Five Ways to Make Money from Photography

1. iStock

After reading Mike Cherim’s article going through the last 12 months upon iStock, I was reminded that I also have an iStock account. So I must thank Mike for invigorating my activity on iStock. But twenty minutes upon the site reminded me why I never did go back after I first registered. The process to upload is long-winded and monumentally unnecessary. It all floods back to my memory now: Users have to submit three photographs, they get adjudicated as to their relevancy and aesthetics, and if you are lucky you become a money-maker.

Yet I will try again. Mike’s iStock journey tells of the two months it took to finally get his work recognised, plus the 12 month journey to start making some serious money. Hmmm… It’s early November 2009 now: A 2010 beginning on iStock would be good present to myself. Like any process, I’ll play the game and upload three photographs. First to answer the quiz!

2. Redbubble

I am a veteran of Redbubble, having been registered since its early days. A member since April 2007, I’ve watched it grow in lots of different ways, take a few tumbles, and survive a few interesting screams from the forums.
My reasoning for using this site is to present the best of the best of my photography. Whilst many use it as a photo-depository site, I consistently only upload artwork that I feel will sell … and it does.
The biggest advantage of Redbubble is their amazing ability to produce your artwork quickly and post it out in a reasonable time-frame. (Just remember: The closer you order to Christmas, the longer your delivery may take!) I regularly promote my Redbubble artwork around friends and family and work-colleagues: I sell a few cards once a fortnight. I had the good sense early on to buy a lot of my photography in the early days: I can now offer clientele cards at a moments notice.

3. Image Kind

I am a newcomer to this site, so it is still growing on me. What makes it easier than most is the upload-program, very similar to the one that Flickr.com utilises. A quick download to you desktop, and you can begin uploading images straight away. Much like flickr.com, images are easily titled, tagged, described and presented for viewing.

4. Zazzle

This is an interesting site. All manner of artwork is accessible and allowed. I often upload illustrations and text-based imagery which I then present on T-shirts, mugs, mouse-pads, ties and various other apparel and accessories. I am currently working on uploading a select few photographs that I refer to as still-frame and stock images. Look out for these in the near future.
Zazzle is actually surprisingly easy to navigate. Initially you might find it navigation-bloated, but it gets easier as you get more involved.

I’ve now set up a section of my computer so that each artwork has its own directory. This also holds a README.txt file that holds the mark-up value, Titles, sub-titles and description. This enables me to easily fill in the blanks when creating a new product.

4. Promotion and Marketing

Yes, the best way to sell your photography on the internet is to promote it wherever and however possible, and to market it so as to present your artwork in it’s best light. In the same way that you prepare a location before you shoot a subject, it is important to present your artwork on the internet so that people can appreciate the effort, it’s beauty and it’s intrinsic value.

Three Extra Websites

I am not listed at any of these sites, but they look very interesting. If you are a photographer who catalogues and sells work with any of these, feel free to leave a comment reviewing any of them.

  • Dreamstime not only allows artists and photographers to upload their best work, but also enables contributors to keep a blog of related articles!
  • Fotolia provides a compromise between photographers and buyers, by protecting a photographer’s intellectual property rights and offering high commissions, while legally lowering the price barrier so that everyone may enjoy/afford these beautiful images.
  • Shutterstock has tips and tricks to help your photography look and present better.

That’s all. Now it’s your turn to sell your artwork and photography upon the world wide market!

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