Selling Photos For Stock
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you’re right, it can be. But that does not mean that you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your photos! Selling Photos For Stock
In actuality, if you have got a decent phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, you will find a growing number of opportunities to monetise photos you have already taken. And when photography’s already your luggage, there are 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 have got a digital camera (or fancy picking up one to get a sneak ), 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 usually produce larger file photos (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this isn’t always the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing number of inventory 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 type of editing software can help buff your pics for 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 photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for picture 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 directly 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 tools for tweaking colors, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the very same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the app for free.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it is a more demanding learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be had for free or a few pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget 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 as well as in ads, together with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each time.
Selling photos through a stock site 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 may need to submit a choice of pics (and be accepted) until you may become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will happily bounce any they do not think meet standards.
What that means is you will always have to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, however; combine a number of sites 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 have to be part of this scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Photos For Stock
Alamy reckons images typically sell for $90 (USD) each, but you could get anywhere from $20 to $500 depending what it is 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% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair has a twist: you decide to what extent 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 site butif you want to earn more than’likes’, you could also pimp your pictures through the market. EyeEm divide 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 web or phone.
- Foap is constructed around phone photographers, with everything handled through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you will make $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you can submit photos 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 start at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting a phone, start with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands 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 sort of licence 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 get a larger 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 a picture…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Making 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’ll need to upload a great deal of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anyone you pap might 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 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 customers 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 can 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 folk find (and hopefully buy!) 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 nice little passive revenue earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch print your holiday snaps, there is a bit 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 For Stock
That means using a suitable printing lab (one that specialises in art or framed prints), opting for specialist 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 site hosts give you a safe place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (which means 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 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, be aware of 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 sell 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 sell photos and other content right from our profiles.
But until then, take 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 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 have got a enormous potential audience!
Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to make moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and more — often using zero set-up costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of goods, none of them really exist until someone buys’em — so there is no stock to shop, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are websites out there that do all of the printing, printing and posting for you, so all you have to do is take the photographs!
Blurb enables you to 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 could also advertise books on your own website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Selling Photos For Stock
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photo 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 wish 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 market, but you may choose to have your own online shop and add a mark-up into 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 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, remember that your cut is added to the sales price: go OTT and you may find it more difficult 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 catch 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 cheap — if you’re happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make cash on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful vendors is that, to make proper bucks, you will need 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 making an effort!
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 market . When it’s people, pets, food or something completely left-field, it is easier to market yourself if your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take time to learn your craft. You can get lucky selling stock if you don’t know your aperture out of 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 to your equipment!
- Offer to photograph events, portraits or parties for friends and family to build up 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 are available, and tell’em how to get in touch. Get cheeky and choose alternative promo shots for brands, then tag them to get noticed.
- Get in touch with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or sites and ask if you can submit photographs or pay local events.
- You might have more chance of getting 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 will need to apply each time (or be a member of the National Union of Journalists) but, once you’re in, you’ll get loads of saleable photo opps!
While everyone with an Insta account seems 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 tons of patience, perseverance, good shoes and decent pics — and you may well have to give away images for free when you first start out to get noticed. If you are in it for the career, do not quit. 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 anyplace — and not only 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 roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or some you would hate to lose): keep 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 can save you cash on your tax invoice.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos should they include 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.
- Do not just do the same-old or what everyone else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! Selling Photos For Stock