Do you want to get paid for selling photos? Here are a few simple ideas for how to do so.
Choose a Photo Sharing Service
You have two options when it comes to choosing a photo sharing service. You could choose a free service, such as Google, Yahoo, Flickr, or Photobucket. Or you could use a paid online photo sharing service, such as Printroom.com, Shutterstock.com, or SmugMug.com.
Using a photo sharing service allows you to have the photos that you take processed professionally. This is key!
Either type of service, free or paid, will allow you to be successful. But the ones you pay for, obviously, have many advantages. (If you’re just looking to test out the effectiveness of a photography business without incurring any expenses, I recommend you start with a free online sharing service.)
Note that the free services won’t let you you set prices on your photos. Viewers can purchase your photos, but you won’t get any money for those purchases.
You should practice setting prices on the paid services, which give you the option to do so. Most of the services suggest a basic price per size of photo.
You decide the amount of profit and include it in the price that viewers will see. With paid services, make sure to set prices for the specialty items that most of these services offer. These items include mugs, key chains, t-shirts, and puzzles.
While specialty items are useful and offer options to your customers, properly pricing your photos is one of the main reasons to use paid services. There can be exceptions, however, such as in the case of sports photography.
Cultivate a Web Presence
All photographers, experienced and amateur, who want to be taken seriously must have a “web presence.”
A web presence will help you build your portfolio, link you with potential clients, expose you to more viewers, and get people talking about and linking to your work. What’s even better, however, is that you’ll also get some form of income from your online presence.
Be aware that although it’s important to establish your web presence, you shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that everyone is on the internet. Some people aren’t!
Even photography customers who are willing and able to view their photos online don’t typically have much confidence in e-commerce. They prefer to do business traditionally: face-to-face and person-to-person.
So a web presence is very important to have, but don’t rely on it so much that you forget about your offline customers.
Always Get Email Addresses
You should get into the habit of getting the email addresses of your potential customers. Sure, give them yours if that’s a part of your marketing strategy. But make sure that you ask them for theirs.
Why? Because, in my opinion, when people give their email addresses after I request them, they have given me permission to send them emails.
I make sure I don’t spam people, but I do send them notices when I update a photo gallery or do anything else that would be relevant to them.
As a rule, I don’t attempt to sell through email. I only use email addresses to keep in touch with my followers, to build a relationship with them, and to keep my photography brand in front of them.
Leveraging email is a tightrope that business owners must attempt to walk if they want to add another avenue of growth to their companies.
Dealing with photography businesses is something fashion manufacturer Wiseman Clothing has a lot of experience in. Niall Rice, the co-founder, agrees that spam emailing should be avoided.
If you’re going to do email marketing, or whatever term you want to affix to emailing your clients/potential clients, you should always do it sparingly. There’s nothing I hate more than having to unsubscribe constantly. But if you email me once a month, and it’s personally done, maybe I won’t unsubscribe. Yet!
Know Your Niche
Everyone likes to be original and stand out from the crowd. But when it comes to making money, your clients are looking for a particular product, so you need to meet their expectations.
The truth hurts, but believe me, that’s how it is. Here are some strategies for delivering well on different types of photography.
Establish an online album/portfolio for each model and consider password protecting the photos. I personally enjoy using this service for model headshots. In my experience, models seem to have a need to look at photos of themselves for a very long time.
Having private portfolios allows them unlimited time to do so and gives them the ability to share their private portfolios with others.
Establish a gallery for each team. Prior to shooting the event, print business cards (or utilize other marketing tools) that have the online gallery’s URL on them.
In the category of sports photography, customers often purchase specialty items such as mugs, buttons, puzzles, t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, key chains, and so on.
In this category, you must establish a portfolio. Your portfolio might include local community events or “slice-of-life” photos, which are photos that fall broadly within the stock photography niche.
I live in California, which offers me a wide selection of events, activities, “celebrity sightings,” and other public photography opportunities.
Having business cards (and/or other marketing tools) with my URL on them allows people who are interested in my work to follow up with me. Creating business cards with your URL is an essential first step for this category.
When creating portraits, you should establish albums for each portrait job. In this category, setting prices is important. Of course, pricing is important in all niches, but portrait pricing has a certain quality value in my experience.
Selling Photos: Getting Paid for What You Love
Like any new business, growing a photography business requires work, drive, and ambition. Where you take your company depends on you. I simply enjoy taking photos and getting paid for it!