A passion for nature inspires your photos, but do you know how to sell nature photos once they’re developed? There are four principal ways to sell nature and landscape pictures: a direct, personal store, print on demand websites, stock photography sites, or sold to a publication. Luckily, the internet has a wealth of information for any of these methods.
Create an Independent Ecommerce Store
An independent eCommerce store allows wildlife and landscape photographers to display their photography skills how they want. The store only shows the owner’s photos, so there is no competition. You will have to market on your own, though. The personal store does not have as broad a reach as an established stock photo site.
This section will explore what to include on a successful eCommerce site, how to promote it, and the best resources for building one.
Your website should be user-friendly and appealing. Tell the buyer who you are as a photographer. There are certain salient features you want to be sure to feature. These include:
- Image Gallery: Display the product and use high-resolution versions of your pictures to draw in customers.
- “About Me”: Introduce yourself as a photographer. A bio section is a chance to pitch yourself to potential customers. Tell them why you’re the best and what differentiates you from other photographers.
- Contact: How do you want your customers to reach you? Include that information on a “Contact” page. Include an email address, phone number, or both.
- FAQ: A frequently asked questions section allows you to provide answers to anticipated questions. Many customers would prefer to click a link for information than contact the seller.
Promoting Your Ecommerce Store
An eCommerce store is only lucrative if it draws customers. You will have to do a great deal of promotion. Fortunately, there are many means and platforms available to savvy photographers. Include a link to your store on any of the below mediums.
Social media is an indispensable tool for photographers. Instagram offers artists a place to display their art and draw in a large audience. Hash-tagging some of your best work as “nature photography” will attract an audience.
A portfolio website is a visual resume where you show your nature photos to their best advantage and the range of your abilities.
Stock Photo Websites
Select some of your best pictures to upload to a stock photo website. Stock photo websites get plenty of views. You will, however, have to compete with other photographers.
A personal blog provides a narrative and connection to your photography. Customers often react well to a sense of personal investment. Telling the story behind the landscape picture or describing the process behind capturing the shot of a rare bird offers an emotional connection.
Using Photography Website Builders
Building a photography website probably seems daunting. You want to ascertain that your site is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. This section looks at five of the best options to help build your website. Most cost a nominal fee but are affordable.
Squarespace is universally agreed to be one of the best options for building a website. It is aimed at artists and has a wide array of templates available to best display your work.
Squarespace is easy to use. It follows a basic drag-and-drop formula and allows you to include a personal blog or an online store.
Wix is directed towards small businesses. Still, it has many options for artists and photographers. It is also among the easiest to use for the technologically impaired.
Wix utilizes artificial design intelligence (ADI) to synthesize your website for you. The ADI asks a series of questions about the purpose of your website. It also taps into your social media to create your site.
There is a forever free option with Wix, but this selection will be rife with advertisements.
Format is designed specifically for photography. Format allows photographers to create password-protected albums for clients. Artists can include watermarks to ensure no one illegally downloads their work.
Format also allows you to disable right-clicking on images. If your objective is to sell art, it is crucial to assure potential customers can’t simply save your pictures themselves.
SmugMug is very similar to Format but intended for Android users. It has the same protections as Format-the disabled right-click, the watermarks, and the password protection.
If you’re on Android, you may prefer Smugmug, which has apps for both phone platforms. SmugMug charges a bit more for better templates and more useful features.
Pixpa is a phone-based application. While it is not as user-friendly as SquareSpace or Format, it does allow you to merge with other apps. You can link Google Analytics and MailChimp, which will help you examine your sales.
Pixpa allows photographers to create discount codes, and it doesn’t charge processing fees for nature photography online sales.
Sell Via Print-on-Demand Companies
Few photographers have the space to store a vast quantity of their prints. Print-on-demand companies turn your high-resolution photos into a variety of different products. There are distinct benefits and disadvantages to print on demand, and they are worth exploring quickly.
- The printer sends the art directly to the buyer
- The artist doesn’t need to pack, ship, or keep inventory
- Easy setup
- Print-on-demand companies charge for their services, so you must price your art high to profit
- The company has control over the quality of the product
- Delivery can be slow
Pitch to Publications
Pitching to publications is an excellent way to sell photos. Blogs, websites, and magazines always need pictures. Journals are usually specialized, so you can focus on those that feature wildlife and landscape photography. You are going directly to your audience. Pitching does require a bit of work.
It’s essential to find publications that are good fits for your photography. Niche, specialty websites, and magazines are more likely to buy from unestablished photographers. If you have a particular photo of specialty wildlife or landscapes, try to tailor your search to that.
Send a professional email explaining who you are, your interest in their publication, and a link to your portfolio.
Pitch an Article
For most publications, great photographs need a story. They are unlikely to build a story around the photos. If you can provide them with a solid pitch, you give them a great reason to use your pictures.
