Do you want to learn how to get paid to take pictures?
Have you ever taken a photo and thought to yourself, “How do I get paid for taking pictures? This is my dream job!”
You can make it a reality!
There’s a growing demand for photos, and you can make money with the pictures you take. Today’s article is the ultimate guide on how to turn your photography hobby into a profitable side gig or even a full-time career.
So whether you’re a photographer with a smartphone or a professional with a high-end camera, you can learn how to get paid to take pictures.
This article will explain what apps pay you for taking pictures, the best stock photo sites, how to work as a freelance photographer, and more.
Whether you want to work from home or start your own small business, getting paid to take pictures can help you do that.
How to get paid to take pictures in 2023
Get paid to take pictures with stock photo websites
There are many different places and ways where you can sell your photos. To start, I want to talk about the different stock photo websites you can sell to.
Stock image websites are one of the most popular places for photographers to sell their pictures. These platforms allow customers to purchase royalty-free photos for personal or business use. Websites use stock photos all the time and so do TV shows, books, social media accounts, and more.
One positive of stock photo sites is that this can become somewhat passive income – you can take pictures, upload them, and potentially earn money from an old photo for months or years to come.
Some popular stock photo websites include Shutterstock, iStock by Getty Images, Adobe Stock, and Dreamstime.
To sell photos on stock photography sites, you’ll need to create a contributor account and upload your images according to the site’s guidelines. Then, you’ll earn a commission every time your photos are downloaded.
With stock photo websites, quality is important, but quantity is too. Having more pictures in your stock photo portfolio means the more money you can make.
Once you become a contributor, start uploading your best photos to the chosen stock photo website. It’s important to have a diverse portfolio showcasing your range and creativity as a photographer, which could attract more clients because like I said, quantity is important! Tagging your photos with relevant keywords will also make it easier for potential buyers to find your images.
As one of the largest stock photo websites, Shutterstock offers a user-friendly platform for photographers of all experience levels to sell their images.
Every time your photo is downloaded, you’ll earn a commission. You earn 15% to 40% from your photos on Shutterstock – the more times your photo is downloaded, the more you can earn.
Shutterstock has paid out over $1 billion to their contributors in the last 15 years.
2. iStock by Getty Images
iStock allows photographers to sell their images on their stock photo site. Your images can be purchased for books, billboards, social media, websites, TV, and more.
You’ll need to apply to become a contributor and follow their guidelines to submit your images. Once you are accepted to the platform, you can start earning royalties each time your photo is downloaded.
You can earn between 15% to 45% on each download.
3. Adobe Stock
As part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Stock offers a marketplace for photographers to sell their images, videos, and even drone footage directly to creatives using Adobe software.
You can earn a royalty rate that ranges from 20% to 60%, depending on the level of your commitment to the platform.
You can sell photos that are related to food, portraits, lifestyle, travel, business, drones, and more on this platform.
Note: This site used to be called Fotolia.
4. Start a stock photo membership website
Similar to uploading your photos to a stock photo website, you can even create your own stock photo membership.
I have been a member of several stock photo memberships over the years.
I recommend picking a specific niche, as that is how you will stand out from the stock photo giants mentioned above. For me, I like the smaller stock photo websites the best because they are experts in their niche and I always find exactly what I need.
For example, you could create a stock photo website in the niche of pets, online businesses, family, or travel.
Some stock membership sites that are in a specific niche include:
Starting a stock photo membership website involves creating an online platform where users can access and license high-quality stock photos for their creative projects.
You may be taking the photos yourself or hiring contributors to take them.
Then, you may be charging a per photo fee, or a monthly (or quarterly or annually) membership fee.
Apps that pay you to take pictures
There are many apps that will pay you to take photos. These include:
Foap is one of the best apps to earn money by uploading photos and videos, and when a brand or company finds your work they can buy it.
Every time you sell a photo, you’ll earn 50% of the commission (Foap keeps the other half).
Foap also collaborates with brands, creating “Missions” where photographers can submit images to meet specific criteria for a chance to make money as well.
Another smartphone app, EyeEm, helps photographers sell their images through its marketplace. EyeEm’s advanced image recognition technology can help you find the best keywords to tag your images, increasing your chances of selling your photos.
Photographers earn 50% of the revenue from each photo sold.
7. Snapwire (StudioNow)
Snapwire matches photographers with brands looking for custom content.
After joining the platform, you can submit your images to “Requests,” which are open calls for specific photos. If your image is chosen, you’ll receive a payment.
Snapwire also offers a marketplace where you can sell your images and receive a commission of 50% to 70%.
8. Get paid to take pictures of receipts
This one is different from all of the sections in this article, but I wanted to include it as well. If you are looking for a very low commitment but still want to get paid to take pictures, then this is for you.
Surprisingly, you can earn money by taking pictures of receipts with your phone camera.
