You’ve decided you want to take the plunge and start selling your photos, so what’s the first step? Well, you want to begin with your core product -and that is of course your images
– Overview – Different types of customers & their image needs – Get to know image licensing – Best practices for selecting photos for your store – The best workflow tricks to select your images – Pricing
The process of taking an image and then selling that image are both very different and there are a few key points to consider before you jump into the world of selling photography.
First, you should consider what it is exactly you want to gain from selling your images, having goals in mind will help you stay accountable for the work you put in. How should also consider how you want your images to be used, and also, how you want to appear as a photographer – a lot of this will come from the images you choose to make available for sale and how your storefront appears to customers.
We recommend thinking about yourself those questions before you start looking through your images for what to sell, and getting your plans ready for your store.
The different types of customers & their image needs
A lot of the success from selling your images depends on the type of customer your photography is suitable for, and how you market to them. As we’ve mentioned above, the type of images sold for wall art tend to very different to images used for commercial or editorial use and it’s important to keep this in mind.
If you’re unsure about a particular market that your photography might cater to, or you want to sell your images to all types of customer that’s absolutely fine, and in fact, this is what most photographers do. It’s just worth noting the different types of customers, to ensure that your offering is the best it can be, and it’s also the best way to start thinking about how to select images.
Generally speaking, photography customers fall into these three types:
These customers purchase images for the purpose of ad campaigns, marketing collateral, products and so forth – basically anything that has a commercial objective associated with it.
Usually, commercial customers are be looking for technically sound, good-quality images that are a true representation of the subject. What we mean by this, is images that are natural-looking and haven’t had too many filters or edits applied to them. Commercial customers normally apply their own edits to fit with their campaign or product – so allowing them that flexibility will, ultimately, increase your chances of selling.
These are customers that will use license your images for things like magazines, book covers, online articles and so on. And similar to commercial customers, editorial customers generally need clean, neutral and natural-looking images that accurately represent the subject.
Top tips from the pros:
“Always think about editorial space – this is ‘empty’ or clean areas of images where text can be added for advertising and page layouts. For instance, if shooting a landscape format image, compose with the subject on one half of the frame rather than in the middle. For portrait format images, leave space above and below the subject.”
Private customers looking for images for personal use, usually for their wall can make up significant slice of a photographer’s revenue stream and it’s often an area that’s overlooked.
This is where you can be a bit more creative too, as generally, the more bold and striking your images are, the better they are for wall art. There’s still some general rules for what makes a good image for wall art, which you can read about in our dedicated guide.
Get to know image licensing
When you’re selling images in an online environment, whether that’s something you do of your own accord, or via an agency or library, you’re almost always going to be selling them on a licence basis.
Image licensing refers to the practice of selling a license to use your image in a specific way, rather than selling your photo outright to a buyer. It is the industry-standard method for selling photos for editorial, commercial and advertising use, as well as wall art in the form of a personal licence. Licenses typically take the form of an agreement which stipulates precisely the terms in which the buyer can use your image in return for the fee. Licenses are used to give you, as the photographer, greater control over how your images are used. They also protect your copyright.
So to clarify, when someone purchases a licence for your photo, it means that they cannot use the image in any way they wish, or claim the image as their own. They’ve bought a licence to use your photo in a specific way, not the image itself.
“When you’re selling images in an online environment, whether that’s something you do of your own accord, or via an agency or library, you’re almost always going to be selling them on a licence basis.”
Best practices for selecting photos for your store
Think about your buyers first
Taking the above information in mind, look through your images and ask yourself the question, who would buy that image? How might a customer use this image? Getting into this mindset will help you the best select your shots.
Less is more
While it can be tempting to include your entire library of images, you really want to be showing only your best work – it will make your offering stand out much more.
Having a finely-curated selection of images in your portfolio will show you’re careful and considerate about what you’re displaying. Browsing photography should be a pleasing experience for the viewer – nobody wants to sift through hundreds of images to find what they are looking for, you should be guiding their eye right away to what they should be buying.
It might take a bit of tough love to whittle down your images, and it can also take time, being able to critique your own photos is a skill to learn, but it’s important to do, and it will help you with your photography development. You should also ask your peers, friends and family for feedback and their thoughts too – having an objective eye on your images can be really refreshing.
But you still need a good number of images
While it pays to be selective with what you include in your portfolio, you also need to ensure that your image offering isn’t tiny. What we mean by this, is that it’s unrealistic to expect that having a portfolio or store with just a few images will reap huge rewards for you. The more (curated) photos on your site, the bigger the chance that you’ll have an image that connects with a buyer.
If you’re just starting out and only have a small number of images that you feel are your best, that’s fine–but if that’s the case, get out there and start shooting more so you can build up your portfolio.
Choose your most technically-sound images. Look at your shots at 100% to check they aren’t out of focus, blurry or have any other defects. Selling a bad quality image could easily land you with an unhappy customer, and repeat business might make up a significant amount of your revenue over time.
