Selling photographs online is a challenging goal for any photographer, no matter what unique level of talent or ability. But, if you do have a small folio of images already and you want to ‘look at the options available to you, read on…
One option might be to upload a selection of your better images to stock photo libraries and microstock image agencies. Indeed, this is a solid, long-term, asset-building solution, but you may not see photo sales for some time. It could take weeks or even months.
And, there’s no real guarantee that you’ll make sales either. Microstock agency images have low returns per image, which means that to make it worth your while, you need to see high numbers of downloads (sales). However, this option holds great potential.
The thing is that when we start thinking about the whole selling photographs online ‘photo business’ approach, we find that, at any given moment, we’re faced with a bewildering number of methods to promote our work. Everything from printable postcards, to calendars, downloadable prints, e-cards, screen-savers, eBay, scrap-booking, original prints, and a whole lot more… And you could work any of these successfully to bring an income. But, a photographer still needs some ‘marketing savvy’ and understanding to make a dint in the marketplace. Hiding your head in the sand and refusing to learn marketing will not help your ‘photo business’ income to magically appear.
So, with all these options out there, where does one start?
Well… one of the simplest ways to start off building your unique ‘brand is by creating a simple digital product. Maybe you’re thinking “what’s this got to do with photography?” The answer is a great deal. But firstly, let’s define what a digital product is:
A digital file basic definition is, “a computer file or special information that you can access online or have delivered electronically.” Examples of digital items are software, an image taken with a digital camera, a word processor file, an ebook, an MP3 audio file, an original recipe, etc. The amazing thing about digital products is that they can have unlimited inventory, no shipping costs, and high-profit margins.
Digital products are a terrific, powerful, and ‘modern-day’ solution for any photographer, no matter what skill level. A quick ‘digital product’ example might be to interview a very successful photographer, or write about your unique photography talents, and turn this into an electronic book (ebook).
You could then either sell this ebook or give it away to people who sign up for your website’s newsletter. Either way, it builds your ‘expert status as well as makes you an income. This digital photo book not only promotes the other photographer’s work but yours too. You quickly are on your way to becoming known as an expert.
You can also add affiliate links inside this digital photo book so that people reading this click through and potentially make you extra sales down the track. Sure, this is just one solution, but don’t you think it holds great potential? Even better if your ebook taps into one area or niche that many photographers are keen to learn more about.
And, by the way, after the initial hard work is done, and apart from marketing your product, your costs are quite low, and your time spent is minimal. If your ebook provides valuable material, you’ll find visitors will go on to your website in search of more helpful, relevant information.
Just imagine what you might be able to turn into a digital product. What about the same interview as an MP3 audio product, podcast, or turned into a downloadable online video?
Are you beginning to see the potential here?
Creating a digital product is possibly one of the fastest ways to become known as an expert and to get your selling photographs online journey started. You can do it without difficulty and with little experience. Now all you need to do is just do it!
Copyright Martin Hurley 2007