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7 Tips for Showcasing and Selling Your Photos Online

Instagram users alone upload around 26 photos every second. Digital photography has become one of the most popular hobbies worldwide, as well as a sustainable path to passive income.

Nowadays, people can make a lot of money selling photos online, even if they are not professional photographers. You don’t need a professional camera to get started. All you need is a smartphone and a WiFi connection to market and sell photos online with these seven tips.

1. Choose Microstock Agencies

Let’s assume you’re only getting started with digital photography. It can take a while to build your portfolio website and start selling. But if you choose to join microstock agencies, you have a much higher chance of gaining sales over and over again.
Microstock agencies sell photos for as little as $1. It attracts millions of buyers to their site. The good thing is, you can sell a single photo an unlimited amount of times. It means the small commission can add up pretty quickly.


2. Stay Away from Cliche Photos

You can agree that photos of sunsets and landscapes look beautiful. But those are not the photos that agencies want to sell. Most microstock agencies have millions of landscape photos of amazing locations. So they don’t need any more content in this category.
Instead of submitting cliché photos, try creating something simple yet unique. For instance, pictures of objects used in everyday life are popular on stock photo sites.


3. Don’t Over-Edit Your Photos

The number one mistake new photographers make when trying to sell photos online is over-editing. Microstock agencies may reject your pictures if you use filters, borders, or any visible photo processing.
The reason behind this is that buyers want to see the original photo with realistic covers. Besides, if they need the picture to look a certain way, they can edit it themselves after buying. There’s not much they can do if you’ve modified the photo beforehand.


4. Consider Security

Selling photos online is a form of online business, no matter how small you think it might be. Someone can compromise your online portfolio or agency account if you fall in the trap of free WiFi or give into poor password management.
The best way to protect your accounts is to set up strong and unique login credentials. Also, use a VPN to encrypt all data and traffic when connecting to the agency site or uploading your photos there. And, of course, if you value your pictures at all, you should always have their backups.


5. Leave Space for Writing

Keep in mind that magazines and online websites are the most frequent buyers of stock photography. They often use stock photos as background images and add some text here and there to engage the reader. Make sure the pictures you sell have some space where editors could place texts and headlines.
You can increase the chances of getting sales by taking photos of the same object from different angles and perspectives. Make sure to take the same shot twice, one in landscape and one in portrait format to give the buyer more choices.


6. Upload Photos Often

Let’s face it — online stock photography is a competitive field. You cannot upload ten photos and expect to make some money right away. Professionals have thousands of pictures in their online portfolios. It significantly increases their sales rates.
While a thousand photos might seem like an impossible mission right now, it only takes three pictures per day to reach this number in a year.


7. Tag Photos Properly

Last but not least, stock photo markets have simple search engines that recognize photos based on tags. Leaving your photos without any tags won’t do you any good. Potential buyers will most likely never see your content.
Instead, make sure to tag each photo with precise and popular tags related to the picture. Don’t go for too many tags but rather use 10 to 15 accurate ones.


Be Patient

Selling photos online requires a lot of work and patience. But if photography is your passion and you would do it anyway as a hobby, it doesn’t hurt to upload your content to stock photo market sites.

Keep in mind that you have to be consistent and patient with your uploads. It can take months for a single photo to sell. But once the sales start rolling in, you will be glad you started today!


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.