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Selling your own images directly. Best way to do it?


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Sure, if your website is high enough in the search engine to generate a high enough traffic, and you have an automated method of payment set up, you'll make more money that way rather than a stock agency taking a big percentage.  Plus you've got to set up all the same licensing agreements stock agencies use.  I don't know how you'd set all that up.

A buddy of mine occasionally sells an image for $300-$400 unlimited use through a photo sharing site.  I'll PM you with the name of the site and the details.

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2 hours ago, Mike Kuhlman said:

Sure, if your website is high enough in the search engine to generate a high enough traffic, and you have an automated method of payment set up, you'll make more money that way rather than a stock agency taking a big percentage.  Plus you've got to set up all the same licensing agreements stock agencies use.  I don't know how you'd set all that up.

A buddy of mine occasionally sells an image for $300-$400 unlimited use through a photo sharing site.  I'll PM you with the name of the site and the details.

 

Thanks.  I do have my own website.  I get about 200 hits a day right now, and I am number one on google for my site's title. A lot of my content is getting out there and it starting to draw more traffic. My site is not necessarily a photo gallery website though.  It is more of an educational website about plants and animals.  But my photos are what draw most of my traffic.   Especial my photos of exotic uncommon things.  I was just thinking it would be nice to offer the people the chance to license the photo for their use.  Here is a popular page that gets a lot of hits.  https://thejungleexplorer.com/rooster-tail-cicada-fulgorid-planthopper or this one here https://thejungleexplorer.com/costa-rican-masked-tree-frog-smilisca-phaeota.

As you can see, each photo is showcased in it's own page with educational information about the subject.  I am just in the beginning stages of developing this part of my site and it has less then 1% of my stock of images. If I am going to sell images directly off my site, I want to get that worked out now.

 

As far as payment goes, I have sold stuff using paypal for years so that is easy.  What I am not clear on is this whole licensing thing.  That is what I need a better grasp of.

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If I were you, I would just put links to SS with referral and get your stock images selling. If you get enough of sales from your site on SS, the photo on SS will rise in popularity and will be more visible hence even more potential sales. I feel that selling through SS (or any other large agency) would bring in more overall profit in long term than trying to do this on your own.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Alexander Oganezov said:

If I were you, I would just put links to SS with referral and get your stock images selling. If you get enough of sales from your site on SS, the photo on SS will rise in popularity and will be more visible hence even more potential sales. I feel that selling through SS (or any other large agency) would bring in more overall profit in long term than trying to do this on your own.

 

 

That would be great if the images I wanted to sell could qualify.  Some will, some won't because they were taken 20 years ago with equipment that was great at the time (and cost a fortune), but can't hold a candle to today's tech.  But they are extremely unique photos of rare stuff and I use them on my website.  Have you ever seen a Saw-Nosed Lantern fly?  Photos of this awesome bug are HARD to come by.  https://thejungleexplorer.com/saw-nosed-lantern-fly-cathedra-serrata.  This is one of my most popular pages drawing people from all over the world my site every day.

Here is a visitor map for the past week for this page.  

 

visitor map.jpg

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19 minutes ago, The Jungle Explorer said:

That would be great if the images I wanted to sell could qualify.

Have you considered doing a trick of changing photo into illustration. If its lower resolution than is acceptable today, add it in the middle, add title/text around it (similar to what you have on your site) and make it illustration. Submit with original photo as 'property release' and it might pass.

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Buyers book mark you. and I bookmark Buyers and I get names and adress and send ZED Cards of new work, I send to galleries 1000's 4 times a years Fine art America magazine.. 5 on the front and one on the back. actors use them.. Im doing this Long before SS or microstock. It is part of my Living and that requires me making good money or I move on .. You wait for these sites to make you money???? your gonna loose. Unless your one of those that goes out and shoots everything you see which is fine....I guess Not much archival value though. Im More into smarter than Harder and .....Copyrights.. everybody on the planet has a website My friend, That is your face. Thats it.. I have my target audience and I exploit it. Being a Photographer is one small part of the equation and stock is even smaller. And like i said a very small part. The business part of this craft is where 99% fail and Ya know what?. Im good with that. You can be a amazing world class shooter and Not survive or ever be seen ....If you don't have that "Other part" that.... and that alone can decide where you wind up when this is done and this will be done sooner than later.

