Do I need any special equipment to take good photographs?
Camera phones are great for taking photos of a night out or a few holiday snaps. Yet to be able to sell your photos online you really are going to need to use a decent quality camera.
In the past, Digital SLR cameras were only really used by professionals. Now, the price of a good quality DSLR has fallen. This means amateur photographers and those who want better photos than their smartphone can take, are much more likely to have one.
How can I sell photos online?
Some photographers with a large portfolio can make money through selling advertising space on their online portfolios. Or selling their photos for use on things such as cups and calendars. Alternatively, others sell their photos directly to private clients.
To sell advertising space or sell photos directly to clients, you will probably need a large portfolio and a fair amount of experience.
However, there is another way to sell photos online.
Stock photography websites
A stock photography website is a good way for anyone to make money from their photos. After signing upto the site and uploading your photos, you will need to wait to see if any of your photographs are approved.
If one of your photos is accepted onto a stock photography website, someone could then spot it and offer to buy it or buy a license to use it.
There are many stock photography websites out there but here are some of the more popular ones:
Shutterstock is a global marketplace that claims to have paid over $350 million to its contributors.
As well as photographs, Shutterstock is also looking for HD and 4K video content and vectors.
IStockphoto also sells illustrations, vectors and videos, as well as photographs.
To apply as a contributor to iStock, you will need to submit three samples of your work. So make sure they are the very best you have, to stand the best chance of being accepted.
iStockphoto will pay up to 45% royalty rate if you only submit your photos exclusively to them.
Dreamstime contributors receive an additional 10% bonus for files that you give exclusively to them.
They also accept both videos and photos.
What do I need to be aware of?
Make sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of the website you decide to submit your photos to. Some have strict rules regarding copyright and ownership. Also, make sure you take the time to read their payment terms and ensure you are happy with how much of a cut they will take from the sale of your photo.
If you have any logos in your photos, you may not be able to submit them. Also, any people in your photos will have to sign a Model Release.
Other places where you can sell photos online
If you would rather attempt to sell your photographs directly to consumers, there are various websites out there that allow you to do just that.
Global marketplace Etsy is known for its creative entrepreneurs. Some manage to successfully sell their photographs on this diverse website.
Alternatively, if you want to create your own online shop and manage your orders, SmugMug enables you to showcase your photos. You can even partner with their pro-level printers and merchandisers.
Do I have to have an ‘eye’ for photography to sell photos online?
Yes, a measure of talent is needed in order to make money.
To see what type of photos are popular, take a look at what each stock photo website is looking for. Also, think about what type of images you enjoy taking. Do you like photographing animals or would you rather take pictures of the landscape? Your passion for the image you are taking can really come across in your photos.
Photos with plain or white backgrounds can tend to sell better because people can adapt them for their own purposes.
If you are not sure your photography skills are up to scratch, you can use the internet, including any free photography tutorials on YouTube, to improve your skills.
In order to sell photos online, you will need a decent camera and a measure of talent. The better your photos, the more money you could make from them.
One of the great things about choosing to sell photos online through stock photography is you could be earning money from people downloading your photos for years to come.
Alternatively, some people prefer to sell their photos directly to the client through creative marketplaces such as Etsy. This can result in you earning more money per photo. But it can be much harder to sell your photos directly to clients, rather than through stock photo websites.
Whether you choose to sell to clients or use stock photo websites, selling your photographs online is a great way to make a little extra money out of your hobby. If you have a talent and the right equipment, you could even turn your hobby into a full-time job.