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Top 10 Ways to Make Money Selling Your Photos

Updated on May 22, 2011

Sell Your Photos

#7 Display your "for sale" photo artwork in public places.
#7 Display your "for sale" photo artwork in public places.

You've spent days, months and years taking awesome photos.

Now what?

Share them and make money. After all, what good are pictures if they can't be enjoyed? There are many ways to make money with your photos, so long as you take the time to get good at producing quality photo artwork that people want for their design projects and wall décor.

When I first started taking photos years ago, I just wasn't sure what to do next. I spent a significant amount of time looking around at the most effective ways to sell my photography.

Here are my Top 10 Ways to Make Money Selling Your Photos

1. Sell your prints at etsy.com.

Set your prices for your pictures and then make them available to the public. People love original photographic art and they swarm to Etsy to find it. You can also use Etsy as a data center to understand how to price your pictures.

2. Sell your work on eBay.com.

eBay is still the king when it comes to the online marketplace. You can sell your photos as stock photography, frames, or canvas. You can use the auctions to help you set market prices for your photos.

3. Sell your images on stock photography sites.

There are so many stock photography websites out there you can sell your photos on that it might be a little overwhelming. Here are some great ones to get you started:

4. Create products on zazzle.com.

Create all kinds of cool products on zazzle like mugs, calendars, keychains, and more using your captivating images. Admittedly, there is a lot of products and a lot of competition, so you really need to make sure your images stand out from the rest if you're going to make serious cash.

5. Create products on cafepress.com.

Cafe Press is very similar to Zazzle with similar product lines. So if you make products for Zazzle, you might as well make them for cafepress since you can probably use the same images with very little variation.

6. Create cool photo books on blurb.com.

Why not make a cool photo book for your coffee table and share it with others? You might be surprised at how many people you've never met might be interested in buying your book. I personally like making photo books since all the work involved gets yourself an art project you can be proud of (and a portfolio) and you can sell it to the public in one click of the mouse.

Photo courtesy of Blurb.com
Photo courtesy of Blurb.com

7. Sell your artwork in commercial spaces.

Put your photos on canvas or frame them and find local places to hang them in high traffic areas. Great places are restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques. Owners love supporting local artists, not to mention freshening up their wall décor. Give the owner a cut of your earnings and continue making lasting relationships. The next thing you know, your art will be everywhere around town! I must say I've been somewhat amazed with how many artworks I've sold off the wall by doing this. The ability for someone to have immediate gratification by buying your art right then and there seems to be effective.

8. Place your work on art and photo websites.

There are several websites which provide you the opportunity to display all of your images online. If someone buys your photo, they will take care all of the fulfillment including framing and shipping of the product to the customer. This enables you to focus on your art while they help you run your business side of things. They take a cut of your profit, but you can set your prices at any level you want. The most popular websites include imagekind.com and fineartamerica.com.

9. Hang your work at local art galleries.

I was a little intimidated the first time I walked into an art gallery and asked them if they'd display my photos. It was a little easier than I thought it would be. Gallery owners love to meet new aspring artists like you, and value variety in their gallery space.

10. Get a website and start marketing your work online.

If you're really serious about selling your art, without a doubt, a website is the most important thing you can do right now. It takes time and money, but it's well worth it if you see yourself as a true professional photographer.

The quickest and less expensive way is to purchase a templated portfolio website. This is what I did initially so that I could first understand if there was a marketplace for what I had to offer. I was able to launch my own website in just a few days. These templated portfolio sites do have some limitations sometimes, but for the most part, they give you all the tools you need to hit the ground running.

Several professional portfolio solutions I've explored are:

A more time-intensive, more expensive, but more effective solution is to build your own website. After three years of using my templated website, I grew out of it. There were just too many things I wanted to that it couldn't, so I invested in building a custom website which I just launched in January of 2011. I wish I would have done it years ago, but oh well, live and learn!

Years of experience has led me to this Top 10 Ways to Sell Your Photos Online article. Hopefully this saves you some time so you can start making some money from your passion of photography!

About Me

My name is Kyle Franklin Neuberger and I like to say that I am "bi-occupied" as a photo artist (night job) and online marketing strategist (day job). The combination of these passions allow me to help artists market themselves and their work more effectively. My obsession is to create contemporary wall art and triptych art that is unlike anything seen before.

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    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 6 years ago from Virginia, USA

      This is an awesome hub, it is well written, informative and useful! While I don't consider my photos to be of the quality to sell, I still find the topic interesting. The internet offers so many options for selling as you have shown, it is amazing! I look forward to reading more from you. Voted up, awesome and useful.

    • franklinarts profile image
      Author

      franklinarts 6 years ago from Sioux Falls, SD

      Thanks Tracy! Indeed, there are so many options...these are the ones I have the most luck with.

    • profile image

      sunshine625 6 years ago

      Great hub!!! I'm going to share this with my daughter who is a photgrapher. Thank you!

    • photographybyar profile image

      Addie's Momma 6 years ago from Bakersfield, California

      This is a great hub. I am a photographer and just recently started trying to actively market my prints. This is a good resource for people just starting out. Great job!

    • johnshade profile image

      johnshade 6 years ago from Pandora

      This is great. I was talking to my friend who is a photographer about making money with his photos.the timing couldn't have been better.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Awesome Jagan 6 years ago

      nice hub ! i got a question dude :)

      How istockphotos pay ? i meant how they pay via check or paypal.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Useful information. I'll bookmark this hub. Thanks for writing this and share with us. Rated up!

      Prasetio

    • Just a hubber profile image

      Just a hubber 6 years ago from Arkansas

      Very helpful. I have never heard of some of these sites, but would love to check them out. Gets me motivated to expand my portfolio.

