UPDATED: Added an extra tip!
This is the scenario: You are a skilled Photoshop artist, or perhaps you are a great photographer. If that’s not true, then you may be a cool designer or at least have some nice Photoshop tips or tricks that nobody knows. And you need money.
No matter what your skills are, if you are capable of creating something with a certain appeal with Photoshop or even other graphics application, there are many ways that you can turn that into money with certain ease.
In this article you won’t find any get-rich-quick tips. In fact, to quit your day job and make a living with this information may take you a long while. But, as with most in life, it depends on you. I will only show you what’s out there and make your startup a little easier.
Take into consideration that most of these tips do not require that you have a web site of your own, but with all the free services available, I believe that there is no excuse for not creating your own web site. Two interesting services are: WordPress.com (free blog hosting) and Google pages (free web pages hosting).
Tip #1: Create Photoshop brushes or other goodies
and sell them online.
Photoshop brushes are hot, hot, hot. Hotter than anything. Designers and artists are hungry for brushes. Photoshop brushes are total winners. Sadly there are a lot available on the web for free. The good news is that only your imagination is the limit. Take a look at what’s out there and create your own collection. Perhaps, instead of creating a collection of a million low quality brushes, you can create a good high resolution, high quality, brushes set or collection and sell them at your web site. Although textures, patterns, actions, and other Photoshop goodies are not that popular, you can always build a nice collection with those. Don’t worry if there is a lot of competition out there (and believe me there is), you simply have to offer a higher quality product than the rest and, most important of all, sell it better than the competition.
Once you have your product, you have to sell it. There are a lot of shareware and downloadable software payment processing services that will take care of all the payment process and also of the file hosting and delivery. Some of them even offer some exposure for your product and affiliate program solutions.
Tip #2: Create your own gift store with your artwork
There are a lot of services where you can sell gifts (mugs, ebooks, t-shirts, calendars, you name it) with your own artwork or content on a print-on-demand basis. That’s the beauty of it. You don’t need to spend a lot of money building a stock base of products. In fact with these services you don’t need to spend ANY money. Just select the product you want, upload your content, select a few options, set your pricing and you are ready to go!
It is advisable to purchase some of your own items to check the quality of the output. Check following links to read more about these services: CafePress alternatives (talks about the alternatives to CafePress and the quality of these services). T-Shirt Forums (users share their experience in this T-Shirt design and marketing forum).
Tip #3: Participate on contests.
I call this an easy way to earn money only because it is easy to submit your artwork to contests. The problem is that in this case your artwork has to be the best. In some cases, it is not the best artwork the one that wins, but the best idea. Anyway, here’s a little list of contests sites that can give you some earnings or at list some cool prizes.
Tip #4: Write your own tutorials.
Love to write but don’t want to write an ebook? Just write a good amount of tutorials and build your own web site or blog. Then submit your tutorials to tutorials directories and start watching the traffic come. You can submit tutorials to The Photoshop Roadmap, Photoshop Lover and Tutorialized among many others.
To earn money with this, you will have to display ads in your tutorials pages. The first and obvious option is Google Adsense. But there are also some other interesting choices like Chitika (mini e-malls) and Kontera (in-text ads). These ad networks pay you for each click made by your visitors. You can also join Amazon.com affiliates program to offer products related with your site’s topic and earn a commission for each sale you make. AzoogleAds is another good choice because it offers a vast amount of special offers where your visitors don’t necessary have to purchase something. If your visitors request a free sample or simply leave an email and a zip code, you will be paid. Nice, isn’t it?
Tip #5: Sell your photographs or illustrations.
You can find a lot of Stock Photography and Illustrations stores around and most of them, if not all, accept submissions from photographers and artists. In general they will pay you on a per sale basis.
At Berman Graphics web site you can find a tutorial about selling your images on ebay
The following list shows some sites that accept submissions from Photographers and Illustrators.
EXTRA TIP! Tip #6: Create and sell your own Photoshop plugins.
Warning! Loads of money here! But wait… Bad news: This is not an easy way to earn money with Photoshop at all. Additionally you will have to invest a lot of money in such a project.
If that’s not a problem, then I suggest you to read this article I wrote before: Programming Photoshop Plugins which is a thorough guide about the insights of programming a Photoshop plugin, including the idea generation phase, marketing and selling the final product.
EXTRA TIP #2! Tip #7: Write something that’s cool or unique.
TIP #4 suggests you to write your own tutorials and submit them to tutorials directories. Some directories out there can drive a huge amount of traffic to your site for some days and then some small but steady traffic for a long while.
But sometimes you may come up with an article or project that doesn’t fit the limited categories of most tutorials directories. Then it’s time to contact those who love to discover and show special or unique content to the world.
There are some great blogs out there that can expose your article to a wider audience. Some examples are blogs like LifeHacker, PhotoJojo, John Nack, LockerGnome and Digital Photography School Blog (thanks Darren for mentioning this article!), to mention a few.
Remember that we are talking about Photoshop, photography and graphics here, so you should be very creative in your topic selection to stand out from the crowd.
You simply have to send them a polite email asking if they would like to check your article, and explain them why you believe it may be of their interest. But please, send them an article with some value. Don’t even think of asking them to read your latest chrome text or scanline effect. They will probably delete your email without even looking at what you’ve sent.
If you succeed, the traffic coming from blogs like the ones mentioned above will be large and of an excellent qualiy.Don’t forget that high quality traffic is the best that can happen to your site.
Just a final word: The resources posted on this article are by no means the only ones available. You will have to do your own research, specially if you plan to sell stock images. There are a lot of stock images stores online and they offer very different commercial relationship with the artist. Another good advice is to create your own web site. That will help you do a better marketing of your products.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a message on the comments section below.