Selling stock photos as a freelance photographer means that you allow people to pay a small fee to use your image on their website or in a particular way without further cost, but the buyers know you’re going to sell this same image multiple times. They’re okay with this because they know that’s the reason they get the lower price.
What you lose in individual prices per image, you will make up in volume if you know what niches are most popular. For example, you may be able to sell an image for a thousand dollars if you give exclusive rights to someone, but to make the same amount with a stock photo, a thousand people would have to download it if you were making 1 dollar per download.
How It Works
Essentially, you upload your images to stock photo sites, or you create a stock photo site of your own that allows people to pay a fee per download and agree to the licensing. Usually, stock photos cannot be used on items for sale like t-shirts, mugs, or books. However, they can be used in blog posts and in newsletters.
How You Get Paid
You get paid through the stock photo site based on the downloads. Each has different rules and terms of service. Ensure you read every single line of the TOS and rules so that you don’t break them and so that you have the maximum opportunity to earn money. If you start your own site, you’ll get paid directly for sales through your own shopping cart.
What You Need to Get Started
To get started, you just need the images. They need to be in the right format for the sites you want to sell them on. Be sure to look at all the information on the stock photo sites that you’ve signed up to use before you alter the image. If you’re starting your own site, then you can sell them in the size that works best for you and your customers.
Specializations to Consider
When you think about the type of images people need, it really does depend on what business they’re in and why they need them. You may choose to specialize in a certain business depending on what you like photographing. You may want to specialize in business, or nature, or something else. If you do take pictures of individuals, cityscapes, and tourist attractions, you may need to get additional approvals before you can legally sell the images.
Legal Information to Consider
Always research your own niche to ensure you are following all the laws surrounding copyright and trademarks. It can be confusing, but most of the time, you’re not allowed to use images even if you took the pictures without permission of people and certain places. Some cities have a copyright on their cityscapes, for example.
Stock Photo Websites
A few stock photo websites to check out are: Smugmug.com, artrepreneur.com, zenfolio.com, shutterstock.com, istockphoto.com, etsy.com, and others. Check them out, and through them, you’ll start finding others. To make the most money, follow the rules - but when allowed, put your photos on more sites, including your own website, to get more sales.
Finally, remember that you can start your own stock photo site using self-hosted WordPress and the right theme and shopping cart and plugins like Easy Digital Downloads, for example. Don’t make this harder than it is. A photo is not harder to sell than any other product using the technology that is available today with self-hosted WordPress.
How about more great ideas and help creating your fabulous freelancer life get a copy of IVA Hustle Presents: The Big Book of Freelancing today! It gives you the insight on starting 27 of the top freelancing gigs successfully.
Until next time hustlers,
Iolande V. Argent
CEO, Publisher, Media Personality & Coach
Tweet Me @tweetiva