Digital images are in high demand. Websites, newspapers, magazines, corporate presentations and company newsletters all need a constant source of digital images. Online image agencies allow you to add your photographs to their directory, where customers can pay a fee to use your images. Selling your photographs online can provide a steady stream of passive income.
Where can I sell my photographs?
There are two main types of website for selling your photographs: microstock agencies and macrostock agencies.
Microstock agencies, such as Fotolia, Shutterstock and iStockphoto, have high volumes of digital images. Customers pay a small royalty fee to use the image of their choice.
Macrostock agencies, such as Alamy and Photographers Direct, focus more on quality than quantity, and royalties tend to be significantly higher than those offered by microstock agencies.
There are also other agencies available, such as Cash4YourPix, where you can sell news-related, sensational or celebrity photographs, often for significant amounts of money.
What types of photograph can I sell?
Both microstock and macrostock agencies accept a wide range of photograph types. However, landscapes, seascapes, sunsets, holiday snaps and similar photographs will not usually be accepted, unless they are of exceptional quality.
These agencies focus on selling images that can be used in news items, magazines, brochures, websites and other similar publications. The most popular images are often based on concepts and ideas, rather than scenery. Images that show or represent news-related issues, specific areas, cultures or environmental issues are particularly valuable. Your photographs don’t have to be spectacular; simple images often work best.
Photographs containing identifiable buildings or people must be accompanied by a signed release form, available from the website of your agency. A release form should be signed by the person in your photograph, or the owner of the building, granting permission to use the image.
How much money can I make from selling my photographs?
The amount you can earn depends on the type, popularity and resolution of your photographs, along with your choice of agency. The higher the resolution of your images, the more money you can charge. Similarly, if your photographs are unusual or particularly popular, you will be able to charge more.
However, the amount of money you can earn also depends on your choice of agency. Some microstock agencies have a set fee structure for contributors and don’t allow you to set your own prices. Macrostock agencies usually allow you to set your own rate, which gives you greater control over the amount you earn.
If you choose to sell your photographs to a news or celebrity image agency, you may be able to negotiate significantly higher payment rates, depending on the type, quality and market value of your images.
Regardless of the type of agency you choose for selling your photographs, check the small print carefully. You should always retain copyright of your photographs; any agency that requires you to sell full rights of your images should be avoided.
By Jillian Hayes
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One Hour Photo is a weekly radio show that is on live every Wednesday at 1 p.m. est. on www.ArmadaFM.com