In our modern Era , travelling and photography have become a trending thing. It’s easy and simple , affordable, cameras in our smartphones are way beyond any expectations and let’s face it – it’s just fun. But what if you could also make a profit out of it by selling photos ?
you’ve heard that it’s possible and easy to make some money by selling photos or videos. But is it really true.? Do you have to be a good professional photographer to do so? I’ve been selling my all travel photos for almost two years now, so let me share my experience and we’ll see all the pros and cons.
Is it really true?
Yes, it is true. In fact, you can sell any photo you want , like your travel photos of Rome and Paris and any other kind of nature photography, your home interior, the food from the restaurant, your favourite dog, cat or a hamster and even photos of yourself. There are some limitations but overall you can sell almost anything you want .
Where do I sell them?
There are Many online websites that provide such services. You can try to sell on your own using different advertisement websites like “Craigslist” but you probably will not succeed since no one will go there to look for the photos to buy.
So the best way is to use special websites that already have millions of users who are ready to buy your photos. The most pophulars are:
There are many other websites like “123RF” or “Istockphotos”. I will also explain why I haven not used them so far.
How much money will I earn?
It actually depends on the website but most of them have similar price tags. First of all, you have to remember that it’s the website that determines the price and not you. So you can’t affect it in any way.
Every website has its own pricing policy. The price depends on which subscription the seller has bought. In other words, you can sell the same photo for 0.25$ or 50$. It IS really not up to you. But I can tell you from my experience that most of the photos do sell for around 0.30$. Yes, it’s true. You will get only this much for a single photo but don’t forget that you can sell the same photo again and again as per buyer demand . In fact, the most popular of my photos has sold more than 500 times. And you can sell up to 50 and more photos a day. So it’s not the price it’s the number of times the photo has sold, that would counts.
Also, every website has the price upgrade policy. So the more you sell the more expensive your photos become.
You can see, at first you start with low prices at only 0.25$ per photo and once you earn your first 500$ you get upgraded to the next level, where you see some increment in prices.
You can also earn money by referring other people to register but I wouldn’t count on it much because you will get around 0.04$ for every photo they sell which isn’t that much. Still, useful to know.
Do I need to be a professional photographer?
No, absolutely not, nor do you need a professional camera. You can even take photos with your iPhone and other good camera mobile and upload them directly to the above mentioned website. However, the competition is quite high, so if you really want people to buy your photos you better learn some photo editing tools like Lightroom and adobe Photoshop for instance. It lets you enhance your photos, make them more bright, colorful and sharp.
The stock websites also do their checks on quality, so if your photo is blurry or out of focus or excessive noise they will reject it and you will have to fix it or re-upload another one. In fact, it will help you improve your photo editing skills and with time you’ll learn to edit photos in a way that they will get approved the first time you upload them.
The quantity vs quality
I have many photos that have not sold a single time during two years period. What if I had all of my photos like that one? I wouldn’t sell anything. So the quality is the one thing that matters, not the quantity. I know there are many people who have a portfolio of around 300 photos and they’re doing quite well compared to others who have thousands of photos.
What does it take to upload a photo?
Once you are ready to upload you can do it using FTP client or a browser uploader in a specific website although sometimes they have size limitations, so I would suggest using FTP clients.
Once the photos are uploaded, comes the most boring and annoying part. You have to provide every photo to a category, add a title, description and around 50 unique keywords. And this has to be done with every photo you upload. Unfortunately, this step is most important, as it determines how easy people will be able to find your photos. And if no one can find them, then no one will buy them. So make sure to take this step seriously and add full descriptions and as unique keywords as possible. Luckily there are several tools that will generate unique keywords for you and you can apply these keywords to many photos. Still, it takes up quite a time.
Once it is done and your photos are approved they are out online for the people to buy them.
Who buys them?
You might wonder who really buys photos these days? Actually, lots and lots of companies. If you have a company and you need to use a photo to run your marketing campaign , you can not just use Google images. If you get caught you will end up with large fines.
So to keep it safe, many companies go to stock photography websites and buy photos, videos and audio from them, where everything is legal. Every day millions and millions of photos are being purchased and it can be your photos too.
Shutterstock submitted that they are selling a photo every 5 seconds.
This was a general introduction to stock photography websites and selling trends. In my next post, I’ll go into more deep about how much can you make in one month, is it worth start selling today, what type of photos are selling best and what editing techniques should we use to make your photos look more tempting.