The dream of every person, and surely yours too, must be to be able to live on those things that you enjoy doing the most, live on those things that you would undoubtedly do for free and, if you are reading this, it is very likely that photography is one of those things for you
It is also very likely that, within your computer you have a large number of excellent quality photos that have never seen the light, beyond any social network, and that could be generating income, if you took the time to assemble your online catalog .
What am I exaggerated? It is not necessary to be an internationally renowned photographer for other people, companies or agencies to be interested in your photographs and want to pay you for them. Nor is it necessary that you have an immense catalog full of photos and much less, too much time available to be able to devote to this new venture.
All you need is 10 minutes of your time to understand well how to do it quickly and easily. How? Reading the article that I have prepared for you.
Surely you are already a professional photographer, you just need to realize it!
HOW DOES SELLING PHOTOS ONLINE?
The sale of photographs through the internet is actually a fairly simple process: it does not require technical knowledge in the area of computer science to assemble your online catalog and start selling your photographs, but to have a profitable portfolio, it can become much harder than you imagine. But do not worry, because throughout the article, you will see the keys so you can make it as profitable as possible.
Basically, the sale of photographs online that I will refer to throughout the entire article is the so-called “micro stock” or through image banks. Why will we focus on this online mode of sale? Because once you put together your catalog, it will only be necessary to wait until the hundreds of people, companies and agencies that visit these catalogs every day, take an interest in your photographs and want to buy them.
A few years ago, when a company or agency needed a certain photograph to place in a campaign or presentation, they had to hire a photographer to produce the same or pay money to specialized companies to search their catalogs for a photograph that complies with your requirements Today, thanks to the large number of microstock agencies that have emerged in recent years, it is possible for a photographer like you to sell one of his photographs to a large company for their brochures, their website or why not, their advertising campaigns.
How? You register, arms your catalog and these agencies, which act as intermediaries, sell them directly to those interested in acquiring them. It’s that simple.
Just don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight, nothing like that. The business is not to sell few photographs at a very high price but rather the opposite: to sell many of your photographs at a very low price (and in many of the agencies) and thus achieve, make a difference.
“It is easier to sell 500 photos at one euro each, than a photo at 500 euros”
WHERE DO I PUT THEM UP FOR SALE?
As I mentioned earlier, new sites appear every day offering as intermediaries to sell your photographs on the internet. This does not mean that you should upload your catalog on how much page it appears since that would require you a lot of time, but it would be good if you select 4 or 5 agencies with which you can work comfortably, at least initially.
Below I have prepared a small detail of the main characteristics of each of the most successful microsotck agencies on the internet:
- iStockphoto: it is one of the most renowned pages across the internet in terms of online photo sales, so you will surely want your photos to be offered there. For each photo you manage to sell, you will get 20% of it and can increase up to 40% if you are exclusive to the site (you only sell your photographs through Istockphoto). In order to start selling through them, you will need to pass a test that consists of sending 3 photographs to evaluate your work and have photographs in a resolution greater than 2 megapixels.
- Stockxpert: despite being quite demanding when it comes to accepting photographs to sell, it can be a great opportunity for you to offer your work on this platform since they pay very well: 50% of the sale will be yours (the minimum value for any picture is 1 dollar). Another great advantage is that they accept photographs in almost any resolution (800 pixels), so it will not matter if the camera with which you have taken them is somewhat outdated, your photos will be ready to be sold.
- Fotolia: It is one of the microstock agencies that has grown the most in recent times. It does not have as much traffic as other agencies with more years on the web, but it can be a great place for you to start putting together your first online sales catalog, thanks to its little demanding policies when accepting photographs and simplicity and Quickness of its interface. For each photograph sold you will receive 33 to 64% of sales, depending on whether you are an exclusive photographer or if you are also public in other agencies. The novelty of this site is the ranking: as a photographer you have a ranking that will increase as your photos are successful and as your ranking increases, your percentage in profit will also increase (between 50 and 80%). The only requirement is that your photographs exceed 3.7 megapixels of resolution.
