How to Sell Photos Online
By Steve Gillman
Everything has changed for amateur photographers now that
they can sell photos online. It used to be that you had to have
a reputation to even have your photos considered for purchase.
It was tedious too, sending in a few photos here or there to
see if a magazine or newspaper might want to use them. You might
have had the best photos ever taken, but you still had the challenge
of finding the buyer who could use them and was willing to pay.
Now there are websites where you can sign up for a free account
and upload hundreds of your digital photos, and start making
money from them this week. You see, all the big websites on the
internet buy photos. If, for example, a how-to website just bought
an article about how to clean the snow off a roof, the webmaster
doesn't go out and take a photo of a roof somewhere. He goes
to one of the big stock photo websites that he has paid a $2,000
annual subscription fee, and selects a couple photos of snow-covered
roofs. Meanwhile, the photographer who took the pictures is credited
a certain amount for each photo used--and they might be used
a dozen more times.
Some of the sites are easier than others to sign up for, and
some may ask for samples before approving your account. But there
are a lot to choose from.
The users of the photos never have to pay ongoing royalties
to continue using a picture, but they cannot sell the photo to
others. As a photo contributor you generally retain the right
to remove your photos from the system, but check the rules of
each particular site (and of course those who have already paid
may continue to use your photos).
How Much Can You Make?
Incomes vary widely, to say the least, and you probably need
to have thousands of photos uploaded before you can make much
money. Fotalia says, "There is no registration fee, no portfolio
management fee, and your income can reach thousands of dollars
Amount and method of payment varies from site to site. One
says you'll get "$0.25 to $28.00 per image download,"
while another offers contributors a base royalty rate of 20%
for each file downloaded, with up to 40% for certain types of
contributions. Yet another stock photo site pays 25% to 63% for
content sold via single-image download, and $0.30 or more for
each photo used by subscription accounts (subscribers are usually
limited to a certain number of downloads per month).
The following is pure speculation, but let's assume you average
35 cents per photo download, and you have 1,000 photos posted
on a stock photo site, and they are used an average of three
time annually each. In that case you would make just $1,050 per
year. Nothing to get excited about, but in time you might get
that average up to 50 cents each and six times a year (upload
photos in higher demand) and have 4,000 in a system. Then you
would be making $12,000 per year, and the site handles all the
sales for you.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
More photos equals more money generally speaking, so keep
uploading them as you take them. But there are some that will
be in more demand than others. Watch which ones are being used
the most and take more pictures like those to boost your income.
Think broadly when considering what to photograph. A webmaster
might need a photo of a campfire for a backpacking article, or
of a butterfly for an article on eating insects for survival.
These more obscure niches will not have as much total demand,
but you can still make money with them because the competition
will be lessened. You photo of a sunset may be in there with
6,000 others, but if a blog needs a photo of a rat snake there
may be only a few to choose from, so they are likely to buy yours.
The more obscure and less-competitive niches then, allow for
success even before your skills are great (if they need a photo
of a particular mountain and yours is the only one there, they'll
take it as long as it isn't downright blurry).
Qualifications / Requirements
If you have internet access, a digital camera and take decent
photos, you already have everything you need to make money in
Find a stock photo website that you like and want to work
with and open an account. Once you are approved, upload a few
of your best photos to get used to how the system works. Then
start taking pictures and loading more up.
- One of the many places online that sell your photos for you.
- Another place to sell photos online (they require three samples
before approving your account).
- One more to try.