Are you a photo addict and researching on how to make money selling photos of yourself?
In this article, I will not only show you how to perfect your photography skills, but I will also give you an A-rated list of sites to sell your photos online.
Pay attention because what you are about to see will be the only thing between you and making money selling photos of yourself.
Maybe you still don’t believe this is possible.
Trust me, you can fill up your bank accounts selling photos online, thanks to this age of Instagramming and blogging.
What makes all this possible?
Well, individuals and brands are constantly trying to build their brands. How, you ask?
Through social media of course.
Out of the blue, people have started noticing quality in images.
Those regarded ‘high quality’ have been rewarded with high engagement.
Woe to you if the images you use on social media are wanting because no one will look at it twice.
If you ask me, I’ll say this image quality thing has snowballed into madness. Smartphones have takes to the field and started playing camera pixel cards (USP).
Besides the quality, the need to be ‘personal’ and relatable is what is driving the whole photos market.
Brands are looking for images with human faces to use in their products and commercials.
You cannot blame them though;
According to a study, people engage more with photos showing human faces than just images of products or objects.
All this explains why there is a huge demand for your photos online.
Now, whether you do this as a fulltime job or you just in for the adrenaline, you can make huge money doing it.
As you’ve already figured, not all photos fetch the market. Only the quality photos earn you money.
But, what do you need to get quality photos of yourself?
Before you can start making money selling your photos, you need the right equipment.
Luckily, you don’t have to rob any bank to get quality photography equipment.
In most cases, the DSLR camera is the darling of most photographers because of two reasons.
One, they are affordable and you can get one for a steal.
Secondly, they take quality images, thanks to its high-resolution lenses and technology.
You are sure to fetch premium rates per photo using this type of camera.
What if you don’t have one?
Remember the smartphones we mentioned earlier on?
Well, it turns out, some of them take better images than some of the professional cameras out there.
- Huawei P30
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
These two, among other phones, take high-quality images.
Again, there is a growing market for photos taken on a mobile.
As such, if you are looking for how to make money selling photos of yourself, the first step is to look for these sites.
Having a good camera is not enough. Ask any photographer, all images require a little touch here and there to make it even better.
That is where photo editing comes into play.
Free photo editing software to consider
This is a list of the best free photo editing tools, but there are premiums ones. A good example is Adobe Lightroom and renowned Photoshop.
Every photographer swears by them, but there is one problem.
Both of these tools cost a fortune. But do not fret because I have the best alternatives.
- GIMP– think of gimp as Photoshop evil-twin. It does everything Photoshop excels at, but at a cheaper price (free). So why isn’t it famous yet? Well, that has to do with its complexity. The learning curve is huge.
- PXLR– the best alternative to Photoshop. The tool even uses the same shortcuts as Photoshop. Also, you can run it directly from the browser, eliminating the need to download and install the software.
- FastStone Image Viewer– enables you to import images directly from the camera and save as TIFF, PNGs, or JPG. With it, you can do basic operations like color corrections, cropping, adjusting contracts, and straightening.
- Raw Therapee – comes with a ton of image editing tools. Think of it as a Lightroom editor.
Moreover, there are phone editing apps that get the job done pretty well. They include Snapseed which is available for both Android and iOS).
Additionally, your computer and phone come with a pre-installed photo editing tool. Make use of that, even though they may do the basic part of editing.
With the right equipment in your hands, all you have to do is practice. Test various editing hacks and skills. Look at photography blogs and YouTube channels.
By doing that, you are setting up yourself for success when the time comes to sell your photos.
As we mentioned ealier, the quality of your photos could mean the difference between meager pay and premium rates.
How to make money selling photos of yourself
After thorough research, here is what I found:
The best way to sell your photos online is through Stock libraries. Here is why:
Besides having a ready market, it is a huge passive income earner. This is because once you have uploaded your photos, it can be a start for an unending source of income.
You upload the image once and sell it over and over again.
Stock libraries are where brands and individuals we talked about earlier go to buy photos.
Here is the list of the best platforms to sell your photos
Alamy is the best website for selling photos if you are a student. They have a program where for the first 2 years, you keep 100 percent of the revenue generated from your photos.
Just make sure your school is enrolled in the scheme.
In most cases, you can sell a photo for up to 70 Euros. But depending on how the buyer uses your images, it can fetch between 16 to 400 euros.
What of the non-students?
You can still sell your photos, and keep 50 percent of the proceeds.
If you want to sell your mobile photos, use their Stockimo app, available on App Store only. Here, you get to keep 20 percent of the sales.
If Alamy and Instagram had a baby, it would be called EyeEm.
