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Start making money selling photos online
Are you looking for ways to increase your income, but don’t have the time or energy for a second job?
What if I told you that you can make some extra cash with something you’re probably already doing?
I’m talking about taking pictures with your smartphone. If you’re like most, you use your phone’s camera to snap shots of your daily life. It’s more convenient because it’s always with you, and the quality of late-model phones can rival that of regular digital cameras.
Instead of just sharing your photos on social media, why not sell your pics for extra money? Perhaps you already have hundreds on your phone that could bring in extra income. Selling your smartphone photos online could be a great way to make a little money without much effort or time.
In this post, I’m going to go over 18 apps you can use to sell your pictures for money. I’ll also give you a step-by-step for getting started, and how to increase your chances of success with this money-making opportunity.
For more money-making inspiration, get this free list of 101 Side Hustle ideas!
How can I make money selling photos?
If you enjoy taking interesting photos, you can sell your pictures online using photo apps. There are many online platforms that offer marketplaces to sell your pics for money. You can also use mobile apps to join challenges and contests for a chance at winning cash prizes.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer or spend thousands on expensive equipment. Your smartphone and a good eye for picture-taking are all you need to start making money online.
Selling your pictures online has never been easier! Keep reading to learn about some of the best apps to sell photos.
Foap is a well-known and popular photo app that provides a selling platform for your smartphone pics. It’s easy to use and offers a variety of options for making money with your photos.
How does Foap work?
After you sign up for a free account, you can upload your photos from your camera roll to your Foap portfolio. You can also take pictures within the Foap app itself. Easy! From here you can make them available for sale as stock photos.
You can also join a Foap “mission” to win cash prizes. Foap accepts requests from brands and marketers for images that meet specific style requirements. These requests are called missions and presented as contests to the Foap community. If your photo is selected as a winner, you could make hundreds of dollars!
How can I make money on Foap?
There are a few different ways you can make money with your photos on Foap:
- You can sell your images as stock photos through their online marketplace.
- You can join “missions” to win cash prizes, which are simply contests sponsored by brands that have specific photo requirements. You compete for the winning photo, based on the style and imagery the brand requested.
- You can sell other people’s photos through your own portfolio.
How much money can I make with Foap?
Depending on how you choose to make sales on Foap, you can make anywhere from 25 cents to several hundred dollars per image.
Using this app, your stock photos can sell for up to $10 a piece. Foap will split your profits 50/50, so this means you’ll make an average of $5 for every marketplace sale.
With missions, cash prizes begin at $100 and can go up to several hundred dollars. If you join a “premium” mission, a total of up to $2,000 will be split between multiple winners (up to 60).
The easiest (but least profitable) way to make extra cash on Foap is by saving other people’s photos to your portfolio. If a buyer pays for someone else’s photo through your account, you’ll make 25 cents per image.
What’s good to know
You can rate other people’s photos, and they can rate yours. This can help with making your portfolio more visible on the platform.
Foap used to require high ratings before you could sell images, but they have since abandoned this policy. Now, it’s just a great way to connect with other sellers and find image styles that inspire you.
The minimum required resolution for uploading is 1280 x 960 pixels. This is easily accomplished with today’s late-model smartphones, but just be sure you check your phone’s camera settings before you start snapping away.
You can sell each image multiple times.
You will get paid once a month, but you have to request payment. If you miss the deadline, you’ll need to wait another 30 days.
Where can I get the Foap app?
Foap can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
Dreamstime has had an online presence in the stock photography space since 2000. Photographers from all over the world contribute thousands of new images to this platform on a daily basis. Customers range from individuals to Fortune 500 companies, all looking for high-quality imagery.
As of February 2021, Dreamstime accepts creative images from more than 700,000 photographers and hosts 155 million photos! According to their website, Dreamstime claims to be the largest stock photo community in the world.
How does Dreamstime work?
Dreamstime offers free registration and membership to anyone that wants to sell their photos on the platform. Using the mobile app, you can upload photos as soon as you have an active account. Setup is quick and the interface is easy to navigate.
You must submit your photos for approval, so it’s important to only upload your best ones. Dreamstime editors will evaluate your images and make sure they meet their quality and legal requirements. Once approved, they will be displayed on the website as stock photos to be purchased.
When you sell on Dreamstime, you always keep the copyright to your images.
How can I make money using Dreamstime?
With Dreamstime, you can build a nice monthly income for yourself, or choose to make a few bucks passively.
You make money every time one of your photos is downloaded. The more images you upload and offer for sale, the more money you can make.
You can also generate earnings with their referral program. For every referred member, contributor, or buyer credited to your account, you get a commission on every sale they make in the first 3 years.
How much money can I make with Dreamstime?
Regular Dreamstime contributors can earn between 25% to 50% of the revenue share, which is determined by the net amount of each sale. (Net sale amount just means what’s left after fees.)
If you approve the sale of an exclusive license, you get an additional 10% for that image. In addition, as an Exclusive Contributor on the platform (meaning you don’t sell your photos anywhere else), you’ll make 60% of the revenue share along with a bonus of $0.20 for the first 100 approved submissions.
According to the website, many stock photo contributors “are making hundreds of dollars per month”. Those with extensive portfolios are earning into the thousands.
If you like using this platform, your best bet is to be an Exclusive Contributor. You’ll earn higher commissions, and exclusive photos to Dreamstime tend to sell more.
What’s good to know
You can find the app by searching “Dreamstime”, but once downloaded it’s named “Companion”.
With Dreamstime, the photographer always retains the copyrights to her images.
You will need to accrue a minimum of $100 before you can request a payout.
The mobile app gives you the ability to track your sales, earnings, and photo stats.
Where can I get the Dreamstime app?
The Dreamstime app is available for free, for both Android and iOS.
EyeEm (pronounced “I am”) is a worldwide community and marketplace for photographers that was founded in 2010. The app provides resources to learn more about photography, a place to connect with other photographers, and a large marketplace to sell your images.
According to their website, they connect over 8 million creators with leading brands such as Shopify, Apple, and Airbnb. By partnering with photo agencies, your images can be seen by more buyers.