And that comment is based on where we where and where we are.... I saw a ad today about a new place selling prints ...yes another POD site. But these people have a twist a very Interesting twist and thats what is needed..i hate to say these places are Dinosaurs...... Nothing innovative or new in 14/15 years.

 

if you want this to become a business, You seriously better start taking It like one. And that means. You better start trying to make a difference and find your thing. That means a whole bunch More than what you think. wanna do food at the magazine level? wanna do Glamour? Products? Landscapes.....whatever and be noticed then you better get you head out of this forum and go for it, Because No-one is gonna do it for you.. You wanna live a a nowhere town and dream forever?

If you have it. Get the hell out and go where what you do is paid for. Your an actor........ A actor has to go where actors are and can get work., A model has to do the same thing, A Photographer is a artist and your not going anywhere living where there is no art. Period.

You need like minded people around you, A community . You need to do the work and doing that Kind of work is a 1000 Times harder than learning DOF for gods sake or what kind of stupid lens to buy like it's going to make any difference whatsoever.

i show in a gallery here in town for 18 years twice a year...

I have a group a interior decorators that Place prints of mine from another Private website for stuff you see going to your room In Hotels from Mumbai to China. my job is to supervise printing and shipping They mat and frame. Once it is sold, it goes to my standard website, rinderart.com. . I supply about 1200 prints yearly. The trend is B&W street work. The weather here has cooled and getting ready to get on the street again.

My Agent for 30 years Puts my work Into TV shows and films which is by far #1 profit. Not many realize when you watch a TV show or film and there is a interior shot ....theres artwork on the walls................it's rented guys. for a very good weekly sum and if the show is a hit.....? Cha--ching...............for years

Then there are music copyrights I manage everyday 7 Days a week from someone whos gonna steal it. it is never ending and such a pain I can't even begin to tell ya. or even try to explain......... 491 TV shows 37 Feature Films and 49 Hit record albums. Composed and produced. Those alone have paid for My kids Lives and will always continue because it's set up that way..Making Images .....making music is a business guys and Just possibly if you make it a business it will become one. I sold a Image 3 Days ago i shot 40 years ago for a hell of a lot more than 38 Cents LOL. And some here think Im just a promoter.....Well If you not. maybe selling is not for you. really. Nothing wrong with a hobby. I like to go fishing or growing weed. Painting or taking Pictures and selling them ain't no Hobby. Never was.

 

And BTW, I change photos into Illustrations all the time. doing the right Ones is the deal I also use SS and others as free websites.

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Laurin Rinder.  Not sure if that was a pep talk or vent, but I appreciate the effort.  I already have a full time job that I love.  Photography for me is a hobby.  I am not looking for it to make me rich.  But a little renewable income is great and I have some great material accumulated form my years of world travels.  Right now, I am just investigating.  Trying to see what works and what does not work.  I also do video and have a very successful youtube channel that makes me decent money each month.  If growth estimates are are correct, my youtube channel will be making more in five years then I am making at my job right now, which will greatly supplement my retirement.  

There is an old saying, "Don't put all your eggs in to one basket".  I am sure you know it.  Youtube is great, but so was Yahoo back in the 90s.  I am sure you remember those days.  I am not banking everything on youtube.  I want to have a little more control over my destiny that some company that I have no control over.  Look at all the people that invested in Panoramio.  Millions of geo-located photos all over the world.  Goggle bought it out and then took a sledge hammer to the servers and it is no more.  Developing my own website, feels like a it is a little safer then depending on other companies.  it also opened up multiple avenues of income. I am going to develop my website regardless of if I can sell my photos on it.  I make adsense revenue, affiliate revenue and more from my website already.  It's not a lot right now, but I don't even have a fraction of my content on there yet.

