Selling Stock Photos for Online Profit

If you’re a keen amateur or professional photographer, and you’re looking for ways to make money from your snaps, then selling stock photos may be the perfect way to make money online for you!

What Are Stock Photos?

The first question most people have about making money online with stock photos is what stock photos are. The answer is simple. When graphic designers, magazine layout artists and other people want to put together a design, they usually need an image to work from. Either they can take their own photographs, pay someone to do it for them, or they can buy a stock photo.

Stock photo sites are sites that host hundreds, or thousands of high quality images of everything from household items to landscapes to people, and they sell them at a small fee or royalty to graphic designers, art directors and site owners, to name but a few.

How Can You Make Money Off Stock Photos?

Making money from your photos by using photo sites is as easy as signing up with a site, and posting your pictures. Sites like will pay you a royalty every time someone buys one of your pictures.

Of course, gaining money online from stock photos means that you will need to have lots of pictures online, and that they have to be high quality and in demand, but if you already have photography equipment, and you are already taking pictures, you might as well get paid for them!

What Kind of Money Can You Make?

Earnings from stock photography sales can vary from a few dollars to a few hundred every month. If you’re a professional photographer, and you make your snaps available to buyers through your own site, you could expect to earn a lot more than that, particularly if you limit the number of sales of your pictures, and promise a certain level of exclusivity.

As you can see, earning money online is about a lot more than a web store, so if you like taking pictures, and you’re good at it, why not get paid for it?

Can I Use Free Stock Photos on My Website?

There are a wide variety of uses allowed when using an image licensed as a free stock photo. There is not much limit to potential uses, but you must be aware of the different types of permission allowed by the image licensor or owner. These are the main types of license you will find given to free stock images:

Non-Commercial Use only
A non-commercial use license means that you may only use the image in any way which would NOT generate revenue attributable to the use of the picture. Often for bloggers this raises the issue of whether the blog they want to use the free image on is for personal or commercial gain (for example if your blog contains AdSense or other ads), generally if your goal in writing your blog is to make money, then it is definitely commercial use. But if you write the blog for pleasure but you make a few dollars a month by placing advertisements on it, then free stock photos or illustrations with a non-commercial only licence may often be used.

Commercial/Business Use Allowed
When a photographer or illustrator has set a license on their free image to allow commercial use, then you can use the picture for your business website, blog or whatever else your business has an image-use for. As with the personal-use only terms, if you currently earn money with your site, or intend to make money with the website or blog and you use a freely sourced image, it is certainly a commercial use. Some artists granting a free commercial license for their images also set an earnings limit up-to which you can use a free non-commercial image, once you earn more than that amount you have to purchase a license for that image, usually around $50-100 a month or so.

Derivative Works
Usually it is denied by a free image license or terms of use you may not make use of a free stock photo to make your own derivative images (a similar image containing the original one you found or based upon that image). The very popular Creative commons license allows derived works where a No-Derivs clause is omitted. You might be wondering what constitutes a derived work, particularly when including pictures such as backgrounds or textures into a different media like a 3D world or as a background in a motion video. The best way to figure it out, is if any part of the free stock image is noticeable in the resulting work created, it is definitely a derivative work and as such has to comply with the license or usage agreement of the original free image.

For most free stock photos or other free images, the right to distribute the image is almost never granted to anybody using the image. Whenever you send the image to anyone else, in any media, digital, in print, or on a CD, it is an act of distribution. You may never say that any free photo is your own work or sell it to anybody else, ever. Print distribution is harder to be sure about whether your business may use a free photo. For example, if you use a free clipart in a report for college or uni, or add a photo to a power-point presentation you have made for a customer would not often count as distribution, but giving the image away to them, or selling it to your company’s client so they can use it in a presentation would certainly be an act of distribution for that image.

So can I legally use free images for my business?

Whenever you find an image which has a license allowing commercial use, that may be used for your business, or even for work done for your clients. Usually this is in the form of there NOT being a ‘no-commercial use’ or a ‘personal use only’ clause in the usage agreement for that image. It is uncommon for the usage rights for a free stock photo to explicitly grant use for commercial purposes, it’s a lot more regular for the license to specify that commercial use is prohibited.

Make sure you read the license granted to the image you want to use very carefully for any picture you intend to use for your company to be certain that it’s legal to make use of it for a project which is likely to earn any income. Failing to do so could result in being sent an invoice for use outside of the legal terms of use.

Earn Money With Digital Photography – Sell Stock Photos Online

Everyday photographers with digital cameras often earn money selling their stock photos online. These transactions are happening everyday across the internet and, as a result, amateur photographers are making hundreds of dollars each day from doing what they love, taking photos with their digital cameras and selling their stock photos instead of deleting them or just storing same.

Learning how to make money with your digital camera online can be a tricky process. There is plenty of information out there, from blogs to ebooks, which provide basic advice on techniques. The photo stock websites willing to pay for the images are trustworthy and reliable. These includes,, and, just to name a few. What is often forgotten, however, is that stock photography is like any other business, meaning there are subjects which are in high demand and others that are not. Learning what is likely to sell and focusing on those subjects often makes the difference between the photographers who make little money and those who make a lot.

Turning your passion into profit takes a certain amount of tenacity. You’ll want to definitely produce as much quality content as possible. Some photographers view it as a numbers game, preferring to upload large numbers of photographs each day. Other photographers take a more professional approach to the process by preparing and planning, as well as choosing subjects in advance. Whichever approach you take, it is important to frequently upload fresh images.

To make money with your stock photos, you must first start by creating an account at your favorite paid stock photography site. This is a fairly straightforward process, not unlike setting up an account at any of the countless other websites across the internet. Once finished, you can simply upload photographs directly from your computer hard drive to the site and set your asking price.

While some people will advise you to buy expensive photography equipment, that simply isn’t required. More than likely, the digital camera you already own is of good enough quality to shoot amazing images for resale. You can discover how to make money with your digital camera by first looking through the stock photography sites, paying close attention to the best sellers. This information is often readily available and is priceless when determining which subjects you should shoot.

Once you get started, you’ll be amazed at the ability to make money from your stock photos. Firms are increasingly outsourcing advertising and marketing, as well as slashing budgets, which means they’re plenty of businesses already looking for low-priced images to incorporate within websites and other media. The key is giving them what they want.

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