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How to Make Money Selling Your Photos Online

Many Nigerians take photos to catch fun and capture memories. Most of these pictures are ultimately uploaded on the social media for comments and likes.
However, the internet has evolved such that while some people are catching fun, others are earning big time. Who says you can’t do both? In this article, you will learn how to start making money from your photos and the websites that are interested in helping you sell.

Today, the internet is evolving to feature pictures than ever. The adage “a picture speaks better than a thousand words” is fast becoming a reality. Thousands of books, journals, websites and brands depend on pictures to enhance their readability and to drive home the message. 
What kind of pictures can you sell?
You can literally sell any kind of photo online. However, these photos should be the ones you took yourself. It must be copyright-free and not the public domain photos on the internet. Public domain photos are simply pictures with no copyright on them and can be used commercially by websites and businesses for free. 
How do you start earning?
1. Pick a niche
Like every other kind of businesses on the internet, there are niches when it comes to photos too. Every successful photographer has the kind of photographs he takes. An important factor you should consider when choosing your niche is how often you can take shots. Consistency should be the watchword.
Here are some of the niches in demand

  • ·         Pictures of people
  • ·         Pictures of work situations
  • ·         Pictures of cities
  • ·         Close-up pictures
  • ·         Pictures of things (cars, houses, books, computers, etc)
  • ·         Pictures of nature
  • ·         Pictures of animals

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2. Join a stock photo website
There are many popular stock photo website on the internet you can start earning from. These sites accept the photos of both amateurs and professionals alike. If you’re an amateur photographer, sites like Dreamstime, Shutterstock amd iStock photos are good for you. But if you’re a professional photographer and you’re confident of your skills, you should check out Getty Images or Corbis. 
Furthermore, you need to understand that these websites have their unique requirements and themes. If you don’t follow the stated guidelines, your photos can be rejected. These requirements often include the resolution, size, file format etc. So take out time to understand the requirements. 
It’s advised you check out as many sites as you can and register with 2 or 3 that you think you can work with. It doesn’t mean you should upload one picture on all three websites as that could create issues for you. Instead, the reason is that you can upload different types of pictures on various sites thereby increasing your chances to earn more.
3. Start taking photographs
You can begin taking photos of people, places or things your creativity suggests. It is best that you take different types of photos with different tones, positions and different subjects. Your earning potential is based on how many people your pictures appeal to. While you are taking these photos, always think like the buyers and consider what they would want when you take the pictures. 
You need to also ensure that the photos are of high quality. No one would buy images that are of inferior standard. So ensure the images you select to put up have balanced colour, are not blurry and the details are evident for the buyer to see. Don’t forget the requirements of the stock photo site you want to upload to so your works won’t be rejected. In addition, editing the pictures is advised but it should not be in excess.
Top stock photo sites you can sell your photos
1. Shutterstock
This is one of the most famous stock photo sites in the world. Shutterstock allows you to determine the rights on your photos so that your rights can be protected, and also gives you credit for the photos you upload.

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2. Fotolai
Run by Adobe, Fotoliahas been in existence for over 10 years and is one of the earliest photo-selling websites. When you upload your photos to Fotolia, they become part of Adobe stock so that they are available in Adobe applications. This makes it easier for buyers to make purchase.
3. BlueMelon
This stock photo site allows you to integrate your blog or social media account so any photo you upload can easily appear on the website for purchase. BlueMelon also provides several options through which you can choose to be paid.
4. Alamy
Does the idea of keeping to rules freak you out? If yes, Alamy is probably the site for you. On the website, you get to upload your photos easily because the rules are few compared to other stock sites. They are one of the best online places to sell your photos.
This website has a mobile app so you can easily upload photos from your phone. Once they review and approve your photos, it goes live for sale. If you want simplicity, 123rf is your best bet!
6. Getty Images
This website is a premium stock photo platform where only hard-to-find and exclusive images sell best. This is the preferred go-to site for top brands and publishers and thus generates higher commissions than other sites.
7. iStock 
iStock is owned by Getty images with less stringent rules and has been existent since 2001. Royalties differ based on whether the site is exclusive or not. 
8. Dreamstime
Dreamstime is another stock photo site with over 72 million users. It’s a favourite for photographers because of their reasonable royalties. Images are purchased on either subscription or individual basis which makes it pricing different from other similar websites. 


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9. 500px Prime
Over 5 million photographers earn their income from this site. The royalty on images uploaded to the 500px Prime are high and you may get credit whenever your images are used in campaigns. 
10. Etsy
Beyond the popular idea that Etsyis just for wedding pictures and Halloween, many photpgraphers also earn on the site. You have full control on how you want your pictures to be displayed to the large number of audience that Etsy has.
Let’s discuss
What knowledge can you share about making money from selling your photos? 

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