For over 10 years I've been posting my photos online to a number of different sites. Some of these sites work, some of them didn’t. I'm going to save you the time from going to the ones that didn't. And I'm going to show you the 12 sites that aren't Microstock that I've made money from and let you know how much I've made from each of those sites.
I'm going to go through 12 different sites, but you can really group these sites into four different groups.
Large Social Sites
Photography Community Sites
Print on Demand Sites
Fine Art America
Free Stock Photography Sites
I probably made about a thousand dollars on Facebook, primarily selling prints. So people will go to my Facebook page, then like my Facebook page, and then they'll follow me and they'll eventually purchase prints.
One of the things to know about Facebook is a number of years ago it was much easier to get an organic following on your photography. These days, Facebook has changed, their algorithm changed and they really to do well on Facebook these days. I find that you really need to pay for ads.
The next site is Instagram. Now I think you can be very successful and on Instagram as a social influencer, so really growing a large following with your photography and then basically going to different brands and getting them to pay you to put on posts. However, I primarily sell my photos is stock and prints, so I haven't really invested the time to grow my following on Instagram. One of the reasons that I haven't done that is I kind of see that in the future. Facebook may change the algorithm so that you have to pay to reach your followers. Very similar to the way they did on Facebook a number of years ago.
I haven't really invested a lot of time in Pinterest. I did play with it a while back when it first came out and I know, but I don't post that regularly. I've found is that people have gone to other sites and they've pinned my photos specifically fine art America and Flickr. And what I see when I look at my stats on Fine Art America or look at them on flicker, I find that I get a lot of traffic coming in from Pinterest. So what's happened is people have gone in and pinned my photos on Pinterest, they often pinned them on boards.
This has actually worked out quite well for me, especially for Fine Art America. There's a couple of photos that have gone viral on Pinterest and they link back to my fine art America. And although I don't think those are my best photos, I've found that they've made a lot of more fine art America sales.
Now Twitter isn't a very great place to post your photos and you don't see a lot of photographers posting their photos on Twitter, but I have found is a good spot to get stock sales for your photos.
The reason is you can post a landscape photo of a particular location and then if you Hashtags with that location a lot of small businesses will be following that Hashtag and then they'll go in and they're looking for things to retweet, so they'll see your beautiful photo of their location they'll see and they'll retweet it to their followers. Great. That gets you more exposure but doesn't make you any money. But what I've noticed is that the places that retweet your photos will then often come back and buy licences for those photos. I think I've made about $300 that I can attribute to Twitter.
Flicker was the first site that I started uploading my photos to now that was almost 10 years ago. And things have changed a lot since then but back then the microstock sites weren't that good. So a lot of people would go to flicker if they wanted to buy stock photos and they would search for photos on Flickr or find those and they contact you through Flickr. That's actually how I got into stock photography and selling my photos of stock because people would go kept asking me on flicker to buy licenses to my photos. So I thought, well maybe I stumbled in the microstock sites.
Flickr got bought up by Yahoo and changed the platform and things changed. So five years ago I stopped making as much money off Flickr. I really even stopped using it that much recently got bought by Smug bug and I do find myself using it more. They haven't made a lot of changes yet, but then the changes they have made I think are good and because I think SmugMug is a good company and they're going to keep moving in a good direction. So I am trying to get back into flicker. Looking back at my stats, I think I've made about $2,000 off stock sales that I can attribute to flicker over the past 10 years.
I've actually made $3,700 on 500px. So I was uploading photos to 500px even before they were sold as stock. And when they first started, I could make $175 per licence sale on 500px and that was very lucrative for a while. But then things changed again. And they announced a partnership with Getty and they also got bought out by a Chinese company. Since then the size of sales has gone down and 500px is now much closer to being a Microstock site.
Right now I use smugmug to run my website, which is souvenirixels.com. I've only been running on SmugMug since the summer. I used to run it off of Squarespace, but I found it was just way too difficult to manage the uploading of the photos and the pricing of the photos took too long. So I moved my entire website and now all my stock photos sales that aren't on the microstock sites or other sites, all my sales go through SmugMug. I haven't been using for a long, so I've only made them a $300 I think as of right now. So all the stock sales that I do directly to the consumers happened through SmugMug now.
The last social community site that I'm going to go over is Viewbug is a photography contest site. You can do is you can upload your photos and then you submit them to contests.
Now, the way that I make money on this is I won a contest once. I was the winner and I won this little portable screen. So I got that screen, I tried it a bit. I didn't really use it because I never really found it as a time where I have a laptop and I need a second screen. So, I eventually sold that and I sold it and I made $80 off Craigslist.
Fine Art America
So before I started selling my prints on Smugmug, I sold them on five of FineArtAmerica.com and for a number of years, that's where I send people to buy prints. Over time I have made over $2,500 Fine Art America. It's much easier than printing or your own photos.
Before I used Fine Art America, I used red bubble. And what red bubble is, is a similar site but has a lot more types of products that can be purchased. The reason that I used red bubble is back a while back, probably like five years ago, I decided to put out a calendar and they didn't, there was no easy way to do a calendar on FineArtAmerica. So what I did was I did it on red bubble. Because of that, I have some photos up there and so every once in a while someone will go and you know, find my photos through the search or something in the buy something.
I've made about $110 on Pexels so far. I really started uploading a lot of my older photos a couple of months ago. So $110 and a couple of months actually isn't that bad for starting out a new site. One of the crazy things I think about this, I don't know how they calculate their stats, but if you look at Pexels, I've got like 48 million views on my photos and that's over a very short period of time. If I look at my Flicker account that I've had for a very long time, I've only got 4 million views. So you know how or they're getting so many of you that don't know exactly how they're calculating it out, but they do show you very, very big stats. I also have 300K downloads on Pexels which is crazy high.
So these sites, they are very popular and they are getting, a lot of people are going to them and a lot of views. Now what you'll see is when you go and download a photo, they will encourage you or give you the option to click on a button and donate. Right now a very small percentage of people donate money, but because such so many people see them, that small percentage adds up. And again, for Pexels it's about $110 for me. So I do plan on uploading more of my photos to the sites, probably photos that are older.
Now Pixabay I've made about $70. I haven't, uploaded as many photos there. I haven't been as active, but again, it's still not nothing. Um, and if you're going, if you look there, there's a lot of views on Pixabay as well too.
For more details on these sites and screencasts in the demo, check out our Youtube video related to this post.