For those interested in monetizing their collection of food photographs, or cultivating an interest in food photography with the objective of getting paid, the Internet offers several options through online photo submissions.
Besides web-based photography services, websites that offer photo storage and online galleries, licensed downloads or products that feature your photos, “99 Ways to Make Money from Your Photos” suggests iPhone-based promotions, working with sales reps and building subscription lists.
Ehow writer Irene A. Blake suggests submitting photos to stock photo sites such as Bigstock, iStock Photo and Shutterstock, as well as selling photos through art, craft or custom merchandise sites such as ArtFire, DaWanda, deviantART and CafePress.
Blake recommends selling photography services through mobile work global marketplaces such as Fiverr, Gigbucks and Gigwalk, and claims that as of 2012, short projects usually start at $5 to $10.
Blake also recommends emailing photos to publishers of publications that you’re interested in that pay for submissions.
“If a publisher also pays for articles or short blog posts, and you have writing ability, submit an article with your photos to show the company that you’re someone they can turn to for both writing and photography projects,” writes Blake.
“If a publisher accepts your work, link back to it when it’s published on your website and elsewhere to build your reputation and increase interest.”
Online storage sites like Flickr are great for displaying photo streams, learning how to improve skills, and networking to make contacts.
In addition to shooting good quality images, when storing those images online, keywords are important.
The Editors of Photopreneur claim stats on web-based storage sites can tell you which images have generated the most views and the most comments, how those images were found, and what keywords they used to find them.
“Create sets and collections for easy browsing and only show your best work in each category. If a buyer wants to see more, he can contact you, but show your skill not every image you’ve ever taken.”
Image descriptions can inform potential buyers that a photo is available for licensing or for sale as a print. That will show buyers that you understand the commercial side of photography and you’re willing to make a deal.
Networking, or spinning your web, is a key element in achieving success in selling your photos. Establish a digital domain — website or online storage site — as a medium to display your portfolio.
Become active in groups and forums, comment on other photographers’ photos, and include your photo stream URL on your email signatures.
StockFood, an international food image agency, offers a web-based food picture database with a unique variety of Rights-managed and Royalty-free food images, videos and features by more than 1,000 international photographers and filmmakers.
Please note the following conditions for submitting images, videos and features. To apply to StockFood for the first time, please send an email with your contact details and a link to your website to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Key Suggestions
According to a Toronto based food product photographer writing for Food Photography 101, no matter how much (or little) you charge, the public will expect professional quality work the minute you put your name out there.
This Toronto food photographer also makes the following three suggestions:
1) Start with small opportunities, build your expertise and bigger customers will hear about you. Don’t forget, small or big gig requires the same amount of dedication, professionalism and effort.
2) Concentrate on one particular thing and stick with it (food photography). I’ve seen way too many beginners that specialize in following: product, portrait, fashion, landscape and Wedding photography. Even very, very few pros out there are able to master them all.
3) Good marketing & advertising holds an important key to success. That key is to make a profit, big or small.
Explore all free advertising options such as email, local newspaper listing and free Internet business listing like Google, Yahoo etc. You’ll be surprised how many potential clients you can reach this way. If you have some money to spare, you might look into things like Google AdWords.
You can set your budget with AdWords as low as $20 a month. Don’t forget one thing: word of mouth. Never underestimate this powerful advertising medium. Start-up companies have been made and broken by word of mouth alone.