Is selling stock photos a good way to make extra cash quick?
It depends. If you’re already a photographer, you may be able to monetize your skills fairly quickly as a side hustle. If you’re picking this up as a new hobby with the sole purpose of turning a profit, though, you may want to think twice.
Learn the Ins and Outs of Photography
Before you sell photographs, it’s a good idea to learn a thing of two about photography. The biggest reason for this is that the sites that pay the most money set higher standards. Those higher standards are communicated through a niche vernacular.
If you can’t find the foreground, don’t know how to utilize a histogram and can’t tell the difference between sensor dust and mirror dust, you might want to spend more time perfecting your craft before you market it.
Invest in Quality Gear
Whether you’re purchasing the latest iPhone for its camera or pursuing a purist route and going DSLR, invest in quality gear. A quality setup – from lighting to equipment – is going to produce a higher number of quality photos in less time.
Be realistic when making your purchase, though. If it’s truly a business investment, know that selling stock photos isn’t a way to get rich quick for most people. You might make only a couple thousand or even hundred a year, especially as you’re initially honing your craft.
Find a Platform with High Royalties or Low Fees
There is no shortage of platforms that facilitate sales for photographers. For their services, these platforms take a portion of your sale as a commission, charge a fee or some combination of both. Alternatively, you may find a platform that pays you royalties every time you sell a photo.
Obviously, you want to find the sites that will accept your work and pay you the highest commission. To get started, you can check out: 500px, Shutterstock, iStockphoto, Alamy, Adobe Stock, PhotoMoto, Twenty20, Dreamstime.
Consider Your Subject
When you are taking images to sell to stock websites, you need to remember that they’re usually being sold for commercial use. While you may take beautiful artistic shots, simple and nonbranded subjects are more likely to have universal appeal. The more downloads or licenses you can sell, the more money you can make.
Worth your time?
Selling stock photos can be a decent way to pull in a side income if you are already a photographer. If you’re not, the profit on these photos is not large or reliable enough to merit the initial investment.
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