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You live and breathe pixels. Every chance you get, you grab your camera and use it to capture the amazing world around you. Your family has tactfully suggested that you take vacations on your own next year because they are sick of waiting around for the ‘right light’ with you. Sound familiar? Why not turn that obsession into a side hustle, or even a full-time gig and sell photos online.

In this series, Sell Photos Online, we’ll dive into the world of professional photography and explore different ways that photographers just like you have turned their passion into a profitable venture. Here’s some of the things we’ll be discussing:

Sell Photos Online: What you’ll be learning

In this first part, we’ll introduce the series and examine what type of photographer you are (or want to be).

In part 2, we’ll look at the basics of how to sell photos online, what you should know, what you need to purchase (and what you don’t), and where to get help when you need it.

In part 3, we’ll look at the most traditional form of earning a photography income – the client shoot. We’ll discuss workflow, and we’ll debate online selling vs in-person sales.

In part 4, we’ll examine art photography. We’ll discuss the ins and outs of galleries, artist statements, and why it’s important to have an online presence. We’ll also talk about photography competitions and what to look for before entering them.

Part 5 dives into the world of stock photography. We’ll explore macro vs microstock, discuss which images work best for this method of distribution and how to host your own stock photo website.

In part 6, we’ll look at selling photographs to publications. We’ll cover where to find work, how much to charge, and the difference between online and offline outlets.

Part 7 is all about licensing and copyright. We’ll outline what rights you have as a photographer, and what to do when someone steals your images – because if you’re in this game long enough, it will happen.

Our final part of the series, part 8, discusses how to sell online photography related “stuff” – presets, e-books, tutorials – anything photography related that isn’t an actual photo.

A word of caution

Before we jump right into the deep end, I need to mention a teeny tiny matter that will make or break your photography business: your technical skill as a photographer. Or lack thereof. Just because your mom likes your photos, or you took 1000 portraits of your best friend and three of them turned out amazing, doesn’t mean that you should launch a full-blown photography career. Before anything else, take an honest look at your work. Is it something that YOU would pay for? In the world of professional photography, not every participant gets a prize.

If you’ve just admitted to yourself that your photography needs more work, there are a ton of free resources on the internet teaching photographic technique. Even better, find a local camera club or community college class. This article series is not designed to teach you the difference between f-stops and shutter speed. Starting a new business is hard enough without having to learn the craft of photography at the same time. Go and learn, then come back. This series will be here waiting for you. It’s OK – really.

If you’ve decided that your work is worthy – great! It’s great to have you here. Let’s jump in.

Choose a photography niche

When you first started taking photos, it’s likely that you tried to capture everything that moved (and probably lots of things that didn’t). The photo itch can be insatiable at the beginning, and it’s a great way to learn the craft and figure out your camera. When you get ready to sell photos online and transition from a hobby to a business, it’s best to settle into a specific niche. If you’re struggling to figure out what you like best, try our handy flowchart!

sell photos online
Take some time to lock down on your niche! Stay tuned for next week’s installment of How to Sell Photos Online where we will dive into the “how” of getting started.

About the author

Rebecca Olson

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