Photography is still profitable

Selling photos & pictures - 7 valuable tips

Who his Passion for the job and enters the art market, it is not easy. In our guide we show you 7 ways to successfully sell your own pictures and art. We give them valuable tips and inspirationhow the pros work. Whether photo, painting or graphics, for all artistic disciplines there are opportunities for a nice additional income or even as a full-time job. Discover which Sales strategies there is to generate income and assert oneself in the highly competitive art market.


Tip 1: sell pictures - market yourself!

You already have a passion for photography, illustrating or painting. You know what your art is all about and what you are good at. Are you ready to present your work to a wide audience? Or are you already a pro and looking for new ways to generate more income? - No matter what your starting point is, Marketing and self-promotion is important!

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Our tips: Run your own Website with a portfolio Of your work. This is mainly used for self-promotion, an integrated Shop system for the side can also help. To take care of yours Social media Appear and update it regularly with relevant content such as reports, tutorials or blog entries. In the social media area in particular, you can place ads yourself for a few euros and keep an eye on reach, clicks and interest. Also a classic mailing list like a Newsletter can make valuable contacts or anchor them in the memory of your exhibition visitors or art lovers. Awell-developed network online and offline helps you convert contacts into customers. Word-of-mouth propaganda still works extremely well in the digital age.

Self-Marketing Checklist

  • Create a website with a meaningful portfolio
  • Open a webshop (e.g. via Etsy, Shopify or your own website)
  • Create a Facebook page for your work
  • Instagram account, so that you can, among other things, quickly exchange ideas with your followers
  • Offer interesting content such as blog articles; Place ads
  • Use opportunities to network, take part in exhibitions, go to events, take advantage of further training courses, conferences and portfolio reviews in order to become better
  • Check to see if you should register a business to avoid tax surprises

Tip 2: Stock Photo Agencies: Ideal for avid photographers

Shot countless photos and didn't do anything with them? Do you have lots of wonderful travel photos on your hard drive and never look at them? Then think about it, especially successful photos as stock photos to to sell! The time it takes to sell photos is limited and is often limited to just a few clicks.

The most famous picture agencies, respectively Microstock agencies for stock photography are for example:

You can also upload and offer your snapshots in a database using your smartphone with the right app. For example at Foap. The established photo agencies now offer their services in app format in the Google Playstore or in the App Store.

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The principle always works in a similar way. You set up an account as a photographer and upload your own photos or videos provided with key words must be. This is how they are easily found by buyers and search engines. Most of the time there is an application phase where your pictures are assessed before you can start selling photos. Certain Subject areas such as travel, work, eating and drinking should be noted while keeping an eye on trends. Each stock photo agency has a slightly different thematic focus.

If your photo is not exclusive, you can offer and sell it multiple times. The Commission per image is often 50-60%. Each agency offers different conditions and usage rights for your photos. Your income can be between a few cents and two euros per image. The mass does it in this case. 500px, EyeEm, for example, embody the premium class of stock photography. Here are up to several hundred euros per picture.

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Stock Photography, a little multiplication table

What else do you need to consider? Ever the higher the quality, the better the price and the easier it is to find accommodation with a stock photo agency. So it's worth looking at things like high quality equipment, professional lighting and a well thought-out color and image compositionto pay attention to in the recordings. Also think of props and meaningful locations. And above all: what is it Image statement? Which scene or situation would you like to illustrate? Your photo files should be as large as possible and without time-consuming post-processing, as graphics departments have to process these images further. An intrusive filter would only be a nuisance, for example. The more professionalism the photos exude, the more popular your photos are on the platforms and the more often they are bought. Even as a beginner, pay attention to quality!

Extra tip: The following applies to all photos that you would like to offer for sale: If people can be recognized in your photos, get their written consent! You can often only photograph buildings and private land with prior written permission. Here you will find examples of the required property releases and model releases.