- Shutterstock: it is one of the best options to sell photographs online, despite not having as many visits as the “leaders”. The novelty of this site? Customers pay a monthly subscription that allows them to download a certain amount of images and for each time they download a photo of you, they will pay you a fixed amount between 25 and 30 cents for each of them. With more than 8 million photographs, this page has become one of the referents of the sector, yes, the process of acceptance of new photographers can be a bit pretentious: you must send 10 photographs and to be accepted, 7 must be approved .
- Dreamstime : this agency is one of the ones that will give you the greatest benefits when it comes to selling your photographs: it pays excellent commissions (50%) for each photograph sold and that percentage will increase as the photographs are downloaded paying you extra bonuses for popularity. It is very simple to manage, without great requirements to work with them, yes, the photographs you publish must have a resolution greater than 3 megapixels, although this will not be a problem for you today.
- BigStockPhoto: It is a small fast-growing agency in recent times that will allow you, thanks to its simple process to create online catalogs, to sell your photographs in a few minutes. For each photograph you manage to sell, you will be paid between 0.5 to 1 dollar for each download. Of course, you will be obliged to keep your photographs in publication for at least 3 months
- CanStockPhoto: Like Bigstockphoto, this agency is relatively new, despite this, its popularity has been increasing, so much so that it is about to reach the 120 thousand photographers who work with them worldwide. It is one of the agencies with the highest commissions paid to employees: 50% of the sale will go to your pockets.
Have you lost among so many characters? Don’t despair, here is a small summary table of the main characteristics of the agencies you just met:
In addition to the agencies just mentioned, there are many other options to which you can apply so that your photographs can reach your customers through more sales channels. Agencies such as 123RPF, ShutterPoint, Crestock, US Photo Stock, Albumo, Our Stock Works, Stock Photo Media, Gimmestock or Age Fotostock can also generate extra income.
Before deciding to apply to any of them, take your time to get a finished idea of how each site works, what requirements you have, how much you pay for your photos etc. In this way, you will have enough information to subscribe only in those places that generate more confidence, that give a more professional framework to your work and that can bring you the greatest benefits without taking up a lot of your free time.
CAN YOU REALLY MAKE MONEY?
While it is true that you are unlikely to become a millionaire selling photographs through this medium, although you never know, the probability of generating a few extra euros every month is much higher. Not for nothing this type of sale of photographs has been so successful in recent years: the benefits are true.
Look at the following real case extracted from Thephotographerslife.com page , where a photographer tells his experience of selling over two months having published his photographs in many of the sites I have just commented:
As you can see, in just two months of publication it has achieved almost 200 downloads, which gave it an income of approximately 80 euros. Nothing negligible considering that with just a few hours of work you can leave a portfolio ready to sell for months without you having to move one more finger.
In any case, the benefits that you can obtain by selling your work online are not just monetary: as your photos are successful, your reputation as a photographer will also do it. This can be the gateway to the world of professionalism, through the small door. Photo by photo, sale for sale, every day more and more people will appreciate your work and why not, buy it.
The key to success: your ability to capture what kind of photographs are the most demanded and publish them so that they sell themselves! How to achieve it? Keep reading and you’ll understand.
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHS ARE THE MOST SOLD?
As I just told you, magic doesn’t happen alone. It is not enough to upload a hundred photographs to the internet and sit back and wait for the euros to flow into your pockets. Getting your portfolio to become profitable is a bit more complicated.
A good photograph is not enough for someone to buy it, it must be original and functional to what people, companies and agencies demand and this is: “neutral” photographs. What do I want to tell you with this? Photographs that do not have a very loaded message printed, lighter than dark colors, etc.
Here you have a small list of topics that will serve as a guide when creating your catalog:
- People: photographs of people in action or working, performing a trade or in groups and families can generate good income.
- Babies: pictures of babies are not only cute and cute , they are also very profitable. Try that your catalog does not lack some good shots of these special little ones.
- Music: it will be impossible for you to capture music out there in a photograph, but if you put your imagination to work, you will be able to capture a lot of situations where music manifests itself: headphones, dances, concerts , etc.
- Tattoos: more and more people are encouraged to get tattooed and more and more, they are the agencies that demand this type of photographs. Do not miss the opportunity.