I agree that it takes a lot of work.  Sounds to me like you deserve a nice vacation sir.  Advice much appreciated

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A pep Talk. you weren't here probably when SS had "Skillfeed" My pardner and I made really good money  doing videos of subjects and how to do them. We got paid by the Minutes people watched. then Poof. it was gone. Im a Image maker and a Musician. thats it, Thats all i ever did. and 4 Ex wives Live quite well thank you very Much. LOL. I don't do another job and never have. I have to make things work for me and my family. and i generally don't target my responses about Business to hobbyists.....Why? Love them and help them But?.....I can't force being commercial on anyone. thats something they have to get. If you Monetized YT. god Bless. seems to late. I think I have about a 100 videos there of workshops and studio tips and tricks.. Haven't looked in forever.

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You should see what your YT is doing.  Now days, to become a Youtube Partner, you have to have at least 1000 subscribes and 4000 hours of watch time a year.  If you have 100 videos up, I bet you would meet the 4000 hours of watch time. It sounds like a lot but really it is not because it is an annual measurement.  Subs are a different thing.  People have to be kick and prodded now days to subscribe.  But you may already have 1000 subs, you never know.  Youtube is making money off of your videos anyway, why not get in on the action if you can?

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21 minutes ago, mandritoiu said:

This is the case for a very large majority of forum members. Most of us have a main job, most of us probably love. So, I agree with everything you say except for the "hobby" part.

Many of us treat microstock as a "second job", which required efforts and investments beyond the fun a simple hobbyist is after. 

Even for @Laurin Rinder, microstock is not his main source of income, therefore it his "second job", like for many of us.

So don't get sidelined by wrong or outdated examples and advice.

Keep following your own path.

I agree.  I think 2nd Job is better wording for what I mean, because I certainly work hard at it.  I have always had more then one job.   I usually have several small companies going at the same time.  

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actually agree. 2nd job is a very good Phrase. BUT. my point was and is. if ya want More. You have to do the work and make it a business and that really requires a different Mindset than whooHoo "i made 25/38 cents". and Posting those concepts and changes is not the way. each person Is different with different goals. I have helped a whole bunch of folks over the last 13+ years but that would require a Phone call and a study of your individual Port and goals. "If ya wanna be an actor ya gotta get out of Montana" Walter Matthau as he said was the first thing he needed to do. I moved from LA to New York in the late 60's and learned how to starve but learned More than any school taught. I went to Brooks for a very short time and thought it was silly. they didn't teach survival skills. I did actor headshots for a long time and.....still do.Just did My 43rd album cover. 2 More to come. and sorry. gotta say this again. My dad was a pretty cool guy he told me at 16 "Son, If you see a crack in a door, Never wonder whats on the other side...Just knock the Damn thing down and walk In" so many here I've talked to would be shaking in their shoes if they had to shoot a person and simply refuse to do it. Im always shocked by that. People beat apples,Bugs and landscapes everytime and is a Lot of fun.

Faces have paid for a lot of goodies. If ya wanna talk by Phone. Im here for ya. can Only do One a day. Write to Rinderart@aol.com

 

I think im the only one still with AOL and I actually pay for it. LOL

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9 hours ago, Laurin Rinder said:

actually agree. 2nd job is a very good Phrase. BUT. my point was and is. if ya want More. You have to do the work and make it a business and that really requires a different Mindset than whooHoo "i made 25/38 cents". and Posting those concepts and changes is not the way. each person Is different with different goals. I have helped a whole bunch of folks over the last 13+ years but that would require a Phone call and a study of your individual Port and goals. "If ya wanna be an actor ya gotta get out of Montana" Walter Matthau as he said was the first thing he needed to do. I moved from LA to New York in the late 60's and learned how to starve but learned More than any school taught. I went to Brooks for a very short time and thought it was silly. they didn't teach survival skills. I did actor headshots for a long time and.....still do.Just did My 43rd album cover. 2 More to come. and sorry. gotta say this again. My dad was a pretty cool guy he told me at 16 "Son, If you see a crack in a door, Never wonder whats on the other side...Just knock the Damn thing down and walk In" so many here I've talked to would be shaking in their shoes if they had to shoot a person and simply refuse to do it. Im always shocked by that. People beat apples,Bugs and landscapes everytime and is a Lot of fun.

