52 Ways To Monetize Your Photos


Got a hard drive full of pictures?

Wish you had a bank account full of cash?

If you’ve got good photos, you’ve got an opportunity to make some useful extra money.

Here are 52 ways to monetize your images. (And keep reading the Photopreneur blog for details on them…)

[update - our best selling book, 99 Ways To Make Money from Your Photos, based on this post, is available as a paperback on amazon]

1. Give business people Moo cards.
Turn your photos into mini-Moo cards and market them as unique intros for
business people who think they’re unique.moo2.jpg

2. Become a paparazzi!
Snapped a celebrity doing a walkabout? Scoopt finds buyers for news
pictures… and a model eating is always news.

3. Put a mouse on an image
Zazzle is one site that lets you put a photo on a mousepad and sell it through
their store…

4. Create a photography book
…and Blurb makes it a breeze to publish your photos in a book and sell it to
admiring fans for a profit.

5. Create a specialized photography book
It’s nice to put your favorite images in a photography book; it’s nice money
when you put your kid’s school soccer team in a book and sell it to their
parents.

6. Give MySpace users unique pages

It’s hard to stand out on MySpace and other networking sites… unless you’ve
got some very special images. So contact networkers and offer them yours.

7. BritePic your pictures
BritePic lets you put a floating ad on your images when users mouse over –
you earn even if the pictures aren’t on your website.britepic.jpg

8. Blog about your pictures… and get paid for it
Google’s AdSense program is giving many bloggers a handsome income. Put
your images on a blog, discuss them and earn from ads.

9. Find local distributors for your local images
Even simple pictures sell well when people recognize them. Get your local
images in local stores and you’ll make sales.

10. Create creative computer covers

Moo isn’t the only place that can turn photos into stickers. Other printers can
do the same thing, letting you turn photos into long shapes to cover dull PCs.

11. Give hosting companies exclusive libraries
Hosting companies give packages to clients that can include microstock deals.
Give them an exclusive library of images and they’ll have a unique offer for
their customers; you’ll have your own microstock customer base.

12. Create creative car window covers
When the weather is hot, cars get hotter. Print your photos on windscreen
covers and offer them to accessories stores.

13. Earn real income from real estate
Taken pictures of buildings? Take pictures of buildings with For Sale signs
and offer them to the sellers. If your photo is better than theirs, you’ll be
exchanging contracts.restate.jpg

14. Take a trip to a travel agents
Travelers want to know where they’re going so if you’ve been there and
photographed it, give travel agents a chance to show them. For a small fee, of
course.

15. Decorate cafes
Ask café owners to put your pictures on their walls. They get free art… you get
to show pictures with price tags.

16. Earn every day with calendars
Calendars are simple to make but tough to get into stores. So sell them online.

17. Build a membership base

Create a club and give members a photo a day with an explanation of how it
was shot. It will be like an email photography course… with tuition fees.

18. Put your pictures on microstock sites

Hey, everyone else is doing it — and some people are making six-figure sums
doing it!

19. Put your pictures in competitions
The ‘net is stuffed with photo contests these days. Some of them pay cash
prizes, others pay with a valuable reputation boost. Be a winner!

20. Go mobile
Ringtones are a huge market and ringtone companies also sell mobile phone
wallpapers. Ask them to sell yours.

21. Snapped a logo? Take it to the company

If there’s a logo in your picture, you’ve got just one possible buyer. So ask
them to buy it.

22. Put it on a t-shirt
Yes, we know it’s old-fashioned but it works! People do buy them…ptshirt.jpg

23. Turn your photos into art works
You don’t need a gallery to create art works; you just need a canvas printer.
There are plenty of those around so put your picture on a stretcher and sell it
as art.

24. Turn your art into sketches
Photoshop lets you turn your images into sketches. So if you can’t draw, pack
your camera, a laptop and a portable printer and head to where the tourists are.
While the sketchers sketch, you can shoot and print.

25. Customize stationery
Fancy stationery comes with all sorts of flowery designs. Why shouldn’t they
come with your pictures? Find a printer, create notebooks and put them in
stores.

26. Put your pictures on programs

Software companies need all sorts of images… to decorate their disc covers, to
put on their boxes, to function as backgrounds. Check out who’s working on
what, shoot some stills and make your pitch.

27. Play with picture cards
Soldiers play with sexy playing cards but who says you have to be crude?
Take 52 themed pictures, print them on cards and take a bet on gamblers.

28. Take to student life
Students don’t have much money. Neither do their publications. But they do
have enough to pay freelance photographers with good pictures and they’re
open-minded enough to try someone new. And you don’t have to be a student
to do it.

29. Decorate model apartments

Property developers always create at least one apartment that looks lived in to
show prospective buyers. Why shouldn’t the developers put your pictures on
the wall?

30. Decorate furniture stores

It’s not just developers that need to create fake living spaces; furniture stores
do it too. Take a look at what’s on offer, create pictures that match the chairs…
and market them.

31. Put it in the bag
You can put anything on a handbag these days, even a $5,000 price tag. So
talk to a bag designer and build a winning team.

32. Cover school books
No, you’re not back at school… but plenty of kids are still there and every year
they have to cover their school books — usually in horrible colored paper. Take
trendy pictures, print them on thin paper and sell them to kids who want their
books to look cool.

33. Stretch your pictures to 42 inches

The price of flat-screen TVs has fallen faster than an anvil in a road-runner
cartoon. These days, almost everyone has one on their wall and most of them
are dark most of the time. But there’s no reason they should be. Some of them
can take uploaded pictures. Make a disk and make them yours.p42in.jpg

34. Cover CDs

People are still burning CDs… and still storing in them in boring plastic
covers. Put pictures on circles and offer them to stores that sell blanks.

35. Cover flash cards
Of course, more people these days are using flash memory cards to hold their
information. They may be small but they’re big enough to hold a photo with
sticker. Especially if you print it small enough.

36. Create collectors’ packs

Shoot a series of themed images such as birds of California or hairstyles of the
rich and famous. Print them on cards and sell them in niche outlets in
restricted doses. It worked for baseball players…

37. Tell stories with your pictures

You don’t have to draw to create graphic novels. Call some pals, create some
poses and print them as story books.

38. Turn your pictures into wallpapers

Desktop wallpapers are still big business. Or at least, big enough to buy your
photos. So sell them and appear on computers across the nation.

39. Help campaigning groups
Local pressure groups need images for their campaigns and they’re the sort
that aren’t easy to find — beautiful pictures of the local woods, for example, or
the headquarters of a property developer. Snap and sell.

40. Become a local photojournalist

It’s not just pressure groups and student papers that are willing to take
freelanced images. Local newspapers often will too, especially the free ones.
Call their photo editors and make your pitch.

41. Change clothes…

Not yours, the clothes in your pictures. Shoot a series of people standing in the
same pose, shoot clothes to match, then team up with a programmer to let
people play around with them. Then sell the game to a site about fashion as
sticky content.

42. … and expressions.

There’s a good reason Mr. Potato Head is still around. He’s fun. So create an
electronic version by shooting portraits then ask your friendly programmer to
let players change noses. You get to share the game profits.

43. Sit on your best work
If you can put a picture on a t-shirt, you can also put it on a cushion cover. So
do.

44. Let buyers eat your pictures

IcingImages.com lets photographers print images on sheets of edible paper
and stick them on cakes. Could be a tasty deal for wedding photographers.eatpic.jpg

45. Market to Flickr book marketers

Book marketers are using Flickr to drum up publicity. They need good images.
You need sales. It’s a match made in a kitchen.

46. Sell to eBay auctioneers
Many of the items sold on eBay appear time and time again, often with poor
images. So shoot commonly sold products and sell the pictures to sellers.

47. Illustrate recipes

It’s not just Flickr book marketers who need food pictures. Recipe sites do too.
Cook up a storm and photograph the results. Then eat them and offer the
pictures to the people who made the meal possible.

48. Advertise on Craigslist
So simple. So overlooked. So why not be the first to advertising outstanding
prints on the world’s coolest classifieds?

49. Create coloring books
Take pictures of cats, dogs and bunnies, follow these neat Photoshop steps and
put together your very own coloring books.

50. Cover the Earth in your pictures
Well, Google Earth anyway. Some photographers have already put their aerial
images on Google Earth but why not turn all of your best travel photos into an
overlay… and sell them?

51. Take “after” photos
There are few things more appealing than vintage photographs… except
comparing them with how the place looks today. You can’t go back in time but
you can find the old places, shoot them today and sell them to vintage photo
sellers to complete their set.

52. Sell them as prints

Yes, we know it’s old fashioned but there’s still a market for pictures you can
hold and touch. And there are plenty of photo sites that let buyers order online.

Photo of For Sale signs by Angus Stewart. Photo of t-shirts by Mesq.

[update - our best selling book, 99 Ways To Make Money from Your Photos, based on this post, is available as a paperback on amazon]


46 comments for this post.

  1. Joshua Martens Said:

    Here's one you totally forgot. Etsy. There's a hug marketplace for photographers there. People buy photos there all day everyday. http://www.etsy.com

  2. Saharman Said:

    Great info here, now I have some ideas what to do with my photos. Infact I use photos in my son's blog.

