How to Earn from Your Photos Online - a Beginner's Guide

Becoming a good photographer will help you start earning from your photos.
Becoming a good photographer will help you start earning from your photos. | Source

If you are serious about photography, then check out these DSLRs:

It's not a secret that a lot of people earn from their photos and they earn big time. And a lot of them are not professional photographers (though some are, of course). I'm not talking of people who have their own studios and get orders from big clients via their websites. I'm talking about people like you and me. So, can you make money from photography online? You certainly can! Here are some tips that will help you get started.

Everybody can take photos these days - all you need is a cheap point-and-shoot camera or even your mobile phone. It's also dead easy to upload your photos to sites like Flikr to get some exposure. But earning from your photos is a bit harder than that. To earn from your photos, you must make sure that:

  • Your equipment is good enough. If your photos are low quality, you will only be able to make cents rather than dollars.
  • You know some basic composition principles
  • You know what exposure is and how to deal with it
  • You photos are of interesting things (your cat or dog doesn't usually count as interesting)

Now that you know what is expected from your photos, let's have a look at where you can post them to earn some money.

1. Microstocks

Microstock photography websites are the best source of revenue for professional photographers and for advanced amateurs. True, your equipment has to be excellent (don't bother sending your photos for approval unless you have a DSLR). And don't bother sending unprocessed photos - they won't be accepted. So, if you want to be serious about microstock, get yourself a copy of Photoshop and Lightroom. In my experience, Fotolia and BigStockPhoto are the best places to start, as you can submit one image at a time. When you images start getting accepted, you can apply for approval at Shutterstock and submit 10 images for assessment. If at least 7 of them get accepted, you're in. If not, you'll have to wait for a month before you can try again. If you try hard enough, selling your photos though Microstock agencies will really pay.

2. Flikr

Yes, Flikr! Did you know that Flikr partnered with Getty Images and now accepts work for sale? All you need to do is have photos on Flikr (good photos, not your cat) and join the Getty Images group. If you get approved, your images will become available for sale. The great thing about this group is that millions of people search Flikr for images, so the exposure you get will be tremendous.

3. RedGage

Now, RedGage earnings will never match microstock earnings. But the good news is that all you need for RedGage is a point-and-shoot camera. Your phone will do too. You will be able to post your photos to share with the world, meet new friends, improve your photography skills, and earn a bit of money too. Quite a few professional photographers use RedGage to showcase their work, so there is no reason why you shouldn't too.

4. Zazzle

Another way to earn from your photos is to open a Zazzle store. Zazzle is a great website where you can create your own custom products, from postcard and stamps to T-shirts, bags, and canvas prints. So, if you think you have photos that will make good postcards, prints and posters, give it a go and sell photos on Zazzle.

These are only a few ways how you can earn from your photos online. Hope these tips will help you get started.

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Comments 45 comments

CWanamaker profile image

CWanamaker 5 years ago from Arizona

I've really put some thought into doing this, I just need a decent camera. Perhaps for the upcoming holidays.


ThePracticalMommy profile image

ThePracticalMommy 5 years ago from United States

This is a very useful hub. I never thought of selling photos online...Thanks for sharing!


laidbacklady profile image

laidbacklady 5 years ago from Plumsted Township, NJ

Thanks for the information Snurre! Very interesting and very useful. Voted up! Will be looking into this for sure!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I have been accumulating photos for years and you have helped me look into something new! I don't know if I'll be able to earn money from my photos but I can try. Thanks for sharing! Voting up and sharing.

JSMatthew~


vicogon40 profile image

vicogon40 5 years ago

i have a lot of quality photos that is lying fallow in my camera and systems. i think, i have to give it a try by posting and uploading my photos on these sites. all the same thanks for sharing


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Thanks for your comments, everyone! Glad you found this hub useful.

CWanamaker - basically, any DSLR will do for a start. I have Nikon D5000 and it does the job very well.

J.S.Matthew - try uploading your photos on RedGage. It's fun and rewarding.

vicogon40 - cool, then you should definitely try Fotolia and other Microstock websites.


ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

Very interesting! I knew pictures could be sold, just didn't know how. Always thought they (Shutterstock etc.) have photographers on staff.

Thanks for sharing.


Dawn Conklin profile image

Dawn Conklin 5 years ago from New Jersey, USA

Great hub! Thank you for the info Snurre, voted up. I have recently taken up a hobby of taking pictures. I think that's what happens when I buy a smart phone with a good camera :) Will have to check these sites out, at the moment I have just been sharing pics on my photo blog. Never really thought about earning money from them since I am by far not a pro.


LeisureLife profile image

LeisureLife 5 years ago from USA

Great article! Thanks for sharing


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Thank you!