You also want to make sure that your images have a good level of sharpness. Also, make sure they are free of heavy noise artefacts, usually caused by high ISO settings.
Choose the biggest possible size for your images in terms of pixels as this will open up their selling potential. Larger images will allow for a greater scope of use, for example, larger print sizes. We’d recommend sticking to the original size of the image as much as possible.
If the original image size isn’t very large (as is the case with some smartphone images), you can use Photoshop’s Super Resolution feature to increase the image size without compromising on overall quality.
Customers, whether they are commercial, editorial or personal will expect your images to be authentic and a true representation of the scene. Keeping your edits small and simple, actually increases their commercial potential.
“Customers, whether they are commercial, editorial or personal will expect your images to be authentic and a true representation of the scene.”
Show off what makes you original
Your very best images should be what you display on your store and in your portfolio. The images that you are the most proud of, worked the hardest to get, those serendipitous moments – all should be included. Customers want to see what makes you and your work original. And with this in mind, being able to develop a unique style over time could help you immensely in the long run.
Work in series
If you work in lots of different photographic areas, or have images based on specific locations, subjects, or events – you should select and sort them based on their series (and subsequently display them as a set). Also, this way, if someone is looking for a specific type of image, you’re guiding them to a place with more similarly-themed images to browse and choose from!
Top tips from the professionals:
“Always capture images in both landscape and portrait format if it suits the subject; this gives buyers more options if they’re looking for a specific format.”
The best workflow tricks to help you select your images
Image editing programmes like Adobe Lightroom and CaptureOne are perfect for helping you identify what images you want to sell with their handy workflow tools, you’ll see a couple of them below. The following are specific to Lightroom, but they also aren’t dissimilar to other workflow programs and in general, will all follow the same processes.
Import all of your images & review in one place
This is the best way to start to go through all of the images you’ve taken; to help decide what you want to include in your store. Also, it’s always a good idea to take another look through your older images too, as you may find that you’ll discover some hidden gems you disregarded the last time round.
Create Lightroom Collections
Simply put, Collections in Lightroom are a way that you can group images into a set. In this case, you can use collections to group images, for example, based on your favorites, or images ideal for wall art, editorial or commercial use. This again will help you whittle down the images you want to include.
Use the Ratings system
This is where you can give your photos a star rating between 1 – 5, so for example, you can quickly and easily rate images a particular number to mark those you want to add to your store or portfolio. You can also sort views by ratings so you can see how all of your images look together.
Export your images in one go
When you’re ready to create the files to upload to your store and/ or portfolio you can export them to dedicated folders and locations which means you wont risk missing important settings for some of your files.
How to price your images
Choosing the price you want to sell your images is a very personal choice, and ultimately it’ll be down to you to decide. But it’s also worth doing some market research to make sure you’re not pricing yourself out of the market.
Look at other photographers who shoot similar subjects to you and see how they are pricing their images. It also helps to think about the lowest amount you would be happy with for your shots and work your way up from that figure.
That doesn’t mean you should be undervaluing your work, however, and sometimes photography should warrant a high price to reflect your hard work. Particularly if the image shows a rare subject, or if it was complex or challenging to photograph.
The photography world is ever-evolving and changing, so with this make sure you review your prices constantly too.
The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Photography
Everything you need to know to start selling your photography online, drawn from decades of experience from industry leaders, professional photographers, and Focus’ in-house experts.
We all get frustrated in our work sometimes. Often, that dissatisfaction stems from a lack of clarity in our purpose and our actions. But what if you could learn how to focus on the right actions, for the right reasons, and in the right order? What if you could start moving forward in your business with a clearer, more defined objective?
Debbie Peterson is a certified trainer and master practitioner in neurolinguistic programming through the Association of Integrative Psychology. She’s also a nationally recognized speaker and the author of “Clarity: How Smart Professionals Create Career Success on Their Terms.” In her book, coaching, and speaking engagements Peterson asserts that even the most confused entrepreneurs can achieve clarity by taking a few basic steps in their approach to work. It starts by focusing on five key elements:
Move away from thoughts like Why is this happening to me? and think about what you want to do to improve your situation.
1. Mindset. Focus on the things you want rather than the things you don’t want. It takes time to change your mindset, but it’s possible with consistent daily effort. The process begins with how you start your day. When you wake up in the morning, do you focus on everything that could go wrong, or do you focus on opportunities? Move away from thoughts like Why is this happening to me? and think about what you want to do to improve your situation. This is an empowering process of taking control of your thoughts and your future.
2. Passion. What do you want and why? Do you have clarity in the direction of your business? What is the overall goal for your business? Knowing the answers to these questions is important because it helps you tell your mind what you want to find.
3. Planning. Get your plans out of your head and onto paper. Write it down; sketch is out. Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) and plan out ways you will gain better clarity in your work.