  3. FM Said:

    Another good one is "art cards".
    They'll sell like hotcakes at craft markets if you live in a tourist town (or country).

  4. motorsportBABESau Said:

    You can also make money from your pics by hosting them with Shareapic.net and publishing them on a blog or on forums.

    http://www.shareapic.net

  5. Laura Said:

    Great tips on starting a home photo business! There are a few ideas here that I had never heard of. Are you actually doing this? I want to learn more about this..

  6. tyler Said:

    Great list. It has given me a few ideas :)

    A great site for a microstock photography overview of the sites, polls, and forum is http://www.microstockgroup.com

  7. Eric Said:

    I really don't go for contests. They gobble any and all of your reproduction rights often for the grand prize sum of $50 bucks. Tourism is using this method to avoid actually paying a real photographer for their advertising requirements.

  8. Patrick Lim Said:

    I find your idea very interesting. I am also selling photos but I made them into ceramic tile, very popular in Europe, they are known as Tile Mural. That is a small photo then enlarge and made multiple tiles of the photo, say 12 pieces. Then fired at 1000 degree C so that it is fade free. I wish to know how I can expose my trade, any suggestion>

  9. Mary Beth Said:

    also, for the pet market, shoot the photos for the companies that market those tracking devices for pets, they need pictures. Also,
    Photo matte frames, with the same pic, or a variety made small, to decorate metal, and other flat frames. Market at elderly hangouts, and get togethers, noone takes thier pics anymore, and check with funeral homes, they need pics for advertising and other things

  10. Mike Said:

    Hey, look what I just found!
    http://my-picture-store.com
    Seems like a good, extremely flexible solution for those who want to sell pictures online through their own website, but do not want to build or purchase and maintain the whole engine, database or whatever else is needed. It offers unlimited galleries, multiple photographers, virtually unlimited customization, some order processing. Wow!
    Mike

  11. Collagist Said:

    Great article. I would like to add one more thing to this list. Create collages with a collection of pictures and use the above mentioned avenues to sell them. As someone mentioned in the comments Etsy.com is a good place. Also, StockExpert.com and other stock art sites. We create custom photo collages and we promote our users and photographers to "do more with your pictures". Hook up with businesses like us, Collagist.com, to have your photos promoted and sold in collage poster form.

    Ciao.
    Collagist.com ~ do more with your pictures ~

  12. martin Said:

    You sell news and celeb pics through http://www.planetpaparazzi.com

  13. teddy Said:

    Another good option if you have real quality images is to register and post images in http://www.alamy.com , where images are sold even at $1000 and the contributor gets about 65%.

  14. Emine Said:

    this has been the most informative site i have come across to date.. thank you all for stimulating my creative juices - my brains awash with 'flow'... sincerely.. a very BIG THANK YOU to all who contributed to that (ive been in limbo for so long =>
    peace and happiness to you all x

  15. Anthony Said:

    Another way is to send your cameraphone snaps to http://www.snapperty.com - they sell your celeb or news photos to magazines and newspapers and give you 50% and it's free to join and you can submit via email of text message (MMS).

  16. dadat Said:

    A neophyte but wont stop me from exploring anything that would expand my horizons both physically, financially and culturally.

  17. The 'sell photos online' Dude Said:

    Hi...

    A great list of ideas and potential.

    All ideas here can be expanded on in a unique and personal way by any photographer. Or entrepreneur.

    Well done.

    I'll make sure my subscribers know about this!

    http://photomarketeers.com

    Thanks :)

  18. Desiree Said:

    Just 171 photos Saturday on a boating trip now I know what I can do with them and all the other photos I have been taking for years. Need extra cash for April 3009 wedding. Great info. Thanks

  19. meethere Said:

    Cool tips.. Infact lots of tips to follow them all.
    Tell use the best of them :D

    how much can i make from istockphoto ?

  20. revenue Said:

    Great tips and creative one

    giving us more ideas to earn another income opportunity.

  21. Nanang Said:

    great tips...:-)

    i like this blog

  22. MTeeter Said:

    Lots of great links and ideas! Thank you all so much! Another good one is Imagekind.com, to sell your stuff as high quality prints.

  23. BillyWarhol Said:

    Great!! If only I had a Dollar for my over 2 Million Views + 5 Million Combined Views on Flickr!!

    ;)) Peace*

  24. leslie Said:

    a great read! i'm already getting a lot of ideas for those "hallmark moments" photos i have of my kids. thanks!

  25. John Simpson Said:

    I've always loved photography. I am going to give some of these tips a try. Thanks...

