Photos are mainly used for print media or for the web. For photographers who are starting off, it would be advisable to target the web market first since it has a lower entry barrier compared to the print market. Though selling your photos online might not make you a millionaire, it is still a great way of making some extra money. However, just like other products, you should know what kind of photos sell best and where you can sell them.
The genres of photography which sell best include photos of cities, nature and people. Another popular category is photos of different kinds of objects. With an unobtrusive background, such photos can be ideal for publishing on websites. However, you need to beware of copyright issues. Some manufacturers will not allow you to make money from shooting their products. You should therefore try to stick to taking photos of generic products that don’t have any kind of branding.
You should also consider copyright issues when shooting people. To be safe, you should first ask your subjects to sign a mode contract. This document will clarify everything concerning copyrights and sales. Instead of hiring professional models, it would be cheaper for you to work with your relatives and friends. In addition, your subjects don’t have to be very attractive since photos of ordinary-looking people can also sell very well.
There are different places where you can sell your photos online.
Stock photo sites
Stock photo sites such as istock photo and jupiter image are one of the best sales channels for selling photos. Once you open an account with a stock photo site, you can then begin uploading your photos. Each time you’re a photo is downloaded, you are paid a commission. The amount paid varies from one site to another. It is possible to earn up to $50 per download. To ensure that your photo becomes popular and gets a maximum number of downloads, you should submit images which people are seeking after. Remember to use the appropriate keywords or phrases in your photo’s descriptions.
Besides listing your photos, stock agencies also consult buyers and take care of all the logistical and legal issues. Though most agencies deal with professional photographers, there are a few which accommodate beginners. When selling your photos, you need to make a decision if you will sell per use rights only or exclusive rights.
Auctions sites such as eBay
You can make good money from selling photos on auction sites such as eBay. This channel works best if there are other products you are selling besides photos. Make sure the photos listed are clear and large enough. In addition, the listings should be as descriptive as possible and should have realistic prices. To see previously sold images, you can check the completed listings option.
These are sites where work-for-hire projects are listed. At times, a buyer will make a request for custom-made photos. However, in most cases, people will want to buy your stock (already made) photos.
Your own site
Besides all the options above, your own site can also be a great sales channel for your photos. You could offer paid downloads, or even free low resolution mockups. However, to get a lot of traffic and thus enhance your sales, you will have to market your site. One of the best ways of promoting your site is through search engine optimization (SEO). Another option is to begin an affiliate program.
To promote your photos, you will need to do some advertising. Rather than spending lots of money on advertising, you could consider giving away your photos at no cost. Make sure every photo has your logo or web address on it. This advertising strategy can be very effective in attracting new customers.