4. People. Who can help you reach your goals? You need a support network, people who understand you and raise you up. Fill your inner circle with people who can help you get what you want. If you feel like you need to figure it out all by yourself, you’ll get stuck. Remember the proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
5. Performance. What gets in the way of your success—fear of failure, time management, other people? Think about whether you have control or influence over those things. This is important because success comes by choice, not by chance. Are you putting your time and energy into what you want or into the obstacles that are blocking your progress? You get to choose, so choose wisely.
PRIORITIZE TO THRIVE
Once you’ve organized your process around the five keys to clarity, Peterson recommends getting specific about the work you’re doing and the order in which you’re doing it. She suggests making a career bucket list. Write down all the things you want to do in your business, then divvy them into A, B, and C buckets:
A is critical.
B is important.
C is interesting but can wait.
“The key here is to divide them equally, so you’re forced to prioritize rather than dumping everything into the critical bucket,” says Peterson. Within each bucket, prioritize again. List each task in order of importance so you have A1, A2, A3, etc. When you’re done, you’ll have an ordered list of tasks you can tackle one after another rather than drowning in endless, cluttered lists.
You can use the bucket list exercise across many areas in your business, from to-do lists to long-term strategic plans. Peterson goes through this process weekly for her regular to-do list and at longer intervals (every few months) for long-term planning.
THE POWER OF THREE
When you run through the bucket list exercise, you’ll have an orderly list organized by importance. Next, think about the three things you can do every day to help you achieve your A1 goal. Then move on to the A2 goal and the three things you can do to accomplish that. “Every single day you are focusing on what’s most important for your business, and you’re making an agreement with yourself to move toward that goal,” says Peterson. This process helps alleviate the all-or-nothing thinking that overwhelms people. Instead of looking at everything you must do and getting overwhelmed, divide your workload into prioritized lists and give yourself the ability to tackle them one at a time.
8 STEPS TO FOCUS YOUR BRAIN
1. Recognize your brain’s limits. Prevent overload by eliminating as many distractions as you can.
2. Stop trying to multitask. You can’t do more than one thing at a time. It takes time for your brain to switch between two things.
3. Write a to-do list. Relieve your mental load by putting tasks and worries on paper instead of letting yourself ruminate.
4. Identify motivators. When you’re avoiding a task, think about the benefits of getting it done to stop procrastinating.
5. Zone out with exercise. Physical activity can increase dopamine, which drives your brain, but let your mind wander to recharge your concentration.
6. Cut the clutter. A messy environment commands your brain’s attention, making it more challenging to focus.
7. Seek some quiet. Research shows that auditory distractions can be disruptive to a brain that’s trying to focus.
8. Tip up a coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda. There’s a reason caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world. It works.
Clarity comes from within. Unfortunately, a lot of us look elsewhere when assessing success, and this can confuse the process. To reach a state of clarity in your work, figure out what works for you, and determine your own model of success instead of measuring yourself by what others find important. Peterson recommends taking three steps to establish your own measuring stick:
1. Understand your core business values. What does your business stand for? Determine your core values, then build an experience around what you want to create. Ask yourself how you want to feel throughout the day and what experiences you want to have within your business. Think about times when you felt motivated, when there was a natural flow to your work. That was an experience. Identify those times and work to build more of them into your work.
2. Run your own race. We all get caught up comparing ourselves to everything else we see. But what does success mean to you? Pause to truly consider this question. Then write down the answer and make it one of your goals. Otherwise, you’ll just be chasing others’ (often unattainable) visions of success.
3. Partner with the right people. Your ideal partners will fall into two camps: the people who surround you and the people who support you. The people who surround you are the folks who make up your inner circle. However, not everyone who is with us is for us. Sometimes you need to evaluate your inner circle and make sure you’re surrounded by people who believe in you. The people who support you are individuals who are trying to create something similar to what you’re trying to create. Tap into the experience and motivation of others who are on the same path. When like-minded people come together and focus on each one in turn, action is sparked. You can tap into the momentum of the group and hold each other accountable.
CONTINUING THE JOURNEY
Clarity is a journey, not a destination. This is a rinse-and-repeat system designed to help people continue down the path toward clarity while reaching important milestones along the way. Every time there’s a challenge or a new step in your business, Peterson recommends going back to the five keys to clarity:
Consider your mindset.
Figure out what you really want (your passion).
Make a plan.
Find the people who can help you.
Focus on your performance.
Going back to this process, again and again, helps provide context; it defines who you are as a businessperson and what you want to achieve. When you do that, the markers start lining up, and the path forward becomes clear. You start making your own answers to questions that previously befuddled you.
“Having clarity helps you rebound and reach your potential,” says Peterson. “And you have far more potential than you realize.”
Do you enjoy taking photos but find yourself buried in unprocessed images? This article is for you! I’m going to give you my top 10 photo editing tips for speeding up your workflow.
I do most of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom. But the basic principles apply regardless of the editing software you use.
The goal is to get from import to export efficiently. Don’t lose your photographic mojo or let your favourite photography gather digital dust.
10. Fix Your Images In-Camera to Save Time
Often, you will take a photo knowing that you’ll have to fix something later in post-processing.