Summary: Stock photography only becomes really profitable after a large number of photos have been sold and in order to be able to make a living from it alone, it can take a few years. The quality standards of the picture agencies bring with them a certain claim, depending on the time spent on the motifs and the picture message. There are also a few legal things to consider. You can earn a few euros a month practically on the side via the platforms.

Checklist Stock Photography

  • Create an account as a photographer and upload your own photos or videos.
  • Create keywords, tags, tags for each photo - tagging is important for your visibility!
  • Pay attention to topics such as travel, food, business. Investigate popular topics and keep an eye on trends
  • Produce a lot, but also pay attention to quality standards
  • Stock photos illustrate a situation: pay attention to expressiveness and professional appearance!
  • Produce large, high-resolution photos
  • Clarify the legal situation: Obtain model and property releases, study usage rights for your photos

Tip 3: photograph weddings

Getting married is hotter than ever - according to Instagram and Pinterest! Wedding photographers are booming. In our new, extensive guide for wedding photography, we give a lot of insights behind the scenes and the activities of a wedding photographer. How to best capture the most beautiful day in life and what skills you should bring as a photographer. Let it be said in advance: Wedding photography is a lot of work and at the same time an exciting challenge.

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Tip 4: Sell pictures and products on commission

If you're not just interested in digital photo sales, there are several options. Unique art or consumer goods that end up as products with your customers, you can use various curated and not curated Sell ​​online platforms and web shops. If you do not want to operate your own web shop with a shop system via your website, there are numerous other platforms. Such middlemen can be of particular interest to illustrators and graphic designers, as they often take on the shipping and production of prints or products with your motif. A lot is possible, from t-shirts to mugs, pencil cases, pillows or stickers. The advantages are clearly in the work on demand. That means, production for your customers only takes place after the order is placed. You don't have to sit on pre-produced goods and you don't have to invest large sums of money.

The scope of the service that these sales platforms offer varies greatly. This ranges from the mere provision of the web shop and processing of the payment service as with Etsy, to the on-demand production of entire product lines such as:

For example, Creative Market or Design Cuts are suitable for exchanging and selling digital design products such as templates, graphics, icons or fonts.

Similar to the microstock agencies, you create an account with a shop and upload your own motifs in a mask for various products.

The disadvantage of this type of shop is the amount of commission, which can be low for you. In addition, it is difficult to get noticed in the sheer mass of artists who sell via such platforms. In addition, a jury can be interposed or inclusion in the platform's portfolio depends on votes - especially in design competitions.

Insider tip: Try to get under the starting platforms, here the portfolios are not yet saturated.

If there is no great merit, then at least reputation, free self-promotion and visibility for your art can be a side effect.

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Tip 5: Sell pictures in a gallery - find your match

Admittedly, it is not easy to find a gallery owner who is enthusiastic about your work. But such a collaboration can be very lucrative, and they provide helpful contacts. Start at the local level and imagine your home galleries. Find your niche in the process. What does the gallery specialize in? Is it nature photography or vintage Polaroids? Make sure that interested gallery owners are ready to support you financially with marketing and advertising. This is especially useful if you don't like to talk about your work yourself or if you don't have the marketing vocabulary. A good relationship with your gallery owner is worth gold!


Tip 6: Take part in photo competitions

It doesn't always have to be as prestigious as National Geographic. Even if that can be your claim. Smaller magazines, camera manufacturers and foundations also advertise photo competitions.

Have you heard of the photo competition at Win your own exhibition in one of the WhiteWall stores and your photographic work refined as fine art prints!

At you will find a calendar overview with competitions. There is something for almost every topic! Such competitions can also be a good opportunity for beginners to sound out their own market value.

A won competition looks good on the résumé and is a meaningful reference in addition to the attention. Prize money varies from a few hundred euros to thousands of euros or there are grants and prizes to be won. Read the rules of the game carefully beforehand so that you do not inadvertently relinquish your image rights.

© Unsplash


Tip 7: Without intermediaries and third parties - sell photos and art directly yourself with WhiteWall

Would you like to save the commission for intermediaries and not rely on chance? Sell ​​directly yourself! Either in your own web shop or in the traditional way from person to person. Or from artist to collector and art lover.

