How to Make Money with Photography – Selling Physical & Stock Photos Online

When it comes to making money through hobbies, you’re going to find that you could very well do it with art. One of the best ways that you can pursue this solution is to look into how to make money with photography.

That’s right, you could very well make a lot of money in photography, and there’s a lot of people that are doing that right now. Even if you aren’t an expert today, you can learn how to take shots that are going to help you garner a bit of success through photography overall.

If your goal is to make more money or even start a career in the photography world, then the following will help you garner plenty of options to collect success in this arena.

Whether you want to start today, or down the line, this is going to help you focus on how to work with photos and make money.

Who’s Making Money in Photography?

1. Kid With Camera (David Waldman)

David Waldman, aka, has been working on his photography since 2006. While his modest start featured photography of bands and lifestyle elements, he has shifted into more journalistic photographs and more.

He posts a great deal of his work on a Tumblr blog that he has, but he has been able to harness the power of photography to create amazing jobs. He makes his living with photography, art, and much more.

The style that Waldman has is unique, focused, and his work has appeared in major newspapers the world over, including some in Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Waldman’s work explores travel, music, press, and much more, and it’s just an example of what you can do with a camera, a little bit of an idea, and a blog.

While his blog isn’t the primary source of his income, he uses it as part of several portfolios and is hired through them.

2. Digital Connection (Thomas Hawk)

One of the most influential photography bloggers and individuals that are making a lot of money with their photographs is that of Thomas Hawk.

While David Waldman makes a living with photos, Hawk makes a living through photography, blogging, and much more. You’ll find that his site,, highlights a lot of different focuses and you can learn how to take photographs and much more.

The site is regularly updated, although sparingly at times because Hawk is continuously on the job, and making money with assignments. He has published plenty of photos, books, and much more.

He’s working on a variety of projects at present, and if you follow his exploits on social media, through his blog, and others, you’ll find that you can make money off photography. In fact, anyone can, with just some skills and a camera.

You can learn these skills, mind you, and can get paid well.

How To Make Money Off It

So now that you know a couple of people that are making money from photography, you can learn how to do it yourself.

In fact, you’re going to find that you can follow a few steps to getting paid with this solution, especially with blogging.

To ensure that you’re able to garner success, the following will help you with learning how to make money with photography in two major ways. The following will help you determine how to sell images, and how to make serious money.

If you want to make this a full-time job, you’ll need to invest a little more time into the projects you work with, but if your goal is just to have a side project, then these steps can help that as well.

There are two major ways to make money from photography, and they include selling digitally and selling physically.

1. Sell Digital Photographs

The first option that you are going to need to look into is that of selling digital photographs. The easiest way to process this is to look into sites that pay you to contribute to their website of stock photographs.

One of the most common sites to use, for instance, is that of Shutterstock.

This is a site that lets anyone become a contributor on their page. Just click here to register as a Shutterstock Contributor.

You can upload images, and they can be sold through a variety of methods. You can license images, or they can get paid per download.

There are some parameters to this, mind you. Signing up is easy enough, and you will need to create high-quality images, videos, and things that can be distributed through the Shutterstock network.

You can upload the content straightway, and when people use your pictures or footage, you’ll get paid. Once you’re in, you can make money by referring friends as well.

Now, how much could you make? Is this lucrative?

The short answer is, yes!

You see, the average person will get 25 cents every time someone uses just one image that you use. Now, you’ll get an increase if you are selling a lot of images, which can rise upwards of 38 cents per image download.

Now, could you make a lot more money? Yes! Of course.

An expert photographer that gets a lot of demand for images can earn upwards of $10,000 based on their photographs.

One blogger made $34,000 a year with their photographs. Furthermore, it’s not hard to make upwards of $1,000 a month through the site, just updating simple stock photographs.

2. Sell Physical Photographs

The next way that you can make money is simple. You could sell printed canvas and prints through a variety of different avenues. One of the most popular channels is that of, which also lets you publish through Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon).

You can sell directly through as long as you sign up for their “Sellers Central” backend. This is a free option, and when you make a sale, you’ll have to share your profits with Amazon based on their sliding scale. You could sell canvas and other prints through their FBA service as well.

The FBA option is a solution that allows you to send prints to Amazon, they’ll store them and will ship the items out for you when someone purchases your items. Of course, you’ll need to pay for the storage fees, and of course, you’ll need to spend a little commission to Amazon as well.

