(Guest writer: Jun Anover)
Have you ever thought of what to do with your tons of photos? When was the last time you went through all your digital photos anyway?
Photos could be spread out in different locations – in your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop PC, external hard disk, memory cards, and even in the cloud.
Nowadays, the routine is simply to shoot and share on social media. After which images are just tucked anywhere convenient until the phone’s storage fills up.
We’ve listed here suggestions of what you can do with those photos. These are not geared toward professional photographers but more for hobbyist and everyday, regular picture-takers.
Those who occasionally deal with photos as part of their work or business may also find helpful ideas in this list.
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1. Organize Your Photos
Housekeeping will always do you good, especially when it comes to your photos. There are many reasons why you should organize your digital images. The most compelling thing is it's much easier to find what you’re looking for.
Here are real case scenarios:
- A marketer tasked to come up with a visual presentation
- An online store owner who needs to make a product catalog
- A content creator wanting to make a photo collage
Image credit: Phototheca
You’d be more productive and efficient if the photos you need are categorized and organized. Unlike years ago when you have to physically deal with printed photos, it is much easier to organize digital images today.
Searching and indexing digital photos from your archives can be automated through the use of a Digital Asset Management program (ideal investment if you have thousands of photos).
If you need one for personal use and lighter requirements, you can opt for free photo management software or even photo editing apps that have file organizing functions.
2. Edit & Enhance Your Best Works
The reason that you don’t know how to edit photos is not a valid excuse. There are many photo editing programs available online which are so easy to use such as Pixlr, Photopea, and BeFunky. You don’t need to have an editing background to use them.
Some apps offer basic editing tools such as enhancement controls for color, brightness, contrast, and sharpening. Others provide more advanced editing functions such as effects, layers, and filters
Image credit: Pixlr
Why should you edit your photos? If you plan to post them online they should at least be vivid images to get noticed. Editing can put the “wow” factor in you photos.
Another thing, you may find some of your best photos need just a bit of retouching to make them showroom-ready. Even some not-so-clear images may be improved with some sharpening. With photo editing you can decide which of your images are worth keeping in your collection or totally unsalvageable, deserving of the trash bin.
3. Transform Photos into Wall Art
Here’s something fun that you can do with your photos – turn them into artworks. There’s a trend now where fine art and even cartoons are used in ads, social media posts, and presentations.
Image credit: Colorcinch
These apps offer tons of options to transform photos into art of various styles – paintings, drawings, sketches, digital renderings, and more. What’s even remarkable is that the conversion process is automated and all it takes is one click.
Once you’re done with your creations, you can frame and hang these pieces on the wall. You’ll have your own home gallery in no time. Mind you, many people are interested in these types of wall art. You can sell these (to recover the cost of printing and framing) and earn on the side.
4. Create a Photo Blog
A photo blog is a great way to express yourself – through words and pictures. Maybe you are into landscape photography then you can start a blog with that as a theme.
Another idea is the popular photo-quotes. You add memorable messages and quotes into your best photos and showcase them in your blog. Put in short descriptions about your creation process and what inspires you.
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There are numerous topics and themes you can explore. Stick to those that you have lots of photos of and truly interested in such as fashion, street scenes, or cooking and food.
Image Credit: Heidi Swanson/101 Cookbooks
There are several free blogging platforms and services to get you started. Some of the more popular include Tumbler, Blogger, and WordPress. You can even create a dedicated Facebook page and post photos and ideas there that follow a theme.
If it’s your first time, the question that pops up is – how do you start a photo blog? There are many things to consider and it would do you well to learn all you can about photo blogging.
5. Build an Online Gallery or Portfolio
Now that you’ve organized your photo collection and edited your best photos, you may want to showcase them online.
You can also opt to pick your best pictures, have them printed and arranged neatly in a portfolio album. Photography may not be your career but that doesn’t mean you can’t show to the world your most remarkable pictures. You can do that through your own digital portfolio or online gallery.
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Image credit: Pixpa
What’s the difference between a photo blog and a portfolio? A blog is updated regularly and is a purely online undertaking. It’s your virtual journal. A portfolio can be digital or printed and is a collection of your creative works.
