Sell photos online
Do you have a good camera, talent for shooting beautiful pictures, and do you prefer to know how to digitally edit photos so that they look their best? Then you can make money by selling your photos to webmasters, designers and marketing agencies via so-called “stock photo sites”.
How does it work?
Stock photo sites (also called “stock sites”) are marketplaces for photos. Best known are iStockphoto and Dreamstime. Photographers can upload photos, and webmasters, designers and advertising agencies can view these photos and buy the rights of use when they are interested. When a photo is sold, the photographer gets a share of the proceeds. The nice thing about this earning way is that you only need to upload a photo once, and that you can continue to earn it for the rest of your life.
Not every photo you want to upload as a photographer is admitted to the database of the stock sites. The stock sites apply fairly strict quality requirements and only really good photos pass through the inspection. The quality requirements are the strictest at stock sites, and somewhat less stringent at microsite sites.
How much can you earn selling photos online?
The most important factors that determine how much you earn are the amount of photos you upload (the size of your portfolio) and their quality. A higher quality means more downloads and a better price per download. The prices are determined by the stock site based on the quality of your photos.
As a photographer you receive a percentage of the proceeds from your photos. Are the subjects and quality of your photos average? Then you can expect to earn roughly € 5 per month per 100 photos in your portfolio. With 500 photos that is about € 300 per year. (This is a very rough estimate: what you really earn depends on the quality and subjects of your photos.)
The difference between stock sites and microsite sites
There are two types of stock sites: (normal) stock sites, and microstocksites. Stock sites focus on professional photographers and the quality requirements are highest there. Opposite are microstocksites. The quality requirements are less strict, which makes them better suited for amateur photographers. At the microstock sites, however, the photo prices are also lower. But because you can also get higher percentages of the yield as a photographer, that does not necessarily mean that you earn much less.
The best stock photo site
The largest international stock site is iStockphoto. You start as a photographer with a percentage of 15%, but if you are willing to give iStockphoto “exclusivity” (which means you promise to upload your photos only from iStockphoto), that percentage will increase to 45% as soon as you sell 250 you have achieved. If you have earned $ 100, you can be paid, including via check or Paypal.
The best microstock site
That’s Dreamstime. You start with a percentage of 25%, but as you have more pictures sold, that increases to 50%. The best thing about Dreamstime is that they pay even more generous compensation to photographers: if you only upload photos on Dreamstime (and do not put any of your photos on another stock site) then Dreamstime will give you a percentage of 60% plus standard $ 0.20 cash per uploaded photo that is approved. Also at Dreamstime you can be paid by check or Paypal as soon as you have earned $ 100. To log in, go to the Dreamstime homepage and click “Sign up for free” at the bottom right of “Photographers:”.
It is important to realize that making money with stock photos is something for the long term. In the beginning, you spend a lot of time making and uploading photos without it yielding much. Only when you have built up a portfolio of hundreds or even thousands of photos will it be clear that all your efforts have led to a nice extra monthly income. The longer you are busy and the larger your portfolio has become, the more you will earn.