There was a time when it was possible to make some decent money with flower photography however those days are long gone. I do occasionally make some pocket change with my flower photography and sell the odd print or postcard featuring some of my flower photos through an online print on demand store I have, however even these sales have tailed off over the last year or so.
Looking in to the situation the conclusion I have reached is that it is the free photos of flowers that have killed my flower photography income. If you tap in “free photos of flowers” in to any search engine you will get thousands of hits and thousands of free photos of flowers to do whatever you want with them. There was a time when there were no free photos of flowers and if someone wanted some photos of flowers they had to pay for them. Unfortunately, these days have gone.
There is one website in particular offering free photos of flowers that give the user the permission to do whatever they want with the photos. This means any Tom, Dick or Harry can go on to the site, search for “free photos of flowers”, download a high resolution copy by entering a simple captcha (there isn’t even a requirement to set up an account and log in) and then do whatever the heck they want with it. The person downloading the free photos of flowers is free to use them on their website or blog, post to a print on demand store and try to make some money, sell on to a third party to make some money, edit them…… the list goes on. Shocking isn’t it. Knowing that someone could make money using another photographer’s images so easily is quite worrying, but then the photographer submitting free photos of flowers is made fully aware that they are giving their photos away and are losing control over them.
A few wild flower photos:-
With websites offering free photos of flowers giving the user a free reign it isn’t any wonder my flower photography sales have gone through the floor. If someone wants some flower photos there is no longer a need to go to a stock photography website or a print on demand store and actually buy one. All these people need to do is download some free photos of flowers, submit them to a print on demand store, make the product they want and buy it. What’s the point in spending out on a flower photo or two when you can get free photos of flowers?
All things considered I am stunned that I still make anything out of my flower photos at all, although I know the time will come when the sales will dry up altogether and I don’t think this will be too long coming. I think the (very few) flower photos I do sell are to people who are not aware there are websites out there with free photos of flowers to download and use for whatever purpose they want, and it won’t be too long before these people do find the websites offering free photos of flowers.
When I was making money with my flower photography I used to spend a considerable amount of time photographing flowers. Whilst I didn’t enjoy it that much (there are other subjects I prefer to take photos of) the prospect of earning some money made it worthwhile. With a decrease in the opportunities to make money with flower photography my interest has gone through the floor. If I am out and about with the camera and I stumble across a photogenic flower I will snap a picture or two, but I won’t specifically go out with the aim of flower photography.
I do have a file with several photos of flowers (taken several years ago) sat on my hard drive and one day I will get around to submitting them to my print on demand store, I may be able to bag a sale or two (who knows?) but I won’t be doing it any time too soon. I simply can’t be bothered. The only other thing I could do is submit them to one of the websites offering free photos of flowers but I am loathed to do this. If I was one hundred percent certain the flower photos would be used for a blog I would do this but given submitting the photos enables the user to do whatever they want with them (even try and make money with them) this is not something I am keen on doing.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
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