How to price your photos
Pricing your photos for selling online is different from pricing what you would sell them for to a customer. Selling directly to a customer involves transferring ownership and rights, an hourly price with a set number of finished photographs, or a package deal that covers all costs. In contrast, selling photos online comes with different variables that need to be taken into consideration as you set your price.
Create a formula for break-even and profit
As a photographer, you're creating a good to sell in the form of a photograph. You need to set an hourly rate for your services, regardless of how you intend to sell photos online. This matters even if you're simply going to locations to take interesting pictures for no other reason than to put them up on a stock photo website for residual income. You want to be able to generate enough revenue from all sales outlets to cover your base rate at the very least.
A professional photographer usually has multiple rates for the different services they provide. That can include travel time to a site, the time spent on site and taking photographs, along with the amount of effort needed to capture the images, and post-processing to clean up the pictures for presentation. All of these rates get combined together for a final cost. You can set yourself a flat hourly rate for all of these if you're planning on selling photos online only, or you can use the different cost variables if they apply to the type of photography you're engaging in.
The final dollar amount you come to that covers the cost of your services can be considered your break-even amount for your finished work. That is, any money you earn above that final amount is profit, while any amount you earn that's under is loss. This also guides you when you're pricing your pictures for a stock photo site or a private sale.
Selling stock photos
A stock photo is one that can be sold a number of times and accompanied by a limited use license. You can set the amount of sales to unlimited and put a price on it that encourages more people to buy.
For example, you have a picture that's similar to a lot of other pictures you or someone else has taken. The commonality of the setting in the picture is such that it has little intrinsic value. However, there's still some value in the image and it's a value you should collect through sales. You may want to set your price low in order to compete with similar photographs and earn money through sales volume.