Websites will reward you for submitting pictures of your grocery receipts, such as:
- Fetch Rewards – This is an easy way to earn free gifts cards for taking pictures of your grocery shopping receipt
These apps observe trends in shopper behavior. They then use this information to help their partners better understand their customers’ shopping habits. Although the earnings might not be big, it’s an easy and quick way to make some extra cash, and all you have to do is take a picture of your shopping receipt (such as when you go to the grocery store – any receipt will do!).
9. Take pictures of your feet
Yes, you read that correctly! This idea won’t be for everyone, but some people get paid $10 to $100 per photo of their feet.
Some of the websites you can get paid to take pictures of your feet include:
- Feet Finder
- Fun With Feet
The way these sites work is that you create a profile and are paid to share pictures with your fans.
Get paid to take pictures as a freelance photographer
If you want to get paid to take pictures, then freelancing may be what you are looking for. There are many ways to become a freelance photographer and make money.
Fiverr is a platform where freelancers offer various services, including freelance photography.
You can create a profile describing your photography services and set your prices. Clients can find and hire you based on your skills, experience, and reviews. Fiverr can be a great way to expand your client base and earn money from your photography skills.
I went on Fiverr to see what kind of freelance photography is being offered, and I found many options, such as:
- Headshot photographers
- Fashion photographers
- Interior design photographers
- Food photographers
- Real estate photographers
- 360 product photographers
- Beauty product photographers
And many more. You can see some of the different options by heading to Fiverr here.
With Etsy, you can sell your photographs right on the Etsy website.
Etsy is one of the largest websites where people shop for unique items, such as artwork. This makes it a great place to sell your photography.
Some ideas for what you can sell on Etsy include photos related to travel, nature, vintage, and even stock photos.
You can learn more at How To Sell On Etsy Successfully: A Beginner’s Guide.
If you prefer selling your photos as prints or on products, consider platforms like Society6.
This is an online marketplace where you can showcase and sell your images on custom items such as wall art, t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and home decor items.
You simply upload your photos or artwork to Society6, design your products, and then start selling. Society6 then fulfills, prints, and ships everything.
You can earn 10% of every sale on Society6.
13. Get paid to post pictures on Instagram or Facebook
Social media platforms, such as Instagram, can be great for sharing your pictures and gaining a following.
There are many people who make a full-time income from their Instagram accounts.
This could be in the form of sponsored partnerships with companies, affiliate marketing, and selling their own products.
14. Start a photography blog
With your own photography blog, you can sell your pictures right on your website. You could start a blog where you share your travel photos and information on the places that you have been. Or you could even start a blog with photography tips.
As you can see, there are many different options for a photography blog!
Not only does a photography blog allow you to share your pictures and connect with readers, but it also allows you several different ways to earn income, such as selling prints, affiliate marketing, sponsored partnerships, and more.
You can learn how to start a blog in my free How To Start a Blog Course.
15. Portraits and event photos
As a photographer, you can specialize in taking portraits and event photos. This niche has a higher demand, especially for weddings, elopements, birthdays, and corporate events.
To succeed in this field, you will need to build your network, and showcase your work through a professional portfolio. This may include having social media accounts so that potential customers can find you easily (such as Instagram), and word-of-mouth.
You can learn more at How To Make $25,000 – $45,000 A Year As A New Photographer
16. Freelance food blog photographer
If food photography intrigues you, you may be interested in becoming a freelance food blog photographer.
Here, you can collaborate with food bloggers, restaurants, and other food-related businesses. Your pictures can help them attract customers and improve their brand visibility.
You can learn more at How To Become a Food Blog Photographer And Earn Over $50,000 Each Year.
17. Working with magazines and companies
Developing relationships with magazines and companies can lead to steady, higher-paying gigs.
You can reach out to publications or brands that match your style and interests by offering to work on projects or submit some of your best pictures for their consideration.
This may lead to regular assignments or even long-term contracts.
18. Self-publish a book of photography
Self-publishing is when you put the book together yourself and pay to have it published. You then sell the book for a higher price to make money.
This option is best if you have an audience or following that you can already sell to, and some self-publishers even use crowdsourcing platforms to fund their projects.
Equipment you need to take photos
To get paid to take pictures, you’ll need some equipment. Sometimes, you may just need a cell phone, and other times you may need a professional camera and even some editing software.
It really just depends on what kind of photography business you are running. For example, running a wedding photography business with only a cell phone as your camera most likely won’t cut it.
When starting your journey to get paid for taking pictures, buying a professional camera can improve the quality of your photos. DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) and mirrorless cameras are popular choices among professional photographers due to their advanced features.
But these can be pricey. So like I said, think about what kind of photography you are looking to get into – not all of the options above will require an expensive camera.
Cell phones these days have amazing cameras. You can take high-quality photos with your cell phone and still get paid to take pictures.
For specific types of photography, like product photos and headshots, you will likely need lighting to make the photos stand out. Lighting equipment has gotten less expensive, but it’s still an investment when you’re first starting out.
Photo editing software
Once you’ve taken your photos, using photo editing software will help you improve your pictures. Programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are popular choices for their powerful editing tools. These programs require a subscription, but there are other options as well.
