Ultimate Guide to Selling Photos Online in 2020
Visual content is viral in online circles. People rapidly share blog posts with high-quality images on social media. All these photos have to come from somewhere. That means if you have a keen eye for details and can take Instagram worthy shots, selling pictures online can be a gold mine. You can earn some money when you submit your images to stock photography services. Doesn’t matter if you are a wedding photographer or travel photographer. You can always take some shots beside your job and sell them.
While anyone with a Smartphone or camera can take pictures, to capture the best shots you need skill and innate artistic talent. If your family and close friends always rave about your photography skills, you can use your skills and make some passive income. How do you start making cash from digital pictures that are eating up your storage space? This guide will help you make money by photos.
Where Can I Sell My Photos Online for Money?
The popularity of self-publishing online through e-books and blogs has led to high demand for stock photography. Hence, several stock sites have sprung up to supply images. If you can take great shots, you can earn some cash online from:
• Small and medium-sized enterprises
• Marketing agencies
• Consumers especially if you provide postcards or wall art images.
• Stock photo sites
In the past, photographers had to submit their pictures to a physical photo archive for sale through an agency. Well, not much has changed nowadays, agencies market your stock images online. A blogger or marketer who wants to publish the image pays royalties to use it for a specific period. However, the ownership of the picture remains with the photographer. If a blogger wants to republish the photo, they have to pay additional fees.
Steps to Sell Pictures Online
While photography is often considered passive income, you have to put in some work to get a steady bankroll. The following steps are essential to making money through photography.
Step One: Know Your Buyer
Knowing who you are selling to gives you an idea of the types of images to take and the quality standards. When starting, your target customer base is bloggers and small business website owners. Therefore, you should capture shots that appeal to these groups. While large companies purchase stock photos, most hire in-house photographers since their demand is enormous. To hit the ground running selling images, focus on catering to your potential buyers.
Step Two: Figure out Photos that Sell
What images sell like hotcakes? While seasonal trends and events often affect demand for different types of pictures, some photos never lose their novelty. For instance, many bloggers and marketing agencies are drawn to images of people in different settings. It could be kids playing or a picture that tells the story of a particular culture. If you can also capture great shots of people working, you can make a fortune online. Images of adults working on a laptop or during a meeting are in high demand. However, you should be careful not to make them generic. Otherwise, they will look like memes.
Enticing shots of delicious foods are famous with hoteliers and hospitality bloggers. With a little creativity, you can make hundreds of pounds from food shots. Photos from various geographical locations around the world are always in demand. It could be cityscapes, famous buildings, or travel pictures. Nature images also never get old, especially if they are of high quality and tell a story. If you are looking for inspiration, browse through stock photo market places for ideas.
Step Three: Discover Your Niche
When starting, you can take random pictures and upload to stock sites. However, if you want to make big bucks, you need to narrow down your focus. Remember, tons of people are trying to sell their photos. Therefore, you need to stand out with a niche. It would also be best if you adopt a consistent theme or style throughout your work. For instance, if you do travel or nature images, carve out a slice of the market and stay true to it. Sounds easy, right? However, for a beginner finding a niche seems daunting.
Do not worry; most people sort of feel their way into a niche. They experiment with multiple types of photos and choose a category that resonates with their style and audience. You can also use data analysis to evaluate photography genres in high-demand. With a little keyword research, you can figure out pictures with higher search volume; often, they have high-profit potential.
Step Four: Take High-Quality Images
While you cannot, predict what your clients or stock market sites will want, you should take exceptional images. Your photos should tell a story and draw in an audience. Therefore, ditch the mind-set of creating stock images. Instead, treat every picture as a piece of art and bring out its best aspects.
Step Five: Edit Your Images
Since quality is critical in photography, you must ensure you nail the contrast, sharpness, and white balance. A little editing gives you a winning stock photo that will earn more money. Fortunately, editing photos nowadays takes seconds, and you can find multiple editing software. Adobe Lightroom is worth mentioning, but for in-depth editing, you can use Photoshop.
What Are the Top Websites to Sell Photos Online?
Once your pictures are market-ready, it is time to look for buyers. Where should you sell your photos online for money? Luckily, you have tons of options you can start a website dedicated to selling images or upload pictures to stock marketplaces. Some of the reputable sites for stock images can give you passive income. Here is a list of popular websites to keep in mind.
Alamy is a British stock market place that has over a hundred million images, vector art, and videos for sale. The massive supply of content is due to the favourable terms and conditions.
Photographers can sell photos without strict licensing and copyright issues. Besides, they pay photographers 50% commission on each sale, which is higher than most competing sites.
Transparency and fairness are important Photocase values. Here you find a fair marketplace where you can put your works up for sale and get a fair share of 20-50 percent of the net sales price. This is the amount we receive after deducting discounts and taxes on image sales.
The respective participation level is calculated using a dynamic bonus point system based on the sales and the number of images accepted.
