Selling Glamour Photos
If you think photography is a costly hobby, you’re right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean that you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your own photos! Selling Glamour Photos
In actuality, if you have got a decent 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’ve 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’ve got a digital camera (or fancy picking one up for a steal), you will have more options for selling pics to stock libraries, to websites 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 isn’t 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 ideas below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing software will help buff your pics for the best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a decent bundle (and learning how to use it!) So you can earn more money with your photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for photo 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 from your digital camera and save them as JPG, TIFF or PNGs. OK for basic edits like colour correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of resources for tweaking colors, curves and much more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the very same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it directly from a browser through the app for free.
- GIMP can do much 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) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t overlook the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, phone or notebook. Most can make light work of the basics.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries purchase’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 website is a top way to surf 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) 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 picking your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, however; combine a number of websites and post pics to them to find 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 2 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. Selling Glamour 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 app (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 site but, if you wish to earn more than’enjoys’, you could 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 large brands, plus you’ll be able to upload pics via the web or phone.
- Foap is built 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 make $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you are able to submit photographs on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra cash and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photo sells for also goes up the more it’s downloaded: newbie images start at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands 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 licence or subscription program the customer purchases determines how your piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most frequent 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
Earning money with stock photographs 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 a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are constantly in demand, but anybody 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 publish ).
- Check the account terms! When are you going to 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 clients 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 could 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 people find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There’s 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 nice little passive income earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch print your holiday snaps, there’s 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! Selling Glamour Photos
That means using a suitable printing lab (one that specialises in art or framed prints), opting for expert 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 provide you with a secure 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 handle 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 is not everyone’s cup of cocoa! If you want 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 can always get your own site or Etsy shop and hang onto more of your profit!
Obtaining prints or gifts to market is also super easy; go for print-on-demand and you won’t need to store some 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 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 a single day. Obviously it helps if you’ve already got a solid fanbase, but if you have talent (and the right 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 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 with zero setup costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise a great deal of products, none of them actually exist until someone buys’em — so there’s no inventory to shop, 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 enables you to 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 can also advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Selling Glamour 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 don’t even need a glue gun to get started!
Most print-on-demand outfits let you upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose which products you want to sell them on, and then give you a cut of the profits if they market.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their market, 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) instead. It’s free to set-up and run a shop, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties monthly, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle enables you to set your own royalty rate between 5 percent and 99% but, while it is tempting to dial it up to full whack, keep in mind 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 market, or you can start your own store and grab 20% commission.
- Redbubble begins 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 low-cost — if you are contented with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make cash on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful sellers is that, to make 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 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 can get lucky selling stock in case you don’t know 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 prices and leaves you a little on top for profit. And get insurance to your gear!
- Offer to photograph 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 favourite 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 newspapers, magazines or websites and ask if you can submit photographs or pay local events.
- You might have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket which 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, once you’re in, you’re going to 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 tons of patience, perseverance, good shoes and adequate 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, do not 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 just 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, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you’d hate to lose): maintain 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 term, and could save you money on your tax invoice.
- You might not be able to sell photos if they comprise trademarked products, brands or perhaps certain buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or get 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! Selling Glamour Photos