Faces have paid for a lot of goodies. If ya wanna talk by Phone. Im here for ya. can Only do One a day. Write to Rinderart@aol.com

 

I think im the only one still with AOL and I actually pay for it. LOL

Much appreciated sir.  I may take you up on that once I get a clear path in mind as far as my images go. Your time is valuable, and would not want to waste it, when I am still trying to figure out exactly whether this is the right path for me or not.  At this point I am just testing the waters to see if there is a future here. 

Again, your experience and advice are appreciated and valued.

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Alright...so now we are in my wheel house...marketing.  Let me bring up that I would say that right now you are approaching the problem in reverse.

When ever you want to sell something you first have to understand what the customer demographic is.  You need to defined a specific customer or customers you are trying to reach then you have to build a sales channel that reaches them.

What you are asking right now is should I focus on SS or my own website as a sales channel.

So what does a website truely do for you...is it a sales platform...can be.  But more often than not it is for personal branding.  For people that will sell at galleries or who might be looking to be contracted to conduct a shoot.  A shoot could be wedding or headshots on a casual end or industrial, product or studio models...etc.

Typically websites are a best for marketing to get people to other sales platforms.  

The more important questions you need to first answer might be:

  • What type of photos do you want to sell?  Make sure you can make product portfolio to support this business.
  • Who purchases these photos? You showed a map of people all over the world...to you it feels like a global business to me (from a marketing background) it feels like 100 people ...and be aware in terms of website metrics many of those are going to be webcrawling bots...sorry to say that.  When you have 1000 unique visitors per day and 50 or so repeat you might start looking for sales. 
  • How do these people buy these photo?  You need to understand if these are school kids looking for report pictures, marketing teams, IT developers etc....if these are just casual viewers meh....most people on line know about stock or simply steal the images...sad to say.  
  • How many of these people are out there?  If you have a niche in jungle images how many people in the world do you think will purchase?  
  • How many will they buy in a year? Is it a one and done market?

I have seen some videos by professional photographers (travel) lately where a few people are getting on the map by having a good instagram following and then travel sites, tourism board and others are reaching out with some projects.  Might be a quicker route to what you are looking for.

I think a web store is more than a full time job it is a full time job with a marketing team if you want it to work better than SS or other stock sites.

Some additional thoughts.  If you have some high quality art work get them printed and try to get some sold.. can be done with in various ways:

  • May coffee shops and bars will display with price tag and contact info...the like the free decor and enjoy having the story there
  • Get a booth at a farmers market or local art fair...even if you dont sell you will get some feedback about your art work
  • If possible to be part of a gallery show even better...a bit of wine helps to sell anything
  • If you have travel images try to get some post cards or other shown in visitor centers or other places relevant to the images. If you sell post cards for 50 cents but it has your brand on it you can get traction.

Use SS to learn what sells and brand yourself...I have had images used in major publications like Forbes and other magazines in the last year.  That allows you to build credibility.

Get word of mouth.  Start to do some local work that is quality such as portraiture and build on it.  Free travel bureau shots etc....

In the end:

  1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
  2. KNOW HOW THEY BUY
  3. KNOW THE STEPS IN THEIR BUYING PROCESS
  4. NEVER PUT A SQUARE PEG INTO A ROUND WHOLE
  5. EVEN WITH INNOVATION/NEW PRODUCTS...THE MARKET ALWAYS EXISTED BEFORE YOU ENTERED IT BECAUSE EVERY PRODUCT SOLVES A PROBLEM/NEED.
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23 minutes ago, Phil Lowe said:

How much rent do you charge Laurin for the time he spends in your head?  

 Seriously, dude.  Let. It. Go. 

+100. It’s inappropriate - especially for a ‘leading community leader’. Also embarrasing for us other contributors to witness this unpleasent stalking. SS ought to take action against him. ?

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14 minutes ago, oleschwander said:

+100. It’s inappropriate - especially for a ‘leading community leader’. Also embarrasing for us other contributors to witness this unpleasent stalking. SS ought to take action against him. ?

I don't know if moderator action is needed but this kind of "internet trolling" is uncalled for and, honestly, who the hell cares?  It's tiresome when someone's personal gripes with someone else becomes the focus of, what would otherwise be, a very informative thread.  -_-

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