In the frame for a sale: spare-time snappers focus on the cyber galleries
Got a good eye for a picture? Alessia Horwich on the sites where you can showcase your work
Sunday 22 March 2009
Something as simple as a photograph of a landscape or an everyday scene can put you in the frame for a financial boost. Online photo libraries are easy one-stop-shops used by the likes of the BBC, Saatchi & Saatchi and even local councils to illustrate their publications. These sites allow anyone who thinks they've got a good eye for a picture to display their work. Then, if the pictures sell, the site will split the profits with the photographer, offering a bit of extra cash.
The libraries all work in a similar way: you register and then upload your photos on to the website, where they can be bought by clients. An important part of the process is choosing keywords to accompany your images, to ensure they feature high up in the site's search engine results. Additionally, before the photos go live, they will need to be approved by the site's content team. After this, it is your responsibility to manage your selection, deleting old pictures that are no longer relevant or popular, and uploading replacements that have a better chance of selling.
One site, Picturenation.co.uk, charges photographers an annual subscription fee of £10, but others, such as Alamy.com, do not levy a fee. Across all sites, you can upload as many pictures as you want, providing they meet quality standards.
Alan Capel, head of content for stock Alamy, says: "The photos do have to be of sufficient resolution – good enough for either web or print publication – and well composed. But they don't have to be up to the standard of professionals. Pictures taken with a decent digital camera – preferably single-lens reflex – should be good enough."
When it comes to the subject of the photographs, online libraries are looking for all types. There is always a need for picturesque landscapes, but there is also demand for pictures that portray aspects of ordinary life, such as recycling bins and traffic lights.
Jane Green of Picture Nation says: "We are encouraging users to have a more editorial viewpoint – to take well-composed, quality images of everyday people doing everyday things. There is a real need for these."
The profits you can make depend on the licence and the resolution and popularity of your images. Web resolution photos (72 dots per inch or higher) can sell for as little as £1, while high-resolution images (300 dpi or higher) are usually priced upwards of £50.
Pictures are bought and sold in two very distinct ways. Some are put on the market as "rights managed", which means the photographer receives royalties each time a buyer uses the image. However, the majority are sold "royalty free", which means they are sold once but used over and over again, though as the name suggests, the photographer doesn't receive a royalty payment.
Mr Capel says: "The rights-managed photos might not make a huge amount per sale, but they can sell 30 to 40 times, giving you a nice, 'passive' stream of income. But at the same time, a royalty-free photo, which can only be sold once, could be bought for an ad campaign and net big profits."
You can improve your chances of selling more often by concentrating on subjects that are not time sensitive, adds Mr Capel. "If you could take a picture that isn't going to date, you could potentially do really well because you're increasing the longevity of when that picture can sell."
All image sales revenue is split with the photo library according to their commission structure. For example, Alamy gives its photographers 60 per cent of the profits, whereas Picture Nation offers 40 per cent. This also applies to post-sale royalties.
So are these sites a genuine way for talented photographers to make extra money? Potentially, yes. Kingsley Marten, managing director of the Association of Photographers, says: "It's a market place that is open and we should embrace it.
"However, while in some respects it's good for photographers to get some pocket money, amateurs selling to stock libraries need to be careful that they are not lured into selling their images far too cheaply," he adds. "Everyone should opt to use rights managed, and if the quality of their work is good enough, they should really be paid a professional rate."
'I make roughly £20,000 a year'
Colin Palmer, 55, a structural engineer from Hertfordshire, has been selling his landscape photos through a stock library for three years. "I put around 14,000 images on and was selling roughly one per day. I did have a few cracking sales: one image of Windsor Castle was bought for $8,000 (£6,000) and used for a global ad campaign."
"The travelling isn't cheap," he says. "I have been the length and breadth of the UK and to Scandinavia. But digital means there aren't any costs for film and developing. You just need a good broadband connection and Photoshop, if you need to tweak your images before you upload them."
Sales have slowed with the recession, but he adds: "I make roughly £20,000 a year. The best way to sell more is to work on your keywords so your photos come up in the search engines."
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 2 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 3 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 4 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
- 5 Largest ever study into the gay gene 'erodes the notion that sexual orientation is a choice'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
iJobs Money & Business
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...
Day In a Page
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens