Nowadays, it’s almost criminal NOT to have a camera. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one with all those lenses and peripheral gear. Even a smartphone or a tablet has a camera, which is why there is a proliferation of social media platforms dedicated to uploading images taken on a daily (or even hourly) basis - whether it’s selfies, flat-lays of one’s meal pre-devouring, or views of the latest vacation someone has taken. We’ve become an image-saturated culture to the point of overexposing ourselves and our lifestyles, but it does have benefits, as demonstrated by CCTV, dashcams, and other security-related image devices.
But there are people who want to take photos with their camera - be they fancy DSLRs or smartphone cams - not just for everyday posterity purposes, but to actually make a living off of them. If you have a camera and are wondering how to make money from using it, the good news is that there are dozens of resources and opportunities for you to do so. Depending on your camera, photography skills, and the kind of work you are willing to do, there is bound to be something that can keep you busy snapping away and freezing moments in time with your camera - and get some cash for it, too!
Do freelance photography for different industries
So many industries and businesses need fresh and original photography for their websites, catalogues, brochures, and other peripherals and print or digital materials. You can pitch your portfolio to practically any local business, and see what kind of pictures they need which you can take for them. Not all businesses have the kind of budget that can hire an entire advertising agency to take care of their branding and image requirements, so keep the small to medium enterprises in mind when looking for places you can do freelance photography for.
Some of the businesses that always require a photographer include those from the real estate and the hospitality industry. Companies like Airbnb, for instance, always have positions for photographers who can “present all of Airbnb’s spaces beautifully and authentically.” Obeo is also a property finding site on the lookout for freelance photographers who already have their own equipment. Payment is on a per-hour basis and depends on the kind of photography of the property required.
On the other hand, if you want something a little more exciting and if you love celebrities and don’t mind acting like a paparazzo around them, consider submitting to PR Photos. They promise easy uploading with just a few ******, and you can already start selling your celebrity images to them. You earn a 50% commission on sales, and royalty checks are sent once a month.
Snap some pics and sell them online
Ever wondered where hotels, restaurants, banks, dental offices, and bars get those nice-looking (and often soothing) framed photographs of attractive people, sceneries, and food? They’re mostly from photographers like yourself! Sure, those who can afford a budget specifically for photography and art direction can come up with truly customized compositions that reflect what their business is all about. But more often than not, they’re bought from stock image sites or online selling platforms such as the ones listed below:
- 123RoyaltyFree - great as a launchpad to budding photographers, this site gives photographers a 60% royalty for each of their purchased submitted images.
- BigStockPhoto - with over 68 million stock photos, you know there’s a place for your pictures here, given their wide categories and trending keywords.
- CanStockPhoto - it’s quite easy to submit photos here on CanStockPhoto, and it only takes a day for them to get back to you if they like your submissions!
- Crestock - this is a good platform to start submitting your pictures to. You can earn anywhere between 20 to 40% of each picture you sell through Crestock.
- Dreamstime - a very popular photo-submissions site with millions of current users, Dreamstime boasts of a competitive compensation to photographers who are professional, have a keen eye for composition, and have high-quality photographs to share.
- Etsy - with its emphasis on handmade and OOAK (one-of-a-kind) merchandise, Etsy also has a marketplace for original and unique photographs from its users.
- Fotolia - this Adobe-owned platform gives users credits for every photograph submitted to them, which can then be redeemed for cash.
- PhotoStockPlus - they promote your work to buyers in a no-nonsense manner, which involves your own website and gallery, and “turning your best shots into dollars”.
- PicassoMio - if you pride yourself in your artful photography - not the kind that ends up in generic brochures - then this is the site for you! It specializes in sophisticated and artsy photographs sold to connoisseurs worldwide.
- RedBubble - get a chance to sell the images you took on different merchandise: from posters and prints, through to mugs, T-shirts, stickers, tote bags, and phone cases! Redbubble has a base price tag for each merch so it is up to you to add on your percentage!
- Shutterstock - as one of the more popular and easily recognizable image-selling platforms, Shutterstock pays users 25 cents for each downloaded (purchased) photograph they submit to the site.
- Snapped4U - this site is all about capturing pictures of events and fundraisers, and therefore need photographers all the time! Snapped4U promises a hassle-free submission of event photos to their site.
- WeGoLook (reviewed here) - with the tagline “Eyes on anything. Anytime. Anywhere.”, this site is a field service-oriented one that includes photography in its “Looks” or errands. Some of the photography-related “Looks” include documenting services, areas, or situations required by clients.
- Spare5 (reviewed here) - as an algorithm app, Spare5 needs users to annotate images and isolate elements as part of task completion, as well as to upload photos of ordinary things!
- ImageTwist - you actually get paid for the traffic sent to your uploaded images (depending on the geographical location of people who look at your photos)!
- Scoopshot - designed for freelance photographers, Scoopshot members will receive photo assignments based on their location.
I am thoroughly convinced that there will always be jobs open to photographers, whether they are amateurs or professionals. With the proliferation of cameras and image-submission platforms, plus all the industries requiring fresh visuals for their digital and print campaigns, anyone who has a good eye can capture something that someone else will be willing to pay for. The resources I listed and linked above make up only a small fraction of the staggering and legit possibilities of using your camera to earn a little extra cash on the side.
Have you ever considered selling the pictures you take with your camera as another source of income? Where and how did you pitch your photographs, and would you recommend them to us here in the forum?