But if you can fix it now in-camera, you don’t have to fix it later. With a quick spin of a dial, you can change the exposure. Zoom in for a tighter crop. Straighten that horizon line. It’s better than fussing with straightening it later in post-processing. Especially if you have to adjust 100 horizon lines individually.
You can make adjustments later. But why wait until tomorrow for something that you can do today?
Save on post-processing time by slowing down in the field and looking at the scene. You’ll probably need to take fewer shots to get the one you want.
The closer the in-camera image is to your final image, the less post-processing you have to do.
9. Use Import & Export Tools
Set up your editing software to do things automatically. Lightroom’s import and export tools are a great place to start.
On import, you can add global keywords and metadata like titles and copyright information. Keywording is a pain, but you can’t find your images unless you keyword. By taking a few seconds to apply keywords on import, you will save a lot of time later.
You can even add a develop preset which applies your favourite settings to the imports. You can tweak settings later, but lay the foundation of your post-processing edits on import.
When you’ve finished working, you also have export tools. You can rename images and apply output sharpening. Lightroom makes the changes automatically. You don’t have to think about it.
8. Have a System to Find Your Images Faster
I’ve wasted a lot of time looking for images. If I only had a few, I could probably remember where I put them. But after 1,000 (or 100,000), I need a system for storing images.
Put files in a place where you can find them later. It doesn’t matter what your system is, it’s having the system that’s important. An example of this might be Photographs>Wedding>2018.07.15 – Scott & Wendy.
Speeding up your workflow isn’t just about faster post-processing. It’s about having images at your fingertips when you need them.
7. Edit Only the Best Images
Photographers who fly through post-processing aren’t spending time on each and every photo. They only work on the best of the best.
This means having an effective culling strategy. Culling means deleting photos that didn’t work and targeting ones that did.
Rank your favourites with hearts, colors, flags, or stars. I go through my images quickly to make an initial selection. Then I do it again, narrowing down my favourites. My top shots get more stars. You don’t have to use my system but have a system.
I’m only going to post-process my favourites. I’ve been burned too often. I’ve post-processed an image only to find better light or composition on the next image.
To make this process faster, use a tool like Photo Mechanic. This is a program designed specifically to speed up the culling process.
Post-processing only the best of the best will greatly speed up your workflow.
6. Eliminate Keystrokes
Photo adjustments can be highly repetitious. Use any keyboard shortcuts offered by your post-processing program.
If you are able to do with one keystroke that would normally take two, you’ve saved yourself time and energy. It might not seem like a lot but think of all those thousands of photos in your catalogue. A one-second keystroke becomes a lot when multiplied by a 1000 or 100,000.
For instance, use Lightroom’s Auto-Advance function. To activate this, place a checkmark next to Photo>Auto-Advance. When you add a flag or star during culling, Lightroom automatically advances to the next image. This saves you hundreds of keystrokes each time you cull images.
There are many Lightroom shortcuts. “X” for reject. “D” to switch to the Develop Module. “V” to convert to black and white. Here’s a complete list of Lightroom shortcuts.
5. Use Presets and Auto For Quick Adjustments
It’s quicker to tweak adjustments than apply them from scratch. Start post-processing by using auto options or presets.
The auto-icon usually looks like a magic wand. The software analyzes your image and makes changes. You can check to see what settings Lightroom recommends by clicking the auto button in the Basic panel. If you don’t like the results, you can always undo the changes.
I like a lot of the settings Lightroom suggests, but others I tweak. I tend to like a lot more contrast than Lightroom suggests.
Presets or filters apply a look to your photography with one click. You can download filters or make your own. In Lightroom, you can save favourite settings as a preset. To do this, click the “+” next to the Presets panel in the Develop module. Select Create Preset.
In Photoshop, I save a series of commands as an action.
Saving settings as a preset means that I can apply these with one click.
4. Use Batch-Editing
You may often photograph a series of photos in the same scene or with the same subject. They will have similar lighting and camera settings. There’s no need to post-process each image separately. Instead, batch edit.
Batch editing means post-processing more than one photo at a time.
There are a couple of ways you can do this in Lightroom. You can copy and paste the settings or use the Sync button.
Start by editing one photo.
To copy your settings, select the image you’ve edited and go to Edit>Copy (Ctrl or ⌘C). A dialogue box will appear asking which settings you want to copy. You can check all or individual settings. Then select an unedited image and paste the settings Edit>Paste (Ctrl or ⌘V).
To sync settings, select all similar photos starting with the photo you’ve edited. Click the Sync button in the Develop module. That’s it! Your settings will be applied to all of the photos. It doesn’t matter if you selected two or two hundred.
3. Streamline Your Editing Process
Once you start editing images, have a system. It doesn’t matter what that system looks like – just that you do the same adjustments in the same order.
Some photographers go straight down the Develop Module panel in Lightroom. They fix the Basic settings first, then move down the list. Skip over the settings that don’t apply to your photographic style.
