Have you every thought what it would be like to make money selling photos online?
If so, keep reading to learn 10 simple steps to make money selling photos online as well as some helpful resources to exchange your photos for cash.
If you are new to photography or simply enjoy traveling and taking photos like myself, how do you get started making money by selling your photos online?
There are a number of companies out there that you can submit your photos to online. These companies are referred to as Micro-stock Photo Agencies or Stock Photo Sites.
They mostly sell photos to online companies or web designers to provide images for blogs and websites.
But stock photo sites can also sell images to be used for advertising products, clothing, etc.
How Most Photographers Sell Their Photos
Typically you want to sell your photos royalty-free so that you can sell your photos to multiple buyers without restrictions. This will give you the advantage of selling your images on multiple stock photo sites.
Selling on multiple stock sites, or at least to the most popular ones, gives you a great advantage of increasing your total sales. It’s a numbers game. And this is how most photographers pursue stock photography.
But you can sell your photos rights-managed, which allows the client who buys your photo to own the rights of your photo exclusively for a limited period of time, or in a specific geographical location.
Top Stock Sites to Sell Your Photos
There are over a dozen popular sites, 19 is my current count. And it varies to which are the top 5 sites, but here is 5 of the top ten sites that photographers utilize to make their point and click cash.
Micro-stock Agencies typically pay you a commission or a set price per photo that is sold on their site. The nice thing about selling your photos to stock agencies (royalty-free method), is that you can get paid for your photos over and over again, and on multiple sites.
This can be another great method for producing residual income to supplement your current income or assist you with travel expenses while shooting your photos. Heck, some photographers make a good living off of stock photography.
You get paid time and time again for that single effort of point and click. You just have to familiarize yourself with the process of how to take good photos, submit your photos, and repeat the process with the most popular micro-stock agencies.
10 Steps to Make Money Selling Photos Online
Most all stock photo companies work off the same principles. At first these rules are a bit of a pain, but with time, you will learn to adjust you point of view as you choose your photo shot selection, and you’ll get better at finding great photo’s.
1. Join one of the Stock Sites listed above by applying for an account (free of charge).
2. Apply to be a Contributor. You have to read tutorials on how to submit your photos and the quality specifications of acceptable photos.
3. Sign a Contributor agreement. You will want to read over the agreement to see if you are happy with their terms.
4. Review their Contributor Guidelines to know exactly what the stock agency requires.
- i.e.File Format (JPEG, RPG)
- Minimum File Size Requirements
- Don’t submit photos with Trademarks or Logos
- Submit Clear Images
- And make sure your images are not over-edited.
5. They’ll make sure you understand their policies and standards by having you pass a short online exam.
6. You will then submit a batch of your top photos and wait to see if you are approved as a Contributor.
7. Once you are approved and understand the stock agency’s guidelines, your job then becomes taking and submitting quality photos.
8. You also want to get approved with multiple stock photo agencies in order to increase your online exposure and opportunities to sell your photos and earn online income.
9. Study what niche photography is selling. It maybe pictures of people, food, landscapes, animals, jobs, etc. What photos are the hottest selling photos in stock photo industry today?
10. Draw up a release for anytime you are taking pictures of people. You will need to have that person release their rights of your photo in order to submit it to a stock agency.
Pros of selling photos online?
Selling photos online can be a great way to travel the world and make money.
It can allow you to escape the 9 – 5 gig and live on your own terms, be your own boss.
Or you could simply supplement your current income.
If you are a good photographer and love taking pictures, this could be your calling.
Some stock photographers make up to six figure incomes.
And my favorite pro is that stock photography provides you with the ability to get paid time and time again for the work you did once. You could receive income for years to come with one great photo. What would happen if you had 1000’s of winning photos.
Cons of selling photos online?
Well, there are literally millions of photos in stock agencies that are competing for the sale. You also need to be a disciplined photographer and develop a daily routine of taking pictures.
You need to develop daily habits of submitting a handful of new pictures to the stock photo agencies. And you also shouldn’t expect income right away. It may take weeks and months before you get your first sale.
Most stock photographers recommend submitting around 2,000 quality photos before you can expect to see any type of regular income.
And, with every person that you photograph, you need to have them sign a waiver releasing their rights of the photo to you. Kind of a pain in the ### to constantly ask permission and explain why your subject is signing a policy allowing you to take their picture.
Is Stock Photography A Viable Business?
It sure can be. But you have to be dedicated to your craft and invest in your education.
I love photography and have enjoyed traveling and taking photos of my travel experiences. But for me, it’s more of a hobby than a full time job.
Learning about stock photography and utilizing programs like Lightroom has been a great hobby and learning experience that has helped me in my own online career.
But the reality of Stock Photography is that you need to take 1,000’s of photos before you will ever start to making money selling photos online. You need to understand niche photography and know which niches are making money right now.
The Bottom Line
Stock photography is a saturated market that involves a good deal of education and a greater amount of time, passion, and dedication for something that may or may not make you money.
I encourage you to follow your heart on this one. Taking your passions or interests in life and building online income can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.
A Much Better Idea!
Combine Stock Photography with an online business model. You can take your passion for photography a step further by creating an online business based on photography.
This way you can still sell photos to stock agencies, but you can also sell photography equipment. You could sell lenses, cameras, lighting equipment, classes on photography, etc.
You name it, if it’s related to photography, you can sell it online.
How you may be asking?
It’s simple. By creating an online presence, you can reach thousands of people who enjoy the same niche as you, photography.
All it takes is to create a simple website, provide helpful content to your niche audience, and recommend helpful products to people like you who enjoy photography.
How does this all work?
It’s easy to rank content in Google using keyword phrases that fellow photographers are searching on a daily basis. And having a website allows you to establish affiliate relationships with any brand name product.
Don’t Believe Me!
How’d you get to this post? You typed in something like How To Make Money Selling Photos Online.
Am I wrong?
This post was created by my experience with traveling and seeking to make money with photography. Hopefully it is helpful content for those pursuing this idea.
At least Google thinks it is…
This is what I learned and so I was able to share that knowledge, target this concept, target keyword phrases, and rank in the top positions in Google, Page 1.
That’s how you found me, and you can do the same thing with any niche idea you have.
By creating a helpful photography based website, you can get your site to affiliate with companies like…
- Sony, etc.
Then once your reader reads your recommendations, clicks a link to the product you recommend and makes a purchase, you make a commission.
As you continue to build you site out through producing helpful content based on photography, you begin to make a lot of commissions.
Then keep your photos on display to sell on your site and on top stock photo sites and you’ll make money from multiple sources.
Several streams of income are smarter than one..
You’ll need help setting up your site, understanding keyword research, building organic traffic, ranking on Google/YouTube, domain hosting, etc..
I put together a simple email training series that will teach you all of the above… and more.
If you have any questions or comments about how to make money selling photos online or any other personal tips, we’d love to hear from you.
Best of luck with your online journey,