Dawn, try RedGage. You'll be able to share your photos, get feedback and earn some cash.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Thanks for sharing this. Never realized that you could sell your photo's online this way.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

You're welcome, Susan! Thanks for your comment!


madmoneyalerts profile image

madmoneyalerts 5 years ago

Thanks a lot for this superb information & unique ideas.Once again thanks for sharing.

Stocks to Buy


Julz09 profile image

Julz09 5 years ago

Excellent information! Really easy to follow.


lavender3957 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing. It is wonderful to know ho to make money for the things you enjoy and want to share with others. Nice hub.


kripkrip420 profile image

kripkrip420 5 years ago from In relation to what?

Thanks for this Hub. I am actually really interested in becoming a photographer! I just need to get the camera...And learn about the techniques...And then I may be ready! Great hub! Voted up and useful!

http://hubpages.com/literature/Writers-Block-Get-Y...


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Julz09, lavender3957, kripkrip420, thanks for your comments!


rai2722 profile image

rai2722 5 years ago

nice idea on stocking photography. thanks mate!


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Rai2722, you are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 5 years ago

I would have never thought of selling my photos to stock sites! Thanks for the information. I will wait until I get a better camera than my smartphone or my HP Photosmart...even though that little sucker takes a useful picture.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Xenonlit, thanks for your comment. I suggest you try RedGage - you can start earning from your photos even with your current camera. If you sign up using the link I provide, you'll automatically become my friend and I'll get some lottery points :)


giteshtrivedi profile image

giteshtrivedi 5 years ago from USA

Excellent article on earning from photos and providing resources for beginners. Awesome information.


doodlebugs profile image

doodlebugs 5 years ago from Southwest

Good info. I've found Cafepress to be far superior to Zazzle in terms of sales, but I guess it can't hurt to use the image on both sites to increase your chances.


arunii profile image

arunii 5 years ago from Delhi

Very innovative article. I use redgage just for uploading links and videos but never think of uploading image so this is a wake up article for me !


Karen N profile image

Karen N 5 years ago from United States

Very creative, I would have never thought about earning from my photo's.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

doodlebugs, thanks for mentioning Cafepress! I've heard of it but never had the time to check it out. Will do now.

Arunii, thanks for your comments on my hubs.

Karen, thank you!


RobertDCrandell profile image

RobertDCrandell 5 years ago

Great business idea! Love taking photos!Useful hub!


Injured lamb profile image

Injured lamb 5 years ago

Thanks for your generous sharing Liz, I love taking photos, this hub might help me much...voted this up!


Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

Thanks for the tips! I so love my new DSLR! and I enjoy taking pictures. I will have to consider this, and research it further. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Duchess OBlunt, you are very welcome. Is your a Nikon or a Canon? Just make sure you edit your photos in Lightroom before you submit to stock sites like Shutterstock. Otherwise they will be declined.


Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

It's a Nikon D7000 and I don't have Lightroom. I do have Aperture and Adobe. Will either of those work?


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Good choice! Yes - all you need to do is make sure the white balance is absolutely correct.


Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

Perfect! Thank you


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

Thanks for this hub. I will be sending it to my wife who loves to take photos and has been looking for ways to benefit financially even if it is small from her passion of photo taking.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

CZCZCZ, thanks for your comment! Glad you found the hub useful.


adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 5 years ago from Atlanta

Hi Snurre, Awesome article for beginners to earn with photos. I dont want to sound like a dummy but maybe I missed it in the article. What does DsLR stand for? I use to snap shots with my camera phone, and made a few dollars here and there. I got out of the swing of taking photos you have awaken my snap a photo of something interesting again. Voted up, and have bookmarked!


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

Hi adrienne2, thanks for reading and bookmarking the article! dSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera. Basically, it's a camera with a little mirror inside. I won't go into the technical details here, but cameras with that little mirror produce much better quality photos than any other type of digital cameras.

Have a look at this article for dSLR comparison: http://hubpages.com/art/Canon-vs-Nikon-Which-dSLR-...


adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 5 years ago from Atlanta

Thanks so much for explaining it a bit. I am going to take a look at your other article.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

adrienne2, you are welcome!


blogtipper 5 years ago

One more tip to get your photos accepted in to the microstock websites is to do photoshoots that involve indemand photoshoots of business concepts. Search the photo stock website to see what kind of images are selling. If you have pictures of clouds, they might be interesting but probably not what the stock site wants. Also, you can't have any branded items in the shot and if any human appears in the photo they need to have signed a model release form.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

blogtipper, thanks for your comments and tips. All of them are correct. I think that's the subject for another hub. :)


2uesday profile image

2uesday 5 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

Hi great advice, RedGage is the easy option to start with and friendly too. The idea for using Flkir is interesting too.


Snurre profile image

Snurre 5 years ago Author

2uesday, thanks for your comment!


Savva Pelou profile image

Savva Pelou 5 years ago from London

Redgage seems quite intriguing


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Thanks so much for the info with tips. I hope to move in this direction in the new year.

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