My first change is composition. I crop the image. There’s nothing worse than removing dust spots, straightening lines, and adding a vignette – only to then crop out my hard work. After cropping, I move onto contrast, highlights, shadows, color, and details.
Decide on the settings that you care about most and make changes in the same order. If you often have to go back to readjust a setting, change the order. For instance, adding dehaze often darkens the image. This means I have to readjust exposure. The more you can automate your editing, the faster you will be.
2. Edit on the Go
I have found myself sitting on a plane, train, or bus home from a session, itching to start post-production. Put that time to work.
Set up a mobile post-processing workspace on a laptop or mobile device. This won’t necessarily replace your primary workspace, but you can get started editing. By the time you’re home, you can have your images imported into Lightroom, added keywords, and started culling.
1. Be Decisive
When I think about the things that slow down my workflow, I have to admit that most of the time it’s me.
There are a thousand ways to edit a digital image. I am at my most efficient in post-processing when I’m decisive. I waste time when I vacillate between possibilities. There’s no harm in trying a few different ways of post-processing an image. But then I need to make a choice.
It’s easier if I only have two choices in front of me. This photo or that? This white balance or that?
There is no right way of post-processing an image. It only matters that you like it.
There you go. My top ten photo editing tips to speed up your workflow. This article is more about streamlining how you deal with your images than on how to edit photos. Spending more time at the beginning of the process will stop time being wasted later on.
I use these tips when it comes to my work, and it took a while for the process to become streamlined. Find your own way and share your tips in the comments below.
Jenn Mishra is a fine art travel and landscape photographer based in the St. Louis metro area. Jenn is an active photographic educator and has been invited to speak at conferences such as Out of Chicago. Her photos have been featured in a number of solo exhibitions. Her studio is Wits End Photography. You can see more of Jenn’s photo at http://www.jennifermishra.com or visit her Instagram @jennatwitsendMore By Jenn Mishra >
Take a moment and think of what you want, and how you are going to get it. Regardless of what it is that you want, It will take MONEY to get there!
“A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but Money answereth all things”..Ecclesiastes 10:19 (yes, check your bible, it’s there)
Money can’t buy you happiness, but if you are going to be happy you Will Need Money. Looking at people who have acquired great Wealth, I have recognized they basically have three things in common:
1. Multiple streams of income
2. Residual Income
3. Unlimited, continous, never ending income
Networking marketing (ie..Pyramid) has always gotten a bad rep. Let’s take a closer look;
# Low start-up cost
# Turn-Key (everything needed to get started built in price)
# Low monthly business expenses
# The opportunity to Franchise(without franchise cost)multiple sources of income (travel commissions, direct sales commissions, rep overrides)
# Never-ending residual income (make money once, and receive it continually)
# Worldwide market
This being said I consider myself as being a very astute Entrepreneur who utilizes the tool of NETWORK MARKETING to acquire wealth. The Network Marketing tools I use are; PlanNet Marketing (continuous never-ending residual income), and InteleTravel (travel sales commissions)
Direct Sales Commission
The PlanNet Marketing Rep who sells the InteleTravel home-based Independent Travel Agency (“ITA”) business earns a direct sales commission. When you, as a PlanNet Marketing Rep, sell the InteleTravel Independent Travel Agency business (an ITA sale) for $179.95 and $39.95 monthly, you are paid a Direct Sales Commission of $50.00. There is no limit to the number of $50.00 Direct Sales Commissions you may earn.
Build a Rep Organization and Earn Override Commission
The PlanNet Marketing Rep, in addition to selling the InteleTravel business opportunity, may also choose to build a Rep organization and earn override commissions on Reps in their organization who do the same.
PlanNet Marketing offers the Rep who chooses to build a team and Rep organization, financial freedom and flexibility in achieving that goal. As a team-building Rep, you are provided with an online, feature-rich Virtual Office, complete with all of the marketing and sale tools and support that you need to grow your business. When you enroll someone as a PlanNet Marketing Rep (initial fee $19.95 and $19.95 monthly*) and they make an ITA sale, you, as their Sponsor, are paid a 50% Match ($25.00) on their ITA sales. There is no limit to the number of 50% Match Commissions ($25.00) you may earn. And that’s just the start!
As you continue to enroll Reps, and they, in turn, do the same, your team grows and so does your earning potential. As your business grows, you become eligible for increased levels of earning. Click here for our exceptional compensation plan and explore the many benefits available to you as a PlanNet Marketing Rep.
PlanNet Marketing is committed to your success. We want you to live life the way YOU want to live it, to achieve financial security on your terms, and to improve your life and the lives of others.
It might seem counterintuitive but focusing on a specific corner of the market — whether that be multi-generational travel, cruising or European vacations —is key. Doing so can turn your travel agency into a powerhouse, enabling your business to attract more clients, while showcasing you as an expert in a specific area. You’ll also spend less time researching trips as you continue to build your knowledge about your specific target audience and their needs.