6. Submit Them in Photo Contests
Here’s another way to “expose” your photos – submit them as entries to photo contests of which there are a lot. There are photo competitions organized by schools, companies, local businesses, online communities, cause-oriented groups, photography clubs and websites, etc. Take your pick!
Image credit: All About Photo.com
What do you get from this activity? As mentioned earlier – exposure for you and your pictures. You may not know you have a knack for photography until people see your best works.
And the highest form of recognition by people of your works is when you are chosen as winner or picked as best in something. The prize can be cash, a trophy, a plaque or a spot in a photo exhibit. But winner or not, what matters is that you tried. That in itself is quite rewarding.
7. Join Stock Photo Agencies
Another venue for photo submission is a stock photo agency. You’ll also earn on the side. There are two categories of stock photography:
- Macrostock – an agency (such as Getty Images) exclusively sells your photo to a client at a premium price and you get the royalties. It goes without saying that you should be an established photographer to command a good price.
- Microstock – there are no royalties and you get paid much less, usually for every photo of yours that is downloaded. Some of the leading companies include Shutterstock, Dreamstime, and iStockPhoto.
Image credit: Shutterstock
Keep in mind that for microstock you need to submit lots of photos of the generic kind – children playing, family bonding, office workers, etc. These are needed by bloggers, marketers, online sellers, and students for their projects.
Consider this as a source of passive income and not as a career. This is where you can unload tons of your pictures – those that are well taken and the type that content creators look for – and earn from it.
8. Print Photos on Products and Sell Them
You could realize more revenues from your photos with this entrepreneurial undertaking. The print-on-demand approach allows you to have your pictures printed on products and sold on e-commerce platforms or your own online store.
Some of the most popular print-on-demand items include mugs, unisex t-shirts, children’s t-shirts, yoga pants, hoodies, and tote bags, among others.
Image credit: Printful
If you decide to do all the chores – production, marketing, selling – be prepaid to invest in time, money, and effort. If you manage these well, the returns can be bigger.
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On the other hand, you can unload all these tasks to an e-commerce service and simply get a cut from the sale of the printed products. The advantage of the print-on-demand is that you don’t need to keep an inventory of the products. Hence, it’s an efficient and low-risk investment.
9. Design Templates using Photos
If you have some visual or graphic design background, you can try creating templates utilizing your photos. Nature, landscapes, seascapes, countryside and other serene scenes are great for photo-quotes.
Meanwhile, pictures of people are ideal for ads, posters, event invitations, collages, and presentations.
Image credit: Canva
Templates are sort of customizable mock-ups that are used by graphic artists, designers, content creators, marketers, and brand specialists for their projects.
This is a specialized skill and creative professionals can spot quality work from less stellar creations. To brush up on your design skills, try using online graphic editors such as Canva, Adobe Spark or Design Wizard which offer free plans.
These platforms provide tools where you can use your photos to create templates for just about anything – social media posts, flyers, postcards, calendars, menus, photo books, and more.
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10. Share Them as Free Images
Don’t expect monetary gains. You’re giving pictures for free. Why? You’re kind, generous, and follow your personal mantra that it’s better to give than to receive. Whatever your motivation, know that you are not alone. There are many others who are also good-hearted. That is why sites like Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, and several others abound and flourish.
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Image credit: Unsplash
People submit and share their images on these websites. Pictures there can be used with or without attribution. These are sites for photos with CC0 (Creative Commons License) where anyone can use images personally or commercially.
Now you could be helping individuals with no budget for microstock photos. They can be struggling students, designers or first time online retailers needing relevant photos. Being the benefactor can be a refreshing change.
Photos that you’ve already used and those lying around can be repurposed. You just have to be creative. Sure, discard and dispose of those that are beyond saving – blurry, unrecognizable pictures with no photographic value at all. They just fill up your disk or storage space.
Those that you’ve decided to retain should be useful and we’ve given you suggestions for that. The activities are enriching and the results satisfying if you put your mind to it and set aside some time.
(This guest post is written by Jun Anover for Hongkiat.com. Jun is senior content producer at Colorcinch (https://edit.cartoonize.net). His background in digital art, visual design, and photography helps him craft informative articles and creative content pieces on these subjects.)