What if you could make money selling taking pictures with your phone? Regardless if you are a pro photographer or simply a hobbyist – or just someone who takes a lucky photo now and then – there is actually a huge market for selling photos. It can be a great way to make a little extra money without investing a lot of money or time. All you need is your cell phone!
13 Best Apps to Make Money Selling Photos
FOAP is a photo marketplace that pro photographers and amateurs can use. Several brands – including Bank of America and MasterCard – have been known to look for images through this app. The marketplace is huge with a wide variety within the collection.
The selling process is fairly simple for this app. A seller registered using email or Facebook credentials. Each of your photos will sell for $10, and you get half of that. Your photos do need a minimum resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels. If you aren’t sure how to make sure your pictures qualify, you’ll need to check the settings on your smartphone.
The interface is similar to Twitter. You can follow different photographers for inspiration. You can also find recently sold photos in the Explore tab, if you’d like an idea of what kinds of pictures are selling well.
The other way to make money in the app is through Missions. Missions are posted by brands with specific photo requirements. It’s set up as a competition, and the winner gets all of the money – sometimes more than $300.
Snapwire is another app with an active community of both buyers and sellers. In addition to selling individual photos in the marketplace, Snapwire also has Challenges which pay more. When selling a photo directly, you’ll receive 50% of the price. If you sell an image because a brand requests it – or through a challenge – you’ll receive 70%.
For photographers, Snapwire has also instituted gamification. As you take more photos, and make more money, your level increases. As you level up, you can start to receive direct requests from any brands who are interested in your portfolio.
When you create your Snapwire profile, you can choose which style – such as art, buildings, flowers, food, etc. - best fits the category for your photos. You can choose up to 10 styles for your portfolio.
Shutterstock is one of the most popular stock photo brands. It has a robust contributor program. In order to start, you’ll need to create an account online – as the app doesn’t allow you to create one.
You also won’t have any way to interact with others or see what is trending – but the app is easy to use. You can upload your images, track how well they’re doing, and see how much money you’ve made through the interface.
If you have had some success on other apps, or are a skilled photographer, and you have limited time – Clashot might be the best app for you. Clashot sends out requests for the kinds of photos that brands are actively looking for. Having these kinds of notifications saves a lot of time.
Depositphotos is owned by Clashot. It is a photography marketplace. The sale price will vary depending on your photos, but you will receive 44% of what they sell for. It is set up like Instagram so that you can follow other photographers and see their updates.
Bylined is similar to Clashot. Bylined sends out notifications of requests to people with the app. Brands contact Bylined with specific needs – and those with the app compete to take the best picture to fill the requirements. Then the winner gets paid by the brand.
500px has both a free and paid version of their app. With the free version – you get to use the free platform. The downside of having the free subscription is that you can only upload 7 images per week. This would be a good platform if you just want to test selling photos and you don’t plan on uploading very many pictures at one time.
However, if you’re interested in uploading more photos per week, 500px offers three membership levels that allow up to unlimited photos and more customizations.
EyeEm is similar to other apps. You sell images individually and also via missions from brands and companies. However, in the EyeEm marketplace, you retain the copyright to the photo and receive 50% of the commission every time your photo sells. The lowest photo license is $20 per photo – so you’d earn a minimum of $10 per photo sold.
EyeEm is also a non-exclusive marketplace – which means you can also put the same photos up on multiple sites.
Additionally, EyeEm offers free tutorials and tips to help you improve your photography skills.
Want to keep all of your earnings? This might be the app for you. There are no membership or commission fees. There are different levels of earnings depending on your rating – Junior, Advanced, Pro and Master.
As you get better at taking photos, you’ll likely sell more – and then get higher ratings, which will help you achieve a higher rank. Once you have a higher rank, you’ll receive more money for your photos.
In Agora Images, you aren’t selling the complete rights to your photo one time. You can continue to resell the same photo to multiple businesses. Additionally, you can participate in photo contests to earn additional money. The contests are requests and are hosted by bloggers brands, and other businesses who need photos. The contest will have specifics on the type of image needed, and the best photo will win.
If you want to set your own prices, Scoopshot may. Be the best app for you. This means you will have more potential to earn more if you have high-quality photos.
Through Scoopshot, you can also earn money by participating in daily tasks or contests. Tasks are requests for very specific photos from brands. Those tasks are sent to smartphone users based on their location.
Another interesting capability of Scoopshot is that if online advertisers use your photo, you’ll earn a share of any advertising revenue.
Stockimo is the app version of Alamy, one of the largest stock photo agencies. This means that your photos stand a higher chance of success. You keep the copyrights to your photos through Stockimo.
With the app, you’ll receive 20% of every sale. The Stockimo average sale price is $90 – but can be significantly more.
One downside of this app is that it is only on iPhone, not Android.
Twenty20 is an app where each photographer creates a gallery. Then each photographer has a personalized link to use for promoting and selling his or her photos. Additionally, you can add your best photos to a showcase gallery and earn more exposure.
There are also challenges to participate in that allow you to keep 100% of the commission if a brand works directly with you through the platform.
This is another non-exclusive app, which allows you to use other apps or sites as well. You keep the copyright to all of your pics.
Dreamstime is one of the more complex photo-selling apps. There are two apps – one for brands or people looking to buy photos, and one for photographers looking to sell pictures. After downloading Dreamstime, the app is renamed Companion, which can also be confusing.
