Making Money Selling Your Images to Stock Agencies Online

Anyone who takes good quality photographs, and can supply images to fit a stock photography agency’s file size requirements, can make money working from home.

The caveat is that this is a long-term game, and a photographer usually needs to build a collection of at least several hundred images, before the financial returns become substantial.


Nevertheless, uploading good- quality, sell-able images week by week will eventually bring in a gradually rising level of income, and it’s a great way to work online from home. The most sensible way to play the game is to be patient, pay attention to what is trending, build slowly, and tie in the photography submissions with other working from home opportunities.

Between the top stock agencies to the microstock outlets, there is bound to be a niche for someone with a good eye for an image and the digital skills to make them sellable. The trick is to think about the images seen in everyday advertising of products and service on, billboards, magazines and in brochures. Advertisements are absolutely everywhere and they all need images. Often times its much more cost effective to obtain the quality images from a stock site, then create the image in-house.

There is often little success in selling artistic or edgy images unless an agency is specifically looking for this type. It is also rare for the agency to look at stock sites for unique images such as these, and its wise to keep that type of photography for personal work, art submissions or portfolio presentations. It may be surprising but the photographs of ordinary everyday articles are the type that sell very well. Think of creative shots of the central heating thermostat, bubbles on soap, jars of different foods, hands playing an instrument, flowers in season, and you will begin to get the idea of what “stock”sites are needing and selling.

If the plan is to make money working from home, then why not source photographic ideas from home? Browsing through the files on the agency websites will give you a good idea of the kind of images that are trending, how they are licensed and sold and the style and content that is most commonly accepted.


Also, always remember that if people or buildings are in the images, a photographer will need to obtain a model release or a property release to supply with the images when submitted. Even if you do not need to submit it with the image initially, its a good idea to keep the release in a file for the time the image is licensed. The release is a legal permission form signed by the person being photographed or the owner of a building. Do a quick search on the internet for free templates or on your smart-device for an electronic application that will allow the person to digitally sign the release.

SmartPhone Release

IPad Release

Model Release Paper Form

If they don’t mind staying on top of the proper releases, some photographers might like to build up a stock of people pictures, in ordinary everyday situations. Hanging out the washing, two people holding hands, or children playing in a sandpit, for instance. Again, if the plan is to work online from home then use the home to build up a collection of images. As long as those images have model releases, they’re well composed and of good quality, they will usually find buyers. Don’t be afraid to put your style on the images to make them interesting and unique so that they stand out in the thumbnails.

When uploading photographs to stock agencies, a PC or laptop ideally needs to have high speed broadband so that it does not take you all day to upload your large images. It is also wise to keep your back up on portable drives or in a cloud service. Storing large picture files on your computer, after you have uploaded them to the stock sites you choose, will take up room that will slow down your computer. Once you license the image to someone, depending on the permission you grant, you will have to respect the terms and not use the image yourself which is another reason you will not need it saved on your computer. However, always keep a copy of the original image on some type of back up device or service for legal protection if you ever need it. Its a good idea to get well acquainted with the license terms the stock site uses so you know what your rights will be after you sell an image. It would also be a good idea to be well acquainted with the benefits of copyrighting images with the library of congress. The process is now internet friendly and considerably low cost to batch copyright a set of images. This will protect you in the event an image is not used properly by terms of the license permission or stolen from you or one of the sites that its offered on. A simple internet search will give you all the information you need to start copyright protecting your images today.

Copyright website


Any stock photography agency will have submission guidelines and criteria for the standards expected, although these will differ from agency to agency. There is a range too, of prices being paid for photography: microstock photography pays far less than the big guns such as Alamy or Corbis, and there is a wide range of agencies in between.

How to Start Making Money Online Selling Photographs

1. Find stock photography agencies online or check through a freelance photographer directory.

2. Access their contributor guidelines via the site and check the level of quality they’re expecting.

3. Look through the images online to see what they sell and for how much.

4. Browse the sites to see which feels the most appealing and comfortable, and pick one.

5. Spend time working on the photographs to be uploaded. Make sure they fit the quality guidelines exactly to minimise rejections, and have release forms attached if necessary.

6. Submit. Celebrate acceptances, learn from any rejections, and persevere.

Here are some stock sites you can check out:


123RF  – there is even a link to monetize your IPhone photos!

IStock Photo – they are the little sister company to the next site

Getty Images – this site can be tough to reach, but once you become an authorized shooter, you can make premium dollar for your images. Research on google the best way to become authorized with Getty!

Jupiter Images

There are many more sites, and they are easy to find. Simple start by running a simple search on your favorite search engine and go from there!

by: Jillian Hayes (aka AtlCanonGirl)

Contact information for the Hosts of One Hour Photo Show:

Co-Host Anderson Smith Photography

Twitter: AtlCanonGirl

Twitter: OneHourPhoto

FaceBook Fanpage for One Hour Photo Show

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