EyeEm is not only a photo-sharing platform, but you come with a marketplace where you can sell photos of yourself.
How much do they pay?
Well, a photo goes for between $30-$200 and you split 50/50 with the platform.
To add icing to the cake, the site regularly runs a themed mission campaign sponsored by companies where you get a chance to earn more.
3. Getty Images
Getty Images gives you two things:
15 percent of the sales of your photos revenue and a promise of better pay if you make the photos exclusive to them (not sell them anywhere else).
The site prices its images based on types of license and subscription model.
On Getty Images, an image can go for up to $50. And your cut is calculated based on the type of plan the buyer gets.
This is the best source of stock images used by bloggers and brands.
As such, it makes a huge marketplace to make money selling photos of yourself.
Just like Getty Images, Shutterstock runs a subscription and license model that customers can buy. This determines both your earning per photo as well as the lifetime earnings.
It is worth noting that Enhanced license earns you only 20 percent of the sales when starting out on Shutterstock. This license allows the buyer to use your photos for commercial purposes.
As you grow inside the site as a contributor, you rise through earning levels, which grants you to increase sales share percentages.
iStockphoto has been in the photo selling business since 2001.
For this reason, the site has a huge network of both contributors and buyers.
As to be expected, new applicants pass through a rigorous vetting process before they are accepted into the site.
If you are among the lucky few who get in, you stand a chance of making at least 15 percent of the revenue from your photos.
However, there is what’s called ‘Exclusive’ status within the platform.
Holding this status earns you over 45 percent of the revenue.
6. SmugMug Pro
SmugMug Pro is one of the most generous among the sites I have listed here. Allows you to keep 85 percent of the sales revenue.
But there is a catch.
See the ‘Pro’ on its name?
Well, to access it, you have to part with a $12.50 monthly subscription. Unfortunately, there is no free option.
One more thing.
Unlike the other platforms, SmugMug Pro allows you to decide on the price of your photos. If you have an entrepreneurial mind, this is the best option for you to learn how to make money selling photos of yourself.
7. 500px Prime
This is the last best website to sell photos online.
According to the 500px Prime official website, there are over five million photographers selling photos on their platform.
That doesn’t come as a surprise considering the site allows you to keep 70 percent of the license sales (a standard license goes for at least $250). Additionally, your images may be used by the top commercials.
To make more money, you have an option to select the types of licenses for your photos. They can either be exclusive or non-exclusive license.
While there may be other websites you can submit your photos to, these are the ones sure to fetch you better prices.
Tips to make more money selling photos of yourself
- Always make sure the images are of high quality, I can’t stress this enough. Also, upload the images to multiple stock libraries
- Take photos show human faces. Having said that, make it a norm of ensuring anyone appearing on your photos gives you a signed consent saying they are okay with you using their images. Most of these stock sites come with templates, download, and print them.
- Make sure you read through T&Cs before uploading your images. For example, find out what happens to your photos when you decide to leave the site
- Stay in touch with the stock sites’ news by subscribing to their contributor newsletters. This way, you get first-hand information on the latest photos in demand and how to improve your photography skills
- Use relevant keywords. This is very important and will determine if people will find your photos, consequently reflecting on the sales.
Other ways to sell photos online, it doesn’t have to be photos of yourself but the ones you have taken.
Other ways of how to make money selling photos
- Create personalized gifts
It turns out, you can slap photos onto anything nowadays, be it coffee mugs, curtains, clothes, and pretty anything.
All you have to do is take a photo of someone, print it into a gift, and charge a premium price for the personalization.
To help you achieve this, there are print-on-demand platforms like CafePress, Zazzle, and Redbubble that can get the job done quickly and neatly.
There is this site, Blurb, it is a self-publishing website where you can create ebooks and print copies.
To sell images as photo books, go to Blurb, use your Facebook or Instagram to import images, create the photo book, and print it.
You can put up the book for sale either on the Blurb marketplace or Amazon. Also, you can sell the ebook on your website and let either of these two companies handle the payments.
3. Sell your photos on social media
There are students making money on Instagram by selling photos of their notes.
As weird as that may sound, you can do the same, well, maybe not by selling your notes but through other ways.
Take photos of products you use, upload them to social media alongside an affiliate link. You make a commission whenever someone buys through your link, which is known as affiliate marketing.
Well, this only works if you have a sizable following. But in some cases, you only need a few motivated audiences to make good money through affiliate marketing.
Learning how to make money selling photos of yourself is a real goldmine you can leverage to bring in extra income per month.
As you have already seen in this post, some of these opportunities can turn from being just pasive ways to earn money to a consistent way to make money online.
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