Cash in on your photography hobby — make a few bucks with high or lower quality photos

Camera Graveyard by Philip Pessar.  All the money you spent on the latest and greatest pro-sumer gear will end up in a place like this.  


The need for photos is growing as we consume more media

We consume more media than we used to.  Today's consumers take in thousands of images every day.  Now with the power of the internet in your phone, businesses are realizing that they need to get something up.  Most businesses have at least a facebook account.  Others have brochures or professionally done websites.  In most cases old and new media have something in common, they are put together by someone who does not have time to go some place and hire a professional photographer to get the shot.  There is a word for businesses that don't interface on line with consumers -- Closed.  The key point is that if you have some photos that that are good -- they don't have to be great -- there may be a way for you to make a few bucks with just spending a bit of time making your work available.  

A lot of sites allow people to cash in on this growing need.  One site even takes photos from iphones. The first thing you will want to do is get hooked up with a photo broker.  You just upload photos to the site and shoppers check out your work.  You have already paid for your equipment, so why not give it a shot.  It's low cost or Free for most sites.   

 Photo brokers for not so high quality photos

  • Scoopshot  This is a newer one.  (See cbs news video above if it's still up.) This site partners with corporate marketers to cool photos with their products.  Photos can end up anywhere, but they need shots with real (read young attractive but not obviously models) people for their social media posts and websites.  You get paid, but maybe not that much.  Some shots go for $5.  But five bucks is five bucks.  This company is based in Finland, but they have expanded to the US.  It works off photos from a cell phone app.  
  •  Sell your photos page. This site is by Getty Images (pro site).  It's free to join, but they are looking for higher quality images.  They will review your work.  The advantage of this site is they have a large base of customers.  
  •  It's free to sign up.  They review your photos and may reject them if they are not up to standards.  Again they are going after advertisers and web designers.  This one seems to be more of an international site. 
  • Outlet This was formerly SupShot.  They broker photos taken from any device -- Camera, iphone, or android phone.  They are re-organizing the site and their policies are in flux right now so we don't have a lot to tell you about this opportunity.  
  • SnapWire   The deal with this site is that customers put out a request, and photographers offer what they have on hand.  The idea behind this site is that the buyer and seller can interact.
  • RawPorter This site brokers photos to news outlets.  They are looking for unique stuff.  They take video and photos from cell phones.  According to their faq's media typically pays $5-25 for your photos.  But if it's something in demand, you can get more.  You can set your minimum sales price up to $200 and if it's a hot photo or video you they will negotiate for you.  There's an app that you can use to instantly send your stuff to the site.  You still have the rights to use your photos for personal use including facebook.  They say stuff can go for as much as $20,000.  
  •  This company is going after the market for web designers.  They need photos to make their site look treat but they just want to grab and go rather than hiring a professional photographer.  You get a 25%-50% cut of the price.  They want quality photos on their platform, and they review each photo to make sure it's up to their standards.  But the upload and review are fess so if you have a good image why not?
  • Free Digital  Despite the name, they sell higher quality photos.  And say that they have high traffic to their site.  They say you can make up to 70% of the sales price. 


  •  Yes a lot of photrographers use this site to get their photos out. (1) Sell Photos Yourself  This site gives you the option of copyrighting photos.  You offer contact details and negotiate with potential buyers yourself.  This has two advantages.  First there are a lot of people who search this site for photos, and secondly you have control of how your photos are used.  They used to limit account sizes and try to get pro photographers to pay a fee, but the amount of free storage space has been increased dramatically.  Just bes sure to copyright (c) so to let people know they need your permission to use them.  (2) Sell through the Getty Images platform.  "You can let visitors know you're interested in licensing your work by turning on the Request to License feature. This puts a link next to the license information on your images where people can request to license it through Getty Images." -- from Flikr's website.

RawPorter explained by founder. 

Advertising guy Rob explains how customers use stock photos from  You can get an idea what the advertising world is looking for.  

What is it okay to Photograph

There are legal and ethical considerations.  Just because it's not illegal to shoot or you will not be fined, that does not mean it's okay.  Public figures such as celebrities, politicians, and athletes deserve to have a private life.  They have the right to dine out, go to the grocery store and enjoy their home life without photographers bombarding them.  Just because one of the sites above will buy these photos, it does not mean it's ethical to shoot photos.  

In terms of where and when it's legal to shoot, that's something we do not know about--we are not attorneys.  If you know of any sites that explain the laws clearly, please let us know.  But remember the sites listed above are basically brokers, just because they will pay you for a photo does not absolve you of legal responsibility.  You are not working for them; if you get in trouble, you have to pay the consequences.  

  • Even though your are shooting photos or videos and may consider yourself a citizen journalist, if you are asked to get off private property--such as a shopping center parking lot, church campus, front lawn... You should do so.  The property manager could call the police for trespassing which is a criminal offence.  Generally shooting photos inside is not allowed, and many establishments have put up no photo signs.  Don't think you can get away with it, because a published photo is all they need to prove you were trespassing.  Any convictions along with restraining orders will show on your criminal background checks which are used for vetting by employers, universities, landlords, and even some dating/matchmaking services.
  • Don't shoot where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy--for instance through their home windows over a backyard fence. 
  • If you are going for shots of celebrities, keep in mind that California has a new Paparazzi Stalking Law.  (You want to avoid a charge of stalking on your record at all costs not to mention a $10,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail.  Harsher penalties for repeat offenders.)  (AB 1256  ? link)  Although promoted as a way to protect children of celebrities, if you take a look at the law you will see that it covers a wide range of harassing activities.  Our suggestion is that if you just let these people have their private lives.  

So what can I sell?

Well, this is a very crowded marketplace.  Ignoring the obvious, taking photos in public view on public property such as a sidewalk or roadway is generally okay.  Watch the video above from the advertising guy.  People in that industry need photos of a variety of things.  


Okay, we're still working on this one.  Shoot over any suggestions you have.  

1 Comment

  1. Various steps necessary through licensing process and permits to show and sell images at various faires and art shows would be very helpful, along with appropriate email addresses. Thanks

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