Make Extra Money with Your Digital Camera
Here is a great article from Forbes Magazine Online about ordinary folks who
are making money working from home with their digital camera. Jason Stitt is
just one guy who has turned his photography hobby into a way to make extra money
selling his digital photos online.
BURLINGAME, CALIF. - Most people would say that their favorite picture of
their spouse is invaluable. Jason Stitt can put a precise dollar figure on it:
$2,000. That's how much he's earned by turning a single snapshot of his wife
into stock photography.
Digital cameras have transformed consumers into an army of amateur
photographers, most of whom upload, tag and share photos online. But are they
selling? Stitt is. He's among the thousands of amateurs who are discovering how
to turn their expensive hobby into a profitable part-time pursuit.
Stitt, a graphic designer, got his start in 2003 when he uploaded some beach
photos from his honeymoon in Hawaii to iStockphoto.com, now an online subsidiary
of Getty Images handling digital media. He sent in about a dozen shots, and to
his surprise several started selling.
These days he takes hundreds of pictures during two shoots a week from a home
studio in Southern California and puts up the best for sale on Shutterstock.com.
Selling stock pictures "is getting very close to being a full-time gig," he
In Pictures: 10 Tips For Selling Pictures Online
Stock photography is an increasingly lush business. Case in point: Last year,
stock photo Web site iStock paid photographers $20.9 million in royalties on
$71.9 million in revenue. In 2006, the Internet start-up was purchased by Getty
Images for $50 million. Last February, Getty was sold to San Francisco-based
private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for $2.4 billion.
Given all the digital pictures floating around on the Web, surprisingly few
people are trying to cash in. A recent survey of
U.S. consumers sponsored by the stock photography site iStockphoto suggests
that most people simply haven't been exposed to stock photography.
Of the 1,000 people surveyed, only a quarter had heard of "stock photography."
Even so, a majority of them said they are aware that there are legal rights
surrounding the use of photographs and video they might download on the Web.
For the record, stock photo, video and audio is ready-made content that people
or companies can license for their use. Artists have licensed their work since
the beginning of copyright law--but those kinds of exchanges are far easier to
do with digital files, pixels and clicks than they were in the old world of film
and paper contracts.
For consumers, selling stock photography online means that they can pick up a
high-quality picture, video or audio clip for as little as a dollar. Pricing
usually depends on size and quality. Once the licensee purchases an item, it is
considered "royalty free," meaning they can usually do whatever they want with
it. The online merchant handles the financial and legal elements and credits the
artist automatically with a cut.
Official Geezer Guide Recommended
The Mini Guide to Using eBay and Cafe Press to
Sell Your Digital
This is a great little guide to making money selling your
digital photos on eBay, Cafe Press and other sites.
Martin Hurley has been making money online
selling his digital photos for years. He has just published a
great little eBook that he is selling for $7.00 that shows how
you can do this too. And best of all you don't have to be a
professional photographer. There is even a market for pretty
simple photos and photo products such as tee shirts, coffee mugs
and other merchandise.
Normally books like this go for much
more money. What Martin is doing is selling this book as a
promotion for his digital photo tool kit which is
complete information, tools and systems to totally automate this
business. I bought both and they are a pretty good deal. This
isn't some get-rich-quick scheme, you will have to do a bit of
work, but the coolest part is that it is a bit of fun too.
The Mini Guide to Using eBay and Cafe Press to Sell Your Digital
Even if you decide not to get the complete digital photo tool
kit, this little eBook is a great value at $7.00.
"When we first started [in 2000], people thought we were crazy," says iStock
chief operating officer Kelly Thompson. "We have 3.5 million registered users on
our site now and over a million paying customers. That's far bigger than most
people ever thought the stock market could possibly be."
Much of iStock's success in selling digital stock can be attributed to creative
tinkering with the economics supporting digital rights. "We've found that people
don't really mean to be malicious," says Thompson. "It's the same as iTunes: If
it's easy and affordable, they don't mind paying for it."
iStock isn't the only game in town--they compete with other Web sites trying to
woo stock photography dilettantes. Other large suppliers that will help you pawn
your pictures include Dreamstime.com, Shutterpoint.com and Stockshop.com.
Jon Oringer started Shutterstock.com--the service that Stitt now uses--as a
digital storefront for his own work in 2003. The site has since grown to host
more than 4 million pictures. "We've had small companies use them for brochures
and Web sites. We've seen them on billboards and bus enclosures," Oringer says.
For artists, the royalties start small but can grow. At Shutterstock,
photographers get paid 25 cents per download and more as the artist passes
certain earnings milestones. These micro-payments can add up. "There are
photographers making close to $10,000 a month," Oringer asserts.
Stitt isn't quite in those ranks yet, but he's a good example of how a hobbyist
can thrive part-time in the stock photo market. His top-grossing photo was one
of his first--a picture of his wife, Ruth, sitting under the sun in a straw hat.
The photo has been downloaded more than 3,500 times.
"A lot of the stuff I do, I just cross my fingers and hope that it sells," Stitt
says. "Today I did a shoot with a female model lying on the floor surrounded by
Jelly Beans. It's kind of out there, but we'll see how it works out."
In Pictures: 10 Tips For Selling Pictures Online
Making Money With Your Digital Camera