If you love photography, you may want to consider trying to make a part-time or full-time income from selling photos online. From photos of people, animals, sceneries, architecture or just things (bags, computers, fabric, tools, etc.), the options are limitless. You can either sell photos on your own website or via stock photo sites such as SmugMug Pro, Shutterstock, iStockphoto, Fotolia, Alamy, and 500px Prime. These sites pay you varying commissions when someone buys your photos.
Here are some guidelines that will enhance your chances of success when trying to sell photos online:
Understand the basics
To succeed in selling photos online, you need to understand the basics of photography such as exposure and light. It would therefore be advisable to get relevant photography training to equip you with the necessary skills. The good news is that there are numerous tutorials online that you can use to learn at no cost. You could even consider taking a short course or certificate in photography to hone your skills even further. This will help improve the quality of your photos, which will enhance your chances of making more sales.
Check for flaws at 100%
Whenever you submit photos, stock photo sites will review them first to determine if they meet quality standards. Before submitting any photo you intend to sell, be sure to inspect it thoroughly for mistakes. For example, a photo that appears perfect at a small resolution could look terrible at full size. Such a problem can be avoided by using a tripod when taking photos. In addition, be sure to select the correct shutter speed and aperture.
Use keywords and quality descriptions
When uploading your photo, be sure to include a comprehensive description containing relevant keywords. Optimization using keywords will make it easier for people to find your photos when searching online. However, don’t make the mistake of stuffing your description with unnecessary keywords to enhance visibility. This might only get you blacklisted by stock photo sites.
Offer some free images
Most stock photo sites have a ‘free section’ where you can offer photos for download temporarily or permanently. This can be great way of getting your portfolio noticed and building a following. If people love the quality of your work, they might be willing to pay for more. Be sure to include links to your social media networks which will help you stay connected to prospects.
Find out what sells
Before venturing into the business of selling photos online, find out what customers are looking for. You can start by studying the most downloaded images on different stock sites. This will give you an idea of what sells and help you create commercially viable photos.
Find a niche
Since the microstock industry has become increasingly competitive, you have to stand out in order to survive. One of the best ways of doing this is by choosing a specific subject matter or style to focus on. For example, if you want to sell images of women, you could specialize in a particular type of model. Finding a unique photography niche that is in demand will significantly enhance your chances of success.
These are just some guidelines that you should follow when starting to build a following to sell your photos online. Make sure to experiment with different possibilities to find your niche and most of all, have fun.