earn money through photographyHave you ever taken a photo and then posted it on some social networking site, where it has gone viral? Even if your photo is not viral, there could be instances when a lot of people comment on the photos. They could tell you about the excellent exposure, photography skills and also cool about the image that you have posted online.

If you have been in this situation, or if you think that people would love your photographs, then you can sell these photographs online.

Why should you sell photographs online?

Photography was a very expensive hobby a few years back, but these days, it has become very easy for you to become a very experienced and modern photographer. This is because of the improvement in the various equipment that are used to enhance the image quality.

There is also a need for many photographs on websites, for the developer of the website to make a point. Other than this, there are also companies that require photographs for their newsletters, presentations and many other reasons. So, the need for different kinds of photographs has increased dramatically.

To become a budding photographer, all that you require are a great creativity and also good camera that will be able to take great pictures and you will be on your way to becoming a great photographer.

These days, it is not very difficult to sell your photos too. The use of the internet has made connectivity and communication to become very easy and simple. You will be able to sell your photographs online and will also be paid through the various online payment methods.

Though it all seems simple, it may not work out that way. You will need to find a client who needs specific kinds of photographs and you should be able to meet the need of such people. Your photos should also be of excellent quality to be bought by the client. If you are able to have this kind of setup, then you will be able to have a passive income method.

How does it all work?

Your online registration

There are many websites where you can get registered. Some of the sites that are very popular for this kind of registration includes Picture Nation, Alamy, Fotolia,123RF,  iStockphoto and others. During the time of registration, you will be required to send some photos to them and they will go through them to check the quality. You will be selected only if your photos are good enough.

There are instances when people have been rejected, but this should be used as stepping stones for success. Use their comments to improve and send them better photos to get selected.

Uploading the photos

Once the approval is obtained, you will be asked for the photos that can go on sale. You can send the photographs in batches of 5 or in 10. Soon they will be checked and put up on the site.

When your pictures are live!

Soon, the pictures on the website will be sold and you will get a mail from the website when your photos have been sold. Payment is made to you once the threshold level is reached. There are some common modes of payments like PayPal and also cheque.

Tips for pictures that are perfect:

Matter or the subject

The most important aspect of photography is the subject that is being captured in the picture. There are a lot of ideas you may have, but some of these ideas may not be commercially viable. This is because of the fact that when you take pictures of the sunset or even that of flowers, who is going to buy them from you?

The idea behind the presence of these online stock photo sites is that people will be able to provide them with a wide range of ideas in photography. Varied pictures will help the websites to improve their stock of photos. This could range from different cultural photographs to those of varying concepts and issues. The typical purchase happens when a searcher uses a keyword in the search engine to find a particular image.

So, you should not only be creative but also think of the kind of pictures that you see on newspapers and internet articles. Any person who is talking of a fuel price hike will need photos of a refinery or even that of a person fueling a car. So, such descriptive images are the ones that are in demand and can help you to earn more money.

Quality of picture

The quality of the picture is very important and though all of us take pictures that are duds, the ones that you sell or put on the website should be excellent in quality. Even if there is a poor quality image that you have taken which cannot be captured again, then you can try to improve the quality by playing with the digital picture.

There are some methods in which you will be able to improve the general quality of the pictures. The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that you have the subject right in the middle of the photograph. There are several reasons for this. The first one is that most of the clients prefer photographs that they can edit and crop. If your subject is at the edge of the picture, then no cropping can be done.

Also, the pictures should also be bright and colorful. This is because of the fact that these pictures are going to be reused many times and anything dull may not be picked up by the clients. So, you can increase the exposure when you are taking the picture, to create a better quality picture.

A clean shot is also a very important factor for good quality images. You should not have anything in the background of the subject, that could cause some distraction. Make sure that you have the subject only in focus. Also, the camera should be steady when you are clicking the photo.

There are a lot of websites that will help you to have a short crash course in improving your photography skills. So, you can use these for making some amazing pictures.

Legal aspects of photography

When you are clicking a photograph of a person or even some other things that belong to other people (like houses, vehicles etc), you may need a release form signed by the person to publish their photograph. This release form says that you have the permission from the owner of the building or from the person in the photo, to use their photo in the existing form. These release forms are present in the websites where you are posting the photographs.

