How I made 35K Selling Photos Online

now I'm not a professional photographer

but I've made $35,000 selling my photos

online in this video I'm gonna go

through exactly how I did it which sites

I've tried which ones worked which ones

didn't as well as which ones I think are

me the best sites in the coming year

let's get started hi I'm James I make a

living as a software developer but I

love traveling landscape photography for

the past seven years I've been selling

my photos online now I'm gonna be going

through the results that I've got

selling my photos online but your

results may differ depending the type of

photography you do I'd love to hear in

the comment section about whether you've

tried selling your photos online before

and what type of success you've had also

stick around to the end of this video

because I'm gonna go through which sites

I think are gonna be the best in the

coming year now I'm gonna jump on the

computer and show you some charts of

sales I've had over the past seven years

so I keep track of the revenue from each

website in Excel so what I'm gonna do is

I've just created five charts in Excel

where I can kind of walk you through how

I make money selling my photos online

I'm gonna start pretty high level and

I'll get into more detail at the end

I'll kind of go through how much money

I've made from each individual site so

this is how the thirty five thousand

dollars breaks out year over a year you

can see that when I started here my

first year I only made about a thousand

dollars and then it continued to

increase over the next four the first

four years until 2015 when I reached the

high of seven thousand dollars a year

and there's a bit of a decline that's

starting to rebound now in this chart

you can kind of see why it went up and

then went down the green shows my

revenue in the red shows how many photos

I posted each year so you can see my

first year I posted about a hundred

photos uploaded them to different sites

online and then my second year I was

very motivated I did over two hundred

and forty photos these are 240 fully

processed photos that I uploaded to

multiple sites

now in November of 2013 my wife and I

had our second child and the time that I

had to go traveling and take photos as

well as processed those photos went down

scene seen 2014 i only uploaded about a

hundred photos

now despite uploading less photos my

revenue kept going up in 2014 and even

in 2015 even though the amount of photos

that i posted went down now in 2016 we

had our third child and I just really

didn't have much time to travel and do

photography so 2016 in 2017 I really

didn't post many photos and that's why

you can see here that my revenue went

down for those years and over the past

year year and a half in 2018 I've

started to post a bit more and it

started to go back up so you can see

that once you upload your photos you can

keep getting ready from them even if

you're not posting regularly but it will

go down slightly year-over-year looking

at it a different way this way I've

shown the red line is the cumulative

photos so you can see how my photos grew

over time and right now I've got about

600 good photos posted across many sites

across the web now if you look at the

types of sites that I upload - you can

really break them into three main sites


the first is direct stock so this is my

own website so I have a website

souvenir pixels calm I used to host it

on Squarespace I currently host it on

SmugMug and anybody can go on there and

buy photos directly from you photo

licenses so this is you know companies

will come on a lot of travel companies

travel magazines they'll see my photos

typically they'll see my photos on

social media and then on my social media

it links back to my website where they

can just go on and purchase licenses

also on my website you can purchase

prints so I sell prints on my website

now I also have uploaded my photos to a

lot of print-on-demand sites and I've

tried out a bunch of them but the only

one that I real

had great success with his fine art

America so most of my photos are on fire

in America and I've made you know some

money from those as well too you can see

here about 8% but the vast majority of

the money that I've made selling my

photos online has been from micro stock

sites so I've tried a lot of different

sites about 23 of them in total and that

really makes up the majority of my

revenue selling my photos online so

we're going to look at which sites in a

bit more detail you can kind of see in

this part

HR so this is kind of breaking out the

revenue from all the sites so you can

see by far this pink bar here is

Shutterstock and they are about by far

been the best site for me for selling my

photos online I had a very good run with

Shutterstock you know if you typed in

landscapes in starter stock I had a

photo on the main page if you typed in

Canada I'd multiple photos on the first

page so I did really well a year over a

year and month over month on

Shutterstock now over the past six

months the search algorithm the seem to

change a little bit and my sales have

gone down a little bit but I had a

pretty good run we're about three years

I was doing very well with them the

second one here is 500px now 500px was a

photo sharing community before they

started selling a stock and I was

involved in the community before it was

