The web has made it possible to sell almost anything online; in fact you might say you can sell anything at all.
For photographers it opened a market to sell your photography online which is an awesome extra avenue to ensure your photos reach a buying audience.
To sell your photography online it requires a marketplace or contacts who will buy or help you sell your photos. That’s where my quick and nifty guide to selling your photos online comes in handy.
First off you’ll need to understand that even if you find a great marketplace there will be competition but don’t let that put you off because you will find a marketplace that works for you.
Basics General Requirements for Selling Online
When you want to sell a photo on the Internet there will be requirements set by the sites (marketplaces) you choose to sell on. Usually these are general requirements that are based on what people want to buy. Also requirements set by the sites you want to sell on.
High Quality Images
The most basic requirement is having a high quality image in the correct file format and at the correct dimensions. Generally, requirements for the photo will range from its size and quality to what it contains. Depending on the website’s requirements will depend on what you can and cannot sell.
The rule of thumb is to have the highest quality image possible available at around 12000X1200 pixels. You may need to resize but having high quality images at a large size is what’s most important.
In order to get all your photos sold you may need to use a range of different marketplaces. Each site has different requirements and some may not accept your photos to be sold on their site while another site will.
Copyright protection is also important for selling stock photography so you should learn about copyrighting your photos before you choose a marketplace to sell on. This will ensure you are happy with the available copyright protection options offered to you.
Have Your Own Website
I don’t recommend having your own website for the sole purpose of selling online because it’s more difficult to get an immediate presence. Though, I do recommend having a base where people can find the real you. Where they can see you’re a real person with a real agenda, and that is to take great photos and get paid for doing so.
Your own website is also great for picking up local clients, such as people wanting wedding photos and event photos. So if you do create a website, make sure it has details of your services and your photos for sale.
Apart from your own website, you can sell on marketplaces known as microstock sites or stock photography sites.
Sell on Marketplaces
Choosing a marketplace is easy if you just want to dive straight in without worrying about obligations but there are factors you need to think about before your choose the marketplace you wish to sell your photos on.
You should always ask yourself these questions and research the answers before you proceed to selling. These are so you understand exactly what will happen to your photos and whether you are happy with that outcome.
- Will my photo be sold more than once or is it exclusive rights?
- What rights am I giving away to my photos?
- Will I be attributed?
- What are the terms of sale?
- Is my niche covered or is there a better option for my particular niche?
- How much is my potential earnings?
Asking these questions and any other obligations you may have prior to selling will ensure you’re choosing the right avenue to selling your photos before you proceed.
What Marketplaces Exist?
Over the years of web expansion more marketplaces have cropped up and that’s good for you as the photographer because you have more options to sell you photos. There are even niche specific marketplaces.
This marketplace provides you with great potential and is one of the best there is. What people say about this site is that they want high quality images only so having your photos available in high res is a must and also being resilient when it comes to the vetting process, as some of your photos may be rejected. You will earn anything from 15% to 45% commission on each photo sold.
Here is where you’ll find most photographers flocking to and could be the most popular out of all. The vetting process here is also very stringent but that means if you’ve got high quality photos you’ll be sure the the audience is there for them. They will pay you anything between $0.85 and approx. £3. You may want to look elsewhere if you want to earn more per photo sold but you’ll be assured to be using a very good marketplace with these guys.
Online photo sellers flock to Dreamstime as they have a high quality marketplace and photos can easily be sold here. The plus side to this marketplace over others is that most people find the vetting process isn’t so stringent and photos are accepted into the marketplace more easily. So if you’ve been using other marketplaces and not having any luck in having your photos accepted, the advice is to try another marketplace and why not make it Dreamstime.
Improving Your Success Online
There are already a number of tips to get you started selling on this very page. Though this is only the beginning because when selling stock photography you need to understand everything that makes a stock photographer a success.
For this purpose I have dedicated a page to tips and advice for selling stock photography. Where it goes into the tactics used to work towards more success. Read and digest what’s here first then check it out so you can improve your success rate.
Other Options to Sell Your Photos Online
There is not only the option of selling your photos online through marketplaces but you can also use other avenues. You may setup your own website and sell from there or use an agency that will help you to sell your photos. It really depends on what will work best for you. But don’t stop at selling your photos as digital images because there’s a lot more options out there…
What can you expect to earn from selling online?
This all depends on how good you get at taking the right shots and reaching the right audience. My research led me to a man called Yuri Acrurs who classifies himself as the world’s best selling microstock photographer. At the time of writing this article he claims to be earning around $9000 per month.
If you reach his level of success with selling photos online then you’ll have a tidy income to make your life more comfortable. However a general income is much less than this and depends on your understanding of what kind of photos sell and how to get them sold online.
The key to your success is to study and study some more. Keep studying about the topics of photos that sell, researching your market and following key players in the microstock marketplace.
There’s no reason you can’t make a living from selling online, all it will take is for you to find the right method and you’re off to a great start and can build on that until you are successful.