Selling Photos As Prints
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you are correct, it can be. But that does not mean that you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your photos! Selling Photos As Prints
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’ve already taken. And when photography’s already your bag, you will find heaps more ways to develop your abilities, 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 up one 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 amount of stock libraries are catering for cellular snaps, plus you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing program can help buff your pics for best results, so it’s worth sniffing out a nice bundle (and learning how to use it!) So you can earn more money with your own 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 straight 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 tools for tweaking colours, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the program at no cost.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it’s a more demanding learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be obtained 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, telephone or laptop. Many can make light work of the fundamentals.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries purchase’n’ sell digital photographs to use on websites, in books, on goods and even in advertisements, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each 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) before you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some websites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly 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. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, though; 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 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 loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Photos As Prints
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 registered, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo program (iStore only) provides you a 20% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair comes with a twist: you decide to what extent 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 butif you want to earn more than’enjoys’, you could also pimp your images through the market. EyeEm split 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 phone photographers, with everything managed through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you’ll make $5 a 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 is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15% of an image’s sales price, but guarantee a bigger cut if you make the pic exclusive to the website. 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 frequent subscription programs, but say you’ll get a bigger cut as your lifetime earnings pass different 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 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 a great deal of quality pics to several sites.
- Photos of individuals are constantly in demand, but anyone you pap might need to sign a model release form to say they are OK with you with it (your stock library will have template forms you can print, sign and submit).
- Assess the account terms! When are you going to get paid, and in what currency? What happens to your photos if you would like to cancel your account in the future?
- You often won’t get a say in how clients use your photographs, so if 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 could clue you in on what sells, what to snap next, and even how to enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your pictures. 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 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 revenue earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch publish your holiday snaps, there’s a little more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means higher profits! Selling Photos As Prints
That means using a suitable printing lab (one that excels in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or even selling restricted 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 provide you with 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 handle the printing and any postage each 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 is 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 money: try Zenfolio or Smugmug.
Get Your Own Photo Shop
Alternatively, you can always get your own website or Etsy shop and hang onto more of your gain!
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 not shift it!) .
Sell on Social Media Platforms
Eventually the social media giants will wise-up and begin letting us market photos and other content right 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 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 the 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 actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of goods, none of them really exist until somebody buys’em — so there’s no stock to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are websites out there that do all of the producing, printing and submitting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos!
Blurb enables you to create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you’ll be able to sell your finished novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can also advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Selling Photos As Prints
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 get started!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose 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 own online store and add a mark-up into the cost (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 monthly, 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 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 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 wonderful way to generate money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful sellers is that, to make proper bucks, you’ll need to put in the hours (so just like a job, sadly). We’re talking uploading plenty of photos or layouts, 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. Whether it’s individuals, pets, food or something totally left-field, it is 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 if someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Work out your rate and make sure it covers your time, your prices and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance for your gear!
- Offer to photograph events, portraits or parties for friends and family 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 media account with your best pics, let folk know you’re available, and tell’em how to get in touch. 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 may have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket which 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, once you’re in, you’ll get plenty of saleable photo opps!
While everybody with an Insta account seems to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the reality is that being a freelancer may be the toughest route you may take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and decent 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, 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 anyplace — and not just when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photos of daily life and often it is the simple things which produce the best pics — think roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you would hate to lose): keep copies on an external drive or in cloud storage (Dropbox provides 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 money on your tax bill.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos if they include trademarked products, brands or even specific buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or contact the company involved and ask if you require permission to hawk your own snaps.
- Do not just do the same-old or what everybody else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! Selling Photos As Prints