If photography is your hobby, then you are most likely in it for fun. Perhaps you are on an artistic pursuit to do something creative. Photography is indeed a fun and interesting hobby. But have you ever wondered if it is possible to make money selling photos? If not then this article is for you. Here I am going to explain a step by step approach to help you make money selling photos the sure way.
As an aspiring professional photographer, you shouldn’t expect to make money selling photos with your first click. In fact, selling photos online for beginners is not so simple! You have to learn the basics of the game, focus on the core areas, and most importantly, believe in yourself to make a mark in this highly competitive field.
However, if you are a determined soul, it is not that tough to make money selling photos that you have clicked with your Smartphone or digital camera.
So here we go…..
How to Get Started With An Aim to Make Money Selling Photos?
There are many stock libraries that allows users to upload mobile snaps, which means, you can get started right away if you have a camera phone. Yes, you can definitely start with a high-end camera phone. But an investment in a good digital camera is highly suggested. Simply because you can quote a high price while posting high-quality, attractive and original clicks on premium stock libraries and photo-selling websites.
To make money selling photos, you also need a photo editing software, which will enable you to dish out a package that is visually appealing. Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are the most widely adopted professional-grade software for photo editing. But they are pretty expensive and can drain your wallet. Instead, when you are starting your career, try out freebies like PIXLR, Raw Therapee, or FastStone Image Viewer to keep your start-up costs low.
What Are Stock Libraries and How You Can Make Use of Them?
If this question is nagging you , how to sell my photos online and make money, then the easiest place to start is stock library. A photo stock library is the one-stop destination for photographers, collectors, web designers, and marketers alike. These stock libraries allow photographers to upload and sell their digital photos. Usually these photos are used to design websites, book covers, album covers, social media posts and even advertisements.
Every time a photo gets sold, the photographer earns a commission from the sale. A stock site gives photographers an opportunity to generate a stream of passive income, as they can upload an image and sell it repeatedly.
To become a stock library photo contributor, you have to follow the guidelines and meet the library’s submission criteria. It is common for stock sites to reject a submission, so don’t get stressed about it. Rather, join multiple stock sites to reduce the rejection rate and ensure maximum coverage for your images. Undoubtedly a stock website is the best place to start selling photos online for beginners.
Also the good part is that by selling pictures through stock sites you can still retain the copyright of your images. What you actually sell is a license to use your photograph.
What Are The Best Places to Sell Photos Online
How to sell photos online and make money? The answer is simple! Find the best place to sell photos online, which quite conveniently is the stock library, at least for beginners.
This premium stock photo library offers $0.25 per sale on the basic subscription plan. But as a photographer, your income can increase as the sale amount crosses different levels. For instance, if your total sale reaches $10,000, Shutterstock coughs up as much as 38 cents per image sale. Not bad, huh!
Another top-rated stock photo site, Getty Images hands out 15 percent of the sale price to the photographer, but it promises a larger piece of the cake, if the photographer makes the image exclusive. Usually, the payment slice on Getty Images depends on a variety of factors like the subscription plan, image rarity, and the license type.
This stock library offers photographers up to 60 percent for exclusive images. The free Dreamstime app, available on both iPhone and Android, is ideal for people shooting pictures with their smartphone. Normally, newbie photographer clicks on Dreamstime sell between $0.34 and $2.38.
A fantastic platform for phone photographers, Foap is ready to offer 50 percent of the sale to the photographer. The Foap app, free on Android and iPhone, also runs ‘Missions’, where photographers can submit pictures on a particular theme to win extra cash.
EyeEm is a photo sharing platform like Instagram, but it allows its users to sell images through the EyeEm marketplace. Images on this phone and web-based application sell from $20 to $250, with a 50/50 split for photographers.
A stock library with a twist, Picfair lets photographers decide the selling price for their clicked pictures. Picfair adds a 20 percent markup on the selling price, but photographers get the price they set for their images.
Offering a student contributor scheme, Swing by Alamy gives student photographers 100 percent of the sale price for 2 years, provided their university is a part of the scheme. If you are not a student, or if your university is not registered, then also the payout is a decent 50 percent on the sale price. If you decide to sell your Smartphone pictures through Alamy’s Stockimo App you can earn a decent 20 percent out of each sale.
Use Your Own Website or Online Store to Sell Photos
Besides selling pictures on stock photo libraries, the other best place to sell photos online is your own website. You can easily self-host a WordPress website and display your photography portfolio.
If not yet ready to invest in a website, then set up an Etsy Store to leverage higher profit on sales. Enhance the appeal of your website by loading it with fancy items like t-shirts, coffee mugs, and phone cases with prints of your clicked pictures on them. You can also design custom products, offering print-on-demand services to your clients.
Related Post: 50 Actionable Tips to Promote Your Etsy Shop for Free
How to Sell My Photos Online and Make Money On Instagram
Although popular social media platforms do not allow users to sell photos right from their profiles, photographers can still use social media to promote their portfolio, and eventually, sell photos. Having a solid fan base is an asset. If not, you can still increase your Instagram following by posting attractive pics on a daily basis (in fact thrice a day is recommended to grow the number of followers on Instagram).
When it comes to selling photos online for beginners, you can draw inspiration from the famed street photographer Daniel Arnold. He made $15k in a single day by offering his Instagram followers a chance to order prints from his Insta feed. The best thing about Insta selling is that you can exhibit your creativity to a massive audience, without even owning a website.
While Instagram is undoubtedly a best place to place to sell photos online, but you shouldn’t be in a hurry to make money! Take some time to gain popularity. Focus on networking, strengthening connection with few influencers on social platforms. Offer some free shoot to prove your expertise before you finally attempt to make money selling photos online!
Sell Photo Books
Choose from a range of free tools to create professional-grade photo books. You can use the self-publishing platform Blurb, which lets you import images directly from your social profiles like Facebook or Instagram. You can then publish and sell the finished product on Amazon or Blurb. What’s more? Blurb will take care of all your payments.
How to Sell Photos Online and Make Money as a Freelance Photographer?
The cold harsh reality about selling photos online for beginners is that freelance photography is the most challenging and demanding route to make money selling photos. But if you are confident about your capabilities, want to build a reputation, and be in the spotlight, then, here are some tips that will help you to get started as a freelance photographer –
Identify Your Niche
Before you ask yourself, how to sell my photos online and make money, first identify own niche. Showcase your talent the best possible way.
While looking for freelancing assignments, always explain your specialty like adventure sports, wildlife, nature, food, people, pets, or brand photography. This helps people find you, and also helps them relate to your work.
Hold Your Horses i.e. Consider Your Decision Carefully
To be a key player in freelance photography, you have to learn the secrets of the trade. If you are not sure about settings like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, you can still get lucky selling pictures on stock libraries. But in freelance photography, you cannot afford to take chances when a client is paying you for an event.
Build An Impressive Portfolio
At the initial stage, you have to do some free business to create your portfolio. Seek permission of your friends, office colleagues and acquaintances to click their portraits, parties, and special events. Also, request them to share these photographs on social media and other channels to help you spread the word. In addition, remember to update your portfolio on a regular basis to keep it fresh.
Make Sure to Get Noticed
Reach out to picture editors of websites, web magazines, or newspapers, and ask them if you can submit your photos or cover their events. Furthermore, do promotional shots for top brands, and tag them on social media to get noticed.
Try to Manage a Press Pass
A press pass is your golden gateway to exclusive and important events. Try to manage a press pass related to your particular fields of interest. But remember, it is not at all easy. In fact, you have a better chance of getting a free ticket to the moon and back than getting a press pass, but once you manage to get one, you will have plenty of photo opportunities.
You need great determination, dedication, and patience to make money selling photos. But then a dream doesn’t become reality unless hard work is involved, isn’t it? So, go for your dream and never give up!