These are the two primary ways that you can work with selling photography outright. Of course, this is just the starting point, as there’s a lot more to explore when you start thinking about this in terms of business.

But the starting line is listed above, and will only get more complicated as you look into the following steps to make money with photography.

How to Research Trending Images or Photos to Sell

One of the best ways to get ideas for how to take photos that will sell is to look into researching trending images or photographs.

This can be done through a variety of solutions, including using this tool (you need to sign up as a contributor first in order to utilize the tool).

This is a free solution that you can look into when you’re using Shutterstock.

Now, when you look at this page, you can compare different keywords based on what the customers are buying and searching for on their website. Your goal is to focus on words that are getting a lot of attention and could potentially garner you a bit of success.

One of the interesting points that the site has made in the past was mentioned about snakes. The site got a massive jump regarding searches for dragon pictures.


It is because the Chinese Zodiac, at the time, was the Year of the Dragon.

So with that idea, people were told to start taking pictures of snakes at the time, but why, if it was the year of the Dragon? Well, the logic was that within a year, the changing zodiac would turn into the year of the Snake, and that means that people will be searching for pictures of snakes outright.

Using the keyword tool that is free, you could compare different ideas of what you think is popular overall. From cats, dogs, to pool tables and more. You can think of any keyword and see if anyone is searching or if there’s a spike. Of course, you can use the logic mentioned above to see things in different lights as well.

Using Google Trends for Keyword Search

In the same way that you can look at keywords and phrases into Shutterstock, you can get ideas for images and your blog through the use of Google. You see, they have their own tools that let you know what people are searching for, and what trends are coming through at any given moment.

For instance, you’ll find that you can go here,, and see what people are looking for on a regular basis.

One day, people may be looking for soccer pictures, and therefore you can go to a park, or go to a store, get a soccer ball and start taking a ton of pictures to help with that.

You may find that one-day cats are the rage, and of course, that’s something you can jump into as well.

Google-trends helps you figure out what the world at large is looking at any given day, and can even tell you if there’s a forecast of new things coming.

Trying to figure out what is next can be made a little easier based on the trends of yesterday and today.

As long as you look at the trends, update your blog accordingly, and take pictures of different things that are based on the trending topics, you will be able to garner a bit of attention for your blog.

Remember, your goal is not to just take pictures of random things, but to sell. You need sales to make money. To make sales, you’ll need to address the needs of the general public.

To do that, you’ll need to look at the Shutterstock comparisons and Google trends as well. Keep up to date with both, and you’ll garner a bit of success with your updates, as you’ll get people interests in focusing on what you’re working with, which could garner you a nice payout.

In order to focus on making money in photography, you have to address what people want and are looking for because that’s where you’ll make the most money.

If you’re consistent, people will always come back to you for the latest trending photographs and more, but it starts with knowing what is to come, and the links above help with that.

The Next Step

If you’re serious about starting to make money with photography, you need to know how to work it as a business. To that effect, take into consideration the following process of how to get this done correctly.

The following will help you get started and will end up giving you a bit of success overall.

Step 1: Organize Your Photographs

The first thing that you should do is simple, organize and categorize all of the photographs that you want to work with. You are not going to be able to make any money if you don’t have a lot of photos, so make sure that you have a lot, and keep them organized based on several different factors.

Step 2: Join Shutterstock

Make sure that you sign up for, and start to look around for various options that they have.

Look at the most popular choices, and then look into options that are going to help you garner a bit of success.

Analyze to see what is in demand, and what many people enjoy. Look at the colors, the shadows, the footage, and anything else that you can look into to help you understand what is often posted on the site.

Step 3: Sell On Amazon

Once you succeed from selling digital images, you want to continue your fortunes selling on Amazon.

You’ll want to join the sellers of the site, through Sellers Central.

This is an area of Amazon that lets you set your own price for various photographs and other things that you want to sell.

Advance Strategy to Market Your Photographs

It’s not enough to set up those fractions of where to make money. What you need to do is sell your photographs in a way that is accessible to regular people.

To do that, you’re going to need to market your items through blogging.

Starting a blog on the topic of a photograph or your primary interests is an excellent way to begin emphasizing your art, and more.

You want to focus on just one topic per marketing goal, and since you want to have photography, then focus on that.

To fully understand how to start a blog and make it work, focus on, to help you figure out how to do this at length.