In addition to the financial side, Photocase has a strong community that interacts intensively in the forum with frequent meet-ups in the Real World. At Photocase, you can present yourself and your photographic work in a photographer’s profile, and your pictures reach a wide audience via the social media channels.
This strong community makes Photocase our personal favourite.
Shutterstock is quite popular. Hence, it has a lot of content ranging from images to vectors and clips. You retain the copyright of your pictures when you upload them to the site and enjoy royalties of about 30% of the sale price. However, prices rely on size, and it could be as low as $0.25 or as high as $120 when you upload custom photos. Despite the competitive prices, joining Shutterstock can be hard since they have reviewers manning their gates.
When you upload pictures to Adobe Stock Library, they become available in all Adobe applications. Hence, it reaches millions of users who are potential customers. Adobe Stock was among the first stock marketplace and is a prime destination for buyers. Besides, it does not demand exclusive selling rights, and you can market your images in other sites. Photographers enjoy a commission starting from 20% to 60%, which means you can make large amounts of cash.
Since 500px is a community-based platform, you can share your experience with other photographers. You can follow famous photographers and enlist your images on the market. Apart from the 30% commission payout, you can take part in competitions and win exciting prizes. 5oopx also offers a royalty payment of up to 60% for exclusive shots.
Can Stock Photo offer various payment structures to over 70,000 contributors. You can earn up to 50% on licenses sold or fixed amounts for different images sizes and various video resolution. However, to join the site, editors will review your photography styles through a photo audition. You can also earn through referrals, and your images will appear on Fotosearch.
Many people overlook Etsy when searching for places to sell their photos since it is a market place for selling handmade goods. However, the 30 million users make it an excellent platform to market your photos. The broad audience provides a diverse market for digital images. If you want to make more money, you can sell prints on the platform. Etsy is a flexible site that offers multiple perks. Apart from setting your price, you have complete control over your photo selling. It is the perfect fit for people who want to control their sales without starting a website from scratch.
Crestock operates like other stock sites where you can create a free account for uploading images. When the team approves the photos, they will be available for purchase on the website. You can improve sales by adding unique descriptions and keywords. Rates from Crestock range from 20% to 40% based on download. Besides, you can make extra pounds from affiliate programs.
Photoshelter provides a platform for uploading and selling digital images and prints. However, since you are setting up a template, you need to buy the space to share photos. You can pay monthly or annual subscriptions.
Selling Photos on Your Website
When you want to make money with minimal effort, stock sites are the best option. However, if you aim to get a steady bankroll, then it is advisable to build a photography website. While you will still be selling stock images, a personal site gives you flexibility. You do not have to worry about approval processes and exclusive selling rights. Besides, you set prices for your pictures, handle the displays, and set terms and conditions.
If you do not have a website, it will take you a couple of minutes to create a photography site on WordPress. Once it is up and running display your photos attractively on templates to attract buyers. Create photo albums and use customisable Lightboxes to stand out from the crowd. Image descriptions are also vital in increasing visibility. Also, use competitive keywords to ensure your customers find you easily.
While you may charge higher rates for your photos, you have to invest in marketing. Without advertising, your website will simply be a photo gallery. Add your photography page to photognow.com and get easily found by new customers. Apart from optimising your site for search engines, social media pages are a gold mine. You can share drool-worthy photos that will entice the audience to your website. You can also diversify your income streams through affiliate links. For instance, you can take a picture of a product you would recommend and share the link. When buyers click on the link to purchase the product, you earn some commission.
Stock Photography Tips
It is not enough to capture images and upload them on a website. You have to master the art of creating attractive images that shine.
Have a Concept
Do not waste time taking random pictures. Instead, understand why you are shooting. It will help you capture the story or emotion behind an image. Plan and determine the message you want to convey before setting up the lighting and the mood.
Find a Good Thumbnail
Pictures often appear as thumbnails in stock sites, and when a buyer is searching, they will glance at a photo for a split second. Therefore, your images should be attention-grabbing and clear. Besides, buyers prefer pictures that can adapt to different sizes.
Keep the Images Generic
Avoid taking pictures with brands and logos. Your stock shots should be versatile to work for multiple brands. Besides, adding logos leads to copyright and trademark claims.
Shoot Full-Size Pictures
You can earn more money by providing large and high-resolution images. Most stock sites demand full-size photos so they can offer various size options to customers.
While you will not get instantly rich selling photos online, it is an excellent way to turn your hobby into an income stream. However, if you eliminate the intermediary, it can be a full-time gig with lots of cash.
UPDATE 1: As soon as you start to put your pictures online, there is always someone who thinks they are for free. Make sure to read our blog post Find Stolen Images & Enforce Copyright with Copytrack to cover your rights.
UPDATE 2: Grab your copy of our PDF: “Bonus Tips: How To Sell Pictures Online”
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