This philosophy is one that Sharon Little, Owner of Bespoke Travel Group, always believed. She knew that, at some point, she would become known for a niche of her own. After all, she had always worked in one, initially in sports travel in the United Kingdom, and then in romance travel thereafter. But an even more specific corner of the market became clear in 2011 on a trip to Jamaica.
“I noticed at every property I visited, there were several weddings each day,” says Little. It turns out that Jamaica is one of the easiest places for Americans to get married legally, and the island offers several other perks for couples, including tropical vibes and close proximity to the East Coast and Midwest. Little also loved the island, so the decision she made was easy: her agency, Bespoke Travel Group (formerly known as Wedding and Honeymoon Travel Group), would focus on couples headed to Jamaica for weddings or honeymoons. “It was my niche within a niche,” Little jokes.
For three to four years, Little only booked these two types of trips, despite getting inquiries for other destinations. Working with top suppliers and vendors, she quickly achieved her goal and became the leading agency for weddings on the island. Although Bespoke Travel now offers trips to a variety of other islands and Mexico, Little is first and foremost an authority on Jamaican romance travel.
“If you’re good at what you do, and you have that knowledge, you become the authority for that niche and the go-to person,” said Little. “Not only were we getting referral business from our customers, but the partners that we worked with often recommended us to their clients, too.”
By zeroing in on a specific travel segment, Little’s reputation precedes her. Her job also requires far less research than if she were booking for a broader range of destinations, saving her valuable time on a day-to-day basis.
“We know what time the sun sets and what time the sun’s actually going down. We know how windy that location is. We know how long it’s going to take the bride to get from her room to the altar and we know what the walkway looks like. Essentially, we know every minute detail. To me, that’s a huge benefit I can offer clients,” Little says. “It also makes the job exponentially easier. Once you have your niche down, you basically know everything, or the majority of the knowledge that you need for every single inquiry.”
Another advantage of a specialization is that competition is reduced and the return on budgeting dollars — because they are focused — is higher. “I’d much rather be laser-focused on a smaller audience but convert them to clients at a much higher rate,” says Little.
How to find your own niche
This starts with discovering your passion. Little suggests asking yourself what you enjoy selling. Whether it is retreat trips for artists, deep-sea fishing excursions or heritage travel to Eastern Europe, it is crucial that you truly enjoy that type of travel and crafting those itineraries.
“If you’re a generalist right now, look at all the different types of travel you are booking,” Little suggests. “Maybe you love planning European itineraries or multi-generational families getting together and having a great experience. Regardless, it must be something you really love. If you aren’t excited about it, it’s not your niche.”
Next, research the market to understand if you can make a living on that slice of the pie. Is it big enough? Is it already saturated? In finding or developing your niche market, ensure it has accessible customers, room for growth, and no dominant competition.
Identifying and researching areas you are passionate about can be the fun part. Where most advisors get stuck is committing to their chosen niche. For a period, this likely means turning down work and getting through a hard transition period with a lower income stream. In Little’s case, she planned for a slow period of three to six months — the approximate amount of time it took her to change her message and let it filter down to her target customers. The success that followed is a testament to the idea that the foundation for a great business takes time and patience.
Little’s advice to weather the transition is to be prepared for short-term losses, partner with the best vendors and suppliers, and keep your eye on the long game. Now with 10 years of business behind her, she says the payoff is worth the initial hardships she had to overcome. Luckily for her, in just 12 to 18 months she was pulling in over a million dollars in revenue.
Get your message out there
Like so many elements of business today, social media is a key to keeping clients informed of any pivot your agency makes. Use these channels to communicate what your agency is learning and where it is going. “You’re just trying to get the word out there,” says Little. “’Hey, I’m doing this class today,’ or, ‘Hey, I’m in this destination today, and I’m learning about this.’ It’s about involving them in your learning process. In keeping them updated and letting them know what it is that you’re doing, you’re developing your education and keeping clients informed.”
When Little was starting out, social media wasn’t what it is today and she didn’t have a significant following. She turned to referrals, which is another classic tool to help grow a niche market. In the world of romance travel, it is likely that every bride getting married knows at least three other brides getting married within a couple of years. Little seized on that opportunity. “We would go to our brides with a referral program and ask them if they knew anyone getting married or getting engaged,” she explains. “We would ask them if they knew anyone or heard of anyone who’s looking for this type of service, to please keep us in mind. And, that has worked really, really well for us.”
The work of having an agency focused on a niche isn’t done after you have a regular roster of clients booking trips. Tending to your niche is just as important as committing to it. “It’s a partnership and a relationship that needs continuous nurturing,” says Little. “There’s high turnover in the hotels and the wedding teams, and properties constantly have new products, new packages and new customizations you need to know about.”
Focusing on a niche requires finding your passion, committing to your corner of the market and constantly nurturing its growth. “I don’t want to be a Jack of all trades, master of none,” Little says. “I want to be a big fish in a small pond. Because for me, sticking to a niche has absolutely worked.”
In searching for your own portion of paradise, remember that new niches are created all the time — think film tourism, trips for those who only travel with pets or adventure travel for women over 50. For Little, it was a perfect pairing of romance and an accommodating island in the West Indies. For you, the opportunities are endless.
