Sell Photos In Smugmug
If you think photography is an expensive 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 Photos In Smugmug
In actuality, if you have got a good phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, there are an increasing 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 skills, 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 have 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 usually produce larger file photographs (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this is not 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 kind of editing software can help buff your pics for the best results, so it’s well worth sniffing out a decent 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 dollars! Don’t crack open your wallet until you’ve checked out the freebies:
- FastStone Image Viewer can open RAW files straight 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 tools for tweaking colours, curves and much more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the very same shortcuts right 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 reckon it is a tougher learning curve.
- There are loads 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.
- Do not overlook the bloatware image software bundled into your’puter, phone or notebook. Most can make light work of the fundamentals.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries purchase’n’ sell digital photographs to use on websites, in books, on goods as well as in ads, together with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each time.
Selling photographs through a stock website 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 might have to submit a selection of pics (and be accepted) before you may become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they don’t think meet criteria.
What that means is you will always need to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, though; join multiple websites 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 gives you 100% of the sales price of your pictures for two years. Total win! Your uni will need to be part of the scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Sell Photos In Smugmug
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you could get anywhere from $20 to $500 depending what it’s used for. If you are 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) earns you a 20% reduction.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair has a twist: you decide to what extent 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 butif you want to earn more than’likes’, 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 content, themed missions run by large brands, plus you’ll be able to upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is built around phone photographers, with everything managed through the app (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you’ll earn $5 a 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 percent for exclusives. How much your photo sells for also goes up the longer it’s downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15 percent 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 program the customer buys determines how your piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription plans, but say you’ll find a larger cut as your life earnings pass different levels. To put that into context, once you’ve earned $10,000, you’ll be bumped up to the heady heights of 38 cents a picture…
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 individuals are constantly in demand, but anyone you pap may want 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 later on?
- You often won’t get a say in how clients use your photos, so in case you don’t need your selfies turning up in advertisements for STDs or benzoyl peroxide, do not 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 loads of keywords when you upload your pictures. It helps people 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 nice little passive income 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! Sell Photos In Smugmug
That means using a suitable printing lab (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or even selling restricted or signed editions. Sounds 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 (which means you can show’em off) and shopping tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even handle the printing and any stamp 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
Alternatively, 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 straightforward; go for print-on-demand and you won’t have to store any 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 sell photos and other content right from our profiles.
But until then, have a hint 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 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 generate moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and much more — often using zero set-up costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise a great deal of goods, none of them actually exist until somebody buys’em — so there’s no inventory to store, 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 images — and you’ll be able to sell your final novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can also advertise books on your website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Sell Photos In Smugmug
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photo on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothes and PJs; and you do not even need a glue gun to get started!
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 can choose to have your own online store and add a mark-up to 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 enables you to set your own royalty rate between 5% 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 might find it harder to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you may 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 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 like.
Running a print-on-demand shop is low-fuss and cheap — if you’re happy with the occasional sale, it can be a wonderful way to make money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful vendors is that, to earn proper bucks, you’ll 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 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 market . When it’s individuals, pets, food or something totally left-field, it is a lot 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 understand 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 gain. And get insurance for your equipment!
- Give to photo events, parties or portraits for family and friends to build up a portfolio, and ask them to spread the word for you. Or search out your favourite 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 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 photos or pay local events.
- You may have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket which can get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You’ll want to apply each time (or be a member of the National Union of Journalists) however, as soon as you’re in, you’ll get plenty of saleable photo opps!
While everyone 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 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 are in it for the career, don’t 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 only when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photos of daily life and often it’s the simple things that produce 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): maintain 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 will save you stress in the long term, and can save you money on your tax bill.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos should they include trademarked products, brands or perhaps certain buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or contact the company involved and ask if you need permission to hawk your snaps.
- Don’t just do the same-old or what everyone else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in vogue. Amen to that! Sell Photos In Smugmug