How to Generate and Earn Royalty Income by Marina Peters

“How to Generate and Earn Royalty Income: From Casual Side Income to a New Investment Category” by Marina Peters

About “How to Generate and Earn Royalty Income” by Marina Peters

Learn how to easily create a steady income stream from royalties.

Royalty Income might become the next big thing in investments due to its very low correlation with other asset classes.

Stocks may fall but people continue to listen to their favorite music.

Book Excerpt (Chapter 8.5) of “How to Generate and Earn Royalty Income” by Marina Peters

How to make money from photo licensing (Chapter 8.5)


Photos and photographers are in high demand more than ever. This is because large corporations, businesses of various sizes, marketers, publishers, advertisers, bloggers, web and graphic designers buy and use photos regularly online. Pictures of people, foods, tools and equipment, cities, landscapes, nature, etc. are being sought after by online users.

Also, there are now tools that can easily match photos to their respective creators. Thus, the era of stealing photos is fading away. This paves the way for financial prosperity for photographers. They can now safeguard their work, while also earning a stream of income from it.

Just like every art form, photography is an artistic pursuit whose attraction lies in the person’s passion and creative abilities, rather than its earning potentials. However, while it may be a hobby, it is also a lucrative profession that could be turned into a career. Many revenue-generating opportunities lie in waiting for photographers.

Even if you don’t have a studio of your own yet, you can still make your way around the profession. There are clients that take interest in outdoor or location shoots. Some clients also need photographers to help them commemorate special moments in their lives. People make photoshoots for newborn babies, pre-birthdays, pre-weddings, pets, real estate ads, etc.

To get started, build a strong online portfolio, have a personal website, inform your close associates (that is, friends and family), and utilize the fan base widening potentials of social media and share your works there. Usually, photographers charge a minimum of $100 per session.

Licensing options for photos
How to Generate and Earn Royalty Income Marina Peters

How to Generate and Earn Royalty Income Marina Peters

To license the photos you have created, as a photographer, it is essential to consider the purpose to which they will be put. If your prospective client aims to use the photos as sales or marketing tools (such as, in a brochure, catalog, or advertisement), it is necessary to license them for commercial use. However, the use to which they are put are not for profit-making, you may have to grant such clients non-commercial rights.

Another consideration is the exclusivity rights of the photos. For clients who require product photography, photographers can grant such exclusive rights to be used for a specific purpose, time, and geographical location. However, for more generic photos, nonexclusive rights might be the best option as it will create room for you to resell those licensed photos later.

The third option – first rights – is suitable for photojournalists. It allows for an image to be resold after being used. The image right could also be for one-time use if they only need it for a particular purpose.

Other options are royalty-free or rights-managed agreements, often associated with stock photography. While the former involves a one-time payment for the use of a photo, and not having to pay again for extra uses, the latter involves paying (for a license) to use a photo each time the client intends to use it. Royalty-free images can be sold to multiple stock sites.

How to sell image licenses

It is possible to make money off a photo or an image more than once.

Stock photography websites

Stock photography is now home to those willing to sell their products online. You can license your image on stock photography websites who, in turn, sell the rights to use your photos to users such as website and graphic designers, and online publishers. It is recommended to study their photo licensing agreement before putting up your photos there.

Stock websites include, among others, Gettyimages, Shutterstock, Alamy, Etsy, Stockcy, iStockphoto, and Dreamstime. Some of these agencies have an equal split with the photographer while others pay on a commission basis.

  • Shutterstock. Shutterstock is home to over 200 million images, music tracks, and videos for royalty-free purchases. It has millions of purchasing customers. It has paid out over $500 million to its community of contributors across the globe. Shutterstock protects the copyrights of photo owners by granting them ownership credit. As a contributor, you earn each time your content gets downloaded by each customer, and you can make between 20% – 30% on a monthly basis when the payout is usually done.
  • Alamy. Alamy is a fast-growing stock photo platform. It now boasts as a major contender of Shutterstock and Adobe Stock. Photographers do not require any license or copyrights to upload their photos on the platform. Alamy has made payouts worth $180 million to photographers. It allows photographers to earn up to 50% on each sale, making it one of the most profitable online stock photo websites to sell photos.
  • Etsy. Etsy is home to unique handmade goods and boasts of over 30 million users. It has one of the largest audiences and a stable market for purchasing customers. It allows you to sell your prints which, however, have to be packed and shipped. It places price and design setting at the discretion of the photographer.
  • You can also create a personal Flickr account, upload your photos there, and license them through Getty Images
Your website

Lots of photographers now create their personal websites to sell licensed use of their images. On your website, create an online photography portfolio where you or your work can be easily discovered. Having a personal photo website comes with a lot of benefits – the setting of price and terms of use is based on your discretion, no one takes a portion of your revenue, and you are in total control of activities on it. Many professional photography websites utilize WordPress in their website creation. After creation, you need to display your photos beautifully such that they are attractive and convincing to visitors to make purchases.

Publications and magazines

As a photographer, you can seek publications (both print and online) that would befit your kind of photography, and find out if they need the photos you create. If they need, you can sell licensed photos to them, based on agreement.

Tips to help you when submitting your photos
  • Possess necessary property releases to indicate that you are the real owner of the photograph copyright.
  • Use your preferred licensing model in line with your area of photography.
  • Research and select stock photo agency that has competitive prices, the best commission, and possibly offer discounts.
  • Understand the terms of use, submission requirements, and policies well before agreeing to make photo submissions.
  • Always consider more than one platform for photo submissions. Rejection is peculiar to the agencies.
  • Shoot and submit new work regularly to make your portfolio fresh and up-to-date with market demands.
Other Opportunity: Sell your prints

People are ready to pay for creative works of art (that are of high quality). You can earn some extra money by offering those prints for sale. However, before selling those prints, you require a good printing service (such as AdoramaPix) to ensure top-notch photo quality. Also, avoid selling photos having people in them as people tend not to buy them. Rather, make the prints what they could easily display in their homes or offices.

Here are a few ways to sell your prints:

  • On your photo website or on sites such as ImageKind.
  • Display framed copies of the prints at artwork fairs. You can get your purchasing clients there.
  • Display your photos at restaurants, coffee shops, parks, or any other outlets where people often gather.
  • Offer your clients printed copies directly.
  • Local art or photography galleries are also places to sell your photos.
Other Opportunity: Start a niche photography business

You might be versatile as a photographer; however, having a specific niche puts you ahead of other photographers. If you love capturing animals, a pet photography business might be your best bet. If you enjoy traveling, you might fit into travel photography where you take pictures of beautiful sceneries and landscapes. Even if you would be combining several niches, make sure they are related. This increases your credibility, while also building your reputation as an expert in your chosen niche.

For instance, a client who requires the services of a photographer for his wedding will tend to hire a photographer who exclusively specializes in shooting weddings, rather than a pet photographer. As a niche photographer, know your onions and be the best at it. If you make your clients happy and satisfied, they can easily recommend you to their friends.

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