Selling Skills Images
If you think photography is an expensive hobby, you are correct, it can be. But that does not mean you need pro-quality equipment to make money from your own photos! Selling Skills Images
In fact, 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, there are an increasing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And when photography’s already your luggage, 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 have got a digital camera (or fancy picking one up to get a sneak ), 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 these days so this is not always the case).
Got a camera phone? A growing number of stock libraries are catering for mobile snaps, plus you still have a shot at the other biz ideas below. Keep reading!
It helps to have…
Some type of editing software will help buff your pics for best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a nice package (and learning how to use it!) So you can make more money with your own 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 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 resources for tweaking colours, curves and more.
- PIXLR is a persuasive alternative to Photoshop, and even recognises the same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it straight from a browser through the app for free.
- GIMP can do much of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it is a more demanding learning curve.
- There are tons of phone editing apps to be had for free or a couple of pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) always makes the best-of lists.
- Do not overlook the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, telephone or laptop. Most can make light work of the fundamentals.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries buy’n’ sell digital photos to use on websites, in books, on products as well as in advertisements, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each time.
Selling photos 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 need to submit a selection of pics (and be accepted) before you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will continue reviewing all your submissions, and will gladly bounce any they don’t think meet criteria.
What that means is you’ll always have to be on the ball about choosing your best shots. Do not get too hung up about rejections, however; join a number of 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 need to be part of the scheme, but loads of UK and US institutions are already on the books. Selling Skills Images
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 registered, 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 has 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 website butif you wish to earn more than’likes’, you could also pimp your images through the market. EyeEm split every sale with you 50/50, with photos 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 handled through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells pictures for $10 each and divides it 50/50, so you’ll make $5 per pic. They also run monthly Missions, where you can submit photos on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra money and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime provide up to 60 percent for exclusives. How much your photograph sells for also goes up the more it is downloaded: newbie images start at between $0.34 and $2.38 (USD). If you’re shooting on a phone, begin with the free Dreamstime app (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15% 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 type of licence or subscription program the customer buys determines how your slice is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most common subscription programs, but say you’ll find a larger cut as your life 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 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 lots of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of people are always in demand, but anyone you pap may want 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 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 state in how customers use your photos, so if you don’t need 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, and even how to enhance your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your images. It helps people find (and hopefully buy!) your pics.
Promoting Your Prints
There is loads of freedom 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 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 laboratory, better quality means greater profits! Selling Skills Images
That means using a suitable printing lab (one which specialises in art or framed prints), opting for expert 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 site hosts provide you with 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 everybody’s cup of cocoa! If you want to give it a whirl, look out for 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!
Obtaining 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 not shift it!) .
Sell on Social Media Platforms
Eventually the social media giants will wise-up and start letting us sell photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, take a tip from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he provided Instagram followers the opportunity 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 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’ve 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 much more — often with zero set-up costs.
The real beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise a great deal of products, none of them really exist until someone buys’em — so there’s no inventory to shop, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are websites out there that do all the printing, printing and posting for you, so all you’ve got to do is take the photographs!
Blurb lets you create photo books by simply importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you can sell your finished book on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You could even advertise books on your own website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon handle the payment. Easy! Selling Skills Images
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photograph on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothing and PJs; and you don’t even need a glue gun to get started!
Most print-on-demand outfits let you upload your photographs (or illustrations), choose which products you want 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 marketplace, but you may opt to have your 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 store, 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, remember 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 start your own shop and catch 20% commission.
- Redbubble begins with a product base price and allows you to 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 low-cost — if you’re contented with the occasional sale, it can be a wonderful way to generate cash on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful sellers is that, to earn proper bucks, you will need to put in the hours (so the same as a job, 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 clients of your own, here are some tips to get started as a freelancer photographer:
- Know your niche. When it’s individuals, pets, food or something completely left-field, it’s a lot 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 in case 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!
- 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 photograph events, parties or portraits for friends and family to build up 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 are available, and tell’em how to get connected. Get cheeky and take alternative promo shots for brands, then label them to get noticed.
- Get in contact with picture editors at magazines, newspapers or sites and ask if you can submit photos or pay local events.
- You might have more chance of getting adopted by Madonna than getting a press pass, but it’s like a golden ticket that 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, once 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 is probably the toughest route you can take.
You’ll need a great deal of patience, perseverance, good shoes and decent pics — and you may well have to give away pictures for free when you first start out to get noticed. If you’re 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 anyplace — and not just when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of companies and brands are after photos of daily life and often it’s the simple things that produce the best pics — think streets, food (street food?) , facial expressions, family, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you would hate to lose): keep copies on an external drive or in cloud storage (Dropbox provides you 2GB of space for free).
- Once you start getting sales, get to grips with tax and the freelancing fundamentals. It’ll save you stress in the long run, and could save you money on your tax bill.
- You might not have the ability to sell photos if they comprise trademarked products, brands or perhaps specific buildings. Check out the terms with your stock library, or contact the company involved and ask if you need 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 Skills Images