EyeEm is a good photo app option if you want to strengthen your photography skills, gain exposure, and make a little extra money on the side.
How does EyeEm work?
Once you download the app to your smartphone, you can create an account using either your email address, Facebook login, or Google login. Then, you can join as a seller and upload your photos to the marketplace.
However, before your images can be sold, EyeEm’s photo editors will put your images through their review process. If approved, your images will then be ‘on market’ and available for sale.
From the reviews I read, users say the app is easy to use and very quick to upload photos. It even has the ability to store your photos if you’re offline. Once you reconnect to the internet, your images are synced and uploaded automatically.
EyeEm uses image recognition technology to select the highest-quality photos to license to brands and marketers.
How can I make money on EyeEm?
Like other apps mentioned in this list, you can make extra cash by selling your chosen images in the marketplace. You can sell your photos for money with this app an unlimited number of times to multiple buyers, and you retain the copyright to your work.
You can also earn cash prizes with missions. (As explained previously, missions are like contests to win the best image that meets a brand’s style requirements.) Missions can provide more exposure and a larger profit than just selling your photos as stock images.
Your best photos can be chosen for EyeEm’s Partner Collection, where they’re distributed by partners like Getty Images and Adobe. This can greatly increase your sales across various platforms.
When your photos are sold through the EyeEm marketplace or their partners, you get a percentage of the profits (after taxes and fees). This percentage is determined by your payout level. The more sales revenue you generate, the higher your payout level.
How much money can I make with EyeEm?
EyeEm changed its payout structure as of February 1, 2021. Most reviews I found online were outdated with this information.
There are currently 4 payout levels, ranging from 25% to 55% of your revenue.
If you’re in the lowest payout level, you will receive 25%. If you’re in the highest, you make 55%. Once you cross a predetermined revenue threshold and reach the next highest payout level, you will benefit from that higher percentage for 12 months.
Of course, the total of your payouts will depend on the prices you set for your images. When a buyer pays for one of your photos, they are purchasing a license for that photo. The amount your photo sells for depends on which type of license is purchased (standard or extended) and the pricing option that’s chosen (essential or premium).
And, to add even more diversity, prices can change if a customer purchases a photo pack.
Also, photos sold through partner sites will vary in price according to the partner’s unique pricing systems.
What’s good to know
EyeEm requires a Paypal account for payouts. When you make a sale, you’re notified by email with a link to the Earnings section of your account. You will need to click this link and request a payout before you can get paid.
The minimum size requirement is 4 megapixels per image, and only the .jpg format is accepted.
You can join EyeEm’s diverse online community to follow and connect with photographers who inspire you to develop your own style.
All images you sell in the marketplace are “non-exclusive”, which just means you can put the same photos on multiple sites.
You can request a payout when your earnings reach a minimum of $10. You can also choose to be paid once a year, regardless of your earnings.
The app provides free photography tutorials so you can sharpen your skills and make more sales. The app also has a variety of filters and editing tools you can use for free.
Where can I get the EyeEm app?
#4 Agora Images
Agora Images is a global online community where you can meet other photographers of all skill levels. With the Agora Images app, you can enter weekly contests to win prizes.
How does Agora Images work?
Agora Images no longer provides a photo marketplace to sell images. Instead, they hold weekly sponsored contests for all of their members and focus on building their online community.
You can create a free account through the Agora app, which enables you to upload photos to your own gallery and any contests you wish to enter. Contests have varying themes and are held on a weekly basis. Members vote for the top photos, and winners (called “Heroes”) are awarded money and other prizes.
Engaging with the online community is a big part of getting your photos noticed. In fact, your success on this platform will depend on it. By following other photographers, liking their photos with “stars”, and voting for your favorite images, you increase your chances of getting stars in return. The number of stars you have determines the level you’re on, and is basically a representation of your activity in Agora’s community. The higher your level, the better your chances of being noticed by voters will improve.
How can I make money on Agora Images?
The Agora Images mobile app gives photographers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete in photo contests for a variety of prizes. These include promotion on their social media channels, worldwide recognition, and cash payouts.
How much money can I make with Agora Images?
According to their website, cash prizes can range from $100 to $25,000.
You can enter more than one photo in each contest, which would increase your chances of winning. However, after your first submission, you must have “credits” to upload additional images into the same contest. You earn credits by inviting friends to participate, watching video ads, or buying them.
What’s good to know
There are no membership fees to participate in Agora Images’ contests.
The promoter of a contest (which could be a company, a brand, or an individual) purchases the exclusive rights to the winning image with the prize money.
Where can I get the Agora Images app?
The Agora Images can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
This print-on-demand service that was started in 2015 gives you a platform to sell your images as high-quality products.
MiPic helps you set up your own customized print store, where you can sell your images printed on items like t-shirts, phone cases, and even wallpaper.
After downloading the miPic app to your smartphone, you can join the platform using one of your social media profiles or your email address.
Once you’ve created an account, all you have to do is upload your best images and choose which art, fashion, and lifestyle products you want to offer.
Lastly, you’ll need to add your PayPal details before you can start promoting your products.
Your products are then available for sale in your free customized print store. And, don’t worry, miPic has made it so easy that no tech knowledge is required.
MiPic handles all of the promotion, manufacturing, delivery, and customer service for you. You don’t even have to pay any upfront costs, because all products are custom made to order.
Adding tags to your photos and creating themes for your products will improve your visibility in the search results.
You always retain the copyright to your images and artwork, and you can remove images at any time.
How can I make money on miPic?
MiPic doesn’t sell your digital images to download. Instead, they provide a personalized online store for every member to sell their images on a selection of clothing, technology, and lifestyle products.
They encourage you to share your store link on social media so you can increase awareness, make sales, and earn a percentage on every product you sell.
These commissions are paid to your miPic wallet and are dependent on the products that were purchased. You can withdraw your earnings at any time through your PayPal account using the miPic app.
