Selling Photos Through Getty Images
If you think photography is a costly hobby, you’re correct, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! Selling Photos Through Getty Images
In fact, if you have got a decent phone camera along with a steady hand, you are already in with a shot.
However you get your clicks, there are a growing number of opportunities to monetise photos you have already taken. And if photography’s already your luggage, 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 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 photographs (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 cellular snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing software can help buff your pics for best results, so it is worth sniffing out a nice package (and learning how to use it!) So you can make more money with your photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for photo 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 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 resources for tweaking colours, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the very same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser / through the app at no cost.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it’s a more demanding learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing programs to be obtained for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, telephone or laptop. Most 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 need 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 happily bounce any they don’t think meet criteria.
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, however; join multiple websites and post pics to all of them to get the best possible coverage.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their pupil contributor scheme gives you 100% of the sales price of your images for 2 years. Total win! Your uni will need to be part of this scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Photos Through Getty Images
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 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 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 butif you wish to earn more than’enjoys’, you can also pimp your pictures through the market. EyeEm divide every sale with you 50/50, with photographs selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to content, themed missions run by large brands, plus you can 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 divides it 50/50, so you will earn $5 a 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 provide up to 60 percent for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the longer it’s downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you are shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms 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 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 frequent subscription programs, but say you’ll find a larger cut as your life earnings pass various levels. To put that into context, once you’ve earned $10,000, you’ll be bumped up to the heady heights of 38 cents a picture…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Making money with stock photos can involve a significant 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 people are constantly in demand, but anyone you pap may need to signal a model release form to say they are OK with you using it (your inventory library will have template forms you can print, sign and submit).
- Check 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 later on?
- You often won’t get a state in how clients use your photos, so in case you don’t want your selfies turning up in ads 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 purchase!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There is loads of liberty 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 revenue 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 higher profits! Selling Photos Through Getty Images
That means using a proper printing lab (one that specialises in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or perhaps selling limited or signed editions. Sounds like a drag? Not necessarily; there is 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 purchasing tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even handle the printing and any stamp each time you make a sale. 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 everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you want 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
As an alternative, you could always get your own website or Etsy store and hang onto more of your gain!
Obtaining prints or gifts to sell is also super easy; go for print-on-demand and you won’t have 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 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 chance to purchase prints from his feed — and made $15k in one 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 the portfolio, and you have got a massive potential audience!
Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to make moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and much more — often using zero setup costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of products, none of them really exist until someone buys’em — so there’s no inventory 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’ve got to do is take the photographs!
Blurb lets you create photo books by simply importing your Facebook or Insta images — and you’ll be able to sell your final book on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could even advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Selling Photos Through Getty Images
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photograph 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 allow you to upload your photographs (or illustrations), select which products you want 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 shop and add a mark-up into the cost (which you get as your royalty) instead. It is free to set-up and run a shop, but CafePress take 10% of your royalties monthly, up to a $10 max.
- Zazzle lets you set your own royalty rate between 5% 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 more difficult 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 like.
Running a print-on-demand store is low-fuss and low-cost — if you’re happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make money on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful vendors is that, to make proper bucks, you will need to put in the hours (so the same as a job, sadly). We’re talking uploading plenty of photos or layouts, getting the word out, and generally try!
Selling photos anonymously online is easy 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 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 in case you don’t understand your aperture out of 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 prices and leaves you a little on top for profit. And get insurance to your gear!
- Give 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 hunt out your favorite 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 label them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or sites and ask if you can submit photos or pay local events.
- You may have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it’s 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) but, once you’re in, you’ll 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 is probably 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 images for free when you first begin to get noticed. If you are in it for the career, don’t quit. If you’re in it for the money, get your game on with the other thoughts on this page in the meantime!
Bonus Tips for Aspiring Photographers
- Carry your camera everywhere — and not only when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photos of daily life and often it is the simple things which produce the best pics — think streets, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you would hate to lose): maintain 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 money on your tax invoice.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos should they include trademarked products, brands or even certain buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or contact the company involved and ask if you require permission to hawk your 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 Through Getty Images