New Ways to Sell Your Images

While many in the photography industry lament the loss of “the way things were” – I continue to be positive that there are more ways for photographers to make money today than ever before. Not only that, there continue to be new ways to sell your images.

beach

This shot was taken at a remote beach on the east coast of New Zealand. Very specific images like this suit the ImageBrief model.

Currently, some of my key ways for generating income through photography are:


  • Selling my images through a stock photography site
  • Local wedding clients
  • Local family portrait clients
  • Local portrait clients
  • Selling prints online
  • Helping other photographers to run their own businesses
  • Selling copies of an e-book I wrote about stock photography

This week I’ve been learning more about an online business called ImageBrief. It has been around for a while now, but is new to me.

How Does it Work? ImageBrief works by people who need images writing a specific brief for photographers to work to. The buyers are, in the main, advertising agencies and corporate clients. They are looking for specific, unique images and don’t want images which are broadly available like on a microstock site. On their home page these words sum up what they are aiming to provide to buyers – “Un-Stocky Stock Images”.

What about payment? For each image you get paid a few hundred dollars (in US dollars) through to several thousand dollars. The amount is outlined on the brief. One brief I look at was for hero images of Australian and New Zealand cities. The buyer was needing multiple images and was prepared to pay $3500 per image. That is an attractive amount per image.

How is it different to microstock? It’s clear from the payment structure that images sold via Imagebrief follow a low volume, higher price model compared to microstock. Microstock was built on high volume and low prices which made it attractive to the occasional image buyer and the mass image buyer. Imagebrief is an evolution to meet the needs of the specific image buyer. They don’t want an image which is readily available and widely used elsewhere. In many cases, they want exclusivity of use for a period of time and are prepared to pay for it.

cityscape

ImageBrief connects buyers and sellers around specific requirements.

Why is this attractive for image buyers? For the buyer, using a service like Imagebrief is still cheaper and easier than hiring a photographer to shoot the image directly and gives them some control of the creative process. If they write a good brief they should get a range of images to select from which meets their needs. In that sense it is better than hiring one photographer who shoots in one style. A pool of photographers will provide different images with different styles.

What’s in it for the photographer? Firstly, there is a pipeline of briefs being written by buyers every day. If you are wanting to know what is in demand by modern image buyers, start reading the briefs. Secondly, it gives the photographer access to image buyers around the world. If you are only shooting for local clients, Imagebrief brings you in contact with a much broader range of buyers. And thirdly, the combination of the first two points means this is a financial opportunity and one of the new ways to sell your images.

Interestingly, the information on ImageBrief talks about being able to use your existing library of images to meet buyers needs. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of commercially useful images just sitting around. They are either being used by clients, or available through my stock photography portfolio. I believe it’s more realistic to be using the briefs to go and shoot new content, rather than using your existing files.

Will it be successful? This model has the potential to be very successful. It enables the buyer to tap into a pool of photographers around the world, and to write a specific brief for them. Photographers should be able to produce images which match directly to the buyers needs. In many ways I see this model as an extension to stock photography, but improved by the fact the buyer outlines exactly what they need, rather than hoping they find a suitable image in a stock library. It is a great example of leveraging the ‘connected world’ through an online marketplace to better match the needs of the buyer and seller.

Thanks for reading new ways to sell your images. Head on over to ImageBrief to check it out.

Disclosure – the links to the Imagebrief site in this post have a referral which Craig Dingle Photography Pty Ltd may benefit from financially. Under the current terms of the program my business would earn a US$50 voucher when any photographer who signs up with ImageBrief via this link sells their first image. 

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