Smartphone camera technology continues to improve, and you benefit by getting high-quality smartphone pictures. But what if there were a way to sell those beautiful shots? There is! Mike Gutkin, research scientist and avid photographer based in New York City, makes money from selling his smartphone pictures. You can, too.
Give it a shot
“Dive right in,” the New Jersey native says. Gutkin’s mother was a professional photographer and had a studio in Manhattan, so he was exposed to photography throughout much of his life. Although that early exposure played a large part in his interest in photography, anyone can start at any time.
“The Internet and mobile apps available to the average user are [nearly] infinite,” Gutkin says. “There are wonderful options that are user-friendly, and it’s a few simple clicks until you’re on your way to snapping your mobile photos.”
Find your inspiration
Look for something that inspires you. Be it a person, a landscape, a time of day—that inspiration translates in your photograph. Gutkin says his inspiration “comes from my everyday experiences … the rain and fog in NYC are really inspiring to me. It brings out views and perspectives of buildings and streets you don’t often see.” Find what sticks out to you and start snapping.
Download helpful photography apps
Gutkin first found a global market for his photography through the Instagram app. The photographer says, “Instagram is my main go-to … I became an Instagram Suggested User for my photography and community engagement.” After that, Gutkin discovered the Twenty20 (formerly Instacanvas) app. He uses this as a platform to sell his smartphone photos, for which he receives a share from every sale.
Capture the right shots
Get to know your audience and the types of photos they like. After building a significant Instagram following, Gutkin has noticed certain trends. “NYC landscapes and cityscapes are very popular. While portraits are popular as well, they are very specific and personal. Portraits can be popular depending on the subject.”
Using your smartphone to take pictures is convenient. Gutkin loves it because, “[my phone] is at my hip every second of the day. I can take my [smartphone] out of my pocket and have a photo within 5 seconds—a swipe of the screen and click of the shutter. I snap away and review when I feel the scene I want to capture is complete.”
One of the biggest challenges mobile photographers face is standing out. “Being unique in your mobile photography is tough,” Gutkin says. “I stick to myself and am true to who I am. I am a mobile photographer. I started shooting for my own pleasure. Instagram gave me a platform and a community that ‘likes’ my photos and gives me positive feedback. My mobile photography has landed me jobs with Dos Equis and Harry’s.”
Consider a few photography tips from the pros, then get out there and get started. Work on improving every day and building a community.