Use a Press Agent
A press agent is an excellent way to get eyes on your work. Major publications may ignore a name they don’t know. Press agents have pull. They also take a healthy portion of your earnings-40-50 percent-but they will help you sell work. They also work worldwide, giving you a wider reach.
Pitch your best work to them, and they will tell you if they are sellable.
Enter Photography Contests
Photo contests may not fit the conventional definition of “selling” photography, but they are part of the process. Most contests offer a monetary prize, and independent photographers benefit greatly from name recognition to sell their wares.
Photography contests will get more eyes on your work, both of potential individual clients and of publications you may want to work with.
Being able to call yourself an award-winning photographer is never a bad thing. It lends credibility to you as an artist.
Sell to Stock Photography Sites
Stock photography sites take part of your earnings and have different requirements for use. Some require you to reach a minimum upload amount. They do, however, provide further reach for your photography.
Stock photo libraries use two primary licensing agreements. Understanding this distinction is essential. It will impact the future of the images you sell. Knowing which kind of licensing a company utilizes is critical, so let’s discuss them briefly.
Rights-managed licensing requires clients to pay a fee based on their usage. You maintain control over your picture this way. You can also resell the images to other clients.
Clients can buy exclusive rights. They own the picture and any usage then, and you cannot resell the photo.
With royalty-free licensing, clients pay once for a picture they can use however they please. While you lose control of the photo’s narrative, you can resell it as often as you choose.
General Stock Photography Sites
There are many stock photography sites where you can sell stock photos and make money. Most of these have no specialty, just a general depository for photography. Stock photo sites draw in broader viewership. They also require a degree of competition.
More people will see your photography, yes. Those same potential clients will be visiting the work of many other artists. There are many stock sites where you can post and sell nature photography. This section discusses some of the best and their rates.
Depositphotos bases its pay rates on downloads. Photographers can earn up to 42 percent of royalties, but they need to sell quite a few pictures.
There is some complicated math involved in establishing the rates you’ll achieve. Five hundred downloads increase your royalty rate to 36 percent. An image purchase only counts as one-third of a download, though.
Getty Images owns iStock, giving them a vast reach. They attract 1.5 million customers in over 200 countries worldwide. After you apply, they will decide if your photography is more suited to Getty or iStock. iStock has lower royalty rates: 15 percent for iStock, and 20 percent for GettyImages.
Also, keep in mind that Getty Images requires exclusivity rights on all content.
There is excellent potential for earnings when you list your landscape photos for sale. What sets iStock apart is its large user base, which increases the number of eyes on your landscape photos.
Adobe Stock and Fotolia
Adobe Stock is one of the best options for stock photography. The royalty rate is relatively high (33 percent), and any picture submitted to Adobe Stock is immediately available on Fotolia. Adobe Stock doesn’t claim exclusive rights, so you continue to have access to your work.
Adobe Stock is the only company that merged with Creative Cloud applications and PowerPoint. Clients creating Cloud presentations can search within the application and access all the photographs on Adobe Stock.
123RF uploads images quickly and pays contributors regularly. However, you do have to contribute consistently to maintain a presence on the website.
Shutterstock is possibly the most lucrative option for photographers. While the royalty rate isn’t as high as other companies, Shutterstock has substantial daily download numbers.
Photographers have to apply to be accepted on Shutterstock. The application process is relatively simple; submit ten samples. If Shutterstock approves any piece, you can contribute to the site.
Nature Stock Photography Sites
Nature photography is ultimately a niche. While selling to stock photo companies has its benefits, your chances of sales are better if you can pitch to a more refined, specialized group. These publications all specialize in nature photography:
- Nature Picture Library: Nature Picture Library specializes in wildlife photography. Many respected publications use their image library to buy from nature photographers.
- Steve Bloom Images: Selling nature photography on Steve Bloom Images allows you to track the use of your photos. The site also accepts photo stories and is well-respected, with a broad reach.
- Minden Pictures: Minden Pictures is a reputable source of wildlife photos. It houses many award-winning photographers and offers a place to display and sell nature pictures.
- Animals Animals: Animals Animals contracts professional photographers. They have more rigid guidelines for artists to follow but provide a good platform.
- National Geographic: National Geographic needs no introduction. No one uses more respected or professional wildlife photographers than they are. The National Geographic Website is an excellent place to sell your pictures.
- Sea Pics: As the name suggests, Sea Pics is specific to underwater photos. Artists submit photos for approval and, upon acceptance, begin selling their work.
- Photoshot Collection: Photoshot Collection specializes in trees, underwater photos, and wildlife shots. Photoshot has a higher chance of good earnings since it reaches a vast audience.
Selling nature photos takes some work and research, but there is ample opportunity to monetize your art. Leave a comment below if you still have questions. Define your objectives, make a plan, and use one of the myriad resources available to start selling your work today.