While photography is a full-time occupation for some, there are many photographers who do it as a hobby. No matter which category you fall into, you might at some point have considered selling your images online for some extra cash.
This is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme, but if you are looking for a little extra money, this is a great way to earn a passive income.
The amount you earn will depend on the kind of images you have to sell, where you sell them, and the changing trends at the time.
So if you have a hard drive or two filled with photos that you’ve taken on your travels, then you might just have something that someone is willing to pay for.
There are generally two types of stock photos, commercial and editorial. Each stock agency has different rules for each. But the rule of thumb is that an image with no recognisable people or property can be sold as commercial. If you have recognisable people, logos or property in your photo and want to sell your image as commercial, then you will require a model release or a property release.
Below are examples of commercial images:
Each microstock agency will have its own forms, and some do not accept the other’s forms. So to avoid having to get four or more different forms signed to appease the individual agencies, you can use an app called EasyRelease Pro. It is available for both Android and iOS.
There is a cost involved, but it is worth the price if you want to have model or property release forms with you at all times.
An editorial image does not require a model release and can be used in print or online news articles, but it cannot be used on a book cover or to sell a product. So if you took a photograph of a street in your favourite holiday destination and there are people in the photograph, as well as shop names and logos, then this could only be sold as an editorial image.
Below are examples of editorial images:
So what kind of photographs sell? Well, almost anything. Since most of the photographs purchased are for Web use, e.g. travel websites, blogs etc. Think about what your photo could be used for.
Photos of travel destinations, food, activities, family, health, career types, etc. All of these could be suitable.
Each of the microstock websites will give you ideas in some form. Shutterstock has The Shot List which they update every month of the year.
Below is a list of some of the microstock agencies we recommend. There are many others, so we suggest you do your research to see which agencies will work the best for you.