Potential income (US) for stock photography — the average amount a professional photographer can make selling stock photos is between $500 and $1000 per month.
Stock photography is a way to earn money by selling your photos to companies. It is a simple and possibly lucrative business that anyone can do with the right skillset.
In this article, we will cover how to sell stock photos and make money, the best places to sell your images, and how much you can expect to make from it.
What Is Stock Photography?
Stock photography is a visual resource of high-quality images available for commercial and personal use.
Stock photography is a type of media that is used to create and share content on the internet. The term “stock” refers to a company’s inventory of goods or services. Stock photography can be used by artists, designers, photographers, bloggers, web developers, and other creatives.
Examples of stock photography can be found in magazines, newspapers, advertisements, books, or online through websites such as Shutterstock or iStockPhoto.
A stock photographer sells their work to a stock photo agency that stores it in a library. The agency then makes money by selling the rights to use the photographs to clients such as magazines, newspapers, and advertising agencies.
Photography specializing in stock images is an excellent option for those who can’t afford professional photos or don’t want to take the time and effort required for shooting them.
Is Selling Stock Photos Worth It?
There are many reasons why selling stock photography is a good idea. It can be used for marketing, branding, and social media.
Many businesses have started using stock photography to promote their products and services. There are also plenty of examples of people who have succeeded in their careers by using stock photography.
Selling your images through stock photo sites like iStock or Shutterstock can be profitable if you know the right way to do it. It all depends on the person. Some people might not find it worthwhile, while others might find it lucrative.
Selling stock photos is a great side gig that supplements your primary source of income. It’s an excellent way to build a following and follow your passion. You don’t need any special skills to make money selling stock photos, but you need to know what your audience wants.
The bad side is that there is no set price for stock images, so you have to be careful and make sure you don’t sell yourself short.
How Much Can I Make Selling Stock Photos?
If you are interested in selling stock photos, it is essential to know the different rates. You can start as a beginner and gradually increase your sales once you gain experience. Most single images will only be a few cents or a few dollars unless you have a great client.
However, quantity is just as important as quality here. If you are able to take high-quality images and a lot of them, you can make a decent paycheck.
Depending on your skill level, you could make anywhere from $50 to a few hundred per month. For example, the average professional photographer makes around $500 per month, while the high-end professional photographer makes about $2000 per month.
If you have a niche that people are willing to pay for, it is best to go for the high-end professional amount.
If you have a lot of nature photos, then you can check out our post here on selling nature photos for more tips.
What Are the Biggest Challenges in Selling Stock Photos
Making money from stock photography is not easy. It requires a lot of work, time, and effort. You will have to face many challenges when selling stock photos online.
Several challenges come with selling stock photos. The biggest challenge is getting your work noticed by the right people in the first place. You need to know what kind of images people are looking for and how you can make them stand out from the rest.
If you are looking to sell your work on a large scale, you need to establish yourself as an expert and build a strong portfolio of images showing your skills and expertise in the field.
Other challenges that have been identified in selling stock photos include:
- Copyright infringement
- Poor quality images
- Lack of demand for certain types of images in particular niches.
Some photographers have found success by selling their images on a commission basis—giving the buyer rights to use the image for a specific purpose and then charging them for every time it’s used.
Where Do I Sell Stock Photos?
There are many places to sell stock photos, but some have been around for decades and have become popular for their quality and reliability.
Some of the best stock photography sites that allow you to sell your images are:
One of the best places for selling stock photos is Shutterstock. They have over 100 million images, and their image search tool is really easy to use.
However, we’ve chosen a couple of others that are strong candidates for consideration.
Adobe Stock is a collection of royalty-free stock images and videos. It’s a great resource for designers, photographers, students, and other creative professionals who need visual assets for their projects.
Adobe Stock is one of the most popular stock photo marketplaces because it has one of the largest libraries available. However, it also has its own set of pros and cons that one should consider before using this service.
- Easy to use interface – you can upload your photos and start selling them right away.
- You get 70% of the revenue from each sale.
- It’s easy to find buyers for your work by searching through the images in the library.
- You have to wait a few weeks before getting paid for your work.
- There is no way to contact Adobe support directly, so if something goes wrong with your account or if you have any questions about how the site works, you will have to contact your hosting provider.
