Monetize Your Copyrighted Images

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been discussing image copyrights. In previous articles, we hit on the facts about copyrights and myths about copyrights. We’ve also discussed how to protect your images from being stolen and what to do in case someone uses one of your images without permission.

Now we move on to the subject of monetizing your images. In the past, amateur and enthusiast photographers relied on stock photography sites or selling prints locally to make money off their photos. But now, there’s a new way for you to make money off of your images that could prove to be quite lucrative. Let’s look at each avenue of selling your images in more depth.

It used to be that stock photography sites were really only for professional photographers. For the everyday amateur, the professional-level gear and training needed to take top-notch stock photos was simply out of reach. But that simply isn’t the case anymore. There is an insatiable need for stock images in today’s image-heavy world, so stock photography websites have opened their doors to all levels of photographers with all sorts of cameras, from iPhones on up.

Obviously, you first have to take high-quality photos. Otherwise, they won’t be accepted by stock sites. What’s more, there is stiff competition for buyers, so even if an image is accepted, it still needs to stand out from the crowd to catch a buyer’s eye.

In that regard, trying to sell images on a stock photography site can be a daunting task. Consider all the crucial steps needed to make it more likely that your images will be purchased:

  • Conduct Research – You can’t just upload whatever images you please to stock sites. Instead, you need to do a little research to learn what sort of images are in high demand. Having a clear understanding of what people want will help you tailor your images to the needs of consumers.

  • Sizing Appropriately – Stock photography websites have strict sizing restrictions, which, if not met, will result in your images being rejected. As a rule, the larger the file size, the better, as it opens up a wider variety of applications for the end user. For example, uploading images at the highest possible resolution allows buyers to shrink it down or blow it up based on their specific needs. Having that kind of usability will lead to more sales for you.

  • Tagging Images – Once you have your images uploaded, you need to use keywords to describe the image such that potential buyers can find them. This can be a tricky task, however, because using the wrong keywords might mean buyers that are interested in your image can’t find it. Alternatively, using too many keywords or adding keywords that have nothing to do with the image as a way to draw more attention to it might cause your image to be removed.

  • Maintaining Your Collection – Your stock photography collection must be maintained, just like your website or your portfolio. Old, outdated images should be removed and fresh ones added on a regular basis.

  • Creating a niche – Though it might seem like a better idea to cast a wide net and try to have images in your stock photography collection to fit every need, doing so will only muddy the waters and probably lead to a lot of subpar images. Instead, creating a niche in which you cater to one or two specific and popular needs will often get you more sales.