    • franklinarts profile image
      Author

      franklinarts 6 years ago from Sioux Falls, SD

      Thanks for all your comments! @Awesome Jagan: You can learn more about payouts from istockphoto here: http://www.istockphoto.com/help/sell-stock/about-r...

    • Nicole378 profile image

      Nicole378 6 years ago from Lubbock

      Very Useful, thank you for sharing!

    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

      thanks for the tips. I've been looking for more outlets for my photo work.

    • profile image

      anidae 6 years ago

      This is a beautiful hub so I voted up and beautiful. I applaude you for your wanting to share your knowledge and expertise with everyone interested in photography.

      This hub is so well written and informative. Thank you for the tips to marketing your photography and I look forward to your future hubs.

      Welcome to the hub community.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Welcome to Hub Pages, Franklinarts,

      You've ceated an awesome first hub! Thanks so much for sharing this useful information. Am going to book mark it and will also rate this hub up.

    • franklinarts profile image
      Author

      franklinarts 6 years ago from Sioux Falls, SD

      Thanks for the great comments guys! I look forward to delivering some more useful tips soon!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great suggestion list, thanks!

    • carolp profile image

      Carolina 6 years ago from Switzerland

      Great idea...my daughter loves photography!!!thanks for the Links.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for spelling things out. I've book marked it as well. You might consider converting this idea to an ebook. I think it would do well.

    • profile image

      dminformer 6 years ago

      I found this a truly informative article. I lost my camera equipment, so I haven't been able to take any pictures with a professional quality camera. I've done most of my photographs as a hobby, but it is interesting to know how to sell your photographs.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Welcome to HubPages and thanks for a all the great tips on how to market photographs! I'm bookmarking this one for future reference! Voted up and useful!

    • sjwalsh profile image

      Stephen Walsh 4 years ago from Brookline, MA

      I was having a conversation last night with a dear friend who wants to start selling her nature and wildlife images. I was very excited to come across this Hub which I have forwarded to her! Thank you!

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 4 years ago from Cardiff

      Thanks for all these great tips! My hubby is trying to break into photography and I keep telling him to try and sell his work rather than just do paid shoots. I will be emailing him this great list. Thank you! Voted up and helpful

    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 4 years ago from New England

      Daisydayz - the two are not mutually exclusive. To make a full time living off of stock photography these days it rare.

    • CHphoto profile image

      CHphoto 3 years ago

      I wanted to thank you for the wonderful tips here. I have a question & hopefully this post is still active as I'd love to get another photographers perspective.. I have been doing photography for the public for several years now for families, children, a few weddings, engagements, etc. I just recently announced to my community and friends I no longer will be taking further session appointments as I'd like to venture into new and different things, I use smugmug as a way to sell prints to my customers but would like to somehow expand into more traveling or nature-like photography where I don't really have to make appointments with the public, but as much as I enjoyed it, I just want to do something different. Do you have any ideas on what type of photography makes the most money? I've sold my prints to my customers but seems like its just a few prints or they just want to post them to Facebook and that's it.. Any ideas would help and thank you =)

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 years ago from USA

      This is such a helpful hub! Thanks for sharing all those site. Now I have to go check them. :)

    • profile image

      Fabien 3 years ago

      I wanted to also share a new site selling Prints of photographers. Selling Photo under Canvas or Poster Prints

      New project call Pictorem ( http://www.pictorem.com/collection.asp)

    • profile image

      yuliasl 3 years ago

      I also want to share

      I know awesome site for all artists to post their works, and sell if they want to.

      It's called bitpine http://bitpine.com

      It takes a few seconds to sign up, and then go to the top where it says "upload an item", submit your art to your gallery, and in the options when you're submitting just say you want to allow it for selling. Site is absolutely free. Also it has a function "hire me" that allows other users to see that you are available for hiring.

      It's really advantageous because it is an art website, and people who will see your pictures most will probably be art/photography enthusiasts.

    • profile image

      Jackie 3 years ago

      Thank you very much for great information re selling photographs .. I take photographs and have sold a few but I've come to a stand still . Onwards and upwards . Thank you ...

    • profile image

      fsk 3 years ago

      A word of warning about US-based sites when used by people not based in the US: the increasing tax paranoia by the IRS what non-residents are concerned now means that US sites have to withhold maximum US tax for royalties paid to people outside the US, even if a tax treaty clearly says royalties are taxed when the user is based. To avoid tax withholding, you have to

      1) request a letter from the US-based company,

      2) apply for a US tax number - can only be done by snail mail,

      3) when you get the tax number, apply to the company for withholding not to take place.

      All this takes months, not to mention careful study of several pages of tax forms.

      There is no minimum limit below which the amounts are too small for US tax withholding. If you earn just $1 this way and don't want it unfairly taxed, you have to go through this crazy paperwork.

      In the case of Cafepress, I have spent most of a month trying to get that required letter from them, but they take weeks to reply, and their replies are evasive. They have made no effort to make it as simple as possible for non-residents. They are probably drowning in the red tape the IRS has imposed on them.

      If you don't go through this nonsensical bureaucracy, you will first pay tax in the US, then again in your country of residence.

      People outside the US would therefore be wise to avoid any US based company.

    • profile image

      Thodoris 3 years ago

      Great chance for new photographers to sell photos, no need registration test, just upload photos and get bonus and sells , you can get bonus now if register on dreamstime.com , put this code res6013525 when you register, good luck.

    • profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      How to sell photos online, Registration to Microstocks, Uploading the Photos to Microstocks

      http://sellphotosgetmoney.com

    • profile image

      Bill 2 years ago

      Thanks for the info. Very helpful.

    • iggy7117 profile image

      Vince 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Good Information, thank you. I want to start selling pictures and will check some of it out.

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