If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s possible to turn your photography hobby into a new source of income, well, it is! It is very possible to sell photos online. Photography is valuable content on the web. Any talented photographer should be able to create a fan base for his or her output and later on charge marketers or businesses for its use.
Photography is not a simple passion to pursue. It takes effort--honing your skills through study, practice and constantly upgrading your equipment. Talent is something that can’t be bought, either.
While smartphones have made taking photos easier and more convenient, professional photography that ticks all the boxes for technicals is a different story. Smartphones in themselves can even be a tool for pro photographers. After all, it’s the person, and not the equipment that defines the photograph. You can sell photos online, no matter what camera you use.
Photography can be a great source of alternative or passive income. And you can start by learning how to sell photos online. This guide is not about joining stock photo sites; it is about creating your own photography website and a personal business where you control the sales of your work.
Every Creative Endeavor has Commercial Value
It’s a common misconception that just because your product is creative or artistic, or that money isn’t a priority, at least at the start, you shouldn’t be charging for your photos. Why offer your work for free when you can have people pay for it? There is a need for people to learn to sell photos online.
It’s a sensible decision to use your hobby to generate income that finances other parts of your lifestyle, or that you can use to upgrade your hobby equipment. Therefore, you will need some basic skills to be able to convert your hobby into an earning enterprise. If you are a photographer, you should definitely learn how to sell photos online in order to support a thriving career.
Confused about where to start? Consider that in order to earn as a photographer, you need to put yourself in the shoes of all the people out there who are already earning money for their content. A social media influencer who markets content on Instagram or on video platforms like Youtube, knows the value of such content. It has a lot to do with creating a brand, and positioning that brand in the marketplace. It is also about using your creativity in order to build an audience, and eventually make money from your following, or the people who want to make use of your copyright.
With technology nowadays seemingly making it easy for just anyone to create a photograph, one thing that isn’t free is talent. Camera phones are the norm, and anyone can buy a digital camera, but there are many needs for photography out there that can’t be covered by casual photographers, or those who don’t intend to sell their photos.
To graduate from hobbyist to entrepreneur and monetize your work, you need to remember these four things:
- There are business markets out there for particular types of photographs.
- Your audience becomes your market, so do your best to catch attention.
- A brand will go a long way. In order to build a brand, you need to cultivate a niche
- Your work has value. Therefore, it has a price.
With this introductory guide, we can help you get from point A to point B so you can sell photos online.
Build your Site
Assuming you have enough of a portfolio to start with, you can embark on building your own photography ecommerce website. This can be done through free web builders like Strikingly that offer you a dazzling array of options for free templates that you can use to get started. While there are many ways to create and capture a following, ecommerce websites to sell photography are the best vehicle to sell your photos.
Helpful steps in creating a photography ecommerce website and how to sell photos online:
- Develop a Brand
Your site needs to have a personality. Therefore, you need to choose which type of customer you’ll be catering to when you sell photos online. But how do you establish your niche?
You need to determine what your theme is. By observing your own work, you will be able to determine a common thread among your photos. Are you interested in nature? Or are you more into urban landscapes? Are you more into photographing objects, or people?
You can narrow these interests further and create two or three running themes. Better yet, decide on a single niche and focus on it. Before they encounter your photography website, people are already looking for specific things on the internet.
This is a list of possible niches you can explore:
- Food. Photographing food is basically still life. There is a vast demand for this genre. Commercial establishments constantly look for food photos. Ad agencies and publishers are also constantly looking for food photographs.
- People. Yes, humans! Portraits are widely popular and can earn demand immediately, especially within your own locality. You can also create photos of people that are interesting and have a wide range of use on social media or advertising platforms.
- Buildings. Architecture or real estate photography has a wide demand for a vast number of applications. Take a stroll. Use every opportunity to take photos of interesting building design or historical landmarks. There is demand for such images on travel sites and in corporate applications.
- Things. You can start with tight shots, with focused subjects. These are ideal for many types of online posts.
- Landscapes and nature. Feed the adventurer in you and photograph landscapes. Beautiful landscape photography or nature photography attracts wide interests. Among potential buyers are travel or tourism-related blogs and companies.
- Work and office. There is a constant business need for work-themed photos. Don’t be afraid to take a ton of pictures that fit this niche
You can also tie in your niche with a specific keyword search. Do research on the popular keywords that determine which subjects have high commercial potential. This is a great way to evaluate demand. A great tip would be to look for subjects or keywords that generate over 1,000 monthly searches.
When you build your brand, it also means building your fan base. You need to reach captured audiences. This is where social media and photography-centered platforms help. You can also join communities and photo-sharing websites that encourage you to expand your circle. Communities help you with tips on how to sell photos online.
Make sure to integrate all your accounts and include your social media links on your new site. People need to be able to view all your accounts and consolidate their impression of your work. This way, you can also conveniently post on multiple accounts at the same time using platform management apps or sites.
- Use Strikingly to create your free photography website
Platforms like Strikingly really make the process easier for first time website builders. As a creator, you need to be able to focus on making beautiful work--not on the technical details of building an ecommerce site.
Strikingly is a user-friendly website builder that guides you on quick site setup and ways to sell photos online.
You can also start with a portfolio website and then build ecommerce components when you feel comfortable. There is no specific dictum on how to sell photos online. Start with what you’re comfortable with, and build from there.
Should you decide to integrate ecommerce from the start, choose the right website design template that is able to accommodate your brand, your portfolio and online sales.
You can view some of Strikingly’s ecommerce friendly themes, and see which one suits your personal brand best. Your ecommerce site can be a way for your fans to connect with you; it can be an important touch point for your audience, so make the most of it. You can sell products or merchandise alongside your photographs. You can apply your photos to different types of merch. This is just another way to maximize your income and the next step in discovering the many ways to sell photos online.
Your very own site that enables selling photos online will give you more flexible options on how to control your marketing. It’s the best place to sell photos online. You are in control of which photos you put up under select categories, choose your own resolution and format for your images, and also the ideal price that you choose to sell your photos.
Websites for photographers to sell photos, however, have their downsides. You are fully responsible for everything--from design, images, to marketing and sales. It could take a lot more effort than just selling photos online through a stock site. There is no best way to sell photos online. It is a matter of choice. Decide on whether or not this is the path for you. You need to figure out how much time and effort you’re willing to put in, and how much monetary reward is worthwhile for you if you do decide to sell your photos to the public.
- Don’t stop at goods and merch. Sell your services too.
An ecommerce site is not just good for product or photography sales. It is a good place to get hired for your professional services.
Use your site to market your professional services.
Your ecommerce site can double as your professional calling card. Personal branding is one best way to sell photos online. Make sure it represents you well. Pick a professional design that sets off your work’s best attributes.
You’ll never know when a potential client might contact you to cover an event, photograph some products, or do a portrait session. Your contact information should direct to your email, phone number, or additional portfolio in order to close the sale. This is one great tip that will help sell your photos.
- Don’t forget IP protection
Remember that websites for photographers to sell photos are also easy targets for copyright infringement and indiscriminate downloading or copying. Taking responsibility for your own marketplace also means being responsible for its legal protections.
With this, you are equipped with a basic guide and are ready to get started as a photographer-entrepreneur by selling photos online!