Tips from the Pros: How to Make Money with Stock Photos

Ever heard of Antonio Guillem? No, neither had we. But you’ll definitely know his work. He’s the photographer who took the photo that came to be the distracted boyfriend meme.

His work has now been seen by millions of people around the planet. Unfortunately for Antonio, no one who uses the meme buys an appropriate license. Technically, they’re using the image illegally, and it means that Antonio doesn’t make any money.

Thankfully, he makes more than enough money from his other stock photos that he’s not bothered. If you’d like to learn how to make money with stock photos then it’s pretty straightforward. It can be a great way to earn continual passive income from your work.

Read on as we take a look at how to do it right.

How Does It Work?

Stock photographs are generic images that can be licensed for a specific use.

Photographers take photos that they think other people might want to use in their work, whether that’s on websites, in their brochures, in adverts, or a range of other reasons. Licensees then pay for the right to use the image in their commercial works, and the photographer gets paid.

It saves the licensee the cost of having to set up their own photoshoot and allows the photographer to make money from their images without lifting a finger.

How Much Can You Earn?

How much money you can make depends on how many images you can sell.

Your first images might only earn you a few cents per image. The more you sell, the more you can earn per image. Even if you don’t sell much, it can still be a good way to make extra money.

The beauty is that the same image can be licensed time and time again. A popular image can sell over and over and earn you thousands of dollars over time. A good stock photo can continue to earn you passive income year after year after year.

Don’t expect to earn thousands straight off the bat. You’ll need to build up your portfolio, and hope you that you can find the image that everybody wants.

What Photos Sell Best?

Images with positive messages are far more likely to sell well.

Photographs of people enjoying themselves sell really well; a beautiful smile will always be popular. More mature models are also good sellers as they come across as more trustworthy. You could also focus on specific niches such as health or medical images.

One of the best ways to discover what sells well is to visit stock photo sites and take a look at the most downloaded images. You should be able to spot patterns and trends; you can then try to mirror these in your own photography.

What Are the Best Sites to Use?

There are a number of different sites that will allow you to upload your photos and will sell them for a commission.

The most popular of these include:

  • Shutterstock
  • Getty Images
  • Adobe Stock
  • Alamy
  • 500px
  • iStock Photo
  • PhotoShelter
  • Dreamstime

As you can see, there is a huge choice of options. Each site offers different royalty rates and has different terms of service. Do your research and find a site that best suits your own needs.

How Do You Get Paid?

How and when you get paid will depend on the stock photo site that you choose to go with.

There is usually a minimum amount of money that you will need to earn before you will be paid out. This might be anywhere from $50 to $100. Once you have reached this amount of earnings, you can request a withdrawal of your funds.

You will usually be able to choose from a number of different payment options. These can include bank transfer, PayPal, or even a good old fashioned cheque. Make sure that you do your research for each site to find one with payment terms that suit you.

What Will You Need?

If all of this sounds like exactly your thing, then there is some equipment that you will need.

A good camera is the most obvious, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to be able to take great photographs. If you’re starting out, get the best camera that you can comfortably afford; if you do well you can always upgrade at a later date.

The key to great photographs is good lighting. Natural light can get you so far, using reflectors can help you to focus that natural light, but in the end, you’re probably going to need to fork out for your own lighting kit. Once again, don’t break the bank, start with something affordable and upgrade if you photos sell well.

How To Get Started

Once you’ve got the kit you’re all set to go.

Do your research. There are two approaches you can take; either by finding the popular images and doing something in that area or finding a niche that isn’t really covered well and trying to fill the gap.

Try to work on developing your own style. If customers like your style, they are more likely to come back and use more of your images. Changing your style dramatically might put off repeat customers.

Most importantly, just keep shooting and keep uploading your images. The only way you will learn is through experience.

Now You Know How to Make Money with Stock Photos

Now that you know how to make money with stock photos you can start earning a passive income from your photography work.

If you’re looking for other great ways to make good money online, then I’m here to help. The aim of this site is to help you take control of your financial life, not by careful money management, but by earning so much money that you won’t need to manage it.

If you’re looking for great advice on how to take control of your money and of your life, then feel free to take a good look around.