  26. Brad Christopher Said:

    I've always thought about trying to sell some of the thousands of fantastic photos I've taken on my travels around the world. I've also collected over 450+ photos of woman's 'Nail Art' to be used in a book publishing project for my sister. A site I found useful was http://SlideSwap.com I believe it was free and all you needed to do was search within your category of interest. Great ideas here, I'm going to follow through and investigate all of them. We have a blog for the meantime at http://pronailart.blogspot.com/ and will be posting some photos and the techniques she uses to create the actual designs.

    bc~

  27. Audrey Said:

    That's an awesome list, thank you very much. I hadn't thought of lots of them, and will investigate them further. Many of them would really suit my lifestyle as a stay at home parent.

  28. Brenda Said:

    Brad, thanks for that link to the Nail Art site. I've been a Nail Technician for over 28 years now.. Geez, just I just count correctly..? :o) Ok, without giving away my age, let's just say I'm very experienced at what I do and I have actually picked up some great beauty Tips from the videos you have on your blog. Thanks again and i have added your feed to my yahoo page and hope you will find the time to add some of the steps creating "Nail Art" designs in the future.

    All the best,
    Bren

  29. JotPix Said:

    For real estate needs, please visit JotPix.com, register as a photographer and help people take location specific photos/videos.

  30. Kimberly Said:

    Wow, this is one of the most original and most helpful blog posts I've seen in a while! Lots of useful information here. Thanks!

  31. Leslie Nicole Said:

    Thanks so much for this great list.

    Do you know how to create a web photo gallery to sell on iTunes app store? I've been searching for hours to figure this out. Thanks!

  32. Teresa Schultz Said:

    I work from home and have always loved photography - you have some awesome 'making money with photos' ideas here - thanks!

  33. jack Said:

    there are definitely some good ideas here,and i will be trying some of them. thank you very much.

  34. Rj McHatton Said:

    Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing them with others.

  35. Jonathan Xray Said:

    @Desiree: Will you be old enough to get married in 3009?

  36. Dave Squid Said:

    A Stock Agency I have been using is http://www.2kstockphoto.info with some promicing early results

  37. Raise Your Fist Ink Said:

    Another great way to monetize your content is by signing up on redgage.com and importing your Flickr account photos or simply uploading them on the site directly.
    You can add other content too such as links to place you might offer prints for sale. They pay you per 1000 people that view your photos, links, blogs postings ect.
    The Moderators pick featured pictures too; I had one featured on my first day and got a $4.00 bonus for it.
    You retain all your rights and the site has built in protection against pilfering with right click blockers.
    I found that some of the content and links I submitted including my Flickr pics were on the 1st page of google searcheresults within 48 hrs, that alone makes it invaluable since you can't sell anything if people can't find it!!

  38. Peter Said:

    I made my first photography sale a few months ago to my university. I found a program called Hugin http://hugin.sourceforge.net/ which stitches pictures and makes them panoramic. I wandered around my campus and took some pictures to give it a try. After seeing the result, I showed them to the marketing people at my school. They ended up buying 5 from me. I'm hoping this is the start of a career for me!

  39. jaycarl Said:

    Just want to say thanks for all this good information.

    Im making decent money selling my pics on smugmug.com

  40. Luisa Said:

    Hello,

    I'm reading your "99 ways to make money from your photos" and I find it extremely interesting and inspiring :)

    I wonder why you didn't mentioned DeviantArt.

    Thanks a lot!

  41. Chit Chatter Said:

    I wonder if those adverts that float on your photos would work for eBay? I must give it a try! Thanks for sharing :)

  42. Derek Said:

    Hey guys, Tying to find some good ides for a friend here, And i struck GOLD! Awesome ideas, thanks so much everyone! Best wishes and good Luck to everyone!1

  43. Jonathan wall Said:

    Has anyone tried going around to special events with instant printing equiptment and taking on the spot photos and converting them into keyring or magnets?

  44. Jim Evans Said:

    I have an album of my Dad's B&W from the 20's taken in the high Sierra's when he was with the CCC's building trails and lookouts. Wunder if it could marketed in some way. Any ideas? He was also in Yosemite and knew Ansel Adams.

  45. abe Said:

    Do you know how to create a web photo gallery to sell on iTunes app store? I've been searching for hours to figure this out. Thanks!

  46. Bill Said:

    You left out upselling products to your existing event clients. I use http://www.stikypic.com to pre-sell crystal paperweights to brides for gifts to the parents (and there are usually at least 4 parents). I also sell them to corporate clients and put product shots on them for product launches. The products are made with their special paper and a regular inkjet printer.

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