As an advanced photographer well beyond beginner photography tips, you’ve probably wondered about selling photos. Especially since people who see your images are saying things like “You should be selling your photos! They’re as good as a professional’s.” How does one get started?
Well, in order to have a photography business or to at least make some extra money from your fine photography skills, you will need to learn some basic photography business tips.
Images or Services?
photo by g-stockstudio via iStock
When setting up your own photography business, you will find that there are many people who see your photos and instead of wanting your pictures, they want to hire you for a photographic job. If your photos of another person or of a mountain lake look that good, they figure that you will likely do a great job on whatever it is they are wanting photographically.
Some of the things you’re doing already will likely enable you to fulfill most expectations of those desiring your services. And offering your services will also give you opportunities to sell your images. One way is to offer physical prints of select images from your completed assignment or session.
Online or Physical?
photo by scyther5 via iStock
Which brings up one of the first decisions to make if you desire to sell images instead of only hiring out your services is whether you will be selling photography prints or selling your photos online.
There are advantages to both approaches. Selling your photos online can involve no inventory on your part. There are websites which let you upload a finished image file and will fulfill sending finished prints or even items like phone cases and shower curtains made from your photos to a client.
Offering digital files of your images is another great option for selling your photos online. This is the basic business model of stock and microstock agencies, but you can also try to sell digital files yourself through your own website or on a marketplace.
In order to be successful selling photography prints in physical form, it’s a good idea to make sure the print is very high quality. You could print them yourself on a photo printer or you could use a photo printing service. A service is a very good idea for several reasons. Printing services give you options of a variety of sizes and also a variety of materials and finishes.
Good Options for Selling Your Photos
photo by nd3000 via iStock
So far, we’ve talked about offering your services, providing physical prints of those services, selling online through a fulfillment center, selling through microstock agencies, selling on your website or an online marketplace, printing your own photos, and selling prints made by a printing service.
Let’s look at some specific ideas for these options.
Hire Yourself Out
photo by jacoblund via iStock
You will want to follow the protocols of standard photography business tips such as making sure you are following all local regulations, get any necessary business licensing, and cover yourself with liability insurance. You will be glad you followed this advice. Even if nothing untoward ever happens, just having the peace of mind of doing things right is a good business practice.
Provide the Option of Physical Prints
photo by Hispanolistic via iStock
In the age of digital photography, many jobs involve sending digital files of the finished images, perhaps via an online source like Dropbox or giving the client a flash drive or DVD of the image files.
Printing off a physical print as a bonus could lead to increased sales of other images being physically printed or different sizes ordered. You could use your own high end photo quality printer or use a service such as Artbeat Studios.
Use a Fulfillment Center
photo by France68 via iStock
By fulfillment center, I mean one that lets you send customers to a website where they order prints or other items such as coffee mugs. Fine Art America is one of many sites that gives your customers good options for lots of variety of photographic gift items. You can link from your own website or use their website as a landing page.
photo by pixelfusion3d via iStock
Selling your photos online is limited by how many people have the opportunity to see your images. This is why many photographers make use of microstock agencies such as Getty Images which already have a worldwide audience of paying clients. You simply have to submit your images for review and wait for people to download a license to use them.
Personal Website or Online Marketplace
photo by Hvoenok via iStock
This option of selling your photos works for physical prints as well as digital files. Having your own website with a Shopify account or a marketplace such as Esty is an option. You will need a supply of prints to send to purchasers, the printing service of Artbeat Studios will give you a superior product to send out.
Selling Physical Prints
In order to sell prints, the prints should be the highest quality you are able to provide. A very high quality photographic printer such as the Epson SureColor P900 is one possible choice. Using your own photo printer is a great idea but you will be limited by the size of the printer and the possible printing materials.
In order to have a full range of options of materials and sizes, a professional printing service is one of the best choices for selling your photos. Artbeat Studios is one of the best printing studios for professional photographic prints.
I use Artbeat Studios for many of my own printing needs for several excellent reasons. They make paper prints, metal prints, acrylic prints, and canvases. Artbeat Studios uses superb materials, has excellent craftsmanship, and a quick turnaround time. In addition, they have wonderful customer service.
You may remember that Artbeat Studios was the winner of our 2020 Metal Print Shootout. In addition to their high quality prints and amazing customer service, they are also very reasonably priced, allowing you to make a decent profit on an appropriate markup for selling your photos.
Use the Approach that Works for You
photo by shironosov via iStock
So, how should you go about selling your photos? You have several good options, and you aren’t restricted to opting for just one method. Try out several ideas and see which ones fit your goals for a photographic business.