How To Make Money With Photography

By Kathy Burns-Millyard

By Andrew Hudson Published: May 25, 2011 Updated: April 1, 2014

There are many ways to make money online with photography, but a popular and fairly new way is through microstock photography websites.

Microstock photography is simply stock photography that’s sold at deep discounts. Clients are able to license stock photos for just $1 or $2, and photographers earn money each time a client chooses one of their photos.

Microstock photography is considered to be still in It’s infancy, and some people feel It’s wrong to sell photography at such low prices. Particularly since many professional photographers invest a lot of time and money on equipment, learning, and photo shoots.

For the beginning photographer though, Microstock photography agencies can be ideal places to start. Since entry requirements are not overly restrictive, many hobby photographers with inexpensive cameras have already started making a nice second income from their pictures.

How Does It Work?

The process of making money from your photography through Microstock agencies is fairly simple.

  1. Research popular Microstock photography agencies online. There are quite a few of them, but You’ll want to start with just one or two until you get the hang of things.
  2. Choose your absolute best pictures to submit. Some agencies require you to submit 10 pictures for review when you apply for an account with them, while others only require three the first time. Most don’t have minimum requirements though, and you can start by submitting just one.
  3. Your pictures will be reviewed by humans, and accepted or rejected into the Microstock photography site. If they’re accepted, they’ll be available for clients to “buy".

Technically they’re not fully buying your pictures though. They’re simply licensing the pictures for specific use. Usually Microstock photography is used in websites, though sometimes It’s used in advertisements, brochures and other marketing materials. The photographer always retains full copyrights to their photos though, and is normally able to sell the same photos over and over again to additional clients.

And this is the beauty of stock photography. Once you’ve taken a great picture and had it accepted into a stock photography portfolio, that one picture can continue earning you money month after month… sometimes year after year.

Most Microstock photography agencies pay $0.20 — $0.50 per picture license, or download. This may not seem like much, however a good photographer with several hundred pictures for sale could make a nice second income over time, because it all adds up!

Copyright 2006 Kathy Burns-Millyard. Used with permission from iSnare ( You may reproduce this article for personal, educational, non-commercial and non-Internet use, such as in a local photo club newsletter or school project provided that the author’s name and links are included. For other uses, contact the author.

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