If you want to increase your sales, you should offer a wide variety of items that potential buyers could choose from. Your images can be printed on multiple products with different prices, so be sure to pick assorted price points.
MiPic can print your images on items such as pillows, face masks, phone cases, towels, and tote bags. They also offer your photos as wall art, printed on canvas, metal, as acrylic or framed.
How much money can I make with miPic?
Although 20% doesn’t sound like much compared to the 50% profit from other platforms, the products on miPic are priced much higher. So, instead of making 50% from a $10 sale, you could make 20% from a $100 product.
MiPic plans to introduce new products in the future, giving you even more opportunities to diversify your merchandise and make more sales.
What’s good to know
All products are currently printed and shipped from the United Kingdom. They are also custom made using the “highest quality materials and printing processes”.
Because products vary in size, there is a minimum image size requirement for each one.
Your personal information (including social media logins) is never shared with any third parties.
When you upload your photos, miPic will check the resolution and only show those that will print well.
Where can I get the miPic app?
MiPic is only available for iOS devices.
Originally created as a social media platform for photographers, 500px has evolved into a leading online community for aspiring photographers since 2009. They have over 15 million members around the globe, who use the platform to gain visibility for their photos and compete in contests.
500px offers the opportunity to license images with their two distribution partners, Getty Images and the Visual China Group.
With the 500px app, you can connect with other photographers and improve your skills.
How does 500px work?
Once you download the app, you can sign up for an account using your Facebook account, Apple ID, or email. Then, just log in to start following photographers, exploring the community, and uploading your photos.
Before you can sell your images, you’ll need to agree to the terms of their contributor licensing agreement.
Then, all of your uploaded images will need to pass the 500px inspection before they can be licensed. Your submissions must not contain borders or watermarks. The inspection turnaround can take a week or more.
When you commercially license your photos through 500px and their partners, you allow a buyer to purchase and use one of your images for commercial purposes. You keep the copyright of all your photos, and 500px manages the licensing. All images submitted for licensing are royalty-free, so the buyer only pays a one-time license fee, regardless of how often they use the image.
With 500px, your photos can get exposure almost immediately. Their “Pulse” algorithm finds new photographs and brings them to the top of the feed, so you benefit from community feedback quickly.
500px offers 3 different membership plans on the platform, one free and two paid. The plan you choose – whether Free, Awesome or Premium – will determine the benefits and features you have access to.
Through 500px licensing, you can earn commissions through the sale of your licensed stock images. Your photos will also be distributed through their two partners, Getty Images and VGC. This increased exposure can result in more sales.
500px also launches weekly creative photo challenges called “Quests”. These competitions are structured around specific themes, and a great way to strengthen your skills. Winners are awarded products or cash.
How much money can I make with 500px?
When you license your images exclusively with 500px or their distribution partners, you will earn 60% of the royalties. If you choose non-exclusive licensing, 500px will set the licensing fees on your images.
Cash prizes for Quest winners are typically in the $100-$200 range.
Although 500px makes licensing your images a simple process, you do not have any power to set your own prices.
What’s good to know
Your image files must be in JPEG format, saved in RGB color mode, and a minimum size of 3 megapixels.
If a photo is rejected in the inspection review, 500px encourages you to make the recommended changes and resubmit for approval.
The app is quite robust, allowing you to do everything that you can do on the website.
500px offers an online ticket system, but the priority of your request depends on the level of your membership. However, the website has a thorough help section with many tutorials to help you work through issues on your own.
Where can I get the 500px app?
The 500px app can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
Scoopshot was created in 2010 as a platform for crowdsourcing photographers. Today, over 70 media companies and brands partner with Scoopshot to find and purchase images.
According to the website, the Scoopshot app has been downloaded over 600,000 times around the world.
How does Scoopshot work?
With the Scoopshot app, you can offer your photos for sale and enter daily contests to showcase your skills.
You must register for an account, and your information is never shared with third parties. Having an account allows you to sell your images and get paid for any sold.
One big difference between Scoopshot and other apps on this list is that Scoopshot retains the rights to your images. When you upload to the Scoopshot platform, your images become available for sale and cannot be published without permission. Buyers pay for licenses to publish your images as commercial or editorial photos.
Marketers and brands can also request Scoopshot photographers to provide them with specific photos. The buyer pays a fee to the photographer for each image and Scoopshot handles the image rights transfers and financial transactions.
How can I make money on Scoopshot?
All uploaded images automatically become available in the Scoopshot marketplace. When you make a sale, your earnings balance is updated in your profile.
Your images can also be used by online publishers for free when they place ads in the photos. You earn money be getting a share of the advertising revenue. Every time someone views an ad in your image, you get a commission.
You can also participate in “tasks”, which are similar to missions on other platforms. Basically, a brand or media agency submits a task, which is a request for specific photos that align with their requirements. Any photos you submit are eligible for pre-determined monetary rewards if purchased, and also available for sale in the marketplace.
Another way to make money with the Scoopshot app is to submit photos to their daily contests. These photo challenges are free and you can submit one image to each of the 9 contests that are run every 24 hours. Users vote for their favorites and determine the winner. There is no monetary award for winning contests, but every image you submit becomes available for $5 in the Scoopshot store.
How much money can I make with Scoopshot?
Sale prices are predetermined for task submissions and contest photos. For tasks, the buying party that makes the request chooses the winner and the predefined award.
Any image you submit to a contest (whether you win or not) is placed for sale in the Scoopshot store. For every contest image you sell, you receive $5 USD.
According to the terms on the Scoopshot website, the price of a license or photo purchase is specified by the seller. In other words, you get to set your own prices for the images you don’t submit to tasks or contests.
What’s good to know
Your earnings are paid to your Scoopshot account, which you can check in the app. You can only cash out your earnings as a person, not a business. According to the terms on their website, you must have a minimum of $50 in your account to request payment without fees. You also have the option to wait every 6 months, regardless of the balance. Supported payment methods are bank transfers and PayPal.
Scoopshot recommends you take photos within the app to “ensure authenticity and increase the chances of them being purchased by buyers in the Scoopshot Store”.
