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How to Sell Your Photos on Instagram & Make The Most Money

Do you know how much time goes into creating that perfect Instagram post?

A lot, that’s what.

The average influencer spends between 30 mins to 1.25 hours shooting, editing and captioning an Instagram post.

With all that effort, it’s a pity they almost instantly get buried under a tidal wave of oncoming traffic and thus, disappear from relevance.

But what if you could sell Instagram photos to make money off of them?

Well, you can!

And we’re talking major money – not just the cents you’ll get from selling stock photos.

We’ll cover:

  • Selling images online via ecommerce
  • Selling branded content opportunities
  • Selling your images as tangible prints

We’ll show you how.

Sell Instagram photos online

Brands love authentic images, and yet find it difficult to come by them. This is an incredible opportunity for Instagrammers who have tons of great images and don’t know what to do with them. Fill a niche by providing authentic images available to brands and get paid for it!

There are two methods you could go by:

  1. Sell individual images
  2. Sell thematic image packages

Each has their merits, and they can be used either in tandem or individually. Individual images might be the kind that are distinctive, excellent, breathtaking, and very specific.

Thematic images might be more of a generically classifiable image, for example, nature, sky, workplace, flatlays, and more.

Love taking pictures of your food?

How about selling your food pics, like DesignCoon (they’re selling for $0, but you don’t have to).

How to make it happen?

  1. Create an account on Sellfy – it’s the most appropriate sales platform for digital goods and will make the process super easy
  2. Identify which images you think would be interesting for brands to purchase.
  3. Decide which images you can group together thematically, and which images you want to sell individually
  4. Upload the products to Sellfy and set your price
  5. Make sure to mention in the description the status of the images the brands are buying – ex. commercial use, editorial use, etc. Take a look at legal licensing terminology here.

Sell branded content opportunities

Say you’re great at creating flatlays.

You know who probably isn’t?

Brands.

Make it easy for brands to get their products placed in incredible images by offering up the opportunity proactively. Then, all it takes for the brand’s side is to accept the offer. By having a ready-made offer for brands, you make it super easy for the brands to say “yes”. You’re saving the both time and effort, reduce the friction of negotiation, and therefore become much more likely to land a corporate cooperation with them.

Take this scenario, for example:

You have a great flatlay planned, and you would be able to easily insert a branded item into it. Place that opportunity for sale online, and let brands know about it.

How to get brands to know about the branded content opportunities?

Put together a sales sheet including some examples of your work, the opportunities that you have available (aka planned content for your channel), and then include pricing to it.

For more details on how to discover and approach brands, take a look at the in-depth guide by Sylvia Kerali.

Note: This certainly falls under the “influencer marketing” category, and a prerequisite for this to work is to have a considerable social following. A good place to start would be if you have several thousand followers.

Letting brands know that you’re open to collaboration is also important, and can be signaled by entering your contact info in your bio, like influencer Emily Beatrice Jackson has done.

How to make it happen:

  1. First, develop a social following (admittedly, this is easier said than done, and this has to be done over time, and continuously and systematically building a presence, making use of all of the good case practices of developing a social presence)
  2. Develop a proposal detailing the opportunities and costs for brands
  3. Identify which brands would be likely to be interested in reaching the same audience that follows you
  4. Send the proposal to the brands on your list, negotiate, and repeat.
  5. Make sure to put your contact info in your bio so that brands know how to get in touch if they’re interested.

Sell your images in physical format

When all else fails, how about selling your images as prints to your dedicated fans and followers?

All you need is excellent photographs (check), as well as a group of people who adore your style.

With both boxes ticked, you’re set to get selling Instagram photos in physical form.

There’s a variety of ways you can make this happen.

  • You can go through the effort of creating a store and selling online
  • You can put them up for sale on an existing market (learn about the pros and cons of this)
  • Totally freelance it

Take the case of photographer Daniel Arnold, who made $15,000 in one day selling his photos on Instagram.

He had $91 to his name on his 34th birthday, but thousands of images on Instagram. He decided to give selling his images a go. He posted this message to his Instagram followers:

Hello, I just turned 34 this second. For one day only I am selling 4×6 prints of whatever you want from my Instagram archive for $150 each. I swear I will never sell anything this cheap again. If you’re interested, send a screenshot of the photo(s) of your choice to [email protected] (one d) and I will send a paypal invoice, followed by a signed print. Easy peasy. Happy my birthday. I love you”

By the next day, he had over $15,000 in orders. As a self-proclaimed business idiot, if he can do it, so can you.

Then there are individuals, such as photographer Bren Ruiz Rojas, who have a link in his bio that directs visitors to where they can purchase the images in physical form. The link can stay there indefinitely, thereby making it more likely to become a regular source of income.

How to make it happen:

  1. Decide which platform you will host your sales on. They can be either Sellfy, Etsy, Shopify, or any custom built website
  2. Choose how you will print the images – either a DIY approach and go to your local photo printer, or have that outsourced by print fulfillment services such as Printful
  3. Enter your sales URL in your Instagram bio to let visitors know where to find your photos
  4. When orders come in, make sure to promptly print and send them to your customers

Selling for the most money

As you can see, the more creative you get when thinking about how to sell pictures on Instagram, the more opportunities there are, and the higher the profit margins there may be.

Now if selling your Instagram photos turns out not to be your cup of tea, no worries. There are plenty of ways to use Instagram as a platform to make more sales. Take a look at our in-depth article on how to sell on Instagram.