Pro tip: Take part in an exhibition or an art fair!

Find out from city magazines, social networks, web searches or among friends when and where art festivals, craft markets or open calls are taking place in your area.
Check with a non-profit organization to see if there are any ways to organize an exhibition. The pressure to sell is correspondingly low, but the networking possibilities are numerous. If the Press what's more, so much the better! Use the media attention!

In exhibition situations, there is often more motivation to buy works. That is a little one psychological trick. When we are confronted with a beautiful work of art, we are ready to spend more money on what we enjoy. A Have-want effect arises. Presentation, context and a backstory can make all the value of art!

It is worth investing and printing works of art in high quality as fine art prints. For photos this means, for example, making wall pictures on real photo paper, laminating photo prints behind acrylic glass, on aluminum dibond or framing them with a passepartout. Give your prospects the opportunity to fall in love with your work. Isn't it nicest to be able to look at a picture up close, completely “in real life” and to have an encounter with art?
For your own products, you determine the selling price yourself, especially when the image and print form a high-quality symbiosis.

Extra tip: Research what price range you are playing in. As a rule of thumb for sales prices, you can use the following calculations:Hourly wage x working hours + material costs = sales price.

For paintings and sculptures, for example, there are also computers that are based on the size and level of awareness of the artist.

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Acrylic glass and Alu-Dibond in gallery quality and professional white label shipping at WhiteWall

With the right finishing, framing and the right photo paper, your photo, graphic or drawing looks twice as impressive and can be sold at a profit. WhiteWall offers high quality solutions for printing, photo printing and finishing. In the configurator in the shop, you can simply try out how your work of art can best be shown to advantage.

Our product recommendations for brilliant photographs:
Have your most successful photos laminated on acrylic glass. Adjust the thickness of the acrylic glass individually and your desired format. The best way to show off your photos is as a print on photo paper! Luminous, rich colors and an impressive depth effect with UV protection are guaranteed. Alu-Dibond is also a noble and modern technology of lamination. Either as a direct print on aluminum or as a photo print. The advantage of direct printing on Alu-Dibond is that they are suitable even for damp interiors or exteriors!

Discover Alu-Dibond in all its variants for your creative possibilities of expression. Go ahead and sell your gallery-quality work!

Create photos on Alu-Dibond

After ordering, you will receive your custom-made picture or send it directly to your customers with neutral shipping. For example, after orders for your photo products such as calendars or canvases have arrived in your own webshop. The benefit of the neutral, too WhiteLabel is that you are the contact person on the delivery note. For your customers, Whitewall is not recognizable as the manufacturer and sender. All products and packaging are neutrally labeled. It looks professional and collectors of your art look forward to gallery-quality prints. Only the address WWM GmbH, Europaallee 59, 50226 Frechen is given as the sender. In addition to this service, WhiteWall offers business customers a lifelong discount that is staggered!

For the delivery options in the shop, simply click on neutral shipping for your professional order.

Many creative professionals and art galleries use this very tactic. Investing in quality and presentation is therefore not a luxury, but a smart sales strategy.


Conclusion: Creating sales with passion

Whichever method you choose, it takes a long breath to earn money with your own pictures or art. Quality both in the recordings and in the presentation of your artwork will pay off in the end. Do not forget your network and promotion on your own behalf. Stay up to date on technical innovations, trends, events and training. Deepen your skills, stay curious and get tips from professionals! But when the passion and creative energy finally bear fruit, the effort has been worth it!

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Further reading and interesting articles on the topic

If you've got a taste for it now and are looking for even more inspiration, then click through our other tips.

  • Sébastien Bonset “On our own behalf: Online marketing and social media for creative people: Present yourself and your work on the web” (2017) ISBN-10: 9783836244213
  • Working in the art gallery, portrait as a gallery owner at Zeit online
  • Stock photo clichés artistically implemented at depositphoto

Get started and get creative! With our tips you will be able to sell your own pictures like a pro!

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