Sell Your Photography Prints Online
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you are right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your own photos! Sell Your Photography Prints Online
In fact, if you have got a decent phone cam and 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 have already taken. And if photography’s already your bag, you will find 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’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking one up 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 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, plus you still have a shot at the other biz ideas below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing program will help buff your pics for best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a nice 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 picture editing. But they cost dollars! 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 color correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of tools for tweaking colors, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it directly 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 tougher learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be obtained for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget the bloatware picture 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 photographs to use on websites, in books, on goods and even in advertisements, together 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 might have to submit a selection of pics (and be accepted) until you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some websites will keep on 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 picking your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, however; combine multiple sites and post pics to them to find the best possible policy.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their pupil contributor scheme provides you 100% of the sales price of your images for two years. Total win! Your uni will have to be part of the scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Sell Your Photography Prints Online
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you might get anywhere from $20 to $500 depending what it is used for. If you’re 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 images 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 but, if you want 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 content, themed missions run by big brands, plus you’ll be able to upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is constructed around telephone photographers, with everything managed through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you will earn $5 per 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 money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photograph 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 on a phone, start with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15 percent of a picture’s sales price, but promise a bigger cut if you make the pic exclusive to the website. 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 frequent subscription plans, but say you will find a bigger cut as your lifetime earnings pass different levels. To put that into context, as soon as you’ve earned $10,000, you will be bumped up to the heady heights of 38 cents an image…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Earning money with stock photographs can involve a substantial 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 a great deal of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of people are always in demand, but anyone you pap might 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).
- Assess 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 state in how customers use your photos, so in case you don’t need 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 improve your camera or editing skills.
- Add plenty of keywords when you upload your pictures. It helps folk find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There is 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 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 laboratory, better quality means higher profits! Sell Your Photography Prints Online
That means using a suitable printing lab (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or perhaps 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 give you a secure place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (so you can show’em off) and shopping 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 website, they also take a cheeky cut from each sale — and that’s not everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you want to give it a whirl, look out for 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 website or Etsy shop and hang onto more of your profit!
Obtaining prints or gifts to sell is also super easy; 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 networking giants will wise-up and start letting us sell photos and other content right from our profiles.
But until then, take a hint from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered Instagram followers the opportunity to order prints from his feed and made $15k in a single 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 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 actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of products, none of them really exist until somebody buys’em — so there’s no stock to store, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are sites out there that do all of the printing, printing and submitting for you, so all you’ve got to do is take the photographs!
Blurb enables you to 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 can even advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Sell Your Photography Prints Online
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photo on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothing and PJs; and you don’t even need a glue gun to begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photographs (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 market, but you can opt to have your own online store and add a mark-up into 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 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 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 cost and allows you to 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 are happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make 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 job, sadly). We’re talking uploading lots of photos or layouts, getting the word out, and generally making an effort!
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 freelance photographer:
- Know your market . Whether it’s people, pets, food or something totally left-field, it’s a lot easier to market yourself if 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 not afford to chance it if someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Work out your rate and be sure it covers your time, your costs and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance for your equipment!
- Offer to photograph events, parties or portraits for friends and family to build up 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 tag them to get noticed.
- Get in touch with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or sites and ask if you can submit photographs or cover local events.
- You might have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket that could 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’re going to get plenty 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 may be the toughest route you can take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and decent pics — and you may well have to give away pictures for free when you first begin to get noticed. If you are in it for the career, don’t give up. 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 only when you are 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 make the best pics — believe streets, 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).
- As soon as you start getting sales, get to grips with tax and the freelancing fundamentals. It will save you stress in the long run, and could save you cash on your tax bill.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos if they comprise trademarked products, brands or perhaps specific 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 everybody else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! Sell Your Photography Prints Online