Shutterstock is a stock photo company that provides high-quality images for a low price. It has over 67 million images in its database and is one of today’s most popular stock photo companies.
The company is known for its high-quality images, but they also have some cons that you should know before using them.
- Huge image database with a wide variety of subjects
- Easy to use website interface
- A variety of images are available in various categories and styles.
- Quick image search options
- Generates revenue for photographers and artists who sell their work on the platform
- Limited selection of photos for some specific topics or niches
- Limited number of pictures per day.
EyeEm is a social network that allows photographers to sell their photos and become stock photos. It provides a platform for photographers to sell their images and an opportunity for buyers to discover new content.
EyeEm was founded in 2012 by CEO Eyal Gura, who previously founded Vurb. Gura launched the company to provide photographers with an alternative to stock photography and sell images directly to buyers.
It is an excellent resource for photographers to sell their work, but it also has several disadvantages.
- Access to millions of potential buyers worldwide.
- You can use filters on your photos, making them look more appealing and unique.
- You can also make your photos look from a different period or location.
- Add text or captions on top of your images if you want them to have a specific meaning in the context of the picture.
- Analytics for how many people have seen your photo and how much it has sold for in total.
- It has no real rules or guidelines for selling on the platform.
- It doesn’t have the same flexibility as Instagram when editing your photos.
- Some photographers have expressed concern about copyright and privacy issues that you might run into with the platform.
Apps That Pay
Many apps pay photographers for their work. These apps are usually free to download and use. Apps like these can be a great way to generate extra income for photographers who want to monetize their work.
Selfie apps are a hot topic these days. Many selfie apps provide different ways to earn money from your selfies.
Some of the most popular apps in this category are:
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with about one billion monthly active users.
The benefits of selling stock photos on Instagram are that you can set your own price, and you don’t have to worry about any editing or quality assurance.
You need to take steps if you want to sell photos on instagram. First, you should create a business account, find a seller account, and follow the guidelines for pricing. Once you have completed these steps, it’s time to start selling your photos!
Instagram has been an excellent platform for finding photos, but it also has its downsides.
- It is easy to reach out to people and make them aware of your business or brand.
- Great tool for marketing because it allows you to create content that is not as expensive as traditional advertising methods.
- An efficient tool for marketing because you can use it with little effort and invest the rest of your time in other aspects of the business.
- Easily track how many people are following you on Instagram and what posts are getting more likes, comments, and shares.
- Get ideas from other successful Instagrammers that have already built up their audiences.
- There is a limited opportunity for engagement.
- Your Instagram feed may look like it is more popular than your blog, but the actual engagement on your posts is less on Instagram.
- Instagram has been reported to have a lower quality of content than other social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
If you start a photography blog and want to monetize it, you can use stock photography to make money. This process is easy and doesn’t require any technical skills or previous experience.
Selling stock photos can increase your blog’s traffic, attract new readers, and build brand recognition.
There are several steps involved in selling stock photos and generating income from them, which we will go over below:
- Find a niche: You should know what type of photography niche you want to focus on before starting your blog.
- Choose the best images: You should choose images with good composition and lighting.
- Create a design: You should have a design that reflects your blog’s theme.
- Create new posts: Create content for your blog and link back to the images you are using in those posts.
- Promote your blog: Use social media, professional photography websites, and other methods to promote your blog.
It is possible and potentially lucrative to sell stock photos as a photography blog. However, there are some cons that we need to consider when doing so.
- You can make money through your photography blog.
- You can create content for your blog without worrying about finding a subject or shooting images.
- You get to see your work published on other websites such as Time, Forbes, and TechCrunch.
- It’s easier to find suitable photos because you have access to countless stock photo sites
- It’s easier for you to find people who are willing to pay for your work
- You can make more money by selling prints of photos that you take with your DSLR camera
- Your photography skills will improve over time
- The competition is tough in this industry, so it might be challenging to make a name for yourself.
- It can be frustrating when you’re not shooting what people want to buy.
- You must take care of your own equipment, which can be expensive at first.
Pro Tips for Selling Stock Photos
Selling stock photos is not an easy task. There are a lot of factors that can make the process difficult. However, there are some fundamental strategies that you can follow to sell your photos without any hassle.
