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Making Money by Selling Photos Online

If you want to learn how to sell pictures you took, there are so may resources.  I’m hoping to come back to this post when I get my badass new camera. Until then, here’s a list of places you can sell your photos online.

Sell Photographs Online:

Photo Secrets is a website that gives photography tips and advice, this link goes to their tutorial for selling digital images online.  (opens in a new tab)

Photoprenuer Blog is also really informative.  I’ve subscribed.  When I’m learning something new, it really helps me to understand the industry and hear the perspective of someone else who is working it.

The eBook Earn $300 a week selling your digital photos online recommends the following stock photography websites. The Author, Chris Farrell also gives tips about what you can and can’t expect to make money on.  The only thing I take issue with, in regards to his ebook, is the way he handles keywords.  It actually makes it more difficult to find quality images.  Someone searching for “ghost” for example, isn’t looking for a candle.

· www.bigstockphoto.com
· www.dreamstine.com
· www.stockxpert.com
· www.shutterstock.com
· www.istockphoto.com
· www.fotolia.com
· www.123royaltyfree.com
· www.canstockphoto.com
· www.featurepics.com

· www.bigstockphoto.com

I registered for this site on 2/3/10- the system told me to wait for a validation email. I waited about half an hour & didn’t get a validation email, so requested a second one (didn’t get that one either) finally on 2/5/10 I got an email that said “Don’t forget to validate your account.”  I was able to log in just fine, I can only assume it was a temporary glitch or something.  They have a 3 page photographer’s tutorial with a quiz at the end.

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· www.dreamstine.com

I chose not to access this site.  Google detected activity from user-activity-tracker.com, which appears to host malware.  It could be a rogue plugin, bu I’m not taking chances. I will revisit after a week or so.
· www.stockxpert.com appears to be going bye-bye.  It looks like they’ve split up different ends of their operation to go to other places… Getty Images, ThinkStock and istockphoto.  OK.  I’m removing the clickability of the link and adding the other places to this list.

· www.shutterstock.com

I’m noticing that this site has images, graphics and video footage.  Wow, this is so cool.  I can’t wait to dig into this one a little deeper.  Just discovered they have a referral program- hilarious.  Every time I get another photographer to sign up, I get 3 cents.  My goodness, that’s a rather low referral incentive.  I think I’d rather see 1% of their income. 3 cents seems laughable.  Either way, I’m signing up.  They verify address by either uploading a copy of your state ID or credit card.  Interesting.  I wonder why they do that.  OK.  I’ll have to dig that up later.

· www.istockphoto.com

I registered on 2/3/10. Registration was uneventful. This site has a lot of really beautiful images. Some are pure photos, others are completely hand-drawn or created digitally.  I’m amazed at the variety of art I’m seeing on this page.  Wow.  I can’t wait to show my kids, they draw constantly. If you’ve ever thought of selling your doodles, this would be the place.  If the idea of selling your doodles is new & interesting, check this out.

· www.fotolia.com

I registered for Fotolia on 2-11-10.  I wasn’t planning to do it today but I was writing an article for USAToday.com through the Demand Studios Interface and I see that they’ve revamped their image selection process and are now going through Fotolia. Partnering with Demand Studios is probably a good thing for the photographers at Fotolia, so I just wanted to be a joiner.  I see that they offer a bonus for exclusivity, though it isn’t clear if they want exclusive content or if they want the photographer to not work with another stock photography company.  If it’s the latter, then I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot. If they just want exclusive content, then I can’t blame them. Duplicate images from one site to another are really lame.  I got a new camera yesterday, so I can’t wait to start selling some pictures. This is exciting.

· www.thinkstockphotos.com

· Getty Images

Getty Images looks like they’re pretty picky about the things they’ll accept. while other sites are flashy with their requests for more photos, Getty kind of hides their contributor’s information, and the process seems lengthy.  It also looks like artists have more earning potential here, too.  Apparently this was one of the first sites to sell stock photography online.  I guess I just thought it was a division of the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, but apparently it’s not.  It was started in Seattle by someone whose last name is Getty. I don’t know if he’s related to the LA Getty’s.  (Or would it be Getties? hehe)

· www.123royaltyfree.com

· www.canstockphoto.com

· www.featurepics.com

DPhotoJournal Blog is another informative site for helping you get started selling stock photography. In the post I linked, he speaks directly of his recent month’s earnings on each site, plus a little insight into how each site works. He’s really doing well, it’s quite an inspiration. (although- his last reference to Fotolia leaves me puzzled. I’m commenting and will revise this paragraph if necessary)

Be sure to read the site guidelines thoroughly and understand the payment structure before you get started.  You’ll need to have model releases (printable for free from any of the websites you sign up with) for any identifiable faces in your images.  You’ll also need to be sure you remove any visible logos or company names from your images and have location releases (also free printable) signed if you’re photographing on private property.  I can’t wait to start uploading some of our photos.  Thank you Krystal,  Ellie and Terry for getting me to look this information up.  🙂

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