Where can I get the Scoopshot app?
Scoopshot is currently only available for Android devices.
Photerloo is a website and mobile app that can upload your images to multiple sites so you can sell your photos across a variety of platforms.
So, you just upload the photo once to Photerloo, the app suggests keywords then uploads it to all your stock sites for you. This streamlining gets your photos in front of buyers quickly and efficiently.
How does Photerloo work?
Unlike the other platforms mentioned in this post, Photerloo doesn’t have a marketplace or hold contests. Instead, they will upload your images to many different stock marketplaces so you can make them available for sale quickly on a variety of sites.
When you submit your images to Photerloo, they then upload them to marketplaces such as Shutterstock, DepositPhotos, and Adobe stock, and even your social media profiles.
Photerloo offers 3 different plans for photographers. With the free version, you can only upload 5 images a week. For the monthly paid plan, you have unlimited uploads. You can also choose the annual paid plan, which will save you over 30%.
How can I make money on Photerloo?
Because Photerloo doesn’t sell directly to buyers, you don’t technically earn any money through them. However, they can make the process of selling your photos more convenient, and quickly give you exposure to multiple photo selling sites.
How much money can I make with Photerloo?
Again, Photerloo itself is not a photo marketplace. Any earnings you make by using the app will depend on which sites you want Photerloo to upload your images to, as well as the pricing terms on each of them.
What’s good to know
Photerloo is a great option if you want to quickly get your photos into several different stock marketplaces and on social media channels. The more sites you choose to sell your photos, the better your chances of increasing sales.
The Photerloo site has a free keyword generator so you can tag your images with relevant keywords that best fit your photos. There is also a hashtag generator, which suggests hashtags to get your photos seen on Instagram.
Where can I get the Photerloo app?
Photerloo can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
Snapwire connects photographers with businesses looking for specific images that align with their brand. On the Snapwire platform, photographers get access to paid photo requests, competitive challenges, and the Snapwire marketplace.
How does Snapwire work?
After you download the Snapwire app and register for a free account, you have access to requests called “briefs”. A brief is an image request submitted by a business and explains the creative specifications the business is looking for.
Snapwire also hosts competitive challenges in its online community and has a marketplace to sell your images directly to buyers.
The Snapwire community is structured around “levels”. There are 7 levels that range from Explorer (where all Snapwire creators start) to Master. The photos you submit for challenges can be nominated by community members, which earn you points and help you move up to higher levels. The higher your level, the more you can submit, and the greater your exposure on the platform.
How can I make money on Snapwire?
Photographers can earn money through creative briefs, challenges, and the Snapwire marketplace.
A business can either submit a brief as an open request or limit participation by inviting only certain photographers to apply. Those that respond will have their portfolio reviewed, and the business will assign the photographer that best fits the brief. When a request is completed, the business buys the images from the assigned photographer.
You can also sell your shots through the Snapwire marketplace. Your best images are hand-selected by the Snapwire crew and made searchable for buyers to purchase directly from your portfolio.
How much money can I make with Snapwire?
If your image wins a Snapwire challenge or is sold through a brief assignment, you receive 100% of the payout. The challenges award varying amounts, but average around $50 for each winning photo.
When you sell a photo in the marketplace, you get a 50% commission for every sale.
What’s good to know
Payouts through Snapwire are processed on the 1st of each month, following 30 days after you’ve submitted your request. Your balance must be at least $25 to request a payout.
Where can I get the Snapwire app?
The Getty Images brand also includes iStock, and together, both serve over 1.5 million customers worldwide. Started in 1995, it’s now considered an industry leader with the largest distribution network for creative images.
More than 200,000 contributors work with Getty Images to get their content seen and licensed throughout the world.
How does Getty Images work?
You must apply to be a contributor with Getty Images. Just upload 3 to 6 samples of your work, and Getty Images will review your photos and notify you of their decision. If you’re accepted, you’ll receive an invitation to join their network.
As a contributor, all of your images will be reviewed by editors to make sure they meet the requirements for the marketplace.
Getty Images will license your photos to buyers, but you retain the copyright. When customers purchase a license for your images, they can download the files for personal or commercial use. They can then be used for hundreds of purposes, including advertising, website layouts, social media posts, newspaper articles, or product packaging.
Creative briefs describe the style and content buyers want, so it’s easier to submit images that people are looking for.
How can I make money on Getty Images?
Getty Images is a stock photo marketplace. There are no challenge contests or briefs to compete for. All earnings are made through selling your photos directly to buyers.
How much money can I make with Getty Images?
As a contributor, you earn a royalty for every license a buyer purchases. There is very little information for contributors on the website, but other reviews have mentioned anywhere from 10% to 20% of the purchase price.
What’s good to know
In one 2019 review, the author states that Getty Images content is exclusive, which means the photos you submit to the platform cannot be sold anywhere else. This is something you should confirm if you are seriously considering selling your images on this site.
If you are approved as a contributor, you must sign a contract with Getty Images giving them permission to sell your work on their behalf. Your account will not be opened unless you make this agreement.
Unfortunately, most reviews I found were unfavorable for this photo-selling platform. There is little information for those who might want to apply as a contributor, and I imagine you’ll need to be approved before you have access to the details.
Where can I get the Getty Images Contributor app?
Getty Images Contributor can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
Twenty20 claims to be the “world’s largest authentic photography marketplace and community of passionate photographers”. As a crowd-sourced marketplace founded in 2014, its library consists of over 50 million stock photos. Twenty20 partners with Envato Elements to offer “unlimited downloads of digital assets” on both platforms.
The community connects mobile photographers who wish to gain exposure for their work and sell their images to buyers around the world.
How does Twenty20 work?
Downloading the free app will allow you to create an account and start selling in the Twenty20 marketplace. Once you login, you can immediately start uploading images. Every photo you upload is automatically available for sale.
As a seller, you have your own online gallery where all of your uploads are kept and made available for sale. You can share your unique gallery link with friends and followers to promote your gallery page.
