Selling Photos Adobe Stock
If you believe photography is a costly hobby, you are right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! Selling Photos Adobe Stock
In fact, if you’ve got a good phone camera along with 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’ve already taken. And when photography’s already your luggage, you will find heaps more ways to develop your skills, 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 one up 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 generally produce larger file photographs (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams nowadays so this isn’t 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 program will help buff your pics for the best results, so it’s well worth sniffing out a nice bundle (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 bucks! Don’t crack open your wallet until you’ve checked out the freebies:
- FastStone Image Viewer can open RAW files directly out of 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 resources for tweaking colours, curves and 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 much of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it is a more demanding learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing programs 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. Many 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, together with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each time.
Selling photos 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 choice of pics (and be accepted) before you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some websites will continue reviewing all your submissions, and will happily bounce any they do not think meet standards.
What that means is you’ll always have to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, though; join a number of sites and post pics to 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 the scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Photos Adobe Stock
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you might get anywhere from $20 to $500 depending what it’s used for. If you are not a student, or your uni isn’t enrolled, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo app (iStore only) provides you a 20% reduction.
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 but, if you want to earn more than’enjoys’, you can also pimp your pictures 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’ll be able to upload pics via the web or phone.
- Foap is built around phone photographers, with everything managed through the app (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you will make $5 a pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you can submit photographs on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime provide up to 60 percent for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the longer it is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting a phone, start with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15% 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 type of license or subscription program the customer buys determines how your slice is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription plans, but say you will find a larger cut as your life 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
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 a great deal of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anybody you pap may need to sign a model release form to say they are OK with you using it (your stock 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 photographs, so in case you don’t want your selfies turning up in advertisements for STDs or hemorrhoid ointment, don’t 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 enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your pictures. It helps folk find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There is 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 wonderful little passive revenue earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch publish your holiday snaps, there is a little more to it. While you can run off pictures on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means higher profits! Selling Photos Adobe Stock
That means using a proper printing lab (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or perhaps selling limited or signed editions. Seems like a drag? Not necessarily; there is inspiration below to get you started.
Use a Photo Host
Photographer-friendly website hosts provide you with a safe place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (so you can show’em off) and purchasing 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 purchase. 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 wish 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
Alternatively, you can always get your own website or Etsy store and hang onto more of your gain!
Getting 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 begin letting us sell photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, have a hint from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he provided Instagram followers the opportunity to purchase 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’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 using zero set-up costs.
The actual 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. Even better, there are sites out there that do all of the producing, printing and posting for you, so all you’ve got to do is take the photographs!
Blurb lets you create photo books by simply importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you can sell your finished novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could even advertise books on your own website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Selling Photos Adobe Stock
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photo on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothing and PJs; and you do not even need a glue gun to begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits let you upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose which products you want to sell them on, and give you a cut of the profits if they market.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their marketplace, but you may choose to have your own online store and add a mark-up into the cost (which you get as your royalty) instead. It is free to set up and run a store, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties monthly, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle lets you set your own royalty rate between 5 percent and 99 percent 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 may add a mark-up of $1 to $20 on items sold through the marketplace, or you can start your own store 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’d like.
Running a print-on-demand store is low-fuss and low-cost — if you are 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 sellers 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 try!
Selling photographs anonymously online is simple 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 niche. When it’s individuals, pets, food or something completely left-field, it’s a lot easier to market yourself whether your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take time to learn your craft. You may 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!
- 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 photo 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 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 tag them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or websites and ask if you can submit photographs or pay local events.
- You may have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket that can get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You’ll want 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 seems to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the truth is that being a freelancer is probably the toughest route you may 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 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 only when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photographs of everyday life and often it is the simple things which produce the best pics — believe roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or some 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’ll save you stress in the long term, and can save you cash on your tax bill.
- You might not have the ability to sell photos should they comprise trademarked products, brands or even specific buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or get the company involved and ask if you require permission to hawk your own 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 Photos Adobe Stock