- Flowers: one of the most searched words in Microstock agencies is “flower.” Try to make your flower photographs attract attention and not be some more among the bunch if you want to differentiate yourself.
- Backgrounds and Textures: these types of photographs are very popular as they can be used as backgrounds for campaigns, presentations, advertisements, etc.
- Professionals: all types of business, industry, health, medicine and technology photographs are very required, whether in general or more specific.
- Sustainability: all kinds of nature photographs that allude to sustainability, recycling and that revolve around the concept of “green life” and sustainable development have had spectacular success in recent years.
- Events: photographs of places, parties and Christmas celebrations, Hallowen, Easter, etc., can also generate a good sales flow.
- Food: be it processed foods or raw materials, there is a great demand for all those photographs that portray food and meals .
Surely you will be wondering: How does this guy know what people demand? And the answer is “research.” One of the keys to being successful in selling photographs through microstock agencies is to find out, inquire and find out what types of photographs are the most sold.
The other key is to consult the list of words most searched by customers in sales agencies. These are:
- Christmas (Christmass)
- Medicine (Medical)
- Vectors (Vector)
- Tattoos (Tattoo)
WHAT IMAGES ARE NOT LOOKING FOR SALES AGENCIES?
- All those images that do not meet the minimum requirements to publish them: size, resolution, etc.
- All those who do not have the explicit permits in contracts of the models and people who can leave them.
- The photographs where logos and trademarks appear, beyond complying with all publication requirements.
- The photographs that are too artistic and therefore break the principle of neutrality that is sought in this type of agencies.
- Those photographs that are completely useless for commercial purposes. Personal photos save them for scrapbooks.
- All those photographs with confusing messages and that cannot be used for commercial purposes.
WHAT DO I NEED TO START SELLING MY PHOTOS?
What you need to start selling your photographs on the internet are: desire and time. You win, because without them any attempt will be frustrated before starting and time because, even though it will not take you long to start this venture, you will need time at last.
Once you’ve done enough and enough time, the second thing you should do is register with those agencies that you consider most appropriate for you. Doing so will not require more steps than any registration for any page you can find online, but have a scan of your identity document handy as some pages request it.
I also recommend that you register with paypal , so that you will save time and have a safe and fast place so that they can transfer the money for the sale of your photographs.
Once you are registered, it will only be necessary that, from all the photographs you have on your computer, you select the best and most commercial ones (in jpg format) so that you send them for review or, so that you begin to love your online catalog. Remember that not all resolutions are accepted, although with any camera that takes pictures above 4 megapixels you will have no problem.
Once registered and applied as a photographer, most agencies will give you some advice, and will enable you to upload your photographs. At this point it will only take you to wait for the money to start arriving.
Remember that it is a slow process, and what costs the most is to achieve the first sales, but once made, everything will be easier. Be patient!
TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN SELLING PHOTOS ONLINE
- Get organized: while selling online will not require you time, if you will prepare the catalog, retouching the photos and everything you need to be ready to sell.
- Be Original: As you realize, you will not be the only one who wants to sell your photos through microstock agencies. If you make your work original, your photographs will stand out more than the others, which will end up increasing your income. You should take your creativity to the limit and keep your eyes wide open to avoid doing what everyone does “the common”.
- Fulfill your obligations: although photographs with people sell better, you must be very careful to have all the image permissions of them. Failure to comply with legal requirements will not only prevent you from posting to an agency, but it can also get you into trouble. Check out the following article: “ Detailed Guide: How to Protect Your Photos on the Internet? Rights, Licenses and Contracts ”. Anyway, you can ask your friends to model for you and have them sign a small contract for the transfer of image rights.
- Maximize the quality: having a good camera is not an exclusive requirement since the vast majority of the pages are not very demanding in terms of the resolution of the photographs, but keep in mind that the quality of this, is not given by megapixels of your sensor but for the sharpness of these. Take 10 minutes to read the following article in order to maximize the quality of your photos: “ 24 Ways to Get Sharpness in your Photographs ”.
- Go ahead and edit: although I am not a great lover of photo editing, it may be that in order to correct those errors that can cause your photos to be devalued, you may need to edit them. This will not only take time, but also knowledge of how to do it. You do not need to be an expert but knowing how to do it correctly may give you a bonus over your competitors. If you have an excellent shot but a logo has got in your way, feel free to remove it using any editing software.