One of the biggest benefits is that the photographer version of the app is designed to get you uploading photos very quickly. You can sell the photos at different licensing levels, and make up to $12 per image, depending on the license. However, it is also important to note that Dreamstime does require a $100 accrual before they pay any money.
Although there isn't a community aspect, you can visit Stock Photos by Dreamstime to see photos that are currently selling well.
How to Get Started Selling Pictures Online
Selling your photos online can be a very straightforward process, which makes it one of the best side gigs. You can get started by following just a few simple steps:
Choose an App or Site
In this article, we focused on apps you could use, but there are several additional websites you could also consider. It is typically best to choose one photo app to start with, so it is less confusing and easier to maintain. However, if you do not have success with one app, you can always choose another. Then, once you’ve figured out what works, you can start to use multiple apps to increase the amount of money you may make.
Create Your Account
Once you’ve chosen an app, you’ll need to create an account. Make sure to fully fill in your application. Make sure your information is accurate as some account profiles are used as an application to join the network. Sometimes approval can take a week or two, so be mindful of that.
Take Great Photos
This is the fun part! Start taking some photos. In the next section, we give you some ideas on what to take pictures of. You can also go through photos you may already have. Snap away!
Upload and Share
Once you’ve taken some photos, or find some you’ve already taken, you’ll want to upload the photos you’ve taken. Some apps also include a social sharing feature so that you can also help to promote your photos.
Tips for Taking Great Pictures to Sell
If you’re wondering how to get started, there are several very popular categories you can get started with. Some of the most popular image types include:
People – Kids, adults, students and more. Additionally, cultural photos also sell very well
People Working – These are one of the most commonly requested images from businesses. Consider people working on laptops, writing, speaking at a meeting, etc. Just try to keep them from being too generic
Food – Food is another very popular category. Consider any type of food – even unwashed plates
Tools – Nuts, bolts, screws, gears, nails and hammers are all excellent subjects for photography. These types of images can be used to convey a lot of different things
Cities – Buildings, people commuting, and cityscapes are all very popular choices for stock photography
Nature – Not only is this frequently requested, it is also interesting to shoot
Travel – Shots from all around the world are always in very high demand – so if you’re on a trip, be sure to take some photos
Once you’ve selected a category, it’s time to take some photos. If you haven’t done much professional photography, these tips will help you get the best photo possible.
Gridlines are a useful tool for helping create a balanced and straight shot. If you haven’t used gridlines before, it superimposes a series of lines on the screen that are based on the “rule of thirds.”
According to the rule of thirds, if you position the key points in your photo along the lines or at the intersections of the 9 boxes, your photo will be more interesting and engaging for viewers.
Make Sure Your Camera is Focused
Your phone camera is set to automatically focus on the foreground of the frame. However, not every picture you take will have an obvious subject. To adjust where the lens is focusing, simply tap the area on your phone.
Focus on One Specific Subject
The best photos often include just one, very interesting subject. So when you do get the chance to take a picture like that, spend some time setting up the shot so that your subject truly does stand out in your photo.
Don’t Be Afraid of Negative Space
Negative space refers to the areas around the main focus of an image and the space around it. When you include this type of spacing in your photographs, it allows your subject to stand out more and it can make your photo more dramatic.
Find a New Perspective
Don’t just take photos from one angle. If you find an interesting subject, be sure to make multiple shots from a wide variety of angles.
Try Not to Zoom
When you want to get close to a subject, it can be very tempting to zoom in. Unfortunately, zooming can end up making your photo look blurry or pixelated. Unless it is a wild animal, or something that would move if you approach closer, you should get as close as you can. If that doesn’t get you the shot you’re after, you can always crop later.
If you can, use natural light. Very few photos look good when they are taken with the flash on. If you feel like your photo is too dark, you can always lighten it with a photo editing tool later by adjusting the exposure.
Tips to Help Sell More Photos
If you are interested in making more money by selling photos, there are a few tips you can utilize to increase the amount of money you make.
Tip 1: Pay Attention to Trends
If you’re trying multiple photo categories, but are only able to sell food photos, then you might want to spend more time focusing on food photos to make the most of your time.
Tip 2: Upload Multiple Photos to Increase Your Chances of Selling
Sometimes a business will love a particular stock photo, but the angle may be off just enough that it can’t be corrected via photoshop, or the lighting may be slightly off. Whatever the reason, customers may be interested in one of your photos over another, even if the differences seem fairly minimal to you.
Tip 3: Submit Relevant Tags and Descriptions
Your tags and descriptions are not a place to get lazy, as a majority of your customers will come to the app or site looking for a specific subject or topic. If your photos aren’t labeled well, they may not be found.
Tip 4: Shoot at Full Size
Even if the app you’re using doesn’t require it, you should shoot at full-size. This will give buyers multiple size options to choose from – which may be helpful depending on how they intend to use the photos.
Tip 5: Don’t Filter
While some editing of your photos may be appropriate to make them more attractive, you’ll want to do as little as possible as this will make your photos most attractive to the widest audience.
Your smartphone is with you most of the time, and that means it is a great tool for snapping photos and making a bit of extra money. With today’s phone camera technology, you can end up with some high-quality shots that many businesses and companies will pay money for.
About the Author
Melinda Pettijohn is an expert personal financial writer with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. She covers topics ranging from budgeting, additional ways to make money, credit cards, managing debt, paying for college, and more. As a mom of three kids, she especially loves sharing insights on how to make the most of your money while raising a family.