when you upload your images. 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 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 revenue earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch publish 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 lab, better quality means higher profits! Sell My Images
That means using a proper printing laboratory (one which specialises in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or even selling restricted or signed editions. Sounds like a drag? Not necessarily; there’s 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 off) and purchasing tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even take care of the printing and any stamp every time you make a sale. 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, 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 straightforward; 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 media giants will wise-up and start letting us market photos and other content right from our profiles.
But until then, take a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered Instagram followers the opportunity to purchase 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 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 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 much more — often with zero setup costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise a great deal of goods, none of them really exist until somebody buys’em — so there’s no stock to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are websites out there that do all of the producing, printing and posting for you, so all you’ve got to do is take the photographs!
Blurb lets you create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you’ll be able to sell your final 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! Sell My Images
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 photos (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 marketplace, but you may choose to have your own online store and add a mark-up into the cost (which you get as your royalty) instead. 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% but, while it’s tempting to dial it up to full whack, keep in mind 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 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 store is low-fuss and cheap — 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 sellers is that, to earn proper bucks, you’ll want to put in the hours (so just like a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots of photos or designs, getting the word out, and generally try!
Selling photos 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 freelance photographer:
- Know your niche. When it’s individuals, pets, food or something totally left-field, it’s easier to market yourself whether your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take the time to learn your craft. You may get lucky selling stock if you don’t know your aperture out of your elbow, but you can not afford to chance it if 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 gain. And get insurance for your gear!
- Offer to photo events, parties or portraits for friends and family to develop 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’re 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 contact with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or sites and ask if you can submit photographs or cover local events.
- You may have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket that can get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You will want to apply each time (or become a member of the National Union of Journalists) however, as soon as you’re in, you’ll get loads of saleable photo opps!
While everybody with an Insta account appears to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the truth 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’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 everywhere — and not just when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photographs of daily life and often it is the simple things that 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’ll save you stress in the long run, and could save you money on your tax invoice.
- You might not be able to sell photos should they include trademarked products, brands or perhaps specific buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or get the company involved and ask if you need 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 vogue. Amen to that! Sell My Images