- It exposes correctly: the quality of the photographs is not only given by their composition or the sharpness of their protagonists . The most successful photos are those where visual quality is a whole. This is where making a correct measurement and exposure of them will be key. How to do it? You only need to read this article: ” Detailed Guide: How to Make a Correct Measurement and Exposure in Your Photographs “. The better exposure, the less edition!
- Use keywords: the search engines within the pages of each of the microstock agencies use search engines that locate each of the photographs based on keywords or “tags” that you must choose carefully. The success of your sales will depend on it. It is essential that you assign keywords that best represent the photographs. Pay attention to the most searched words that I mentioned earlier. It can be a good start.
- Publish your best photos: try to be objective and only public those photographs that are really remarkable. I know it is very difficult to do so, so you can ask a friend, acquaintance or family member to tell you which caused the greatest impact.
- Don’t get frustrated: many of the stock agencies reserve the right to “admit” photographs and photographers. Do not take it personal if any of them reject you, take it as an excellent opportunity to better understand what they are looking for and how you can satisfy them. After all, the important thing is to learn, and if you can then earn some extra money, the better.
- Never stop learning: photography is an area in which change is constant: trends, fashions, appearances, etc. change. That the technique did not change (in principle) does not mean that you should not be in a constant learning process. Take advantage of the internet to find inspiration and stay at the tip of the wind.
- Study the market: when choosing an agency to publish your photographs, try to observe what type of photographs are the most sold and most successful and popular. Try to impregnate yourself with its essence so that you can also transmit it in your photographs. Eye, I do not tell you to copy them, I say try to catch that makes them so special.
- Do not publish only in one agency: although many will try to tempt you to increase profit margins or commissions if you only work with them, there are hundreds of pages where you can publish your work. If you do, you will reach a higher number of consumers. If you do a search online, you will find some programs that can make your job easier: you prepare the catalog on it and it is responsible for publishing it in all the agencies that you indicate.
HOW DOES THE MONEY ARRIVE IN YOUR POCKET?
The process is really very simple, so much so that it can be summed up in a simple flow like the one I leave below:
Once your catalog is published, the agencies will offer your photographs on their web portals so that any interested party can easily buy them. Once purchased, the money will be deposited in your PayPal account so that you can then transfer it to your account. So easy, that simple.
ONCE SOLD: WON’T THEY BE MINE ANYMORE?
While it is possible that with the sale of a photograph you are assigning some of your rights, in no way will you cease to be the author of them, this means that you will only assign the rights of use for that image for a publication (it depends on the rights and conditions of each agency). Under no circumstances will the photos cease to belong to you, you can continue using them, selling them or stopping doing so whenever you want.
Copyright is not transferable, you can rest easy. If you have any doubts about what your rights are and what your obligations, I recommend you read the following article: “ Detailed Guide: How to Protect Your Photos on the Internet? Rights, Licenses and Contracts ”.
WHERE WILL MY PHOTOGRAPHS END?
A photograph is like a child, one creates it with all love and pride and expects the best for her. But where do all the photos we sell go? They’ll be fine?
Knowing that you are selling many photographs and having no idea of your final whereabouts may cause you some frustration or sadness that will not be compensated with the income you can get for them, although it probably helps a little
The vast majority of photographs sold through microstock agencies are presentations, websites and publications, whether commercial or editorial: magazines, manuals, posters, newspapers, brochures, etc.
Knowing your whereabouts will only be possible by:
- Google image search engine: if you go to google and go to the images section, you can upload your photo and the search engine will track all those sites where it has been published. If you look a little, you can find her whereabouts.
- TinEye: Like google image, this service will allow you to track all those images on the web. The great thing about this tool is that, unlike google, you can identify if the image has been cropped.
- In the agency itself: some sales agencies allow their clients to share the final designs and photographs where they have used photos acquired on these sites. If one of your photos has been used, they will let you know where and by whom.
What do you expect to encourage you to earn extra money with your photographs. Dare to publish your photographs and become known for it.