A few blog posts ago I had mentioned that there are a number of ways that bloggers can create streams of income, and I wanted to do a little bit of a deep dive into one of those avenues: selling your photography.
The good news for talented photographers is that there’s a vast number of places that you can sell your pics to online. So you can really branch out to hit a broad spectrum of potential clients (and royalty payments).
The bad news is that, consequently, it’s a fairly saturated market so to stand out and get your work downloaded, you’ll need to find a niche that is underserved and go hard on creating content for that specific genre.
Nevertheless, putting your work out there, in my opinion, is far better than just hoarding your content like Gollum. You might not get the huge riches of Herb Ritts, but the more people exposed to your work, the more opportunities that will be presented…and since this is just an offshoot of your blog, it can be a 98% passive stream of income while you focus on growing your blog numbers.
Places to sell your stock photos
So where should you submit your stock photography to? Here are some suggestions:
- Death to the Stock Photo
- Getty Images
- Photo Dune
- Creative Market – this isn't a standalone stock photo site. But I've seen many photographers selling their work on there. (And you probably get a higher commission)
- Etsy – Same idea as Creative Market. Though it might be harder to sustain if you don't already have a following (or aren't willing to put in the time for promoted listings or SEO)
Don't discount free photo sites
True, places like Unsplash or Pixabay aren't going to pay you a royalty for your work. But don't negate them so quickly. Instead, think of sending them an occasional pic from a collection here and there as a way to:
- Get your work out there (how many apps and services now link to Unsplash?)
- Test the marketplace to see what's popular
- Develop your photography AND marketing skills
Again, you don't need to give them the whole enchilada. But throwing them a bone from a collection could see some benefits for you in terms of easy ways to market your work (just a thought!)
Tips to Prepare Your Work for Submission on Stock Photo Sites
- Make sure your work is quality – Look, this goes without saying, right? And yet we still need to cover this. If your work isn't professional-looking, then no one is going to buy it so make sure you're confident in your skills as a photographer. Take some classes on Udemy and get more comfortable with the settings on your camera.
- Make sure your watermarks are gone – If you're like me and you batch export your blog photos in Lightroom, you're going to want to double-check and make sure your watermarks or branding don't show up anywhere as this could get your photos rejected.
- Read the TOS – Make sure that you understand your exclusivity contracts. If there are payment thresholds, what protections they take to ensure your work isn't ripped off, etc etc. Read the fine print and store it away. So that if you ever need to reference it, you'll have it in your own possession.
Any place I missed? Let me know in the comments!