Tips For a Photographer Wanting to Make Money Online

Making Money Online With Photos
by Dai Mar Tamarack

 There are a few key things that must happen in order for you as an amateur or even one who has sold a few pictures already to start successfully selling your pictures online.
  First, and most importantly, you have to have content that other people want to buy. Finding something different to set yourself apart can be difficult. A lot of people are able to buy nice cameras these days but don't despair, many of them won't take the time to go beyond the auto mode and jpeg format. It does mean that you may have to work on not just mastering your camera, but also using your creative eye to get a popular selling photo. Check out these photographers for an idea of how being creative can sell.

Clark Little- Inside the tube looking out
Seth Casteel- Dogs Underwater
Peter Lik- Medium Format Landscapes

  The second step is to get your best photos up on the internet so your future adoring fans can see them and hopefully buy them. Using sites like Flickr and Facebook are great tools for exposure and feedback. If you join online communities with other photographers within these social media tools you can have access to precious feedback from your peers. Tips ranging from techniques to how you can improve your copyright watermark can all help pave the way to selling that first picture online.

   Blogging is another great way to put your content out there. I have had success with Blogspot and if you want a little more customization Wordpress is a good option. Both can be setup in a matter of minutes and provide a great way for you to show off your photos and the stories behind them. Your fans can follow and interact with each posts by leaving comments. These are both free programs.

 Now you are ready to put your best photos forward to be bought up adoring fans. There are two different avenues to go about this. One is creating your own website with online portfolio where clients can buy pictures from you directly. The second is microstock sites, otherwise known as stock photography sites.

 The best hands down photo website creator is SmugMug. With easy templates and wonderful 24/7 tech support SmugMug let you build a wonderful site to showcase your pictures. The real beauty though is how easy it is for your customers to purchase your photos. They have dozens of different sizes, different printing techniques such as metal, canvas, or framed, and your customers can easily buy items with your photos on them....think iPhone cases for example. You can see an example of how in depth you can make these websites with this example. For this method to work you will need to market yourself in order to get the word out there. But one staple of all photographers is that they have a website they can send prospective clients to. This would be front and center on your business card and make you look much more like the serious professional photographer that you are becoming.

Close encounter with a green sea turtle underwater Now for the stock photography sites. The beauty of these sites is the fact that once your picture is out there you can sit back and collect the residual sales. Depending on which site you use (usually multiple ones), you will get a certain percentage of the sale price for your photo. I know people who make a living just off of their portfolios on stock photography sites and nothing else. But we are talking about portfolios with thousands of pictures on them which speak to an audience. The biggest consumers for these sites like Shutterstock and iStock, are mostly businesses looking for pictures of people with model releases attached. It takes all the hard work out of it for them, so they are willing to pay for it. However the appeal of these sites are pretty far reaching. I have sold pictures through stock photography in almost every country around the globe, and I specialize in underwater wildlife photography. So as long as you have quality photos, and the patience for keywording each one then this could give you some very nice residual income.
 *I've been having good success with Adobe Stock lately as well so it is worth checking into.

  There is also nothing to say that you can't have both methods going simultaneously. If you want to be successful then constant shooting, learning, and looking for inspiration are key. Keep up with trends, especially in the stock photography world, but stick to what you are good at and go out and make a name for yourself.

-Dai Mar Tamarack

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