Selling Pictures For Money
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 own photos! Selling Pictures For Money
In fact, if you’ve got a good phone camera along with a steady hand, you’re 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 when photography’s already your luggage, you will find 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 bash 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 sites for prints, or for print-on-demand products. This is because cameras will generally produce larger file photos (although some camera phones are trumping digi cams nowadays 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 ideas below. Continue reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing software can help buff your pics for the best results, so it’s well worth sniffing out a nice bundle (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 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 much more.
- PIXLR is a convincing alternative to Photoshop, and even simplifies the very 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’s a tougher learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing programs to be had for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t overlook the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, telephone or notebook. 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 as well as in advertisements, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each time.
Selling photographs through a stock site 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 choice of pics (and be accepted) before you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will keep on reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they do not think meet criteria.
What that means is you will always have to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, however; combine a number of 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 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 Pictures For Money
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’re not a student, or your uni is not enrolled, the pay-out’s still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone pics through their Stockimo program (iStore only) earns you a 20% cut.
Other Websites to Check Out:
- Picfair comes with a twist: you decide to what extent 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 could also pimp your images through the market. EyeEm divide every sale with you 50/50, with photos 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 constructed around phone photographers, with everything handled through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and splits it 50/50, so you’ll 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 is downloaded: newbie images begin at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock palms over 15% 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 sort 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 frequent subscription plans, but say you will find a larger 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
Earning money with stock photos 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 lots of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of people are always in demand, but anyone you pap may need to sign a model release form to say they’re 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 in the future?
- 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, do not upload’em!
- Sign-up for contributor newsletters, as they could 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’s loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photographs ). You decide what to shoot, who to sell 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 is a little more to it. While you can run off photos on your home printer or at a high-street laboratory, better quality means higher profits! Selling Pictures For Money
That means using a proper printing lab (one which excels in art or framed prints), opting for specialist paper, or even selling restricted or signed editions. Seems like a drag? Not necessarily; there is 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 (so you can show’em off) and purchasing tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even take care of 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 before 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 profit!
Obtaining prints or gifts to market is also super easy; go for print-on-demand and you won’t need to store some 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 market photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, take 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 your portfolio, and you’ve got a massive potential audience!
Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to generate moolah from mouse mats, keyrings, t-shirts, bags, books and more — often with zero setup costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise a great deal of goods, none of them actually exist until someone buys’em — so there’s no inventory to shop, lose, or fall over. Better still, there are sites out there that do all the printing, printing and posting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos!
Blurb enables you to create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta images — and you can sell your final book on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can even advertise books on your website (if you have one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Selling Pictures For Money
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 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 can opt to have your very own online store and add a mark-up to the cost (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 lets you set your own royalty rate between 5 percent and 99% but, while it’s 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 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 start your own shop and grab 20% commission.
- Redbubble starts 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 cheap — if you are contented with the occasional sale, it can be a wonderful way to generate money on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful sellers is that, to make proper bucks, you’ll 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 making an effort!
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 freelancer photographer:
- Know your market . When it’s people, pets, food or something completely left-field, it is a lot easier to market yourself if your portfolio showcases what you do best.
- Take the 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 make sure it covers your time, your costs and leaves you a little on top for profit. And get insurance to your gear!
- Offer to photograph events, parties or portraits for friends and family to develop a portfolio, and ask them to spread the word for you. Or search out your favorite 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 take 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 photographs or cover 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 can 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, as soon as you’re in, you’re going to get loads of saleable photo opps!
While everyone with an Insta account appears to reckon they’re a pro photographer, the reality is that being a freelancer may be 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 images for free when you first begin to get noticed. If you’re 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’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photos of everyday life and often it’s 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 would 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 term, and can save you money on your tax invoice.
- You might not have the ability to sell photos should they comprise trademarked products, brands or even 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 Pictures For Money