How to sell your photographs online and turn your hobby into a Passive Income?

Hi Everyone,

Photography is big business these days. Web designers, application developers, graphic designers, advertisers, publishers, marketers, bloggers, broadcasters and a lot businesses generally use images for their websites, digital magazines and mobile application as a fundamental marketing materials.

On the other hand, people purchase artwork for their homes. All of these photos need to come from somewhere. As a freelance photographer, you have numerous options to sell your photos online. And this can be a great way to create passive income that earns while you’re working on other things.

What Kind of Photos Do People Want to Buy?

Right now, one of the biggest consumers of online photography are bloggers and website owners and applications developers. Every piece of content created from blog posts to social media updates needs an attractive image.

To identify what an attractive image could be you need to identify what photography categories that are in demand, in order to identify the demand you simply need to follow the Market Trend.

As a stock image contributor on Getty Images, Eyeem, iStock and Alamy, here are a few categories that I identified that they are demanded nowadays (sorted from highest to lowest)

  1. Photos of People’s life (Maternity, Paternity, School, Work situations, etc.)
  2. Technology Usage (People using Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops, etc.)
  3. Photos of situations (at the office, shops, restaurants, cafe, etc.)
  4. Photos of travel (cities, towns, landmarks, tourism, travel lifestyle, etc.)
  5. Product Photography (any product could be sold online)
  6.  Wildlife photos (Animals, forests, Trees, etc.)
  7. Close-up photos (Animals, children, elders, etc.)
  8. Photos of things (screws, signs, books, computers, tools, bags, cables etc)
  9. Photos of nature (landscapes, forests, lakes, oceans, seas, sky, clouds

That doesn’t sound too crazy. Right? You can totally do this. And on a budget. I’d also suggest taking a look at the most popular images in each category on the sites on which you intend to list your photos. This will give you a good idea of what’s hot at the moment.

Creating the Best Images Possible

Let’s be frank. If your photos are not visually appealing, they aren’t going to sell. Here are a few tips to taking better photographs.

  1. Take your photography hobby to a professional level. You aren’t going to get the quality you need for marketable photography unless you Learn how to shoot professionally.
  2. Choose your right equipments, DSLR camera and High quality smartphone cameras can also do the needful, for me the best mobile cameras I have tried are iPhone 7, Samsung S8 and Huawei Honor 8
  3. For product photography A Light Tent can help you create awesome styled stock photos. They eliminate glare and soften light to create the perfect picture. Tabletop versions are also really inexpensive.

Where you can sell your photos?

There are several websites that sell stock photos and vector images to webmasters and business owners. These photos can be sold over and over again providing long-term residual income.

  • iStockphoto – Contributors earn 15% from each download. Exclusive Contributors earn 22-45%. Payments can be requested up to twice per week by PayPal, Moneybookers or Payoneer Mastercard with a $100 minimum balance. Checks are mailed on the 15th and 30th.
  • Alamy – this site offers a 50% royalty and no exclusivity clause. Nice!
  • Shutterstock – Contributors earn 20-30%. Payments are made monthly with a $75 minimum. Shutterstock does not insist on exclusivity. You are free to sell your stock elsewhere.
  • Dreamstime – Earn 20-60% from each sale. Has an active community.
  • – Keep 70% of your sales revenue. Payments are made via PayPal with a $10 minimum.
  • Bigstock – Earn 30% from individual downloads and up to $0.38 royalty on subscriber sales. Payments are processed once per week upon request with a $30 minimum balance. Receive payment by check, PayPal or Moneybookers.
  • Demand Media offers freelance positions to photographers. Payment is like clockwork twice per week. Rates will vary by assignment. These must be exclusive photos and you give up all rights to the work upon sale.
  • Fotolia – Earn 20-63%. Exclusivity is not required though some rules apply to pricing once a certain rank is achieve. Payment is made via Moneybookers or PayPal.

If you are a beginner in photography world and don’t have DSLR camera. You can start with these 2 applications: Eyeem and Stockimo

Make sure you read and re-read each site’s guidelines and fine print when it comes to requirements, exclusivity (you can’t sell your photos on multiple marketplaces) and property rights.

Successful Stories:

Yuri Arcurs (NetWorth 51mil USD from micro stock photography) is one of the most popular photographers in the world of stock photography, In 2007 he was the top ranked selling contributor at Shutterstock, Fotolia, Crestock and BigStockPhotoso. In 2008 Arcurs sold 650,000 images per year through 16 different microstock agencies.

Naturally he has turned his thousands of stock photo images into his own stock photo agency –! Yuri Arcurs has used his experience of opening his own online stock photo agency as a learning moment for stock photo photographers, sharing his experience from stock photographer to online stock photo agency with his readers and followers.


Yuri Arcurs

Hope you find it useful 🙂

If you have any questions or need any support with the kick off Let me know in the comment box below and I will get back you as soon as I can.

Thank you for reading!

My new signature2015 black copy

13 thoughts on “How to sell your photographs online and turn your hobby into a Passive Income?

  1. Alan H says:

    I’m not a particularly good photographer but always thought a few of my images might be of interest to someone. It’s handy having a list of sites to go and look at to see what they are after. The best list however is what is in demand, this gives me some idea of what I should be looking for when out and about. Useful post – Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    • Adam Khaled says:

      Hi Selviafei, thank you for stopping by 🙂 If you are a beginner in photography and stock photography i recommend to start up with these 2 mobile apps ‘Eyeem’ and ‘Stockimo’ and ten after having experience and strong portfolio you can take this forward to an advance level with these websites: ‘’ ‘’ and ‘’ – Also there are more stock photography websites out there but the above are the most popular in a way. Hope that helps, but let me know if you need any further assistance with that. Cheers, Adam


  2. mdhoffmannphoto says:

    Thanks for this very informative article Adam! I’ve looked into a few different sites, but I’m still not sure what I want to emphasize in my portfolio b/c I shoot all sorts of stuff. I love doing candid portraits of folks, but I’m wondering how best to obtain a model release without them having to sign a full page legal document! Do you have a simple card/form that you carry with you for a model release. Do you pay any of your models or usually just supply them with photos? The other thing that holds me back from getting into stock photography is the amount of keywords required to describe each image – one company wants minimum 25 words up to 50 words. Yikes! I know that this enables better search possibilities, but coming up with 25 words for a picture of a flying goose would give me brain-freeze!


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