Off Site Archives generates revenue

Mar 14, 2006
New Jersey
There are many of us on the forum who make money by photographing events and selling the prints, but licensing could be another source of revenue.

I used to post my sports photos for sale then take down my galleries after some time, but now I have stuff from 2005 still available for viewing on my archives which is currently using up 68% of my one terabyte at PhotoShelter. I started keeping everything when ESPN wanted a photos of certain HS football players I know I shot but could only find 1 of 3 of the players.

Now that I leave my stuff up for a while photo editors are finding my stuff and licensing them for various things. The amount paid varies with the publications' circulation and the size of the image to be used and where. i.e. a national publication wanted to write an article about high school game officials so she wanted to know if I had any.

Lucky for me PhotoSHelter allows you to place an image in multiple galleries without uploading it more than once so I already had a gallery for just game officials. The editor picked a volleyball photo from 2006 where the official's very visible face was staring at the ball getting spiked over the net. The very next day the same editor called again looking for a nice action photo of field hockey players playing on field turf for an article on field turf. Those two photos alone will more than pay my annual one terabyte storage fees.

Since they needed full resolution files, I merely sent them a special link I created via PhotoShelter. The link was valid for a single download and expired within 72 hours. I can also track when they downloaded the image. These are just a couple of examples, but there have been many others throughout the year from various magazines. Not enough to buy a car but enough to buy the occasional toy and pay for itself. At the very least, I am learning that files stored on my drives at home do not generate income for me but a search able off site archive does. I just need to be more meticulous with my captioning and keywording.

I used PhotoShelter, but there are others out there such as Digital Railroad and IPNStock that specialize in archiving of photos.

The downside to my strategy is that regular customers do not feel compelled to purchase prints right away. I have some parents who wait until the end of the year to buy their photos since their child plays multiple sports and is in the school concert, etc. I don't hear a peep out of them all year then out of nowhere they will order 50+ photos. Must just be a convenience thing since I do not offer quantity discounts.
Sep 11, 2006
N/W of Chicago
VERY useful info Alex. Thank you for sharing it. I was considering dumping my files from this past school year. Now I'll leave them up, just archived as you suggested!

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