Selling Photos To National Geographic
If you believe photography is a costly 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 To National Geographic
In actuality, if you’ve got a good phone cam and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But 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 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 usually produce larger file photographs (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams these days so this isn’t necessarily 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 ideas below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing software can help buff your pics for the best results, so it is worth sniffing out a decent 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 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 from 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 colors, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the 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 guess it is a more demanding learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing apps to be obtained for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t forget the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, phone or notebook. 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, 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 photo once and sell it over and over again, pretty much forever!
You might need to submit a choice 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 will always have to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, however; join multiple websites 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 2 years. Total win! Your uni will need to be part of the scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Photos To National Geographic
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 registered, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo app (iStore only) earns you a 20% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair has a twist: you decide to what extent your images 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 photographs 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 web or phone.
- Foap is constructed around telephone photographers, with everything managed through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you will earn $5 a pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you are able to 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% for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the more it is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting on a phone, start with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15 percent of a picture’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 purchases determines how your slice is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription programs, but say you will find a bigger cut as your lifetime 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 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 lots of quality pics to several sites.
- Photos of people are constantly in demand, but anyone you pap might need to signal a model release form to say they are OK with you with it (your inventory library will have template forms you can print, sign and submit).
- Check the accounts terms! When are you going to 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 state in how customers use your photos, so if you don’t want 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, as well as how to enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your images. It helps folk find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There is loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photographs ). 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 bit more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means greater profits! Selling Photos To National Geographic
That means using a proper printing laboratory (one that specialises in art or framed prints), opting for expert paper, or perhaps 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 secure place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (so you can show’em off) and shopping tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even take care of the printing and any postage 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 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
As an alternative, you could always get your own website or Etsy store and hang onto more of your profit!
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 networking giants will wise-up and start letting us market photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, have a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered 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 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 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 much more — often with zero set-up costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise a great deal of goods, none of them actually exist until somebody buys’em — so there is no inventory to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are websites out there that do all the producing, printing and posting for you, so all you have to do is take the photographs!
Blurb lets you create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you’ll be able to sell your final novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could also advertise books on your website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Selling Photos To National Geographic
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 get started!
Most print-on-demand outfits let you 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 can opt to have your very own online shop and add a mark-up to the price (which you get as your royalty) instead. It’s 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% 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 may find it harder to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you can add a mark-up of $1 to $20 on items sold through the marketplace, or you can open your own shop 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’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 effort.
The word from successful vendors is that, to earn proper bucks, you’ll want to put in the hours (so the same as 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 market . Whether it’s individuals, pets, food or something completely left-field, it is easier to market yourself if your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take the time to learn your craft. You may get lucky selling stock if you don’t understand your aperture out of your elbow, but you can not afford to chance it if someone’s paying you for wedding pics!
- Workout your rate and make sure it covers your time, your prices and leaves you a little on top for profit. And get insurance to your gear!
- 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 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 photos or pay local events.
- You might have more chance of getting 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) however, 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 reality 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 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 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 anyplace — and not only when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photographs of everyday life and often it’s the simple things which produce the best pics — think 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 cash on your tax invoice.
- You may not have the ability to sell photos should they include trademarked products, brands or perhaps specific buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or get the company involved and ask if you need 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 To National Geographic