Sell Vintage Photos
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you’re correct, it can be. But that doesn’t mean that you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! Sell Vintage Photos
In actuality, if you have got a decent phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
However you get your clicks, there are a growing number of opportunities to monetise photos you have already taken. And if photography’s already your luggage, there are 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 bash for yourself!
If you have 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 isn’t necessarily the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing number of inventory libraries are catering for cellular snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some type 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 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 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 colours, curves and much more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the very same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the program for free.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it’s a more demanding learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be had 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 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 as well as in ads, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale every time.
Selling photographs through a stock site is a top way to browse passive income streams: you can upload a photograph once and sell it over and over again, pretty much forever!
You might have to submit a selection of pics (and be accepted) until you may become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will continue reviewing all your submissions, and will happily bounce any they don’t think meet criteria.
What that means is you will always have to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, however; combine a number of websites and post pics to all of them to get the best possible policy.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their pupil 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 lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Sell Vintage Photos
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% reduction.
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 website butif you wish to earn more than’enjoys’, you can also pimp your images through the marketplace. EyeEm split every sale with you 50/50, with photos selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to articles, themed missions run by large brands, plus you can upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is constructed 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 will 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 provide up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photo sells for also goes up the more it’s downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting a phone, start with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15% of a picture’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 type 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 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 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 signal a model release form to say they’re OK with you using it (your stock library will have template forms you can print, sign and publish ).
- Assess the account 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 state in how customers use your photographs, 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, 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 purchase!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There’s loads of freedom 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 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 Vintage Photos
That means using a proper printing laboratory (one that specialises in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or even selling limited or signed editions. Sounds like a drag? Not necessarily; there is 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 (which means you can show’em away ) and purchasing tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even take care of the printing and any stamp each 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 cash: try Zenfolio or Smugmug.
Get Your Own Photo Shop
As an alternative, you could always get your own site or Etsy shop 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 any 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 right from our profiles.
But until then, take 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 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’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 much more — often with zero setup costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of goods, none of them actually exist until someone buys’em — so there is no inventory to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are websites out there that do all of the printing, printing and submitting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos!
Blurb lets you create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you’ll be able to sell your finished book on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can also advertise books on your own website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Sell Vintage 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 do not even need a glue gun to get started!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photos (or illustrations), choose which products you want 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 market, but you may opt to have your very own online store 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 store, 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’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 can 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 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 store is low-fuss and cheap — if you are happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to generate cash on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful sellers is that, to make proper bucks, you’ll want to put in the hours (so the same as a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots of photos or layouts, getting the word out, and generally try!
Selling photographs 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 freelance photographer:
- Know your market . Whether it’s individuals, 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 from your elbow, but you can’t afford to chance it when someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Workout your rate and be sure it covers your time, your costs and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance to your gear!
- Give to photograph events, portraits or parties for family and friends to develop 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 media 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 tag them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or sites and ask if you can submit photos or cover local events.
- You might have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket that could 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) 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 reality is that being a freelancer may be the toughest route you can take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and adequate pics — and you may well have to give away images 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 everywhere — and not just when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photographs of everyday life and often it’s the simple things which make the best pics — think streets, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, 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 provides 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 run, 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 require permission to hawk your snaps.
- Don’t just do the same-old or what everybody else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! Sell Vintage Photos