I bet you didn’t even realize that if you’re good with a camera you can make money taking photographs and selling them online as stock photos. And you don’t have to be an Ansel Adams, either. There’s a huge market for images on the Internet and all you have to be able to do is point, click and upload.
Look at any blog post or article on the Internet and you’ll find it includes at least one photo. Images are important because they not only help the reader visualize the content, they help break up the text and they attract attention. But where do those photos come from? Do you think every blogger in the world steps outside his door and snaps a pic before he posts? Wrong! There are bloggers out there blogging about cake recipes who don’t know a spatula from a screwdriver. They’re just passing along information. They have no intentions of baking that cake just so they can take a picture.
So where do those pictures come from? Some bloggers just copy them from other websites, which is totally illegal. Most pictures posted are the property of the person who took them. Unless, of course, they purchased them from someone else. Someone like you!
There are two ways you can make money taking photographs and selling them online as stock photos. The first is to list them with one of the sites that specialize in stock photos. Like iStockPhoto.com, for example. These sites allow photographers and graphic artists to upload their work and sell it online. Your pictures are watermarked so someone can’t just copy and paste. But, after they pay a fee, they can download your pictures and use them on their websites.
On these types of sites you can sell multiple copies of each picture. One person might buy your picture of a pile of puppies, or hundreds may purchase it. Either way, each person who pays the fee owns the right to use your picture in their promotional materials. As you can probably guess, the more pictures you include in your online portfolio, the more money you’ll make.
What kind of pictures sell best? Any kind really. It’s hard to know what’s going to trip some blogger’s trigger. Take a look around iStockPhoto.com and you’ll see pictures of everything from A to Z. When you list your photos on these sites the key is to use as many keywords as possible to describe them because you never know what that blogger is going to be looking for. I’ve even searched for images of running farmers with blue shirts!
You’ll find hundreds of stock photo sites on the Internet. Some specialize in certain types of images, some have different pricing structures, etc. but most operate the same way – you take the pictures and then upload them to the site and assign the keywords or description. The site also makes money off of each download and they handle the promotion.
If you’re a little more daring you can set up your own website and sell your own photos. Choose one of the free blogging platforms like Blogger or WordPress or set up your own self-hosted site. When you list your pictures with a stock photo site, there may be hundreds of similar pictures for the buyer to choose from. But on your own site, your work is all the buyer will see. The drawback, of course, if that you’ll need to know how to maintain and promote your own site.
If you’ve always been interested in photography then get that camera out and get snapping. You could be making money right this very minute taking pictures and selling them online as stock photography.