As a semiprofessional photographer, specializing in travel and wildlife photography, I have been researching the best ways to sell my photographs. This has always been fairly difficult over the last couple of decades, but now with the advent of digital cameras, inexpensive photo editing software and inexpensive travel to previously impossible destinations there is a huge amount of competition. Many of the professional photo libraries have a very high quality requirement and even professional photographers can find it difficult to make much money, but I have found one web-site that allows me to sell many of my photographs in an unique way: Zazzle.com
Zazzle.com is a web site that allows you to sell your photographs or artwork. Unlike many photograph libraries, which can have very strict quality requirement and only sell the image you have created, Zazzle generate products featuring your artwork, which they sell and you receive commission. The products include T-Shirts, posters, framed prints, mugs, mouse pads, American postage stamps, skateboards, shoes, bags, postcards and greeting cards.
The products are created virtually on the screen from jpeg files uploaded to the web site. The actual product will not be made until someone orders them, but the on-screen representation of each item is very good. All you have to do is open an account and upload the pictures into your library, then tell the web-site which picture you want available on each type of product. You can add a description and key-words/tags for each item so that other people can search for it, then make it available for sale. Commission is paid on any sales you make at a default rate of 10%, although you can change the commission rate. A greeting card that sells for $2.65 will gain you $0.26 in commission or a $14 T-shirt $1.40 etc.
Separate “Galleries” can be created for different types of image or product and you creations can then be marketed via the Zazzle community, which is similar to many other internet communities. You will acquire a fan club and can become other peoples’ fans and exchange messages or comments on their work. Examples of mine are at: http://www.zazzle.com/AndyPo
I joined Zazzle because I have published many of my travel and wildlife photographs on Squidoo.com in conjunction with various travel reviews (e.g. www.squidoo.com/borneomonkeys ) and I receive a reasonable income each month from people looking at my photos. Other squidoo and Zazzle users recommended that I publish the photos on Zazzle then promote them via my articles published on Squidoo.
When someone finds one of my articles via a web-search, if they like the photos they can purchase an apron, mug or hat with the image on. So I get money from Internet traffic, but also occasionally for selling products with the images on. I expected to make nothing at all, but after just a couple of months I am getting the occasional sale and a small amount of commission and I haven’t made a huge effort in marketing my galleries. Many of the other users of the site have put rather more effort into creating the products. Mine simply have my photographs on, but many users add captions or greetings inside the cards etc.
Setting up a Zazzle gallery is fairly quick, although uploading the photos is a bit slow because you need to upload a large high quality file, but the web site is easy to navigate. The amount of money you make from publishing artwork in this way will depend on how well you market it. Twitter and Squidoo are ideal methods for doing this externally, but being active in the Zazzle community could also work. Don’t expect to get rich, but Zazzle could be a fun way to make a bit of extra money from the Internet. There is also a UK Zazzle web site, but I joined the US web site because of the larger potential audience. This is a fun way to make a little extra cash, if not the professional photographer career I was hoping for.