All licenses sold are royalty-free, and buyers can include individuals as well as brands and agencies. You also retain ownership of your images. This means you can sell any image unlimited times and on other platforms.
Twenty20 also has daily photo challenges that can give you more recognition and exposure.
How can I make money on Twenty20?
There are 3 ways to make money using the Twenty20 photo app.
The first way is to sell your images in your online gallery as digital downloads. Every time a buyer licenses one of your images, you get a commission. You can sell the same photos multiple times.
You can also participate in photo challenges to earn cash prizes. Every challenge offers a cash prize, which you can win if you’re chosen as the “Grand Prize Winner” or selected as an “Editor’s Pick”.
The last way to make some extra cash is with commissioned work. This is when a brand wants to work with you directly. Twenty20 communicates with the brand and helps with the process of negotiating a commission for you.
How much money can I make with Twenty20?
Twenty20 uses a payout model called Subscriber Share to calculate a contributor’s earnings. Every customer is offered an unlimited subscription plan, and this payout model is used to help ensure you receive your proportionate share of the revenue.
To give you an example, let’s say a customer downloads 20 images in one month, with 6 of those being your photos. With the subscriber share payout model, you will earn 30% of that subscriber’s contributor payout (6/20 = .30).
Although this sounds pretty straightforward, there are a couple of important details that you must pay attention to.
First, the contributor payout is a percentage of the buyer’s monthly subscription fee. So, you’re not getting 30% of the entire sale. You’re getting 30% of a certain percent of the monthly fee.
What is this certain percent?
According to the Twenty20 website, the contributor payout is 20% of the subscriber’s fee. This fee is currently $33/month, or $16.50/month if paid annually (as of the date of this post). They do have an “Enterprise” plan for large organizations, but those prices are not listed on the website.
So, going back to the example, you would make 30% of 20% of $33 (or $16.50):
20% of $33/month = $6.60 contributor payout
30% of $6.60 = $1.98
Of course, this would be even lower if the buyer pays the subscription fee on an annual basis.
I also checked Twenty20’s partner site, Envato Elements. According to their terms, the contributor payout is 50% of the same monthly subscription fee. I couldn’t find an explanation for this difference. But, considering it’s 2.5x more than Twenty20, I would highly recommend using Envato Elements instead.
With photo challenges, you earn 100% of the listed cash prize. This can range from $100 to $200. If you’re selected as an “Editor’s Pick,” then you receive a “smaller cash prize”.
If you’re commissioned by a brand or agency, you’ll earn 100% of the commission.
What’s good to know
Payouts are made around the 15th of every month to your PayPal account. You have 30 days to withdraw your earnings. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait for Twenty20 to “back pay” you (which happens twice a year).
Twenty20 offers a “Signature Collection” to feature their premium images, which are nominated by contributors on the platform. Getting featured gives you priority in search placement, so your images gain additional visibility and greater chances to be seen and sold.
Where can I get the Twenty20 app?
Twenty20 is only available for iPhone devices.
Bylined is a unique photography platform that was founded in 2016.
It provides photographers with the opportunity to create user-generated content to meet the image needs of their customers. Bylined clients include brands like Ford, Chase, and JPMorgan, as well as marketing agencies and publishers.
Currently, over 125,000 users have downloaded the Bylined app to monetize their smartphone images.
How does Bylined work?
The Bylined platform model is based on user-generated content (or UGC). UGC is any content (such as photos, videos, reviews) that is created by an individual instead of a brand.
Many people post their favorite brands on Instagram or Facebook or their own blogs. Brands will often share this UGC on their own social media platforms to boost credibility.
Bylined connects brands and agencies with photographers who can create UGC. Basically, brands submit assignments to Bylined, and content creators upload their UGC for consideration. If a creator’s image is chosen, they receive a cash payment or gift card.
All assignments are geo-based, so users can see the assignments that are in their area.
With the Bylined app, you can create your profile, search for assignments, and submit and sell your photos.
How can I make money on Bylined?
Bylined gives photographers the opportunity to sell their user-generated content to businesses looking for brand-aligned imagery.
Brands make requests (called “assignments”) with specific requirements and a defined cash payout. You can respond to these requests by uploading your images to the assignments you select. If your images are chosen by the brand, you get paid a “Bounty”.
How much money can I make with Bylined?
According to the Bylined website, the Bounty gets paid directly to the content creator (also known as a Byliner).
I signed up for an account and found 3 assignments, each priced at $25. I couldn’t find any information on the website about how assignments are priced, or if they vary.
What’s good to know
Bylined is an easy way to make money with your smartphone photos. Simply take pictures according to the requirements in the posted assignments, and upload for a chance to win the bounty!
Where can I get the Bylined app?
Bylined can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
Started in 2003, Shutterstock has become one of the most popular stock photo brands. The website maintains a library of over 360 million images (which grows by 200k every day). The platform serves customers in over 150 countries and sells content from over 1 million contributors.
How does Shutterstock Contributor work?
The Shutterstock Contributor app makes it easy to get started as a seller on their platform. There is no account approval process or waiting period, and you can start uploading images immediately after installing the app and creating a free account.
Every image must be approved by a Shutterstock reviewer before being added to the marketplace, so always submit your best work. Always provide a description and add keywords to each image so buyers can find your photos easily.
On the app, you can upload and submit your photos for review. You can see the status of your latest submissions and a breakdown of your earnings, and you can browse your portfolio.
How can I make money with Shutterstock Contributor?
On Shutterstock, you earn a commission every time one of your images is purchased. There are payout levels, based on how many licenses you’ve sold in a calendar year. The levels are reset on the 1st of each year.
You also have the opportunity to make more money by inviting others to join the platform as contributors or customers.
How much money can I make with Shutterstock Contributor?
Contributors earn a percentage of the net revenue from their image sales. The percentage depends on how many licenses you’ve sold and can range from 15% to 40%. Each percentage represents a “level”, and every subsequent level increases the rate by 5%.
When someone signs up as a contributor through your referral link, you’ll earn 4 cents for every one of their images that’s downloaded.
