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How to Sell Photos - Principles and Tips For Successfully Making Money With Photography
Anyone can learn how to sell their photos! So if you're at a loss where to start, I want to introduce you to some fun ways to begin turning a profit from your love of photography!
It doesn't matter what age you are or how experienced as a photographer, if you've learnt how to take great shots there's a demand out there for your images.
You might have a lot of questions swirling around: When do I own the copyright to my photos? How do people begin careers as photographers? Can I start selling pictures slowly without taking any risks?
I'll provide answers to these, and let you in on a few of my own top tips and personal experiences. Let's get to it then; time to explore the opportunities that are waiting for you!
Give yourself a big headstart selling stock photos by learning from a seasoned pro!
The Copyright Question
When do I own the copyright to my photos? For that matter, how can I stop people abusing my copyright? These should be just about the first questions you ask yourself when thinking about how to sell photos.
You've put your time, energy, creativity and originality into producing great pictures, and the idea of someone using them without your permission is more than unfair. So here's a very brisk overview of the main facts. But I do recommend taking the time to get fully clued up.
When do I own the copyright to my photos?
- When you hit the shutter release button to create an image you become the copyright holder in law, without the requirement of documentation.
What happens when I sell my photos?
It depends on the nature of the sale. Here are the main options:
- Selling individual prints/cards etc. Here you retain full copyright and the customer has no rights for reproducing and redistributing.
- Selling a license to use your photos. Here you sell a customer, e.g. a magazine, a temporary license (non-exclusive or exclusive) to use your photos for a given number of prints/length of time. You retain full copyright of the images.
- Selling your service as a photographer. Here you take photographs for a client and sell them the images, along with the copyright. You do not retain copyright.
How do I stop people abusing my copyright?
So, we know that as soon as you take a picture you become the legal copyright holder. But that's a pretty tenuous claim to uphold in the event of a dispute. So what's the de facto reality about owning copyright?
Well, my first step is always to register images with the UK copyright service. Do the same with your own national service, be it in the US, France, Australia or wherever. They all have international legitmacy.
Also, be sure to feature brief copyright notices on items being sold. For instance, a copyright logo with an 'All Rights Reserved' notice on the back of postcards, or on the stickers on the back of prints.
How to Become a Photographer
Phew! Glad we've got that boring stuff out of the way! Now on to the exciting prospects for working as a photographer. Before going any further I'll say that I have only ever worked part-time as a photographer. But it would be a fairly modest leap into a full-time occupation, and I have a good grasp of what's required.
So, if you know you love photography and have ever wondered how to sell photos for a living, let me introduce you to the main opportunities and what you need to do to grab them!
How to sell photos for a living. What do the pro's actually do, who do they work for and how did they get there?
Here's is some sound advice for putting together a professional online and physical portfolio without breaking the bank.
Pro landscape photographer, David Fleet, runs through the fundamentals of earning money with photography.
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He guides you through the whole process of starting a photography business in this down-to-earth, terrifically comprehensive book.
Building a Photography Business Plan
Sometimes the passion for taking great photos can leave business considerations on the sidelines. But if you're really keen to sell pictures in any way, part-time or full-time, you mustn't neglect planning.
So let's take a look at some of the building blocks for a photography business plan. I hope this will give you a loose framework to build upon, plus spark some cool ideas for how how to sell photos that you can go on developing!
A breakdown of some important steps in establishing your plan. Tips, ideas and suggestions to get the neurons firing!
General principles, plus 12 key tips, to be aware of if you are thinking about how to sell photos through your own business.
It's fun and the benefits include a boost to your reputation as a photographer! Here a some tips on successfully entering contests.
How to Sell Photos as Gift Cards
I'm sure you've thought of this option before - and for good reason - it's a fun, simple and low risk step towards making money with photography. You don't need to chase down an elusive deal with a greetings card company worth thousands of dollars!
Keep it simple, play to your local area. You'll be amazed how successful you can be if you find some decent outlets and keep the costs of printing down. I've provided a comprehensive guide on how to sell photos as cards to get you started.
This is one of my favourite ways to make money with photography, and here's a 3-part breakdown of what I do to make it work!
Printing Pictures to Sell
There's lots of advice and info on printing here at Photography Art Cafe. Personally, I switch between printing at home and using online photo printing companies (in addition, sometimes, to a local printing company where I live).
Home photo printers can be a bit special these days! Fine art quality reproductions and large format prints are finally within our grasp. But these things are also achievable, at good prices with the best online photo printing companies. Getting the printing right is really important when learning how to sell photos.
Here's a quick guide to selecting a home printer to work with. When selling images, always be sure to use archival inks and paper with a top notch printer.
Convenience, value and quality make these amongst my favourite online haunts. They take the pain out of printing, so check them out!
In this DPS guide, professional photographers and magazine photo editors walk you through how to publish and sell pictures. It's 91 pages of hard-earned knowledge and advice.