Originally appeared in the spring 2022 issue of The Compass Magazine.
Business travel is back! As you may have read previously, I recently traveled to Mexico for the Romance Travel Forum. This was my first in-person event since March of 2020 and I must say it was so many feelings all jumbled up into one anxious mind and body! But maybe that is all for another buzz
Travel is beyond ramped back up! My business travel schedule has certainly hit the ground running at breakneck speed as well. My last few events have given me the opportunity to really spend some time talking to advisors about the main focuses in their business, the type of travel they feel confident
These five resorts have just come onto the scene. Put them on your list for your clients who are always looking for something new. 1. Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Opened: February 2021 You Can’t-Miss: Seven on-site restaurants featuring traditional and avant-garde local an
Travel insights from Steve Hirshan, senior vice president of sales at Avoya Travel and contributor to Travel Professional News
Here’s the one question customers usually ask themselves that can make or break your sale: “Am I willing to invest my time and trust with this person?”
How do you ensure you get the ‘yes’? By ensuring you’re selling yourself to your clients. As a travel advisor, your experience and knowledge help you design unforgettable travel experiences for your clients – this value that you bring is what you want to be selling. By ‘selling the product’ first and not yourself, you run the risk of your clients saying to themselves, “I can buy this online.”
Compare this to the large-scale travel websites today that focus on selling the product first. Following this strategy is sure to guarantee that your authenticity, uniqueness and human side get lost in the mass market of potential sources for booking travel.
Here are four tips on how to best showcase your value as a travel professional to your clients (and how to win over new ones).
Showcase Your Expertise
Don’t just focus on selling the deal, sell your knowledge and expertise. Being a jack-of-all-trades (but a master of none) isn’t going to help you stand out in the marketplace, so be sure to focus on a niche to specialize in and communicate that expertise to your clients. To get started, choose a few destinations, products or types of travel experiences and make those your specialty. Incorporating a niche may seem like you’re narrowing your prospects, however, it can create more business than you think by winning over prospective clients’ trust.
Focus On Personalization And The Human Touch
In today’s digital world, personalization is a must, and that doesn’t exclude the travel industry. Travelers are seeking out that personal touch more than ever, which is your opportunity to step up and fill those shoes.
Large-scale online travel agencies often make travelers feel unimportant and unknown, and clients can be made to wait on hold when complications arise. Travelers want to be assured they can talk to a real person, not a machine or call center agent – someone who gives that personal support even while clients are traveling.
You’ll also want to take the time to get to know your clients’ interests. Travelers are seeking out personalized trips partial to their interests and hobbies. You may have a customer looking at going paddle boarding, exploring coffee houses, different cuisines or cliff diving on the other side of the globe. Whatever their interest is, creating a personalized itinerary that reflects the traveler is key to success.
Sell Your Services
When it comes to the value you can bring to a booking, people usually think of the assistance you can provide when things go wrong, the time you can save clients by sifting through a myriad of travel options and the details you can tend to on their behalf that make trips go more smoothly (especially during these last two years).
Travelers are not coming to you for something they can easily book online themselves. They want to see the value of using you. Add different complexities to remind your customer that only you can plan a vacation like this – unique recommendations, unforgettable excursions, first-hand experience – the possibilities are endless.
Define Your Elevator Pitch
If you had only 30 seconds to sell yourself (and the value you provide), the same amount of time it would take you to ascend five floors in an elevator, would you be able to convince someone to book their travel through you? A good elevator pitch will help you establish yourself as someone with the ability to create great vacations for your clients; not just a representative for various travel companies, but the go-to source for all things travel.
Take the time to define what makes your agency different than the large-scale OTAs or other travel advisors out there. Is it an interesting backstory or a focus on a specific travel expertise? Make sure you know who you are and what you’re able to share with your clients. If you’re not clearly defining your value, your clients won’t be able to see it either.
Recently, I was quoted in a great article in Travel Market Report by Cheryl Rosen on “How to Become a Travel Agent: A Guide for the Perplexed.” My contribution mainly related to the importance of having a business plan, certain disclosures that every travel advisor (using ASTA’s new terminology) sho
There has never been a better time to enter the travel industry than right now. As travel comes back to life after the complete shut down during the COVID pandemic, there is a shortage of travel agents to help consumers who have strong pent-up desires to start traveling again. As destinations open u
It’s true. I have the gift for gab. But come on, that tends to be a trait of many women. And I feel that I can take liberty calling out this stereotype, because I am a woman. People often think that because I am gregarious that I find it easy to build strong relationships with business partners. In
I take a lot of travel photos (it comes naturally, being a travel blogger!) and I’m always thinking of ways that those photos can make me money. I love the photos I’ve taken, so surely other people would too?
Here I’ve put together a big list of websites where you can sell your travel photos online, some are big companies you’ll have heard of – others are smaller companies – that might make a better choice if you’re taking this on as a side project for extra ‘pocket-money’. Either way – these are all great places to sell your photos online – so get reading!
