Many ask this question. The answer is that most likely you can – but the amount of money you can make varies a lot and it depends on the uniqueness of your photos, their quality and your selling abilities. Here are a few hints and concepts when it comes to making money from your photos.
First of all you need to set expectations as to how much money you can make. This article is for readers that are looking to make some extra cash from their photos not looking to turn their photos into their main stream of cash. Such extra cash can be used for example to cover the spending on their photography hobby or selling photos can just be a fun experience.
One thing you can try to do with your photos is to sell them online. There are many websites that let you sell photos. The basic idea behind most of them is simple: they let you upload your photos, showcase them and set their prices. The site users can browse through your photos and purchase the ones they like. Addition features allow users to write comments about your photos. This is a fun way to get feedback from viewers and to connect to new people with the same interests as yours. Some of these sites are free to use and only collect a commission from the proceeds. Other sites charge a setup fee or a membership fee. Examples of such sites are: http://www.photostockplus.com and http://www.smugmug.com
In addition some sites allow you to set two prices: one is for a non exclusive right to use the photo – this is the price someone pays to download the photo and use it – while others can download the same photo and use it too. An exclusive price is usually much higher and means that once a user buys the exclusive usage rights for the photo you can not sell it to anyone else (or use it yourself). Once a photo is sold under the ‘non exclusive” option – it can not be exclusively purchased.
You can also decide to build your own website to either sell your photo on it or make money from advertisement on the site. If your photos are unique and can attract viewers you can create a blog or a site with your photos alongside with some text describing them and the story behind taking them. Spread the word about your site to your friends and family and post information about it in forums and chat boards. Once you generate traffic add advertisements to your site. To create your site you can use tools such as http://www.blogger.com and http://www.typepad.com. To place advertisements you can use advertisement syndication networks like http://www.google.com/adsense and publisher.yahoo.com.
Another more conventional method is to sell your photos in coffee shops and galleries. It requires more legwork and a more significant upfront investment. Print and frame a few of your best photos. Go to local galleries and try to convince them to showcase your photos. It is best to start with just a few prints to minimize both your risk and the risk the gallery takes. Another option which can work better for amateur photographers is to visit coffee shops and restaurants and convince them to hang the photos on their walls. It is very common today for such places to hang “photographs for sale” on their walls. This is a win-win option for both the coffee shop or restaurant and you. They get high quality free photos and provide their customers with an extra service buying photos that they really like. You get free exposure while most often only paying a commission from the proceeds.
Copyright is one issue you should consider when selling or posting your photos online. Copyright laws vary from state to state and country to country. Make sure that you check beforehand that you do have the rights to sell or post your photos online.