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An example of a stock photograph used in a blog post explaining all you need to know to make money online with stock photography
Written: April 2020

How to make money online? This question must be one of the most searched phrases on the internet. In this post, I will show you how I make money with stock photography and how you can do that too!

In a way, this guide and its posts are a result of the COVID-19 crisis. When it hit, I was back in my home town for a while working two jobs to build up some savings and BOOM! I lost both my jobs in the same week. So then what do you do?

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Well, there is a lot you can do. You can go and sit on the couch all day, watching television, complaining that life is unfair and maybe post something useless on Facebook. Or, you can use your time productively and try to make the best of this crisis.

I decided to do the latter and - as you are here right now - I assume you do the same. For me, all this time meant that I suddenly had so much time to put into All around the Earth: I wrote new posts, upped my social media game (at which I still suck), and I tried to improve my rankings.

But then there is one question that remains. How do I make money?

All around the Earth still makes me a little money, but that is hardly worth mentioning. So, I upped the advertising game a bit (without it spamming readers with ads) and also increased the number of Affiliate links on the site. But still, I wouldn’t be able to live a week off my monthly income from that. So I looked further.

Affiliate marketing on Pinterest is another way I make money online. However, that will also never be more than a small passive side income. For one, my reach isn’t too big yet, though it’s growing. Secondly, I don’t want to screw up the quality of my Pinterest game by stuffing it with links. So then what?

If there is one thing the Corona Crisis has taught me, it is that life is unpredictable. Having an income is never guaranteed, and even having two incomes can fall away at any moment. So, lesson learned:

Spread your passive income streams as much as possible!

We are now heading towards uncertain times in which anything can happen. If one of your passive income streams falls away, you don’t want to be hit too hard. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, because if the dog runs off with it, they’ll be dripping from the walls and the ceiling and you’ll be left to clean up the mess.

So how does this relate to this post about stock photography?

In stock photography, I found another small passive income stream that will hopefully add up to a decent amount in combination with the other passive income streams I am building. I was already contributing to Shutterstock before the crisis, but never took it as a serious passive income stream yet. I had a lot of other things to do.

However, that changed. Self-isolation gives a person a lot of time to make something productive happen, a lot of time to start making some money from home. A lot of time to upload their photographs and let them make money for you.

Now then, I hear you think: How do I let my photographs make money for me?

To answer that question, I have written three posts: How to make money with stock photography, How to make stock photographs that sell and the best subjects for stock photographs. The first of these is currently online and the other two will follow in the coming weeks.

And then there is this post. This post is sort of a summary, an “all there is to know”. Here, I will cover all three post shortly, after which you can decide to dive deeper into one of them (or all three).

Before we get to the three posts, let me take a minute to explain what stock photography is for those that have never heard of it. You can skip this if you already know what stock photography is.

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What is stock photography?


For many people, stock photography is best known for those cheesy photographs of cute happy couples doing cute happy couple things, or those people in a meeting that are unnaturally happy up to the point where it gets creepy.

An example of a stock photograph used in a blog post explaining all you need to know to make money online with stock photography
The unnaturally happy meeting stock photo.
Image by Werner Heiber from Pixabay.


But let’s forget those, because stock photography is a lot more than that. Stock photography websites are a great resource for those looking for visual content for their websites or publication.

Stock photographs are free to use images that are provided by a stock photography website either for free, for their members or as pay-per-download. Sometimes, you just don’t have the right image to go with your text, and in those cases stock photographs can be a great solution.

Say I was writing about bananas and their health benefits, but the bananas in my fruit bowl are all brown and snotty so wouldn’t make for a great shot. I could go to a stock photography website and type in “banana”. You’ll then find a lot of images of banana’s, banana trees, banana smoothies and cakes, and this weird banana guy...

An example of a stock photograph used in a blog post explaining all you need to know to make money online with stock photography
Bananaman
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay.


Weird...

But okay, that was just to show that you can find stock photos of everything. Even those things nobody is looking for.

Now more serious: say you are writing about making money online - like I am now - you can find yourself some decent shots of money. Like these euro cents:

An example of a stock photograph used in a blog post explaining all you need to know to make money online with stock photography
Money
Image by Harry Strauss from Pixabay.


Or, writing about photography? These photography related stock photographs might be something for you:

An example of a stock photograph used in a blog post explaining all you need to know to make money online with stock photography
Camera equipment
Image by Free-Photo from Pixabay.

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An example of a stock photograph used in a blog post explaining all you need to know to make money online with stock photography
I personally really love this shot!
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.


I think you get what I am trying to show here, right? Stock photography is a vast stock of online photographs that are readily available for you to use on your website or publication.

Now that you know what stock photography is, let’s jump to the most important question: how can you make money with stock photography.

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How to make money with stock photography?


Stock photography is big business. Shutterstock, one of the biggest stock photo websites out there, has already paid out 800 million US dollars to contributors.1

So how do we tap in to that huge amount of money and get our share? That is the big question, isn’t it? Let me give you a summary of the summarized short version in this infographic. Feel free to share it, tweet it, pin it or even embed it on your own website using the snippet of code below.

An infographic explaining how to make money online with stock photography in five steps.
This infographic on your site? Use the code below.


There are two sides to stock photography: the searching side and the providing side. The searching side are those looking for an image to use on their website or publication. We are the providing, the contributors, the ones with the photographs.

As a contributor, you can upload your pictures to these websites and earn royalties per download. These aren’t huge amounts, often around 0,25 to 0,50 cents for a download, but every image can be downloaded multiple times, which - if you provide the right photographs - can add up to more significant amounts.

Some of these websites also offer extra services such as on-demand images or images for merchandisers, which are rewarded with higher royalties but require more work. In this post, however, I focus on the “normal” stock photo market, as that is what I use most and which is the most passive form of making money.

Sounds good huh? Click the button below to dive deeper into this in my post on how you can make money with stock photography.

Click here to learn how to make money with your photographs


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But knowing how to make money with stock photography and making it work are two different things. Don’t think that now you know the basics it will all go automatically. There are more things to consider, like which subjects work best and how to shoot the best selling pictures. But that, my dear readers, is a story for next time!

In the next weeks, I will be adding two more posts. One about how to shoot the best stock images, and the second about the best subjects to shoot.

Do you want to be notified when the next two posts are online? Subscribe to the All around the Earth mailing list and receive an email in your inbox when both of them are online.


I promise I will keep it strictly non-spammy.

For now, good luck finding the stock photography website that suits your photography skill!



Further reading





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Sources


  1. Dyck, Jordan (2019, February 28). Why you should start shooting stock footage right now. Shutterstock.com. Retrieved from https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/start-shooting-stock-footage-right-now.

Cover image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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