- Use your own personal photos and images with a relevant story.
- Create a high-quality photo gallery on your site with different types of content. This helps increase the chances of being found by the right buyer.
- Make sure that you have an attractive pricing model and offer free downloads to increase conversions.
- Offering exclusive rights to your images can also increase sales.
Invest in Quality Equipment
Investing in a good camera is an essential step toward getting started in stock photo selling. The quality of your photos will determine how much you can make.
Here are a few pro tips for choosing a great camera:
- Invest in a good camera with a good lens. A DSLR is the best option, but it’s not always the best option.
- Invest in a good tripod and monopod because it will be challenging to get sharp images without one.
- Invest in a quality flash unit that can take off the shadows from your images and give them more color depth.
- Invest in a memory card that has enough storage for your photography needs.
Know Your Market
If you want to make sure that your photos are selling, then you need to find a niche and get into the know your market mindset.
An excellent way to start is by looking for popular photos on social media and blogs that have
not been licensed yet. You can also use Google trends to see which topics are trending in the market right now.
If you’re not sure how to start, then just pick one of these three things: animals, food, or people. If you are selling on an e-commerce site, you should look for pictures that can be used for jewelry and clothes. If you are selling on a website that sells products related to travel, then you should look for photos that can be used for places like beaches and mountains.
Shoot From Different Angles
A photo taken from a different angle can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used for social media posts, advertisements, and more.
Professional stock photographers are often shooting from different angles to get the perfect shot. This is another essential tip for any photographer to keep in mind when shooting for a client.
Here are some pro tips for selling stock photos:
- Shoot from different angles, not just one.
- Shoot with a wide-angle lens if you’re photographing people.
- Shoot with a telephoto lens if you’re photographing objects or landscapes.
- Shoot in low light conditions during the day, and shoot in bright light conditions at night.
Use the Right Keywords
If you are selling stock photos, it is critical to know what keywords people are looking for. Keywords that have high search volume will get more views and traffic than the others.
The benefits of using stock photos are that they are high quality and affordable. However, there is a downside to them⸺the lack of creativity. This can be solved by adding keywords to your photo descriptions.
Here are some tips for finding the right keywords for your photographs:
- Add keywords in your photo description to make it more attractive.
- Use descriptive keywords that describe what you want people to see in your photo.
- Make sure you have captions with keywords so people can easily find your photos on search engines like Google and Bing.
- Look at the title of the photo and look up what it means in a dictionary or on Wikipedia.
- If you have trouble finding a good keyword, try looking at what other people are using for their photos. You can also use Google to see what comes up when someone searches for the phrase or word you.
The key is to find keywords that will help your photo stand out amongst the rest. Keywords should be descriptive and specific so that people can find your picture easily on search engines.
Stay Active on Your Chosen Platform
There are many platforms that offer stock photography. But, to make money with this type of photography, you have to stay active on the platform and upload your photos regularly.
You must submit photos often and consistently because the algorithms on most platforms give preference to active users.
Additionally, uploading your photos regularly to your chosen platform will give people a chance to see your work and buy it without having to search through a long list of pictures. Don’t wait too long before uploading a new photo because people are less likely to search through older photo albums.
Choose Great Editing Software
The best software will allow you to edit your photos and make them look professional. This is the first step in selling high-quality stock photos. Investing in good photo editing software will also help with finding new opportunities for your images.
Below are a few tips on investing in editing for your photos:
- Choose a professional editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.
- Learn how to use these editing tools: learn how to use filters, masks, curves, and more.
- Edit your images before uploading them: edit your pictures in lightroom or photoshop so that they look better on clients’ screens.
Some of the most popular editing software are Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Pixlr.
The increasing use of digital technology has made it easier for photographers to sell their work on a global scale. There are a lot of platforms that photographers can sell their work on. All they need to do is find the one that suits them best and start making money.
Professional photographers charge between $0.25 to $1 per image for their services, while beginners sell their photos for $0.01-$0.02 per image or less.
Passion is key to success in any part-time job or side gig. If you are passionate about what you do, it will show in your work and help build up an audience for your posts or images.
If you found this article helpful or have any questions about how to sell stock photos to make money, post if in the comments below.