Let's face it, we are all looking for ways to make a little extra cash now and then, and there is no shortage of get rich quick schemes and MLM marketing strategies out there. But let's face it; get rich quick schemes rarely work (unless your latest youtube video of your cat just went viral overnight) and not everyone enjoys participating in MLM marketing (trust us on this one...it can get annoying). There are however, a lot of other options out there to add a little extra coin in your pocket without having to invest a lot of extra time, money or resources. This post will take a look at how you can make more money on your photos, with little to no extra personal investment.
This post is really geared towards up and coming photographers or for those trying to break into the industry. However all levels of photographers and artists can benefit from reading this post and the links included at the bottom. It is my belief that in order to be discovered, you have to first get out there. And in order to experience financial freedom, you have to have multiple sources of income. This post will look at ways that you can work towards gaining financial freedom by utilizing different income sources on your photos, while gaining exposure at the same time.
Photographers are lucky as there are many different platforms and ideas out there for them to capitalize on their photos.
Let's take a look at the big one. Instagram.
Instagram is like the promise land for up and coming photographers. It is the glowing, social media hub for those awesome #sunsetshots and #flawlessselfies. But let's face it, the promise land is no secret and thus it is also flooded with other spectacular photographers just like yourself. And unless your personal profile is flooded with followers, it can be tough to get noticed in such a big pond.
Fear not though. Every one had to start somewhere. And just because you don't have 47k followers right now, doesn't mean that number is unattainable. The trick is to get discovered...and how do we do that? That's right! By getting out there!
Explore Multiple Sources of Discovery (and earn some money on the side!)
Instagram is not the only platform where you can host your photos. There are many social media platforms out there that you can make use of. But chances are, unless you have a mass amount of followers, or are being sponsored by a large agency or corporation, Instagram is not paying you to host your photos. For the purposes of this article, we are going to look at ways to "get out there" and make some extra money at the same time.
Chances are, unless you have a mass amount of followers or are being sponsored by a large agency or corporation, Instagram is not paying you to host your photos.
One way many photographers make a commission off of their photos is by choosing to "sell" them to stock photo agencies like Shutterstock or Getty Images. This can be a great way to earn some extra dough on your photos. However, large companies like this can still be hard to gain a footing in, your name will not be attached to the photo once downloaded and the commission or royalties may not be what you expect. With Shutterstock, it starts at $0.25 per downloaded image, with its commission payouts being increased depending on the lifetime sales of your photos or photo packages being bought.
Getty images begins an initial commission rate of 15% per downloaded image
and also works on a tier system. And even though you retain the copyright to the images, once they are downloaded by whoever they can be used for whatever. It is difficult to monitor since you don't know who downloaded your images, only that they were. When looking at stock photo sites, it is important to understand their regulations surrounding exclusivity. Normally these sites will offer a higher commission payout for exclusive rights to your photos, meaning you cannot sell these images anywhere else. Non-exclusivity typically has a lower commission rate, but it enables you to sell your photos wherever you like. And in the spirit of "multiple sources of income", I would personally take the lower commission rate with the ability to sell on multiple platforms AND sell independently. But that is a matter of opinion, and to each their own. Still, stock photo sites are one good way to make some extra money on your photos and gain exposure.
Another way to get your photos out there is to make your own prints of your photos and sell them independently. When I first started, I was selling products at local craft shows and it worked out well and allowed me to build a following in my community. However, this method was not without it's own struggles. I was now faced with the constant balancing of the cost vs. profit scenario. When you are just starting out as a photographer, or perhaps it is just something you enjoy doing on the side, it might not be feasible to pay out of pocket to print all (or some) of your images to sell. And trust me on this, in the printing industry you definitely get what you pay for! If you cheap out on your printer, you are going to end up with sub-par product.
One way to combat this challenge is to find a printer who can offer "print-on-demand" services. This is where you sell your images to a customer for your own set price (obviously higher than the cost of having them printed) and have them either complete the purchase right away or pay a "deposit" (normally what you would have to pay out to the printer). You would then order these already sold images from the printer and either have them shipped direct to the customer (drop shipping) or shipped to yourself. Keep in mind if you choose to ship to yourself, you would then normally be responsible for the shipping costs to you and then again to the customer, while also extending the delivery time to your customer. Often times you are better off going with a printer that can offer dropshipping services. Not only will your customer get their product faster, but businesses that do a lot of shipping usually have better rates, saving you more capital on your product.
Insta-Art does offer print on demand services, as well as dropshipping. And our prices are some of the most competitive in the marketplace for quality, face-mounted acrylic prints. We also offer wholesale purchases at a discounted rate in various packages of sizes and prints.
When we first came up with the idea for the Insta-Art platform, one of the key pieces was "how do we support the photographers who took these photos in the first place?". After all, we want to see you successful! That is why we wanted to create a platform for all levels of artists, where they can host their images for free, make a bit of a kick-back, have their images made into gallery worthy acrylic prints and gain more exposure, all while being able to explore whatever other methods of sale or investment they wish to explore in their art. We stand by our values in supporting our artists that choose to share their photos with us. We also want to offer competitive pricing in the marketplace so we can sell more prints, thus being able to provide the artists with more commission. By supporting and sharing their work, providing a platform for them to make additional money and paying commission for image use rather than buying the rights to images, we are opening up the doors for our artists to make additional money on their photos wherever they see fit. After all, financial freedom comes from multiple sources of income.
When you choose to become an Insta-Art artist, you are choosing to explore an additional avenue of income on your photos, with zero financial investment. You are still free to explore whatever other avenues you wish! Get on Shutterstock! Go hit up your local craft fair! Sell your prints! And use all those sources of income to build your own brand, upgrade your camera or just spend more time doing what you love.
And hey, when you do make it big and need some gallery worthy prints for your new exhibition, you know who to contact!
Bring Your Photos to Life!
For more information on selling your photos on stock image sites, check out this post
For a list of more stock photo sites, check out this blog post
For a fabulous article on a photographer (Kara Marie Trombetta) who expanded her business by creating multiple streams of income, visit here:
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