Admit it, you’re a shutterbug. Whether it’s snapping a quick pic on your smartphone, or using a professional DSRL with fancy lenses, you just can’t stop taking pictures. And who can blame you with all those great images just waiting to be captured?
Maybe you’ve heard it over and over from friends and family, “Your pictures are great, you should sell them.” Or maybe you just know you have that certain something when it comes to creating great images. So why not use your talents to make a little extra cash on the side? Here are 10 simple ways to put your photographs to work for you.
The use of stock photography is ubiquitous. From websites to published works, the demand for high-quality imagery is ever growing, and so are the agencies offering them. While not a get rich quick idea, selling your images through one or more stock agencies can provide a steady flow of income.
Look for an agency whose style compliments your own and provides a payment structure in line with what you expect. With the number of players in this space constantly evolving, a good resource to evaluate potential agencies is StockPhotoAdvisor.com.
Ever thought your pictures should be hanging in an art gallery? Would you settle for hanging in someone’s living room? Then look to offer your photos for sale through a fine art agency. fineartamerica.com or deviantart.com are just two examples of agencies that provide an easy to use e-commerce platform to sell prints of your images online.
Think your picture would look great on a coffee mug? or an apron? or in a calendar? Build it and they will come. Companies like Zazzle.com, CafePress.com, or Pixels.com provide all the infrastructure you need to create killer products and sell them through their portal or your own.
Thinking your images are award-worthy? You won’t really know unless you enter them in a contest or two. There are tons of great contests available for the amateur shutterbug for free or with a nominal entry fee. Try PhotoCompete.com, PhotoContestInsider.com, or do a quick Google search to find one suitable for your favourite photo. Just make sure you read the fine print first.
If photography is just one of your many talents, look to combine them into a one-stop shopping option for customers. Web designer by trade? Why not offer a small business package complete with web services, branded business cards, menus or postcards to kick-start a new enterprise? Use those creative talents to offer value-added services to existing or potentially new clients.
I receive inquiries on my website almost daily from people looking for a wedding or engagement photographer. If you are good with people and have a certain flare for creative compositions, this could be a lucrative side business. Not sure how to start? Try contacting an established photographer in your area about signing on as an assistant or apprentice. Most folks can use an extra hand at events, and it’s a killer way to gain experience and insight.
Have a local coffee shop or restaurant with blank walls? Ask about exhibiting your works at their establishments. It’s a great cheap way to offer photos for sale or just establish a name for yourself in your area, and the locale gets great art to display for free.
Be creative when looking for venues to approach. Framing shops need good art to show off their talents. A beauty salon might appreciate quality images of new styles or creative still lives with scissors and hair. You’re really only limited by your imagination and panache.
Art shows and fairs
Look for local art shows or fairs. Booth space is generally reasonably priced and provides great foot traffic to ensure an appreciative audience views your images. Not ready to generate a substantial inventory for the show? Show your work digitally and allow customers to place orders, or provide on the spot printing services during the event.
Want to hone your skill with portraiture? Volunteer to shoot your schools soccer match. Looking to gain experience with an animal? Show up at a dog show, or dog park, and be amazed at how many people want a picture of their precious pooch. Shooting local events for free provide great opportunities for later sales. Just make sure to get that signed property or model release.
If you’re ready to really take the plunge, consider opening a small studio in your home for portraits or to produce commercial images. It doesn’t require a large space and can give you the opportunity to turn on your photographic magic anytime the muse strikes.
So go ahead and snap those pics. And the next time your work garners the admiration of friends and family, stop and think about using your talents to earn some extra cash. After all, that latest lens or gadget you just have to have won’t pay for itself!
All images copyright Karen Foley via Dreamstime.com.
Karen Foley is a freelance photographer and writer who loves to share her passion for her art. See more of her work at karenfoleyphotograhy.com.