Stock Photography Sell Photos
If you think photography is a costly hobby, you’re right, it can be. But that does not mean that you need pro-quality equipment to generate money from your photos! Stock Photography Sell Photos
In actuality, if you’ve got a good phone camera along with a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.
But you get your clicks, there are an increasing number of opportunities to monetise photos you’ve already taken. And if photography’s already your luggage, 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 one up 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 number of inventory 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 software will help buff your pics for the best results, so it is well worth sniffing out a decent 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 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 like colour 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 recognises the same shortcuts directly out the bag. You can run it directly from a browser through the app for free.
- GIMP can do a lot of what Photoshop excels at, though some users reckon it’s a more demanding learning curve.
- There are loads of phone editing apps to be had for free or a few pence, but Snapseed (iPhone, Android, free) consistently makes the best-of lists.
- Don’t overlook the bloatware picture software bundled into your’puter, phone or notebook. Many can make light work of the basics.
Selling Through Stock Libraries
Stock libraries buy’n’ sell digital photographs to use on websites, in books, on products and even in ads, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale every time.
Selling photos through a stock website 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 may have to submit a selection of pics (and be accepted) until 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 standards.
What that means is you’ll always have to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Don’t get too hung up about rejections, though; combine multiple websites and post pics to them to find the best possible policy.
Which Websites Pay Most?
Swing by Alamy first. Their student contributor scheme provides 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. Stock Photography Sell Photos
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’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) 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 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 site butif you wish to earn more than’likes’, you could also pimp your pictures through the marketplace. EyeEm divide 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 net or phone.
- Foap is built around telephone photographers, with everything managed through the program (Android, iTunes, free). Foap sells photos 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 cash and perks.
Big Name Websites
Dreamstime provide up to 60 percent 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 are shooting a phone, start with the free Dreamstime program (Android, iPhone).
IStock hands over 15% of an image’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 buys determines how your piece is calculated.
Shutterstock coughs up $0.25 (USD) per sale on the most frequent subscription programs, but say you will get a bigger 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 photos 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 will need to upload lots of quality pics to a number of sites.
- Photos of individuals are constantly in demand, but anybody you pap might want to signal 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 ).
- Assess 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 in case you don’t want your selfies turning up in advertisements for STDs or hemorrhoid ointment, don’t upload’em!
- Sign-up for contributor newsletters, as they could clue you in on what sells, what to snap next, and even how to improve your camera or editing skills.
- Add loads of keywords when you upload your images. It helps people find (and hopefully purchase!) your pics.
Selling Your Prints
There is loads of liberty in selling prints (i.e., printed copies of your photos). 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 income earner.
Now, before you leg it down to Boots to batch publish your holiday snaps, there is a little more to it. While you can run off pictures on your home printer or at a high-street lab, better quality means greater profits! Stock Photography Sell Photos
That means using a suitable printing lab (one that excels 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 give you a secure place to store your digital pics, a portfolio (which means you can show’em away ) and purchasing tools (so you can sell prints, downloads and wall art).
They even handle the printing and any postage each time you make a sale. 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 want 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 shop 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 sell photos and other content directly from our profiles.
But until then, take a hint from street photographer Daniel Arnold: he offered 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 strong fanbase, but if you have talent (and the right 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 your portfolio, and you’ve 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 using zero setup costs.
The actual beauty of print-on-demand is that while you may advertise tons of goods, none of them really exist until somebody buys’em — so there is no stock to store, lose, or fall over. Even better, there are sites out there that do all of the printing, printing and submitting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos!
Blurb lets you create photo books just by importing your Facebook or Insta pictures — and you’ll be able to sell your finished novel on Blurb or Amazon.co.uk. You can even advertise books on your website (if you’ve got one), but have Blurb/Amazon manage the payment. Easy! Stock Photography Sell Photos
Gifts and Goodies
Turns out you can slap a photograph on pretty much anything, from shower curtains to pet clothing and PJs; and you do not even need a glue gun to begin!
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 sell.
- CafePress pays you 10% if your products sell in their market, but you may choose to have your own online shop 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 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% and 99% but, while it’s tempting to dial it up to full whack, keep in mind that your cut is added to the sales price: go OTT and you may find it more difficult to make sales.
- With Spreadshirt you can add a mark-up of $1 to $20 on items sold through the marketplace, or you can start your own store 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 like.
Running a print-on-demand store is low-fuss and cheap — if you’re happy with the occasional sale, it can be a nice way to make cash on the side for relatively little effort.
The word from successful sellers is that, to make proper bucks, you’ll want to put in the hours (so just like a project, 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 customers of your own, here are some tips to get started as a freelancer photographer:
- Know your market . When it’s individuals, pets, food or something totally 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 may get lucky selling stock if you don’t know your aperture out of your elbow, but you can’t afford to chance it if 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!
- Give to photo events, portraits or parties 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 are 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 touch with picture editors at newspapers, magazines or sites and ask if you can submit photographs or cover local events.
- You might have more chance of getting 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 will want 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 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 everywhere — and not only when you’re doing something or going somewhere special. Loads of businesses and brands are after photographs of daily life and often it is the simple things that produce the best pics — think streets, food (street food?) , facial expressions, loved ones, pets, sports… anything!
- Back-up your best pics (or any you’d 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 term, and can save you money on your tax bill.
- You might 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 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! Stock Photography Sell Photos