Selling Photos Without Model Release
If you believe photography is an expensive hobby, you are right, it can be. But that doesn’t mean that you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your photos! Selling Photos Without Model Release
In fact, if you’ve got a decent phone cam and 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’ve already taken. And if photography’s already your bag, there are heaps more ways to develop your abilities, 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’ll 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 amount of stock libraries are catering for mobile snaps, and you still have a shot at the other biz thoughts below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some kind of editing program will help buff your pics for the best results, so it’s worth sniffing out a decent bundle (and learning how to use it!) So you can earn more money with your photos.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are industry standards for picture 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 out of your digital camera and save them as JPG, TIFF or PNGs. OK for basic edits such as color correction, straightening, cropping and contrast.
- Raw Therapee is a Lightroom-like editor with loads of resources 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 program 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 tons 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 overlook the bloatware image software bundled into your’puter, telephone or laptop. Most can make light work of the fundamentals.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries purchase’n’ sell digital photos to use on websites, in books, on goods and even in ads, together with the photographer getting a cut of the sale every 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 may need to submit a selection of pics (and be accepted) before you may 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’ll always need to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, though; join a number of websites and post pics to all of them to find 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 have to be part of this scheme, but lots of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Photos Without Model Release
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 are 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% 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 wish to earn more than’enjoys’, you can 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 content, themed missions run by big brands, plus you’ll be able to upload pics via the net or phone.
- Foap is built around telephone photographers, with everything handled through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you’ll make $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you are able to submit photographs on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime offer up to 60% for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the longer it is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15 percent of an image’s sales price, but promise 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 purchases determines how your piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription plans, but say you’ll find a larger cut as your life 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 a picture…
Playing the Stock (photo) Market
Earning 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 a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are always in demand, but anybody 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 account terms! When will you 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 state in how clients use your photographs, so if you don’t need 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, as well as how to enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add plenty of keywords when you upload your images. It helps folk find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There is loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photographs ). You decide what to take, who to sell to, and for how much and, like selling through stock libraries, it can be a wonderful little passive income 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 pictures on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means higher profits! Selling Photos Without Model Release
That means using a proper printing lab (one which excels in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or perhaps selling restricted or signed editions. Sounds 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 (which means 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’s not everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you wish to give it a whirl, look out for 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 shop and hang onto more of your gain!
Getting prints or gifts to market 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 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 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 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’ve 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 with zero setup costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you can advertise a great deal of products, none of them actually exist until someone buys’em — so there is no inventory to store, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are websites out there that do all of the printing, printing and submitting 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 images — and you’ll be able to sell your final novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could also advertise books on your own website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Selling Photos Without Model Release
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 begin!
Most print-on-demand outfits allow you to upload your photographs (or illustrations), select which products you wish 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 market, but you may opt to have your very own online store and add a mark-up to the price (which you get as your royalty) instead. It’s free to set-up and run a shop, 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% 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 harder to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you may 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 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 store is low-fuss and cheap — if you are happy with the occasional sale, it can be a wonderful way to generate money on the side for relatively little work.
The word from successful sellers is that, to make proper bucks, you will want to put in the hours (so just like a project, sadly). We’re talking uploading plenty of photos or layouts, getting the word out, and generally try!
Selling photographs anonymously online is easy 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 freelance photographer:
- Know your niche. When it’s individuals, pets, food or something completely left-field, it is a lot 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 understand your aperture out of your elbow, but you can’t 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 gain. And get insurance for your gear!
- Offer to photograph events, parties or portraits for family and friends 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 media account with your best pics, let folk know you are available, and tell’em how to get connected. Get cheeky and choose alternative promo shots for brands, then label them to get noticed.
- Get in touch with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or sites and ask if you can submit photos or cover local events.
- You might have more chance of being adopted by Madonna than obtaining a press pass, but it is like a golden ticket which can get you into sports, fashion and other exclusive events. You’ll need 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 everybody with an Insta account appears 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, don’t give up. 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 anyplace — and not just when you are doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photos of everyday life and often it is the simple things which produce the best pics — think roads, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or some you’d hate to lose): maintain 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 will save you stress in the long run, and could save you cash on your tax bill.
- You may not be able to sell photos if they comprise trademarked products, brands or even certain buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or get 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 Without Model Release