- It gives you a great way to “break the ice” with people you meet anywhere, introducing yourself as a photographer and offering to take photos of them right there on the spot.
- It's perfect for making some extra money while traveling, even on vacations.
- It gives you an easy way to show your completed work to the people you've photographed and let them purchase the ones they like, all online and securely.
- You can list yourself in their online directory of professional photographers, to give potential clients in your area the opportunity to find you for their wedding, event or vacation photos.
Many professional photographers have something of a love-hate relationship with stock agencies. There are also those that refuse to add stock photography to their list of ways to sell their work and there are some who have turned their stock photos into a better-than-average income stream. No matter what your personal take on the stock photography business, it's alive and well and isn't going to go away. It's also much more competitive and a lot more work than many newcomers realize.
Whether you choose to use the stock agencies or not, you'll want to consider other ways to offer your work for sale. In today's world, having several income streams is a good idea and for many of us, a necessity. With that in mind, here are a few other ways to generate income with your photos and photo services, starting with my favorite:
This is first on the list for a few very good reasons:
If you haven't checked this business idea out yet, you really need to get over there and do it. It's an innovative, easy way to sell to specific clients and it's catching on fast. I'd classify it as one of those “Why didn't I think of this?” opportunities.
If you're a PhotographyTalk member, then you already know how a supportive community of photographers can help you reach your goals. If one of your goals is offering your photos for sale to the general public, this is my second favorite way to get that done.
There are a number of sites that will let you build a profile, create galleries, enter contests, groups and more. Many of these online communities give you access to services like printing, framing and creating photo products, either as part of their services or via discounted services from third parties. Some also let you offer digital downloads of your works.
These community sites are a great way to simplify the process of selling and delivering your photos as fine art, site graphics and more. Basically, they provide a way for you to create your own site for display and sales of your work, without a lot of the hassles of creating a site on your own.
There are too many and the feature lists vary too greatly to list them here, but some of the most well known are SmugMug, Zenfolio and Fine Art America. Do a search, compare the services and rates and see what works best for you.
This one isn't so much an alternative way to sell your photos as a whole bunch of ways and that's why I like it. If you've never invested in a copy of Photographer's Market or signed up on their website, you're missing more opportunities than you can imagine.
This book set the standard for finding markets for your photos long before inexpensive DSLR cameras caused a boom in the popularity of the photo business. That's right; it started in the dinosaur days, when we still used film and darkrooms and it's still a go-to for many professionals.
It's a little more trouble than just walking up to a person and handing them a card, but it's the best single resource when it comes to finding publishers, paper products manufacturers, travel agencies and hundreds more potential buyers for your photos. It's well organized, easy to use and a must-have item for any photographer's bookshelf, in my opinion.
A new edition is published every year and a subscription to the website will show you new markets as they spring up. Grab a copy. You won't regret it.
Is that it?
Absolutely not. There are lots of ways for a photographer to make money. These just happen to be my favorites and other photographers have theirs. Take a look at some of the discussions in the PhotographyTalk forum and you'll get a good idea of all the possibilities. Meanwhile, please give these methods a try and as always, enjoy yourself. That's why we're photographer in the first place, right?