How to Earn Money by Selling Photos Online

A pleasant hobby can be turned into a source of income. The captured photographic material can be personally offered to print or online publications, placed on freelance exchanges as unique content, or, at worst, filmed weddings and other celebrations.

Another thing is that such earnings are not very stable and take a lot of time. In particular, most journalistic publications have in-house photographers and the proposed photos should be interesting or even sensational. Such content is not very popular on exchanges, and there is too much competition among wedding photographers.

Therefore, the easiest way is to sell photos through photo stocks designed specifically for this purpose. The main advantage is that you can shoot what you like, not what you need, and this gives you the opportunity to show talent and work with pleasure.

What are photo stocks and how do they work?

Photo stock – specially designed Internet portals that store an archive of images. The archive is formed from copyright photographs of photographers from all over the world. This is done so that anyone, be it a magazine, a publishing house, or a trademark, can quickly and easily buy an image for their needs. There are two types of photo stocks.

Macro stocks – such platforms are often accessible only by invitation; they set high requirements for images that must be filmed with professional equipment. Prices for photos on such platforms are quite high, but sales are rare.

Microstock is almost the opposite of microstock. Here, the cost of a photo is less, but a wide variety of photos are allowed for sale, while multiple sales are also allowed, and a photo taken correctly can be sold hundreds and thousands of times, bringing the owner a decent profit.

More than a million images are uploaded to large photo stocks every day, and the same number is downloaded from them. Most of the photos posted on billboards, magazine covers, books, and even in advertisements of famous brands are taken from photo stocks. Authors do not have the ability to track who exactly bought their photos, but from time to time they stumble upon their photos around the world on posters, booklets, and even in Hollywood films.

How to make money on photo stocks?

Cooperation with a photo stock for authors is direct monetization of their creativity, contributing to the development of abilities and does not require time for PR. To make money on microstock, a photographer needs to register on the platform and constantly replenish it with his works, indicating to them the keywords by which the buyer can find the picture.

It is not prohibited by microstock to sell at several sites at the same time, so you can sell one photo hundreds of times at many stocks. And to make money on a microstock, you will need the participation of an intermediary, a production agency. To do this, you first need to send a preview to the agency, if the quality of the photos suits, then the agency asks to send a gallery, from which they choose the best pictures and form a gallery from them on the macro stack.

Even taking into account the deduction of the cost of the agency’s services, there is a good deduction for each photo sold, but the purchase can be delayed for a long period of time. Photo stocks also sell photographs to magazines and newspapers.

Image Requirements

Each photo stock has a team of experts who assesses the quality of the photos and their compliance with the stock requirements. If a user submits a lot of substandard or inappropriate material, they will be banned. Therefore, when selecting photos for uploading, you should follow several mandatory rules:

  • The photo must be uploaded in JPG format.
  • The size is at least 4 megapixels, this parameter increases every year and is set individually by each drain.
  • The picture should be of high quality, without motion distortion, ISO not more than 400.
  • The snapshot should not contain gaps or gaps in the shadows.
  • If there are people in the photo, adding a photo requires an additional Model Release download – the consent of the model, to use her photo for commercial purposes, drawn up in writing. For minors, the Model Release is signed by a parent or guardian.
  • If the photograph contains private property, then the permission of the owner of the object to use the photograph is required – Property Release.
  • Experts should evaluate the photo as commercially viable. If the niche is full, then there is an opportunity to be refused, even if the photo meets all the requirements.

How much can you earn?

The sale under the Royalty Free license brings the photographer 25-30 cents per download of the photo, taking into account the service commission. This cost is due to the fact that many photo stocks work by subscription. That is, the buyer pays for a monthly subscription, and every day a certain download limit is available to him for download. In addition to the subscription, there is also a sale for single photos, in which case the deductions for one image will depend on the size of the photo and its quality and range from several dollars and more.

How to withdraw money?

Photo stocks are mainly international, deductions to them are foreign currency, therefore, international payment systems are used. The options for withdrawing and depositing funds on each platform are individual, but there are always three main options.


An analog of PayPal, which allows you to accept and send payments when registering via email. Supports over 100 currencies and operates in over 200 countries. Unlike PayPal, free withdrawal to a bank card is also available in the CIS countries.


PayPal is a popular payment system that is used in almost all international platforms. But in most CIS countries, it only works for depositing funds, and for withdrawal, you will have to use the services of exchangers or create an account bypassing the blocking.

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