Money · February 4, 2023

How To Make Money With Stock Photography

How To Make Money With Stock Photography – I have always been interested in stock photography as a way to make money. So I decided to give it a try and share my success when I sold my first stock photo in 10 days as a Shutterstock Contributor.

To be honest, I’ve been wanting to try this for a while since I found out Adam of Team Wallet Squirrel made $1,000 from a single photo (sold multiple times)! The picture he took randomly at the Arch of St. Louis while supporting me while I was running the St. Louis in 2012.

How To Make Money With Stock Photography

How To Make Money With Stock Photography

These are digital images sold online, usually for commercial purposes. Sites like Getty Images and Shutterstock are good examples of sites that sell stock photography.

How To Make Money By Selling Stock Photography

It’s just an attractive income because all you have to do is upload the image once, like a digital product, and earn money every time someone downloads it! This can happen thousands of times without any extra effort on your part.

I’m not a professional photographer or a good photographer by any means, but I applied to Shutterstock and iStockPhoto, two major photography sites, in case they would accept someone as talented as me.

There are other Stock Photography sites out there, you can apply to. Here is a list of the top 10 I discovered in my research, but I will only focus on one (Shutterstock) for this article. I think they all have some similarities.

In order to start submitting photos, I had to understand what stock photography sites were looking for, and sell better. People don’t go for pictures of clouds taken from an airplane window.

How To Make Money Selling Stock Photography

You need to submit images that can be used for commercial purposes. Some of the best selling photo types are Portraits, Food Photography, Landscapes (usually with people) and fine art (artistic) photography. Above all, good photos and people sell the best!

Now to list the photos I already have. After taking thousands of photos for fun, I had to assume some were decent.

So I plugged in an external hard drive that held every photo I’ve ever taken in college, life and travel. That night, I went through over 4,000 digital photos.

How To Make Money With Stock Photography

I sat at my small desk with Netflix on in the background as I clicked the right arrow key on my computer about 4,000 times to look at every picture I’ve ever taken in the last 10 years. Most of these were taken with a point and click camera, so the quality wasn’t great, but a few gems were discovered. =)

How To Sell Stock Photos And Make Money In 2023

That’s still a lot! I had to narrow the top 100 photos down to the 60 best, then down to the 30 best photos I’ve ever taken. Then list them 1 to 30.

I had to remember, I can’t control how these images will be used. A family photo could be used in a depression magazine ad, so I was careful and respectful of the other people in the photo. Additionally I would need photo releases signed (and delivered) by any people in them. I could download these online, but I just avoided people to make things easier.

So I submitted to Shutterstock & iStockPhoto, but we still focus on Shutterstock. Shutterstock was very fast with the review process, it took about 5 business days. iStockPhoto took about 30 days.

I created a profile (basically a username, password and verify email address). Then they asked me to upload about 14 of my best photos. They would go through this for the application process. Yes, it was a process, they have an official review team that checks every photo that is uploaded to make sure it matches their quality.

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Finally, on Day 9 I get a “You’re Approved” email. I was actually a little shocked. I knew the photos I submitted were MY best, but there ARE a lot more talented people out there with better photography. I wanted to answer and say “Really? Are you sure I’m accepted?” However, I kept my mouth shut and continued.

So I jump on their platform and start familiarizing myself with their dashboard. It looks a little like this and it hasn’t changed in the last few years.

I spent some time filling out all the other information and verifying who I am for tax purposes. They like this so much, in fact, that they ask you to submit a photo of your driver’s license to prove who you are. The part was a little weird to upload a photo of my driver’s license but I figured I’d gone this far.

How To Make Money With Stock Photography

Remember every photo you upload, even as a contributor, must be reviewed by their team first, even after submitting an application with the same photos. I think it’s a different inspection team.

What Is Stock Photography? Make Money From Photography

I started by selecting my top 8 images to consider for sale on their site. Now more work.

Having good photos is not enough, you will need to add categories to describe each photo, such as “travel, nature, urban, etc”. Then add about 50 words of description. This is what people look for your photos when they are looking for a stock photo to buy.

Once I selected all the keywords and categories for each of my 8 photos, I clicked “Submit” to have their team review my photos for those specific keywords. The idea is that you don’t use unrelated keywords, have the necessary image submission forms if you include people (yup, upload those too), categorize the images correctly, and the images are of high enough quality.

However, 6 other photos were approved! These are the best pictures I have ever taken here. If you agree, feel free to buy them, but I don’t know what you would use them for. I just love them.

Apps To Sell Stock Photos (that Anyone Can Use)

Someone liked my photo and bought it! I’m not sure who, but I made my first sale on Shutterstock for my “dock” photo taken in New Zealand. Maybe it was my mom, she still has my crayon drawings from 1st grade.

Not sure how they found it, just searching for “dock” won’t find it. The word “dock” is very loaded. They must have searched for some additional keywords as well.

I can see how some people could use this as a stock image though. It’s very soothing. The only thing missing is some children running from the end, into the water.

How To Make Money With Stock Photography

So finding the right keywords for your photos makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. You should spend 30 minutes on keyword research for each image and don’t be afraid to look at your competitor’s keywords on similar images.

How To Make Money Selling Stock Photos Online

Lesson Learned – I was more disappointed that I can’t control the price. This is completely controlled by the website. The cheapest photos they sell are $29 for 2 photos, so we can assume they sell basic quality photos for $14.50 each.

From my one download, I earned $1.88. It’s not good considering Shutterstock takes 88% and I get 12% of every sale, but that’s what I have to deal with since it’s their marketplace.

We’ll ignore the fact that I got $1.88 on just one photo, or 12% of the online price.

Some people can make a living for sure, but as I mentioned our own Adam in his recent article “5 Easy Ways – How to Sell Photos Online” said he made almost $1,000 from one photo of the St. Arch. He uploaded it immediately and has continued to receive checks from it over the past year.

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Now the pictures I uploaded were not high quality (it was just a 2MP point and click camera). In the future, I would invest in a better camera. I have been thinking about a camera that would be good for photography, and video recording.

This would allow me to sell stock photos, stock videos and start blogging for extra money. Personally, I have been looking at the Canon EOS M50 Video Creator Kit. It has everything I need for all three, all wrapped up together!

The only addition to my dream setup would be to add a nice, but cheap lamp stand or ring light to make everything look more professional.

How To Make Money With Stock Photography

I continue to be happy with stock photography even though I only received 12% of all sales.

What It Takes To Make $500 Per Month Selling Stock Photos

I suspect that the 6 photos I uploaded will not do well, but will continue to bring in a few bucks without any extra effort on my part. Plus I can add more as a Shutterstock Contributor now.

Now that I know what type of photography sells best, I can take new photos to sell online as another way to make money! Maybe take a suit and pose in the meeting rooms for the very popular business attire photos. Every photo I take is just another income stream with stock photography!

Wallet Squirrel is a personal finance blog written by best friends Andrew & Adam about how money works, building synergies, and the benefits of smart investing. Featured on MSN Money, AOL Finance, and more!Stock photography is a tough industry to master. Competition is fierce and prices have been falling for the past decade. But if you’re willing to put in the effort and have a long-term plan, you definitely can

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