Sell Stock Photographs Online
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you are correct, it can be. But that does not mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your photos! Sell Stock Photographs Online
In actuality, if you’ve got a good phone camera along with 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 luggage, you will find heaps more ways to develop your abilities, 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 celebration for yourself!
If you’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking up one to get a sneak ), you’ll 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 nowadays so this is not necessarily the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing number of stock libraries are catering for cellular snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz ideas below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing software can help buff your pics for best results, so it’s 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 picture 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 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 tools for tweaking colors, curves and much more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the same shortcuts right 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 guess it is a tougher learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing apps to be had for free or a few pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t forget the bloatware image software bundled into your’puter, phone or laptop. Most can make light work of the basics.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries buy’n’ sell digital photos to use on websites, in books, on products and even in advertisements, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale every time.
Selling photos 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 may have 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 don’t think meet criteria.
What that means is you’ll always need to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, however; combine a number of sites and post pics to all of 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 pictures for two 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. Sell Stock Photographs Online
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 is not enrolled, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo program (iStore only) earns you a 20% cut.
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 website butif you wish to earn more than’likes’, you can also pimp your pictures through the market. EyeEm divide 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 net or phone.
- Foap is built around telephone photographers, with everything managed through the app (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you’ll make $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% 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’re shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15 percent of an image’s sales price, but guarantee 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 license or subscription plan the customer purchases 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 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
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 lots of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are constantly in demand, but anyone you pap might 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 publish ).
- Check the accounts 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 say in how customers use your photos, so if 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 people find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There’s loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photographs ). You decide what to shoot, who to sell to, and for how much and, like selling through stock libraries, it can be a wonderful little passive income earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch print your holiday snaps, there is a little more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means greater profits! Sell Stock Photographs Online
That means using a proper printing laboratory (one which excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or even selling limited or signed editions. Seems like a drag? Not necessarily; there’s inspiration below to get you started.
Use a Photo Host
Photographer-friendly website hosts give you a safe place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (which means you can show’em away ) and shopping 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 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 before you pony up the cash: 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 profit!
Obtaining prints or gifts to sell 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, have a hint from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered Instagram followers the chance 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 ideal 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’ve got a enormous 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 with 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 someone buys’em — so there’s no stock to store, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are websites out there that do all the producing, printing and posting for you, so all you’ve got to do is take the photos!
Blurb lets you create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you can sell your finished book on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could even advertise books on your own website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Sell Stock Photographs Online
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 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 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 choose to have your very own online store and add a mark-up to the price (which you get as your royalty) rather than It’s free to set up and run a shop, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties each month, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle lets you set your own royalty rate between 5 percent and 99% 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 marketplace, or you can open your own shop and catch 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 are happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to generate cash on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful vendors is that, to make proper bucks, you will need to put in the hours (so just like a job, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots of photos or designs, getting the word out, and generally making an effort!
Selling photos 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 market . 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 can get lucky selling stock in case you don’t understand your aperture from your elbow, but you can’t afford to chance it when 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 to your equipment!
- Give to photo events, portraits or parties for family and friends 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 networking account with your best pics, let folk know you are available, and tell’em how to get connected. Get cheeky and choose 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 getting a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket which 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, once you’re in, you’re going to 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 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’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 anyplace — and not only when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photos of daily life and often it’s the simple things that make the best pics — believe streets, 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 provides 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 term, and could save you cash on your tax bill.
- You might not be able to sell photos should they comprise trademarked products, brands or even specific 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.
- 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 Stock Photographs Online