How to make money selling stock photos?

How to make money selling stock photos?

Do you have a DSLR camera laying around catching dust? It’s time to grab it from the shelves, dust it off, and read that manual to learn how to shoot in manual mode. Did you know you can make money by taking photos? Use your camera for more than just taking photos of your kids, and start making money today! According to, there are an estimated 350 million stock images in the archives available today. A lot of websites make use of stock photos to make their website look professional.

You can start earning money by becoming a stock photographer today!

What are stock photos?

Stock photos are high-quality photos taken by photographers (amateurs or professionals) and are submitted on stock photo websites, so other people can download them and use them. Some people might be looking for photos for their website, or a flyer that they are creating, but don’t necessarily have the visuals to add. Stock photos will give it a professional and clean look. You can create and submit photos of anything you can think of, like food, flowers, traffic, people, animals, homes, interior decor, sunsets, oceans, buildings, monuments, etc. You name it! There is a market for every kind of good quality photo.

I personally sell photos of newborn digital composite backgrounds that are used by newborn photographers to import photos of babies. This makes it look like the baby was actually in the scene, that I have created. They can use these backgrounds multiple times for different newborn photo sessions. I get creative and get inspired by the seasons, like spring, summer, fall, winter, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc.

Here is a list of things you need to become a stock photographer:

  1. DSLR Camera. This can be a camera of any brand like Nikon, Fuji, Canon, Sony, etc.
  2. A good lens. My favorites are the 35mm and the 40mm macro, but you might want a telephoto lens, if you plan on photographing wildlife or the stars.
  3. Tripod – this is optional depending on what you’re photographing.
  4. Lighting – this is optional depending on what you’re photographing.
  5. Memory cards – I like SanDisk Extreme Pro memory cards
  6. Model release (if you plan on taking photos of people, or even if there’s a person in the background of your photo – you need their permission)
  7. Editing software, like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom.

I absolutely love working with Adobe Lightroom. I use it for all my photography, whether I am photographing my kids, for my portrait photography business, food photography business, or for stock photos. When I get more creative and want to manipulate photos, like composites, I use Adobe Photoshop. You can great photography packages with Adobe, but they also have lots of other products to offer. You can check out details and pricing by clicking the button below

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate you considering Adobe packages through my link.

Here is a list of things you need to consider when you take and submit your photos:

  1. Make sure your subject is fully in focus. It is a must to know how your camera works in manual mode. So read your camera’s manual or check out Youtube for some tutorials, before you start.
  2. Shoot in RAW format, so you have the highest quality available of your photo when you edit the file.
  3. If you plan on taking photos of people, make sure you ask for their written permission. You can Google model release templates to get an idea of what you need the people in your photos to sign before you photograph them.
  4. Try to avoid brands and logos in the photos.
  5. Don’t overedit your photos. Keep it natural and true to color.
  6. Don’t take just one photo of your subject. Try to photograph your subject from different angles.
  7. Get creative and shoot whatever inspires you. See if you can photograph something that you are already passionate about, or something that you do in your daily life.
  8. Don’t stop trying if your first few photos get declined, just find ways to get better or more creative.
  9. Use the keywords option when you submit your photos. This will help your photo get found by others. Use all the words that you can think of that will describe your photo. Try to use all 50 of them!

How much money can you make?

With Shutterstock, there are 6 different levels you can be in. You will level up depending on the number of photos that you submitted and have been accepted, and how many of your photos have been downloaded by others. You can earn between 15% and 40% of the image price. The more photos you upload, the bigger your chance of people using your photos, and moving up in the tiers/making more money.

Got inspired?

You can become a stock photographer, just like me, and earn some extra income on the side, by doing something that you enjoy. Just start by bringing your camera everywhere you go and create an account to submit your photos. Check out my link to sign up for Shutterstock Photo Contributor and become a stock photographer today!

Disclaimer: by using my sign-up link I receive a small referral commission. I appreciate your support to sign up through my link.

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