selling a stock so I had a lot of photos

that were highly ranked and when they

started selling for stop selling photos

for stock as well - I made quite a bit

of map money when they first started out

now there's been a lot of changes over

there at 500px they're purchased by

another company now all the sales are

through Getty and to be honest I don't

even post it anymore

there's been a lot of changes and I just

really don't appreciate the site as much

as I used to but you know for a period

of time they were a very good earner for

me as far as sites go down here number

three is photo do now photo dune has

really only earned me a lot of money in

the last couple of years the first

couple years it was very low and last

two years really it's been very high so

I see photo dune really going and

surpassing 500px probably this year

and then the fourth one here is Adobe

stock or Fotolia so Fotolia was a

independent stocks idea then Adobe

bought them and turned it into Adobe

stock so I had my portfolio on Fotolia I

did it fairly well there and now it's

been moved over to Adobe stock and when

it moved over to Adobe stop I saw a bit

of a dip in sales but now I'm starting

to see it pick up a bit more maybe

because I'm posting a bit more to Adobe

stock as well too now there's some other

smaller ones here one thing to note is

this little sliver up here this is it's

about four hundred dollars and that's 13

sites so I tried a lot of sites I often

what I'll do is when I hear about a new

site I'd upload like 200 photos to that

site and see what happens and a lot of

time nothing happened right which one of

the reasons I'm making this video right

because I spent a lot of time uploading

and you know trying to find these sites

uploading those sites and really didn't

get that much out of it you know 13

sites you know 400 dollars over six

years it's not a lot so you know if I

were starting at again I would probably

really just focus on the main sites that

you see here and really not even worry

about the smaller ones until you know

they seem to be big enough to you get

some momentum because there are a lot of

stock sites out there but I just don't

think you can make a lot of money on all

of them you really need to have your

photos on the big ones to start out with

now I hope that didn't come across as

bragging but I had no idea when I

started selling my photos online that I

would make thirty five thousand dollars

from them really my goal of doing this

was so that I could buy you know more

cameras and lenses without taking it in

my family budget and I achieved that I'm

pretty happy with it now there was a

point when I considered trying to you

know maybe go full-time as a stock

photographer but at the time what was

selling primarily was business and

images so what I realized was that to be

able to be a full-time stock

photographer I would need to go and get

models and kind of pose them in

different business situations taking

hundreds of photos a day and uploading

them and that really didn't appeal to me

if you take a look at my portfolio and

I'll link to them put some links down in

the description I really like taking

travel on landscape photography I think

what I realized

it would be a very difficult to make a

full-time salary and support my family

on stock photography I was only gonna do

a travel on landscape the other thing is

is that I enjoy my day job I enjoy

software development I enjoy working

with my clients so I kind of feel like

even if I did photography as a full-time

job I would probably just become like a

software developer it would become my

hobby and I still code in my part-time

right so I decided to stick with

software development as my main living

and you know photography is my hobby now

you may have different goals and

hopefully you know this video is still

useful the status light showed even

though I kind of really only work on a

part-time now the start of the video I

mentioned that you know I would at the

end I would talk about which sites I see

being the best in the upcoming year now

about five months ago I tried uploading

some of my photos to free stock sites

now if you are familiar with these free

stock sites their sites like pixels

pixabay UPS flash is another one where

you can upload your photos and then

anybody can use them for free commercial

purposes for free so there's stock sites

but you don't get paid but the thing is

when someone downloads them the sites

encourage that person to give you a

donation for the photo so I just did as

a trial uploaded 100 of my photos 100 of

my oldest photos that weren't really

making me money on any of the stock

sites anyways and in the past 3 months

I've made about $60 in donations

now listen that's not a lot of money but

$60 is more than I made from a lot of

the lower sites that I have out there

and as my sales go down on shutterstock

I plan on taking more of my you know

older images and uploading these to

these sites and I think they could be a

fairly decent size you know revenue

source for this year so that's something

that you may want to look into as well

again I haven't made a lot of money off

in the past but in something that I'm

going to be trying more in the future

you can let me know in the comments what

you think about these free stock sites

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