Remember, keep things wrangled in, and focus on topics that are limited, even setting up different pages for different topics, isolating 1 subject per blog. This will help you garner authority to the marketing you need to get for your pictures.

1. The Basic Blog Element

To isolate the process of blogging, let’s consider the most popular of solutions. The most common answer for blogging is that of WordPress.

Once you install and launch WordPress, based on the information found on, you’ll want to look into getting a photography theme that will make it easy to upload, share, and distribute your photographs for the sake of marketing.

You’re going to point people to where they can buy prints, and get stock images from Shutterstock from your blog, but you need to set it up correctly. That’s where you’ll want to use this photography theme;

Of course, you could always seek out a free solution if you don’t want to use this one, but make sure it’s meant for photography.

2. Post Blog Updates

Once you set up your blog, your goal is to update and promote images through posts.

You don’t want to post high-resolution pictures, but rather smaller versions of your photographs alongside links to where people can buy them.

You’ll be surprised by what people look for online when it comes to photography.

3. Drive Traffic To Your Blog

There are several ways that you can drive traffic to your site. Make sure to look into the following solutions:

SEOsearch engine optimization, which helps your page get attention from search results. This is a free solution to start, or you can hire a professional to assist with this.

Pinterest – the next option is Pinterest, which is a social media site that focuses solely on images and can help you market your page with ease.

Instagram – another big social networking page that is solely focused on images. Instagram can help you promote prints, and more.

Facebook – the biggest social media website in the world, and one that you can leverage to send traffic to your blog through Facebook with relative ease.

Recommended Add-Ons to Help Boost Photography Sales

If you’re serious about selling stock photography, you’ll need to have a few tools of the trade to help you out.

There are several things that you need to do to get this done. The following are supporting tools that will help you on your quest.

Each option will help elevate the images that you create and will help you get the most money out of the elements that you take.

Each one is worth looking into for a variety of reasons, and the following explains why.

Adobe Photoshop

This is the premier software for photography. Whether you choose the monthly subscription option, or you download an antiquated solution from Adobe, you will find that this is a tool that can help you edit, change, and clear up your images.

You can manipulate, enhance, create, and do a lot more with your pictures. Learn how to navigate this software, and you can bring about a new found glory to your images.

This is like having a new canvas for your images and can help you sustain amazing photographs overall.


For those that don’t want to pay a big price for editing software, this is a great option to pursue. This is a solution that is basic and can be low cost compared to other photography editors.

This is a photo editor, design maker, and collage maker that can help take your photographs to all new levels.


This is a solution that helps you take your images and print them onto canvas, get framed pictures, and much more. They are low cost, help you get your images to physical formats, and do so with lots of sales.

You can take your best pictures, and make physical prints, frame them, create a canvas, and so much more.


Another great site to get your images printed on canvas, from 8” x 8” to 36” x 48”, you can use this site to upload your images, get them printed onto canvas and frame things or hang them up.

Or you could use this as a platform to have prints made and sell them through a variety of different locations.

If you want to sell prints, this is a great way to focus on getting physical prints.


For those that are looking for physical prints and want to work with more than just canvas, this is a great solution.

You can make wall décor, cards, calendars, photo books, prints, albums, and so much more.

This is a great site that lets you have a variety of physical solutions that will help you make money with prints, and more.


This is a site that helps you get your social media, uploads, and just about any images that you take and create incredible photo books.

With high-resolution printing and great overall imaging, you’ll find that this is a great way to have your images preserved for sale, and for records. It’s a simple site that lets you connect with one click, and enjoy incredible physical goods with ease.


For those that are looking at getting into photography, but are on a budget, then you’ll want to bookmark this website. This is a solution where you can buy used lenses, digital cameras, film cameras, and much more.

You can also make money by selling used cameras, and more. This is an excellent option for those that need upgrades, or just a new camera and something that will help with taking photographs for money.

Onward and Upward!

At this point, you have a lot of information at your disposal. You can use the photography apps mentioned above you could join a simple site, and set up a blog for marketing’s sake.

This is a process that is not only easy to work with, but can be done with just about any type of camera.

Take the first steps above, and in no time, you could be making a great deal of income with photographs today.


Tom McNaughton

Tom is a full-time digital marketer who has practiced internet marketing for over 10 years. Tom also serves dozens of local digital businesses and has successfully brought substantial traffic growth to their websites.

Delightful Work - Digital, Internet Marketing & Small Business Coach