You have a big collection of photos on your phone, or a memory card filled with hundreds of high-quality images. Now what?
You can certainly enjoy your photos in the traditional way by showing them to friends and family, but there is now a whole online world of people who want to buy your photos.
Selling photos online is a way to make money from home, and it can be a profitable venture. But first, you need to understand the dos and don’ts of the industry so that you can position yourself as an expert while also protecting your intellectual property.
Understand The Industry
To truly understand how to make money from selling photos online, it is important to dive into the basics of the industry.
Selling photos is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it gets a lot of buzz and attention every year at major consumer technology events such as CES and E3. There are big brands and small brands, independent brands and corporate brands, all looking for a piece of the action. It is a lucrative market, and one that is growing.
If you want to enter the industry, it is advisable to do so from the ground up. Start by learning the ropes from the bottom up and gaining experience by creating and selling web sites, apps, and widgets.
From the ground up, it is important to understand what makes a premium product, brands, and content.
Brands And Product Matter
A brand is essentially a trusted name that consumers can rely on to identify quality when buying a product. For example, Kleener Industrial Lighting’s quality and reliability are trusted values that brand the company and its products. When a consumer buys a light fixture from that brand, they know that they are buying something that has been tested and approved by Kleener Industrial Lighting. In the world of selling photos online, the brand determines the quality of the product, and thus the consumer’s opinion of it. For instance, if a consumer buys a photo album from a well-known brand, they know that the album is of good quality because the brand promises excellence.
Another critical point to make about brands is that they are an essential part of the equation when it comes to selling photos online. Since brands are an important aspect of the industry, having brand-connected content is key to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your space. Furthermore, when a consumer clicks on a brand’s logo or link, they expect to be taken to a website with information about the brand. If your brand’s URL is embedded in an image’s link or displayed on an image’s page, it gives the brand more credibility in the eyes of the consumer. In other words, when a consumer knows that a brand’s name is associated with a quality product, it creates a positive attitude toward that brand and its products.
The Difference Between High And Low Quality
As a digital marketer, you would know that having fewer pixels does not always mean that a photo is of poor quality. There are plenty of instances where an image with millions of pixels looks better than one with fewer. It is all about the perspective. When a photo is taken from a certain angle, it can look really sharp. However, viewed from another angle, it can look a little blurry. When someone purchases a high-quality image, they are expecting to see a certain level of detail, and it is important for you to be able to deliver on that expectation.
Since a high-quality image is more likely to sell, the industry favors images with a lot of pixels. However, just because an image has millions of pixels does not mean that it will look incredible when printed out. There has to be a certain amount of post-processing done after the fact to make all the pixels work in harmony. For example, if you shoot in RAW mode, you have the option of post-processing the photo using software such as Adobe Lightroom or similar apps for mobile phones. Even then, the quality of the print will be determined by the quality of the ink and the paper used. In other words, the more you spend, the better the final product is likely to be.
An Image’s Content Is More Important Than Its Quality
For as long as photography has existed, people have tried to make money from taking and selling photographs. As a general rule of thumb, the content within an image is more important than its resolution. If you have a decent camera and some editing software, you can certainly go the extra mile and take a high-quality shot, but at the end of the day, there is still no guaranteeing that it will sell. Sometimes, a low-quality image can be just as effective as a high-quality one.
When you zoom in on a picture, the more you see, the more you realize how small the subject actually was. When someone purchases a photo, they are usually looking for something to highlight a subject or event in their life. If you can write a meaningful caption, you can often end up selling more photographs than just the one that you initially intended to sell. In most cases, a well-written caption will do more for an image than simply having high quality.
Content Is King (And Queen)
Since brands and products are at the root of what makes an image valuable, it is important to keep them in mind when creating content for the web.
If you are creating original content for the web, you need to determine how you are going to monetize it. Before you start chitchatting with potential customers, you need to have something to sell. For example, if you have a food blog, you can start by selling food products that you feature on the blog. Or if you are a professional photographer, you can sell your photos to businesses who want to use them for marketing online.
Once you have content, you can start to figure out ways to make money from it. As a general rule of thumb, the more you make, the more you make. Whether you are making money through ads or affiliate marketing, the more you put in, the more you get back. As a digital marketer, you are probably aware of the term ROI, or return on investment. Essentially, the more you put in, the more you get back. So yes, you can certainly make money online without a single sale, but the better your content is, the more you will likely see an increase in revenue.
To truly understand how to make money from selling photos online, it is important to consider not just the technical qualities of the image itself, but the other marketing factors as well. Since brands and goods are an important consideration, taking high-quality images and putting a meaningful caption underneath them can really boost your revenue. Having a brand’s URL or logo in the image’s description will also do more for its perceived value than simply having a high-quality image.
The key to making money from selling photos online is to ensure that your technical skills are up to date, but even then, you must learn to monetize your content effectively. Being a general rule of thumb, the more you put in, the more you get back, applying this rule to your online income can certainly lead you to a successful venture.