Make money selling your photos online
You don't have to be David Bailey to make money from your photos. If you're a good amateur you can make money from your snaps
Hello and welcome to my new Making Money blog. This blog is going to give you loads of ideas for making a bit of extra cash on the side. We would all like to make a bit more money and there are all sorts of fun and easy ways to make extra money, often by using your hobbies. Even if you're stuck at home there are still lots of ways you can make money. I've found hundreds of them and I'm going to share many of them with you.
To kick off, let's look at photography. Do you love taking photos? Are you the one your friends always ask to "bring your camera with you" to parties or weddings? You could make money out of it!
I’m certainly not a good photographer. I even have trouble taking photos with my mobile phone. I keep pressing the ‘off’ button when I want to press the shutter
But if you’re a bit of a David Bailey on the sly, you could make a regular little income out of it.
How do you do it?
Thanks to the internet your digital photos can be uploaded to an online photo agency and sold to anyone around the world. If your photos are popular (and you’d be surprised what is!) you could keep getting commission from them year after year.
You don’t have to be a professional either. Digital cameras are so good nowadays that anyone with an interest and a bit of an eye for a picture can take good shots. But they’re not generally interested in your holiday snaps (unless there are some really cool close-ups of tropical birds or perhaps a classic deserted beach with a single palm tree shot among them). They want photos that could be used in a professional context anywhere in the world.
The best way to sell your pics is to join up to one or more of the online photo agencies. The main ones that take shots from anyone are:
Submitting your photos
Each agency has its own registration process and it might take a while to get a response once you have submitted your photos, but be patient. They all have a lot of photos coming in and many of them are not worth looking at.
They also have their own technical requirements for submissions but most follow the basic principle that if you want to submit a photo to sell, it has to be an RGB JPEG saved at a high setting (such as Photoshop level 10 setting or 48 megabytes in size). They must also be uncompressed file sizes.
On the whole, the higher the image resolution, the more you’ll be paid, particularly when it comes to Alamy which tends to sell to the high-end market.
How much can you make?
Picture Nation pays the best rate. They pay 40% commission on all pictures, beginning at 40p for a subscription website resolution up to £30 for highest resolution.
With Fotolia, the minimum commission you can earn is 33% or up to 50% with a good ranking. It pays 5p for an extra small photo, £1 for a small photo and £2 for a medium photo.
The commission you make from 123RF is based on the package that buyers have, which means you could earn a different price for the same photo. The minimum amount you can earn is 35p for a blog resolution photo, and up to £1.34 for an ultra-high resolution photo.
iStockphoto generally pays 20%, but you could make up to 40% for exclusive pictures when your ranking is high (you can get a higher ranking as users vote for you). However, their rates of pay are very low and depend on the buyers, so you may not get anything for web resolution photos. This site is probably only good to look at when you can sell high resolution photos of very good quality.
Alamy supplies a high-end market of editorial, advertising and publishing companies so you have the potential to earn 65% commission. Their prices begin with £35 for a web resolution royalty-free photo, and up to £230 for the highest resolution royalty-free picture.
What kind of photos sell?
Don’t think that all your pictures need to be pretty to sell. Quite the opposite. Sometimes it’s very bland things like a close-up of a lightbulb or an open gate that are particularly popular. These photos are often bought by news operations and information websites which often need pictures to illustrate news stories or technical features. So if you want to make a regular income, think about topics that often have to be covered such as financial news, politics, food, health, education and weather and come up with unusual ways of illustrating them.
Be careful when it comes to selling photos of people and property though. If you take a photo with someone’s face in, they have to sign a waiver form to say they’re happy for the photo to be sold. If you plan to sell pictures of children you need to get their parents to sign a form to allow the images to go out.
It’s the same with property. You can’t just take a picture of a nice-looking house – or have a photo that includes someone’s house in it – without getting the owner’s permission to sell the picture. You can get free templates for waiver forms on the internet so just print some off and take them with you when you go out with your camera.
Now go through your photo library and see which ones could make you some cash!
Since joining ThePIC - The Printed Image Company, in Jan 2011, I've uploaded 15 images, I've sold 3 canvases in the last 3 months, my first commission payment is about to be paid into my paypal account and I have a canvas print of one of my images hanging in G's Wine Bar in Gosport Hampshire - it's not been a bad 8 months considering it is free to join and if I hadn't joined my images would only be on my hard drive and nobody would see them.
All in all I'm delighted I took the risk and so far they have been true to their word - customers and photographers should take the time to check out the website.
I've been watching and I have recently joined The Printed Image Company, ThePIC, as a new company with a new approach they are developing well and ultimately I will have a FREE and SAFE method of discovering if my pictures will sell.
In my opinion they are well worth a look.
I agree unless you are a pro photographer you will struggle getting your pictures sold and there are minimum / complex entry requirements to sign up to agencies listed in the article – minimum number of images, lengthy tie in period etc.
Try looking at The Printed Image Company (www.thepic.co.uk/photographers) it seems here the photographer will get recognition by selling prints of their pictures to people who will hang them in their homes.
If your image sells for 'thousands' through an agency yuo're signed up for - you;d get thousands in commission - the average rate is 50% - and they do all teh selling work for you and pay the web, server and legal costs. If you used a proper library and they dared to 'rip you off' you could sue them when you saw yur photo on a billboard or magazine. And that just doesn't happen.
Why not sell your photos yourself? If you can.
They are a good way of making EXTRA income if you bother to read the guidelines and do a bit of research. But if anyone thinks uploading a photo of a sunset or a daisy is going to pay off their mortgage then they are best going back to their dreamland.
It has to be fun - and you have to be good at it. I did notice that the successful photographers never posted on forums like this. They were too busy taking GOOD photos.
Photo libraries watermark your images so they are safe from being lifted - unlike photos posted on Facebook and Flickr. Oh and another thing, I wonder how many grumblers here have ever paid for a photo? I bet though, that you've right-clicked on Google and nicked photos for your blogs or presentations without paying.
I'm off to take some photos now of a landfill site - because they sell.
What so bad about this? Done they sell on your pictures for loads more than you get?
No ones expecting to make a living on these sites, but its good to make a bit extra £££.
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