How to make money selling your photos online

As a hobby, photography can be expensive, but that does not mean that you need the most expensive camera in the market to make money from your photos.

In fact, if you have a good phone camera and a steady hand, you’re already in with a shot.

However, when you take your pictures, there are many ways to make photos that you have already taken. And there are many ways to develop your photography skills – and income – from selling your stock to doing everything and creating photo books.

Read about how to live the dream and build your life from photography.

Essential equipment for photography

Make money

If you’ve got a DSLR camera, you’ll have more options for selling photos to sites for prints, to stock libraries, or for print-on-demand products. This is because digital cameras will generally produce higher-resolution pictures.

Having said that, some smartphones like Huawei P30 and Google Pixel 3 are shooting digital cameras today.

An increasing number of stock libraries are catering to mobile snaps, plus you still have a shot at making other money-making ideas. Keep reading!

Finding the right photo-editing software

Using good software to edit your pictures will make a lot of difference, so it is important for you to spend a little time looking for the best package.

Once you find the right editing software, the key is to practice. Try a lot of test edits, ask friends and family for feedback, and work hard to master the skill.

Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are the industry leaders for photo editing – but they come with a hefty price! Do not crack your wallet until you check the free one below.

01. FastStone pictures Viewer can open RAW files directly from your digital camera and save them as JPG, TIFF or PNGs. It’s okay for basic edits like straightening, colour correction, contrast and cropping.

02. Raw Therapee is a light-room editor with lots of tools for color, curves and many more tweaks.

03. PIXLR is a solid alternative to Photoshop, and recognizes similar shortcuts out of the bag. You can run it directly from the browser browser or through the app for free.

04. GIMP can do a better job than Photoshop, though some users consider it a learning or learning curve.

05. There are many phone editing apps available for free or for a few pence, but Snapseed (Android,iPhone, Free) continually makes the best list.

06. Don’t forget the pre-installed image software on your phone, laptop or computer– most can make light work of the basics.

How to sell photos through stock libraries

make money

The stock library buys or sells digital photos for use on websites, books, products and advertisements, with the photographer getting a cut of the sale each time.

Selling photos by the stock site is a great way to cross the stream of revenue stream: You can upload a photo once and sell it again and again, forever!

You may have to submit a selection of pictures (and be accepted) before you can become a stock library contributor. After that, some sites will review all of your requests.

What this means is that you will always need to be on the ball about picking your best shots. Don’t worry too much about the rejection, though – join multiple stock pictures sites and post pictures to get the best picture.

How to make money selling stock photos
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01. Upload Pictures to multiple sites

  • Selling by stock libraries is a numbers game:if you want sales, you’ll need to upload lots of quality Pictures to several sites.

02. Include people in your images

  • Pictures of people are always in demand. However, it is worth noting that anyone you pap may need to sign the model release form to say that they are okay with you using it. Your stock library will have template forms that you can print, sign, and submit.

03. Check the T&Cs

  • Check the terms of the account! When will you be paid, how much and in what currency? What happens to your photos if you later want to cancel your account?

04. Be selective about the pictures you upload

  • You usually won’t get a say in how customers use your images, So if you do not want your selfies to be included in STD tests or hemorrhoid ointment, it is best not to upload them.

05. Use keywords when uploading photos

  • Add plenty of keywords when you upload your photos – it helps folk find (and hopefully buy) your photos.
Which stock-photo sites to sell to

Swing by Alamy first – Their Student Contribution Plan gives you 100% of the sale price of your images for 2 years. Total wins! Your will be required to be a part of this plan, but many UK institutions are already registered.

Alamy reckons photos typically sell for about £70 each, but you could get anywhere from £15 –£380 depending what it’s used for. If you are not a student or your union is not registered, the payment is still a fairly decent 50%. Selling phone photos through their Stockimo app (iStore only) earns you a 20% cut.


Picfair comes with a twist: you decide how much your photos sell for. Of course, the lower you set the price the more likely people may be to buy your photos. But, if you have some high-quality pictures that deserve top prices, this site is ideal.

Picfair adds 20% on top for their cut, but the sales price you set is what you get if your picture sells.


If Instagram and Alamy had a loving baby, it would have looked like EyeEm. EyeEm is a picture sharing site but, if you want to earn more than ‘likes’, you can also pimp your pictures through the marketplace. EyeEm splits every sale with you 50/50, with pictures selling from around £15-£180.

EyeEm Bonus: regular how-to articles, themed missions run by big brands, plus you can upload pictures via the web or phone.


Foap is built around phone photographers, with everything handled through the app (iTunes, Android free). Foap sells pictures for around £7.50 and splits it 50/50 after reductions of any taxes and dues.

They also run monthly Missions, where you can submit pictures on a theme to be in with a chance of winning extra money and perks.


Dreamstime offers up to 50-60% for exclusives. How much your image sells for also goes up the more it’s downloaded: newbie photos sell for around 16p – £1.70. If you’re shooting on a phone, start with the free Dreamstime app (iPhone, Android).

Getty Images

Getty Images hands over 15% of an image’s sales price, but promise a bigger cut if you make the picture exclusive to the site. Single photos cost from £50 to buy, but the type of licence or subscription plan the customer buys determines how your slice is calculated.


If you sell photos through Shutterstock, they will cough up about 20% of each sale for new users but, as your lifetime earnings pass various levels, the percentage you’ll earn will go up.