How to Sell Photos Online

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Upload new photos frequently to keep buyers interested.
Upload new photos frequently to keep buyers interested. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Don't let well-composed, high-resolution images linger on your hard drive forever. Turn your passion for photography into a money-making business venture. Earn revenue by selling photos to stock agencies, creative outlets, marketing companies and the general public. Selling photos online won't make you rich overnight, but it can produce a mounting income over time.

Competent Photos

If you want to build a real business, your photography skills and equipment have to be top-notch. Pictures from your child's birthday party are not in demand by most online photo-purchasing clients. Look closer at magazines, product packaging and newspaper ads for an idea of what sells well. Simple backgrounds, tack-sharp focusing and well-exposed images are in demand. Some hot photo topics include portraits with model releases, table-top photography of nonbranded items, landscapes and travel photography with property releases. Buyers require high-quality images produced by a digital single-lens reflex camera. Don't be surprised to learn of minimum camera resolution requirements exceeding 10 megapixels.

Online Markets

Choose a market that coordinates with your style of photography. Fine art images, abstracts and comical images work well for greeting cards. Many online greeting card companies offer an online review of work with the potential to buy more images on contract. For general images of people completing tasks and close-ups of objects, think stock photography. These companies market your images to advertising agencies, online article writers, book publishers and anyone else that needs simple, story-telling images. You can also get creative and sell photos from your child's sports team to the other athletes' family and friends by uploading the images to an online photo marketplace.

Update Inventory

No matter what type of photos you sell online, your customers will want to see fresh, updated images often. If a clothing store doesn't rotate and update their inventory, people will stop visiting. The same if true when selling photos online. Set up a schedule and stick to it. Plan to upload new images in small batches throughout the week, rather than doing one larger update over the weekend.

Marketing Photos

Internet browsers use words to find images. Bring more customers to your photos by using details and expressive keywords in your image descriptions. Name not only the obvious features in the photo, but also use words to describe the colors, texture or context of the image. For example, a photo of a sunset should also include thematic words such as "beach," "vacation," "relaxing," "serene" and "nature." Then, promote your images on social media networks such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Use hashtags relating to the image topics to lure more buyers to the photos for sale.

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