Can You Make Money Selling Stock Photos?

Earning money as a photographer is usually hard, as you would often have limited clients that would want you to shoot a special event.  Because of the difficulty of getting money from photography, most photographers today would treat theirs skills on the camera as a hobby, and they would typically have a full-time job outside of their passion. However, what most photographers don’t know is that they can actually earn a sufficient amount of money using any photo that they take, and that is through selling those photos in several stock photo websites. Here are some tips on how to earn money selling stock photos online.

Take Photos that Will Sell

There are certain pictures in stock photo websites that often sell more than the others, and these are usually generic shots of landscapes, as well various rooms in the house like a kitchen or a bedroom. The key to making your photos sell well is to know what most people would want to download for stock photos, and you should also remember that what the people need isn’t exactly what you want. So, if you dislike taking photos of landscape or beautiful sceneries, you may have to swallow a bit of your pride if you want to earn money in selling stock photos.

Inspect Every Photo You Wish to Sell

The most downloaded stock photos are the ones that look almost perfect, which means that you would need to check every photo you wish to sell and see if there are any errors, unwanted images, or incorrect focus. For shots of sceneries, you would want to check at any dust particles that are visible in the shot. You can easily erase these dust particles using Adobe Photoshop or any other photo editing program.


For shots that are supposed to be focused on one subject, make sure that the subject is correctly focused and not blurred, as it would look more appealing to any downloader. In addition, you also have the option to add filter or adjust sharpness and contrasts on your photos if you wish it to look better. Most stock photo agencies or websites would often have quality control checks, so they will automatically reject photos that have errors or doesn’t look appealing for their users. So, you would really need to check your photos before sending them.

Select the Perfect Agency for You

There are many websites or agencies that you can sign up in to sell your stock photos online, although they would typically have different sets of rules and regulations when it comes to pricing and what they are looking for in your photos. Doing some research before signing up for a membership on an agency is beneficial, as you will be able to have more choices and known which agency has the best procedures and processes for your portfolio.

Furthermore, researching is also essential so that you want be stuck in a bad agency, as it would often take months before your photos are deleted on their database once you delete your account. The number one thing that you should look for when finding an agency is their commission rate, as there are some agencies that would take more than 60% of the commission, which can be unfair for you and most photographers. The second thing to look for is the most popular types of photos that the agency’s gallery contain, as this would determine if your style of photography is suitable for what the agency wants.

Don’t Forget the Keywords

Once you have found a suitable agency, it is time to upload some of your photos on the website. However, before you upload anything, make sure that every photo has some keywords attached to them, as these keywords would be the “key” for your photos to be more noticeable on the website or for them to show up more in user searches. There are some agencies that will automatically put keywords on your photos, but there are also some that won’t. Regardless if these agencies have automatic keyword inputs for photos, you should remember to put keywords manually they are photos and you have a better idea on which keywords to put for each photo.

Build a Strong Portfolio

Building a strong portfolio is important for any photographer, and it is also essential if you want to earn more money in selling stock photos. A good portfolio for an agency consists of photos that can match well with one another, and the photos would also need to be the ones that would sell well in the website. Build a portfolio made up of photos that others would like to download, and your photography would eventually become known in the website. Who knows, some company may hire you for your skills by looking at your stock photos, which could be a bridge for you to be more successful in the business.