Sell Photos Easily
If you believe photography is a costly hobby, you’re right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean that you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your photos! Sell Photos Easily
In fact, if you have got a good phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
However you get your clicks, there are an increasing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And if photography’s already your bag, you will find 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 celebration for yourself!
If you’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking up one to get a sneak ), 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 generally produce larger file photos (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams nowadays so this is not necessarily the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing number of stock libraries are catering for mobile snaps, plus you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing program will help buff your pics for the best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a decent package (and learning how to use it!) So you can make more money with your own 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 directly from your digital camera and save them as JPG, TIFF or PNGs. OK for basic edits such as color 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 recognises the same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the program at no cost.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it’s a more demanding learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing programs to be obtained for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t overlook 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 photo 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 happily bounce any they don’t think meet criteria.
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; combine a number of sites and post pics to them to get the best possible coverage.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their pupil contributor scheme provides you 100% of the sales price of your images for 2 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 Photos Easily
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 is not registered, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo program (iStore only) provides you a 20% reduction.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair has 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 want to earn more than’enjoys’, you can also pimp your images through the market. EyeEm split every sale with you 50/50, with photographs 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 constructed around phone photographers, with everything managed through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you will earn $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you can 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 start at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting on a phone, start with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15 percent 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 licence or subscription plan the customer buys determines how your piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription programs, but say you’ll get a bigger cut as your lifetime earnings pass different levels. To put that into context, once you’ve earned $10,000, you will be bumped up to the heady heights of 38 cents an image…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Making money with stock photos 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 lots of quality pics to several sites.
- Photos of people are always in demand, but anybody you pap may need to sign a model release form to say they are OK with you with it (your inventory library will have template forms you can print, sign and submit).
- Check the account 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 state in how customers use your photos, so in case 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 enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add plenty of keywords when you upload your pictures. It helps folk find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There is 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 wonderful little passive revenue earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch print your holiday snaps, there’s a little more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means greater profits! Sell Photos Easily
That means using a suitable printing laboratory (one which specialises in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or perhaps selling limited 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 give you 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 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’s not everyone’s cup of cocoa! If you want to give it a whirl, be aware of free 14-day trials until you pony up the money: 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!
Getting prints or gifts to sell is also super straightforward; go for print-on-demand and you won’t need to store any 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 begin letting us market photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, have a hint from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered Instagram followers the chance to purchase 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 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 using zero setup costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise a great deal of products, none of them actually 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 of the printing, 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 images — and you can sell your final novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could even advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Sell Photos Easily
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 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 market.
- 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) rather than It is free to set-up and run a store, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties each month, 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 catch 20% commission.
- Redbubble starts with a product base cost and lets you 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 low-cost — if you’re happy with the occasional sale, it can be a wonderful way to make cash on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful sellers is that, to earn 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 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 customers 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’s easier to market yourself whether 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’t afford to chance it if someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Workout your rate and be sure it covers your time, your prices and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance for your gear!
- Offer to photograph 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 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 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 getting a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket that 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) 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 reality is that being a freelancer is probably the toughest route you may take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and decent pics — and you may well have to give away images 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 thoughts on this page in the meantime!
Bonus Tips for Aspiring Photographers
- Carry your camera anyplace — and not only when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photographs of daily life and often it’s the simple things which make the best pics — think roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or some you would 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 can save you cash on your tax bill.
- You might not have the ability to sell photos should they include 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 fashion. Amen to that! Sell Photos Easily