For referring a customer, you’ll make 20% (up to $200) on their first purchase when they use your link to sign up.
What’s good to know
Shutterstock has separate apps for contributors and customers. Be sure to download the Shutterstock Contributor app for selling your photos.
You always retain the full copyright ownership of your images.
You must upload your photos in .eps or .jpg format. All images must be at least 4 megapixels or larger and saved at the highest quality settings to be accepted.
The Shot List is the Shutterstock monthly guide to the most requested content. You can review the guide to get insight into what’s currently selling.
Shutterstock has paid out over a billion dollars to their contributors over the last 15 years!
Where can I get the Shutterstock Contributor app?
Shutterstock Contributor can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
Stockimo is the app for Alamy, one of the largest stock photo marketplaces. Alamy was launched in 1999 and adds over 100k new images daily from photographers all over the world. The Stockimo app was added in 2014 and is strictly for selling photos taken on an iPhone.
Alamy pays out over $1 million every month to its contributors.
How does Stockimo work?
Stockimo is a free app that you can download to your iPhone. Once you can create an account, you can start uploading photos from your camera roll.
Simply select the images you want to sell. Once you add a caption and keywords, you can upload them to Stockimo for review.
All photos need to be approved before they can be sold on the Alamy marketplace and through their distributors. Once approved, your photos are immediately available to purchase. The app will send you a notification when you make a sale. All payments are made through PayPal.
Alamy determines the price of your photos, and you get a commission for every sale. Because Stockimo only sells the license to use your photos, you always keep the copyrights to them. That means you can sell the same photo an unlimited number of times.
How can I make money on Stockimo?
Unlike most of the stock photo marketplaces in this list, the app and the website have different terms and payouts.
As a new Stockimo contributor, you receive 20% of the net revenue from every sale you make. However, if you happened to sell on the Alamy website before Stockimo was introduced (2014), you’ll receive the Alamy commission of 50% per sale.
How much money can I make with Stockimo?
All prices are determined by Alamy and depend on the type of license being sold. So, you could make $5 from one sale and $500 from another.
According to the website, the average sale price on Alamy is approximately $90.
What’s good to know
The Stockimo app was created for the iPhone iOS 7 and above. However, the website states that if you have an iPhone as old as the iPhone 4, you should still be able to use the app.
All payments are made through PayPal, so you’ll need to get an account if you don’t have one already. Payouts are made only if your balance is over $10.
With the app, you receive real-time feedback from buyers with the “customer likes” live feed. When a customer buys, clicks, or interacts with your photo in any way, you can see these stats in the Customer Likes tab. Use this to give you an idea of what buyers are looking for.
Stockimonews is an option within the app that allows you to submit breaking news images that were taken in the last 24 hours. If accepted, media editors around the world can purchase them 48 hours after they’ve been added to the marketplace.
The Stockimo app is only for iPhone photos. If you want to sell photos from your DSLR, upload them to the Alamy website.
Where can I get the Stockimo app?
Stockimo is only available for iPhone devices.
PhotoCash is a simple app you can use to make a little extra money with your photos.
How does PhotoCash work?
The PhotoCash app is free but only available for Android smartphones.
After you download it, enter the email address you use with your PayPal account. Assign a title and a price for each image you want to upload. Then, click the Create button and send. It’s that simple!
When a customer clicks on your offer, they pay for the image through PayPal. You’ll receive an email notification that you made a sale.
How can I make money on PhotoCash?
You pick your photos and name your prices. To increase sales, choose photos that would get a lot of engagement on social media.
There are no fees or commissions. You keep 100% of every sale.
How much money can I make with PhotoCash?
How much you make will depend on the prices you set, and how many photos you sell.
What’s good to know
After you create an offer, it’s a good idea to test it out. Do this by clicking the “Check My Offer” button to ensure your sale will be added to your PayPal account.
Where can I get the PhotoCash app?
PhotoCash is currently only available for Android devices.
Smugmug, started in 2002, is an online image platform that sells digital and print photos for both amateur and professional photographers. In 2018, SmugMug acquired Flickr, a popular image hosting service.
How does Smugmug work?
Smugmug provides a way for photographers to store, showcase, and sell their photographs. The app will allow you to store, organize and upload to your gallery from your phone, but you’ll need to go to the website to customize your gallery page and create pricelists.
Their selling platform is offered through a paid subscription, with four different levels to choose from. Monthly fees range from $7 to $42 a month, with each level giving you added capabilities. However, you can stick with the lowest level (Basic) and still be able to sell your images as photo prints or gifts. If you’re serious about sales, you can get the highest level (Pro) and have your own custom gallery.
When you download the free app, you’re prompted to start a 2-week free trial. After you enter your name, email address, and password, you choose which features are important to you and Smugmug tells you which paid plan will fit your needs.
You must approve the monthly subscription fee before you can proceed. You can always cancel before the 2-week trial ends so you don’t get charged. If you don’t, your payment will automatically go through after the 2-week time period.
Once you create your account, you can set up your first gallery. Simply select from your smartphone’s camera roll or start snapping shots within the app itself. When you’re ready to upload to Smugmug, you can click the upload button or enable the auto-upload feature.
As mentioned previously, you’ll need to log in to the website to personalize your Smugmug page and price your products. You can create your own pricelists by selecting the products you’d like to sell and setting your prices.
How can I make money on Smugmug?
Your options for making money are dependent on the subscription plan you choose.
For the Basic and Power plans, you can sell physical prints and photo gifts. For the two higher levels (Portfolio and Pro), you can offer digital downloads as well.
How much money can I make with Smugmug?
Smugmug will send you an email whenever you make a sale. You get to keep 85% of your net sales revenue.
What’s good to know
Unless you have at least $500 in your profit account, you’ll need to request a payout. You must have at least a $5 balance, and make your request before the first of the month.
You can order your own photos at cost.
Uploads to the SmugMug platform can come from your computer, smartphone, Flickr, Dropbox, or Google.
The free trial is only 2 weeks, and after that, there is no free option. So, unless you’re serious about your photography, this may not be the best phone app for you.
