Selling Photos To Postcards
If you believe 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 To Postcards
In actuality, if you’ve got a decent phone camera along with a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
However you get your clicks, you will find a growing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And when photography’s already your bag, there are heaps more ways to develop your skills, 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 sites 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 is not necessarily the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing amount of stock libraries are catering for mobile snaps, plus you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing software can help buff your pics for the best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a nice package (and learning how to use it!) So you can earn more money with your photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for photo editing. But they cost dollars! Do not 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 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 convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the very same shortcuts right out the bag. You can run it directly from a browser through the program at no cost.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users guess it is a tougher learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing apps to be obtained for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Do not forget the bloatware image software bundled into your’puter, phone or notebook. Many can make light work of the basics.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries purchase’n’ sell digital photos to use on websites, in books, on products as well as in ads, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each time.
Selling photos 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 need to submit a choice of pics (and be accepted) until you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some websites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will happily bounce any they do not think meet criteria.
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; join multiple sites and post pics to all of them to get the best possible coverage.
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 need to be part of this scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Photos To Postcards
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 isn’t enrolled, 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 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 site 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 content, themed missions run by large brands, plus you can upload pics via the web 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 earn $5 per 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 offer 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 are shooting a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15 percent of a picture’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 sort 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 plans, but say you will find a bigger cut as your lifetime earnings pass different 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
Earning money with stock photographs can involve a substantial cash-in, but there are a few 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 several sites.
- Photos of people are always in demand, but anybody you pap may 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 publish ).
- Assess the account terms! When will you 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 say in how customers use your photos, so if you don’t need your selfies turning up in ads for STDs or hemorrhoid ointment, do not upload’em!
- Sign-up for contributor newsletters, as they could 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 pictures. It helps people find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There is loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photos). You decide what to take, who to sell 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 photos on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means greater profits! Selling Photos To Postcards
That means using a proper printing laboratory (one that excels 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 give you a safe place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (so you can show’em away ) and shopping tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even handle 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 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 until you pony up the cash: try Zenfolio or Smugmug.
Get Your Own Photo Shop
Alternatively, you can 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 not 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 tip 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 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 massive potential audience!
Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to make moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and more — often with zero setup 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’s no inventory to store, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are sites out there that do all of the producing, printing and submitting for you, so all you’ve got to do is take the photographs!
Blurb enables you to create photo books by simply importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you’ll be able to sell your finished book 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 To Postcards
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photograph on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothes and PJs; and you do not even need a glue gun to begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photos (or illustrations), choose which products you want to sell them on, and then give you a cut of the profits if they market.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their marketplace, but you may choose to have your very own online store and add a mark-up to the price (which you get as your royalty) rather than 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 may find it harder 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 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 like.
Running a print-on-demand shop is low-fuss and cheap — if you are happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to generate money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful sellers 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 plenty of photos or designs, getting the word out, and generally try!
Selling photos anonymously online is simple enough. But if you want to build a rep, get more glory or just have customers of your own, here are some tips to get started as a freelancer photographer:
- Know your market . When it’s people, pets, food or something completely left-field, it’s 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 from 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 costs and leaves you a little on top for gain. And get insurance to your gear!
- Offer to photo events, parties or portraits for friends and family to develop 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 are available, and tell’em how to get connected. Get cheeky and take alternative promo shots for brands, then tag them to get noticed.
- Get in touch with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or websites and ask if you can submit photographs or cover local events.
- You may have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket which can 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) however, as soon as you’re in, you’re going to get plenty of saleable photo opps!
While everyone 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 may take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and adequate 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, do not quit. 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 everywhere — 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 that make 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): maintain 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 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 snaps.
- Don’t just do the same-old or what everyone else is doing. Quirky, cute or weird is always in fashion. Amen to that! Selling Photos To Postcards