I would like to share my experience of selling photos on flickr. I am an amateur photographer and regularly upload photos to flickr from my trips or events such as birthday parties. Several times different people have contacted me over flickr mail asking me for permission to use my photos in their work – most likely to be used for advertisement. I did not want to give my work just like that for free because of two reasons. First, if other people earn money from my photos it is fair that they pay me for the photo. Second, anything (including a photo) is obtained for free, it is considered less valuable than others that cost something – shortly my photos are valuable for me and I want others to value them by paying.
The photos which I sold until now from flickr are.
So what do you need to do to sell photos in such a way over flickr? I recommend that you:
· Use relevant title
· Assign relevant tags
· Write description
· Put your photo in relevant groups
· Use “All rights reserved” copyright
· Prepare a price list
· Prepare a copyright text for licensing your photo
· Restrict the access to your original image
· Finally, it is obvious that you have to make your photo public
The title and tags for your photo help users to find it easily when they search on flickr.
The description of the photo is useful to give more additional details of the photo – background, event, location etc.
Adding your photo in relevant groups increases its visibility and popularity. For example, when you add your photo in groups, people comment on it and add it to their favorite collection. The popularity (interestingness) of your photo increases with the number of people who add it as favorite and also commented it. Usually, more popular (interesting) photos are shown first in the search results and also displayed at various places which are visited by many people such as the flickr explore front page.
Set the copyright of your photos to “All rights reserved”. If your photo is assigned a derivative of creative commons license other people can use it without asking you for permission and also paying you. Now I don’t know precisely how the creative commons licenses in flicker differ between each other but the safest option is “all rights reserved”.
Prepare a consistent price list for your photos. To do so you can use as reference the prices of various sites which sell photos such as iStockphoto, GettyImages or check the web sites of photographers for their price list or ask your friends photographers for advice. But your prices should be reasonable – not overpriced because nobody will buy your photo. Easiest is to have a flat price for all your photos for all kinds of uses, for example 100 Euros per photo.
You should have a ready copyright text (license) for your photo. This is a very subtle part of the whole story. I advise you to see with a lawyer for that. Also, you can prepare your own copyright text by using the License of web sites which sell photos as a reference. However, you should be careful about few things:
· People who appear in the photo – if you don’t have model release delegate the responsibility of obtaining one to the person who buys the photo
· Copyrighted materials and trademarks such as pictures, sculptures, cars, brand names etc. – try to retouch these in photo editing software such as photoshop
· Buildings and monuments – if you don’t have property release for the buildings in your photo delegate the responsibility to the buyer
· Make sure that the photo will not be used for bad purposes.
Here is an example photo license agreement.
By restricting the access to your original image (from flickr account management->Privacy & Permission) other people cannot download the original high resolution photos that you have uploaded but only see the low resolution image.