Where can I get the Smugmug app?
Smugmug can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
GuruShots is a photography gaming platform that was started in 2014. The site hosts daily challenges for photographers of all skill levels and has awarded over $800k in prizes.
How does GuruShots work?
The GuruShots app is free, and you can sign up for an account after you download it to your smartphone.
The app will first ask you to select some photos from your camera roll. Once you add your chosen images to GuruShots, you can begin a game (called a “challenge”). Just click on the Open tab to pick a challenge you want to join. You’ll be given a brief description of the requirements before you can submit up to 4 images.
As a competitor on GuruShots, you start as a “Newbie” and win your way through 9 levels to achieve the status of “Guru”.
There are three types of challenges, which are dependent on your current status. You can join a challenge that includes your status and above, your status and below, or just your status level. New themed photo challenges are posted every day.
Just like many online games, you can spend money to accelerate your progress. Resources like Keys, Fills, and Swaps can all be bought to help you level up faster.
How can I make money on GuruShots?
You can be rewarded with additional game resources just by participating in a challenge. However, you have to be a top winner to snag prizes like photography gear, gift cards, and cash payouts.
How much money can I make with GuruShots?
Your prize earnings will depend on how often you participate in challenges and which level you’re competing on.
What’s good to know
You can play GuruShot challenges on your smartphone or computer.
The app and the desktop version have different capabilities. To upload photos from your Instagram account and have constant access to challenges, be sure to use the app.
Where can I get the GuruShots app?
GuruShots can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
UrPixPays is a website that offers daily photo challenges with cash prizes for its top winners.
How does UrPixPays work?
Downloading the free app allows you to sign up for an account with your Apple ID, Facebook account, or Gmail address. Then, just click on the Open tab to see available challenges to join.
When you click the Join button, you’ll be given a list of requirements for that challenge. For every challenge listed, you can see its number of votes and cash prize.
There are both free and paid challenges. Paid challenges typically have fewer participants and a higher payout. Members vote to choose the winners and can vote for each photo in a challenge one time.
There are various functions you can use like Flip, Charge, and Wand which improve your chances of winning.
How can I make money on UrPixPays?
Every challenge gives you the opportunity to earn a cash reward. You can also make extra money by selling your photos and sponsoring members.
All prize money goes to your member wallet. You can request a payout through Google Pay, PayPal, Payoneer, or Stripe.
How much money can I make with UrPixPays?
Your earnings will depend on the cash prize assigned to the challenges you join. As the top winner, you’ll receive 100% of the cash prize. For 2nd through 5th place winners, a smaller percentage is awarded.
When you sell an image on the platform, you’ll receive a commission ranging from 1% to 10% of the net sale.
If you reach Pro status, you’ll receive a $100 cash prize incentive.
What’s good to know
You can join an unlimited number of challenges at any given time.
You can buy any photo on the platform for as low as 99 cents.
You must be at least 18 years old to register and compete in challenges.
Where can I get the UrPixPays app?
UrPixPays can be downloaded to both Android and iOS devices.
How to sell your photos: step by step
Follow these simple steps to start selling your photos online.
Step 1: Decide which app or site you want to use
The first step you’ll need to take is choosing which photo app to use. Although there are several apps explained in this post, this list is not exhaustive. You can choose from one of the apps listed above, or find another that catches your eye.
The important thing to consider is how you want to earn some extra cash. Do you want to only sell digital prints, or do you want to compete in photo challenges? Pick the one that best suits your objectives and try it out for a while.
It’s best to not jump in to several at once. Instead, choose just one that you can learn and experiment with, and then move on to others.
Also, consider the app’s ratings and take note of the last time the app was updated. You don’t want to waste your time on an app with poor functionality or support.
You will likely find that there are certain apps you like and others that don’t work so well. Once you get the hang of it, you could start turning your photos into cash with several different platforms.
Step 2: Sign up
After you’ve picked the photo app you want to start with, sign up for an account. Different apps will require different information.
Keep in mind that on some of these platforms, your profile will be reviewed for approval before you can join the community.
Step 3: Start creating a portfolio
Step 4: Start selling (or playing)
Depending on the app you choose to make money with your photos, now is the time to sell, play, or both.
There can be several options in this step:
- setting your prices
- personalizing your sales page
- choosing the products you want to sell
- signing up for missions or challenges
- submitting images to win cash prizes
As you gain exposure on the platforms and increase your earnings, you’ll learn what’s working and what’s not. Be sure to follow current trends and pro-level photographers to keep upleveling your photo skills and income.
Best tips for taking pictures people will buy
Selling photos for cash sounds fun and easy, but the competition can be fierce. It’s important to maximize your chances of standing out among millions of other photographers by applying a few good tactics.
After all, the whole point is to get your photos in front of customers and turn those views into sales.
Use these tips to boost your success:
- Follow current photography and media trends and reflect those in your content
- Pick a specific niche, so you can grow a dedicated audience
- Create your own style, so your images are instantly recognizable
- Be original and authentic, so you stand out among the competition
There are practically unlimited free resources on the web that can help you become a better photographer. Don’t let the professionals intimidate you. Instead, learn from and be inspired by them. Do what they do, then add your own twist.
In addition to these general guidelines, here are some specific principles that will make your photography stand out.
Nothing says amateur more than an unintended blurry picture. Having your subject sharp and in focus is critical for success.
Sometimes your subject can turn out blurry due to how your phone focuses. Smartphones have an autofocus feature that needs contrast to determine a focal point. This means if there is little contrast in the frame you’re shooting, your camera will have trouble getting the picture sharp. To make sure your main subject is clear and crisp, just tap that area on your phone screen. Your selection will tell your phone what to focus on.
Another common reason for fuzzy pics is a lack of light. A smartphone camera needs to capture incoming light in order to digitize it into a photo. Low-lit subjects can confuse the lens with little contrast and not enough light to create a sharp picture. Also, the less light you have available, the more stability you need when taking the picture.
To help ensure all of your photos are crystal clear, you can use smartphone accessories like a tripod, a remote shutter control, LED panels, or a lens with a larger sensor.