Earning potential and payment methods
If you want to get paid to take pictures, then you are probably interested in how much you can earn, which makes sense! Below, I talk about payment rates, payout frequency, and payment methods.
When it comes to making money through photography, there is potential to earn a steady income. Stock photo websites, for example, often set their sale prices based on the image file size, and you can earn a fee ranging from around $0.25 to $5.00.
Below are some example payment rates for different types of photography projects:
- Stock photos: $0.25 to $5.00 per download
- Real estate photography: $75 to $200 per property
- Event photography: $50 to $500+ per hour
- Portrait photography: $100 to $300+ per session
These rates will vary depending on factors such as your skill level, location, and demand for your services. Keep in mind also that your income can fluctuate based on the number of projects you complete or the number of photos you sell.
Some photographers earn much more than this. For example, I know of an elopement photographer who charges over $10,000 for a single day of shooting an elopement.
The payout frequency will depend on the platform you choose or the agreement you have with clients. Some stock photo websites provide payouts as soon as your earnings reach a threshold, usually around $50 to $100.
Other platforms or clients might offer monthly, bi-weekly, or per-project payment schedules.
There are many different ways to receive your income from photography. This may include:
- PayPal: PayPal is used by pretty much everyone and anyone these days.
- Direct deposit: Some clients and platforms might offer direct deposit as a payment option, allowing funds to be transferred directly into your bank account
- Check: In some cases, particularly with certain clients or freelance work, you might receive payment via check.
- Gift cards: Some of the apps above offer gift cards as a payment method.
Questions about how to get paid to take pictures
Below are some common questions that you may have about how to get paid to take pictures.
What are popular websites to get paid to take pictures?
There are many different websites and platforms where you can get paid to take pictures, as you learned above. Some of the popular options include:
- Foap: Foap connects photographers with businesses that require photos. You can sell your photos starting at $10 each, and you receive a 50% commission for each sale.
- Stock photo sites: Stock photo platforms can be a great place to upload and sell their photos. Companies or individuals searching for specific images can buy them, and you’ll get a cut of the price that they pay.
How to find companies that pay you to travel and take pictures?
I recently went on an around-the-world cruise, and they had a photography department on the ship that took pictures of the cruise passengers in the ports. There were the same couple of workers the entire time, which meant they got to go around the world too, even exploring the ports when we got to a new country. If this is appealing to you, you could see if a cruise line has an opening in their photography department!
There are many ways to find companies that will pay you to travel and take pictures. One way is to look at job sites. You can also network with other photographers on social media.
How to make money taking pictures of nature?
To make money taking pictures of nature, you could sell your photos on stock photography websites, like Shutterstock and Getty Images, as people are always looking for nature pictures.
Another option is to sell nature prints through your blog, social media account, or at local markets (such as an art fair or farmer’s market).
How to get paid to take pictures for insurance companies?
Insurance companies hire photographers to take pictures of property damage or other relevant claims-related images.
To get paid for taking pictures for insurance companies, you can start by researching local insurance agencies, and asking them if they are hiring for any freelance photography work.
How do you get paid for taking pictures on your phone? What apps pay you to take pictures?
There are many smartphone apps where you can make money by taking and selling pictures. Some popular options include Foap, which offers a 50% commission on photo sales, and EyeEm, where you can sell photos to brands and agencies through its marketplace. Both of these apps are easy to use and available on iOS and Android devices.
How can you grow your photography business?
To grow your photography business, you can do many things. Some ideas include:
- Focusing on building a network of contacts within your industry. This may include attending industry events, conferences, and workshops to meet and network. Also, using social media platforms to grow your following and have new potential customers find you.
- If you are looking for new clients, you could even give deals or mini-sessions to attract their attention. By providing deals to grow your portfolio, you can demonstrate your skills, increase your visibility, and turn one-time clients into hopefully long-term customers.
- You could also reach out to local real estate agents and see if you can help them take better pictures of the homes they list for sale.
Can you get paid for Google Photos?
Google Photos does not directly pay users for their pictures.
What type of photos sell best?
The best-selling photos are ones with commercial appeal. That means they are photos that can be used to sell things. It could be a photo of a beautiful beach, a shopping basket full of ripe produce, a group of laughing kids, and so on. To make the most money selling pictures, think about what they could be used for.
How to get paid to take pictures
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to get paid to take pictures.
As you learned today, there are many ways to turn your hobby or passion for photography into a profitable side hustle or even a full-time career.
Whether you are looking for tips for beginners to get started with smartphone cameras (such as by taking a picture of your receipt) or if you are looking to start a more professional photography business with high-quality images at a wedding, there are many ways to get paid to take pictures.
Some of the ways to get paid to take pictures include:
- Selling stock photos
- Opening an Etsy shop selling your prints
- Working as a real estate photographer
- Taking event photos, such as for weddings
- Starting your own blog with your photos
Do you know how to get paid to take pictures? What other questions do you have?