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How to make money by selling your photos to stock photography websites

Did you know you can earn a passive income by selling your photos to stock photography websites such as Shutterstock?

Woman taking a photo

What is stock photography?


If you are wondering what a stock photography website is well, it's a website that sells photos for commercial use. The photos listed can be purchased for a specific uses over and over again by numerous purchasers.


Being from a marketing background I have purchased images through these websites many times for use on the cover of magazines, backgrounds for adverts and as images to go alongside blog articles.


How can I sell my photos to stock photography websites?


To sell to a stock photography website like Shutterstock is a simple process. Firstly you need to create an account using an email address and password and then upload your photos. Once uploaded the system will go through each photo one by one and either approve or reject it.


Last night I went through our holiday snaps from previous years and found 40 photos which I felt were generic enough that they could be used for commercial use. I uploaded them and had 9 of them approved which are now available to purchase on Shutterstock.


Selling photos through a stock site is a great way to create a passive income stream as you only need to upload a photo once and then, fingers crossed, it will sell over and over again.


How to become a Shutterstock contributor?


As I mentioned you need to create an online account with Shutterstock firstly and then choose which photos you would like to upload.


From seeing which photos I got approved and rejected I learnt the following:

  • Check the photo is in focus and not grainy

  • Photos including people tend to mean to you signatures from the individuals, I chose photos without people to avoid having to do this

  • Photos cannot contain any brand names or advertising

  • It's important to spend some time thinking about the titles of your photos and make them as descriptive as possible as this is one way people will find them to purchase

  • Also spend some time thinking about what keywords you would like to add against each photo, these words are another way your photo will be found by potential purchasers.

This is a new string to my bow and I hope to add to my photos over the coming months and years to increase the opportunity to make money, I'll keep you updated on my progress as time goes on.

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