A great photograph doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it’s often the empty space you leave around the subject that helps create the best composition.
Using what’s known as “negative space” in your images helps the observer focus on the subject and draws them in for a closer look. Negative space could be anything from an empty field, a large brick wall, a body of water, or a large, open sky.
Being intentional with negative space in your photography can uplevel your images from acceptable to outstanding.
Use the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a long-standing principle in photography to create a balanced layout. This guideline almost ensures a pleasing composition every time.
You can easily follow this rule by imagining your frame divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. In your mind’s eye, you should see two lines down and two lines across, all equally spaced. When you place your subject on one of these lines or at intersecting points, your photo will have a strong and balanced composition.
This rule doesn’t always result in the most engaging image, so use your judgment and creative intuition when choosing to implement it.
Capture a variety of perspectives
Most amateur photographers stick to a straight-on view that is common and uninteresting. You can set yourself apart by capturing different perspectives with your camera.
Snapping shots from unexpected angles will make your images more memorable and engaging. Consider an overhead view or composing the perspective of a small child or insect.
The great thing about using your smartphone’s camera is that you can take as many pictures as you like without any added expense. So, do a little experimenting and start thinking outside the box by shooting a wide variety of angles.
Avoid the digital zoom
Using your digital zoom can be convenient when you want to get closer to your subject. However, zooming in will degrade the quality of your image by reducing the resolution.
Avoid the digital zoom for close-up shots, and just try to get closer to your focal point instead. You can always crop the photo later when editing.
Find the best light
A quality image is all about the lighting. If you want to create beautiful photographs, you’ll have to learn how to master the use of light in your pictures.
The best light you can use is from the sun. However, photos taken out in the open at high noon will produce less than favorable results. Find shaded areas to get the benefit of natural light without the heavy contrast.
The negative effects of overhead lighting (like fluorescent tubes or ceiling fan bulbs) can’t be overcome by your smartphone’s camera. If you must, compensate for a lack of light with warmly lit lamps or candles.
Most importantly, try to avoid using your camera’s flash under any conditions. An LED light from your phone is a single-source light that creates harsh shadows and unfavorable coloring.
How to increase your success rate
You could have the latest in smartphone technology and use the best tools and methods to capture amazing shots – but you’re still competing with millions of experienced photographers from around the globe. So, how can you increase your chances of success?
There are some simple tactics you can practice to gain exposure and build your audience. Of course, these tips do no good if you don’t have quality images to offer. So, make sure your skills are up to snuff before you invest a lot of time with these strategies.
Take images that people are looking for
Most people enjoy using their smartphone cameras to take pics of their daily lives. However, these aren’t the shots that buyers want for their blogs and businesses. If you want to be successful in selling your photos online, you’ll need to take pictures that people are actually looking for.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to find out what customers want. Just browse some big-name sites in your niche and see what type of media content they’re using.
You will likely find popular photos like these:
- Candid-looking shots of people in natural settings, like families hanging out together or friends having dinner
- People working in modern work environments like a home office or coffee shop, typically on a laptop or using pen and paper
- Inspiring images of landscapes, nature, and animals
- Seasonal trends like holiday-themed images or annual sporting events
- Photos that can be used as backgrounds, such as a brick wall or a clear, open sky
- Flatlay views of well-presented food layouts
- Travel images that show an authentic representation of local culture
A growing demand in the stock photo market is authenticity. Buyers increasingly want candid-looking images over staged settings.
Offer a wide variety of high-quality images with different perspectives
Part of making more sales just comes down to numbers. The more you upload and offer to buyers, the greater your chances of increasing sales.
Always take more photos than you think you need! Try different angles, perspectives, layouts, lighting, and colors. Shoot unique settings that stand out from the crowd.
Also, don’t disregard images that are very similar with only slight differences. Offer the whole series, because you never know what minor difference will prompt a buyer to choose your photo.
Make your pictures easy to find
With most apps, you can add keywords to your images so they’re easy to find from the search box. If you’re not sure how to categorize your photos, see what tags the top-selling images are using.
Use these keywords in your descriptions as well.
You want your photos to show up at the top of search results when buyers are using relevant keywords. This gives your images a better chance of getting purchased.
Target a specific niche
You might think that taking pictures of anything and everything will help you sell more photos. However, if you want to build a dedicated audience, the best thing you can do is limit yourself to a specific, narrow niche.
Focusing on a distinct niche – preferably one that is underrepresented – will serve your audience better. You will have customers that know they can find what they’re looking for in your portfolio. You will also build a reputation for a certain type of photo.
And, if you can find a niche within a niche, you will win over those buyers that have very specific needs.
For example, instead of specializing in stock photos of sports, you could concentrate on only baseball. Within this narrow focus, you could offer a wide variety of shots that buyers can’t find anywhere else.
Be aware of trends
Pay attention to what’s working for you. If you love taking pictures of dogs, but everyone is buying your cat photos, then take more pictures of cats.
Meeting the needs of your buyers is priority numero uno. So, give them what they want.
Even the best photographers consider themselves lifelong learners. So, don’t be satisfied when you get to a certain level. Keep pushing yourself to get better.
There are free resources all over the internet, from blog posts to YouTube videos to resources within the photo app you’re using.
Take the initiative to keep learning how to be a better photographer. If you’re always striving to uplevel your skills, your success will be inevitable.
There are a lot more ways to make money on this list of 101 Side Hustle ideas. Download your free copy!
The playing field has never been more level for today’s aspiring photographer. Anybody with a smartphone can take quality pictures and sell them for extra money.
You can choose to use one of these photo apps to make a little pocket change, or generate a nice second income. It all depends on the time and effort you want to put into it.
If you enjoy taking pictures and want to try your hand at selling your content, I encourage you to download one of these photo apps and try it out. If you don’t like it, try a different one.
The point is, don’t give up on your ambitions. Whether it’s to become a skilled photographer or just use a hobby to increase your income.
Either way, take the steps that get you closer to your goals. Your future is worth it.
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