There is no doubt that most travellers LOVE to take thousands of photos of their holiday’s abroad. How many vacations have you come back from with memory cards bursting at the seams? But what are your options when it comes to actually doing something with your travel photos?
Of course the easiest thing to do is to just enjoy watching them with your friends. But for many people, there is a burning desire to get these photos out to a broader audience – and perhaps even earn some money back from your trip! That’s where selling travel photos online enters the scene.
Selling Travel Photos Online As Microstock
This is where microstock (or stock photography in general) comes into play. Don’t get me wrong, this is no get-rich-quick scheme. It will take a lot of your time, good quality photos and patience. But for many people, seeing your travel photos selling for a commercial use makes all of that seem insignificant.
This is essentially how I got my start in stock photography. I travelled a lot in my early 20’s (sadly, most of it before digital was a happening thing!) and desired to sell my images. I initially got some of my images into a traditional stock agency, but eventually I discovered the world of microstock photography – which is now the main focus of my professional work.
Selling Travel Photos – Where To Start?
Microstock is well suited to selling travel photos online. For starters, you don’t need to be a professional photographer with the latest camera to get accepted. Many people are shooting on good quality point-and-shoot cameras, although of course a decent DSLR will improve your chances considerably (and they are pretty cheap these days).
Once you come back with all your brilliant travel photographs, the next thing to do is to be a tough critic of your own work. Only select the best shots, making sure they are all perfectly in focus, well lit and without digital noise (grain for old-timers). Jump into Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop and tweak your images until they are just right.
Selling Travel Photos – Describe Your Travels
After selecting and editing your best shots you will need to caption your images. You need to have a title, description and keywords. See this article on keywording for more information. Make sure you include the actual location as well as broader terms. For instance, if you were at Bondi Beach in Australia you would include all those keywords, as well as broader terms such as ‘beach, sand, coast, water’ and so on. Basically, whatever is relevant in your image that a buyer might search for.
Selling Travel Photos – Where To Sell Them?
Now you are up to the fun part. The next step is to upload your images to the microstock agencies and wait for them to be reviewed. Once reviewed, your approved images are available for sale! So which sites should you consider selling travel photos on? Here’s our recommendation of the top 10 sites for selling your travel photos.
Shutterstock – This one is a must. Best agency in terms of earnings by a long, long way
Dreamstime – Friendly, established agency that rewards popular images
Depositphotos – Huge marketing muscle has made their rise one of the quickest in the industry
Pond5 – Hugely successful with stock video footage clips, now selling photos as well
PhotoDune – Part of huge Envato network of stock sites
123RF – Good agency that has come a long way in a short time
BigStock – Owned by Shutterstock but seems to attract a totally different buyer base
Fotolia – European flavour which will suit certain types of portfolio’s more than others
Many of these agencies have what they call Partner Programs, so by selling with one agency your work likely will be represented at a few other agencies as well – all with the potential to sell your images for you.
In the end, selling travel photos is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, but when you see your photo being used by a company and you know you were on holidays when you took it – well, it’s pretty hard to beat that feeling.
Do you have any other suggestions for selling your travel photos online? Let us know below.