Sell your images through iStock Photo and you’ll earn a royalty rate of 15% for each download. There is also an option to become an exclusive contributor and earn up to 45% instead, which is pretty impressive. These website has a good community feel to it – there are lots of forums and group discussion, which really helps when you’re trying to figure out which of your photos will sell online better than others.
Learn how to sell photos online as fine art, and get your own eCommerce website with must-have features to increase your art sales. This is a robust website platform for professional photographers focused on selling their images as art prints. They provide first-class educational resources, and a step-by-step Success Plan to ensure that you follow best-practices. You can print and fulfill your own orders, choose your own lab, or use one of their labs for automated print fulfillment (“print on demand”). There is also a members-only forum where all customers share ideas, sales strategies, and receive guidance from industry experts.
If you work in travel, and want to make extra money from your photos – TourPhotos is a professional photography platform dedicated to tourism and activity companies. It will help you manage and deliver your tour photos (the photographs from your activities, excursions and attractions) to your customers. You will be able to choose whether to sell or make your photos available for free (SELL plan or GIVE plan). TourPhotos charges between 19% and 25% commission on your sales with zero fixed fees (if you decide to sell photos) or a 19$/49$ (pro/business) monthly fee if you decide to share your photos for free. With its endless features and tools, TourPhotos guarantees you, your photographers and your final customers an extremely user-friendly, customisable and professional experience.
This website is a lot like an online gallery or portfolio – with the added benefit of being able to sell your photos online via the tool too. It’s great as it has two purposes. The first (of course) to sell your photos, the second – to make them look awesome. And you’re more likely to sell more photos online, the more professional and awesome you’ve got them displayed. You can set your own pricing and you get to keep 85% of the markup – but that’s not all, as well as selling digital downloads, you have the option of selling prints and greetings cards too, which is good for those of us who want more selling options.
On Alamy photographers earn a whopping 60% royalty fee on any images they sell, so it’s easy to see why this website is such a popular choice when it comes to selling photos online. It’s one of the world’s largest stock photo libraries – so you’l have a fair bit of competition, but maybe that’s a good thing and will help you step up your game!
This is one of the smaller websites on the list, but still offers a great reach for beginners – so would make a fantastic option for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the world of selling photos online. The royalty isn’t too bad either – you’ll get 50% of the price of each photos you sell.
Dreamstime is a microstock agency, and one of the best there is. Aside from being easy to use, it is well thought of and reputable too – which is just as important when making the decision of where to sell your photos online. Before you start selling, you’ll need to get your images approved by their editors (which can be a long process) but once you’ve been approved and you’ve got the hang of it, a rate of 25-50% royalty is yours for the taking.
This is perhaps one of the more well known options on this list, and if you like the idea of selling your work (but at the same time want to retain complete control and pocket more of the profit – who doesn’t want those things?) you could consider setting up a professional photography website with built-in ecommerce from PhotoShelter. The PhotoShelter system is modern, and will make your images look beautiful.
To start selling with Crestock, simply sign up to their website, follow through the easy registration process… and you’re good to go! They’ll give you 30% royalty, so once the images have been approved by staff you may be able to start selling images within the week!
I like Fotolia for its convenience, fair royalties and expansive market reach. Sign up and present your work to more than four million image buyers around the world, around the clock and you’ll notice your images start selling quickly and seamlessly. Each time one of your photos sell, you earn a royalty of between 20% and 63% of your sale, which is immediately added to your Fotolia account – which takes away any money hassles.
Shutterstock is a highly ranking website which means it likely gets a lot of online traffic – perfect for making sure you sell your photos! Shutterstock also have an approval process in place – and you’ll have to submit ten initial images for approval before you can proceed with any others. But no fear! There are many online forums on their website where you can pick up hints and tips for getting this right first time. With Shutterstock you’ll earn between $0.25 and $28 each time an image of yours sells, depending on the licence.
With this site, their royalty structure is based on your contributor level, which is quite unique. It basically means, the more images you upload, the more you can earn – good news for anyone who plans to commit to this full-time. The amount you receive could rise from 30% up to 60% if you are particularly active on the site – so get started quickly and build up your reputation.
Zenfolio allows you to create a portfolio site of your work, a little like Smug Mug mentioned above. You can upload photos, create galleries, password protect galleries, and make your photos available for purchase – a great option for wedding and event photographers where you might make several sales off the back of one event. There is a 14-day free trial available if you want to give it a spin first.
This is a more quirky one, but I wanted to include it! If your images are more VSCO and Instagram friendly – than studio lighting and fake smiles, you may find the audience on Red Bubble more interested in what you have to sell. They don’t just sell images, it’s all about the products too – so you could sell canvases with your images on, for example.
This is a bargain stock photo website, so the amount you’ll make will be less per image – but if people buy in bulk, it may end up equalising anyway. With a less strict submission process that other big names on this list, it may be a good option for anyone wanting to test the water.
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