There are some things that should not be clicked unless there is something that necessitates it. It should also be legally approved by the owners. These include logos of companies, registration plates of vehicles and other visuals that could cause various public problems like inciting a riot etc.

If you have clicked a picture, then you will be the sole owner of the picture till you post it on the website. Once you sell it and make a contract that is signed by you, then you lose the copyright. On the other hand, you can retain the rights if you are posting it on stock photography sites. These sites will then sell the photo to people based on their usage levels. You, as well as the website, may earn more if the photo is going to be used on a large scale.

Such variations in the sale of photographs and their costs can be very tricky. This method of selective selling based on the usage of photos is called as images that are ‘rights managed’. They have some restrictions on the sale of the pictures. There is a lot of information about such sales, on Alamy website.

Guidelines for submission

If you would like to sell a photo through the websites, then it should be a high quality image that has a low compression. The photo should also be in the JPEG format.

If the image has a poor resolution, then your photo may never be used. So, a high image resolution that is about 1200 to 1000 pixels will help you to post it on a website easily. Though it may take some time for the download to be completed, most people prefer these high resolution images.

What will be your income range?

The amount that you will be able to earn from photography will range from very less to a huge sum of money. The minimum amount that you can earn is a very less, but you may even be able to make more than £300 a month if you are consistent enough.

Actually, there are two kinds of sites where the photographs are being sold. One of them is the microstock type, in which you will be able to have a lot of photographs and the cost of these is less. On the other hand, there is another type of website where you will be able to have a few photographs only and these are all high quality ones that will be very expensive. This is called as the macrostock. These two kinds of sites help all kinds of photographers to be able to make the best value for the photos.

Microstock sites:

One site that pays a huge 40% commission on the sales that have been made is the site called as Picture Nation. The amount of money that is paid to you will vary depending on the resolution of the photograph.

Fotolia will pay you about 33% commission and the amount of money that is paid to you will depend on the size of the photo.

On the other hand, the amount of money that you can make from the site 123RF will depend on the kind of package through which the photos are sold. Here, the resolution of the photograph also plays a role in the amount of money that you will be able to earn.

iStockphoto is another site where you will be able to make about 20% commission only, but the amount of commission depends mainly on the popularity of your picture. If you sell high resolution pictures, then you may be able to earn a higher commission. So, this site may be used only for high resolution images.

Macrostock websites

You will get an 80% commission from the macrostock site Photograph Direct. The one disadvantage in this site is that you cannot be a member of both this site and a microstock site. You will need to make sure that you have a good photograph and if you have such a photo, then you will be able to earn the highest commission.

Alamy is a site that will only take pictures that are of the highest quality. They have very strict guidelines for the submission and once you are accepted, you will be able to get about 65% commission. The minimum price that is offered for a picture is £35 and the price for one picture can even reach about £230! These are all exclusive pictures that we are talking about.

Flickr.com is a site where some picture editors may try to find stock photographs and if you have a presence there too, then you will be able to sell some of your photographs there too.

Make big money from news photos

One interesting method of making money is when you are able to capture the photograph of an event that makes headlines. Even snaps of celebrities that you are able to capture will help you to gain a lot. There are several companies that will pay bug money for such exclusive photographs and their rights. Cash4YourPix is a site which will buy the photos from you and then make a deal with various newspapers and magazines for the photo. Some of the high profile newspapers that get their photos from this website include The Sun, Daily Mail, Heat, Daily Mirror and others. The photos can be in any format and they can even be taken from your mobile phone. You will be able to get a better rate if you have a clearer picture, but usually this is not an issue because these photographs will sell whatever quality they have.

Income potential of news photos

Depending on the event that you have captured, you will be able to make a lot of money. There are certain events that could even become a global phenomenon. Such events that are captured by you will make you very rich. The amount that you can generate from such photos can be anything between £50 to even about £5000. The site takes about 50% as commission, so you will end up with only half the amount for which the photo was sold, but even then it is a huge sum! This is especially true if you are able to capture the picture of a life changing event or a global event. Even celebrities who are caught in embarrassing positions will be able to earn you such huge sums of money.

photo credit: khumana 13130013 via photopin (license)

Femi Tunde
Olufemi Folorunsho, popularly known as Femi Tunde is the founder of Yustreet. He serves as an evangelist with a particular focus on the United Kingdom. He is also a publisher of Christian literature and entrepreneur of Christian evangelism materials.