Selling Photos To Adobe Stock
If you believe photography is a costly hobby, you are correct, it can be. But that doesn’t mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your photos! Selling Photos To Adobe Stock
In actuality, if you have got a good phone camera along with a steady hand, you are already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, you will find an increasing number of opportunities to monetise photos you have already taken. And when photography’s already your bag, there are 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 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 photographs (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this is not necessarily the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing amount of inventory libraries are catering for mobile 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’s worth sniffing out a nice package (and learning how to use it!) So you can earn more money with your own 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 directly out of your digital camera and save them as JPG, TIFF or PNGs. OK for basic edits like color correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of tools for tweaking colours, curves and much more.
- PIXLR is a persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it directly from a browser / through the app at no cost.
- GIMP can do much of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it’s a tougher 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.
- 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 products and even in ads, together with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each 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 can become a stock library contributor. After that, some websites will continue reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly 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 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 provides you 100% of the sales price of your pictures for 2 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 To Adobe Stock
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 registered, 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 comes with 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 site but, if you wish to earn more than’likes’, you could also pimp your images through the market. EyeEm divide every sale with you 50/50, with photographs selling from $20-$250. EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to articles, themed missions run by big brands, plus you can upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is constructed around telephone photographers, with everything handled 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 cash and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime provide up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the more it’s downloaded: newbie images start 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 percent 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 type of license or subscription plan the customer buys determines how your piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription programs, but say you’ll find 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
Making money with stock photographs 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’ll need to upload lots of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anyone you pap may want to sign a model release form to say they’re OK with you with it (your inventory library will have template forms you can print, sign and publish ).
- Check the accounts terms! When will you get paid, and in what currency? What happens to your photos if you want to cancel your account later on?
- You often won’t get a say in how customers use your photographs, so in case 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 can clue you in on what sells, what to snap next, as well as how to improve your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your images. It helps folk find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There’s loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photos). 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 print 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 greater profits! Selling Photos To Adobe Stock
That means using a proper printing lab (one which specialises in art or framed prints), opting for specialist 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 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 handle the printing and any postage each time you make a sale. 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’s 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 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 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 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 order 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 is 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 generate moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and more — often using zero set-up costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise tons of goods, none of them actually exist until someone buys’em — so there’s no inventory to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are websites out there that do all of the producing, printing and posting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos!
Blurb lets you 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 can even advertise books on your own website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Selling Photos To Adobe 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 don’t even need a glue gun to begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose which products you want to sell them on, and give you a cut of the profits if they sell.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their market, but you may opt to have your very own online store and add a mark-up into the price (which you get as your royalty) rather than 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 percent 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 might find it more difficult to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you may add a mark-up of $1 to $20 on items sold through the market, or you can open your own store and catch 20% commission.
- Redbubble starts with a product base price 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 shop is low-fuss and cheap — if you are contented with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful sellers is that, to make proper bucks, you’ll want to put in the hours (so just like a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading plenty of photos or designs, getting the word out, and generally making an effort!
Selling photographs 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 freelancer photographer:
- Know your market . When it’s individuals, pets, food or something totally left-field, it’s a lot easier to market yourself whether your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take the time to learn your craft. You may 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 equipment!
- Give to photograph events, portraits or parties for friends and family 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 are 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 touch 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 that could get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You will 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 everyone with an Insta account seems to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the reality is that being a freelancer is probably 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 pictures for free when you first begin to get noticed. If you are in it for the career, don’t 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 are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photos of daily life and often it is the simple things that produce the best pics — believe roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, 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 provides you 2GB of space for free).
- As soon as you start getting sales, get to grips with tax and the freelancing fundamentals. It will save you stress in the long run, 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 need 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 vogue. Amen to that! Selling Photos To Adobe Stock