Guide: How to Earn Passive Income for Photographers

photographer taking a photo

Are you a photographer with a pretty hefty backlog of work? Are you interested in selling those photos as a form of passive income?

You’re certainly not alone. If photography is your passion, why wouldn’t you want to make a living from it? Unfortunately, many photographers don’t know how to generate passive income from their photography and understanding the ins and outs of stock photography platforms can be a lot to take on.

You deserve to earn money as a photographer. And being able to earn passive income is a great way to supplement your photography career. In this guide, we’ll break down how you can sell stock photos online and launch your passive income side gig. It’s actually quite easy to do.

Consider Your Niche

If you already have this down, feel free to skip this step.

Your niche is the most important thing about your work, other than the skill and artistry you put into your photos. However, having just a general portfolio will make it easier for your work to disappear into the sea of other generic photosets. Consider what your niche is. What do you photograph the most? Where do you photograph the most? Does your subject matter change? Are your photos tied to one another by color, exposure, or other elements? What about your photos will give away that you are the photographer?

Organize Your Photos

This is the first step in earning passive income as a photographer. Organize your photos and select the ones you believe are your best work. Organize your photos into photo sets or series if appropriate. Make sure your photos are properly edited and ready to be placed for sale. Adobe Bridge is a great tool for organizing your photos

Consider Evergreen Products

One of the best sources of income for photographers are evergreen products, and they don’t even directly involve your photos. These products are essentially digital assets that are valuable to a group of people. These products can include workshops, guides, and courses all centered around photography. The beauty of these products is that you can record or write them all at once, then list them online for users to consume. We recommend having a rich online offering as a photographer, so consider evergreen products alone with actual stock photography. Some excellent platforms for selling courses and workshops that are digital-only include Teachable and Skillshare.

Sell Prints of Your Work

People love photography, and many will be willing to purchase prints of beautiful work to keep in their home. Whether you’re a novice or an expert photographer, you can augment your income by selling prints of your work online. Consider selling one-of-a-kind prints and reproduction prints to add some variety. Etsy and Shopify are great platforms for selling physical prints.

Offer Extra Packages or Upsells

Photographers know well that this line of work doesn’t exclusively involve taking snapshots. Having a good, trained eye is an ongoing process. Understanding how business works is another aspect of being a photographer. With these skills, you can offer additional services that don’t exclusively involve photos. Try offering your personalized and creditive editing skills for other photographers. You could also offer special packages for your photos, such as slideshows, special finishes, particular editing, and additional photos. There is so much value in the extra products and services that you can offer as a photographer.

Sell Your Photography in Packages

When you create package ideas for your photos, you’re making it easier for your existing customers to come back for more similar photos that suit their needs. Essentially, you simply need to group similar photos together. These photos can share a color scheme, a location, a certain theme, or maybe they were all shot during the same photoshoot. You can easily create a price and quantity range that will satisfy customers who only need a few photos or someone who needs an entire series. You can get creative with the series you come up with, too.

Sign up for a Stock Photography Websites

Businesses and brands are constantly looking for stock photography for their marketing endeavors. Many of these brands don’t really have the time or money to create their own photography, but they need media to really pull their websites and ads together. Stock photography is a great route to take for passive income because businesses are always willing to pay a pro to create the imagery that they want. Royalties from stock sites, depending on the platform you use, are sent to you for each photo or photoset download. 

A few well-known platforms for selling stock photography include:

  • Coded Market
  • iStockPhoto
  • Alamy
  • Dreamstime
  • Getty Images
  • Shutterstock
  • EyeEM
  • Pond5
  • SIPA USA
  • ageFotoStock
  • Unsplash
  • Pixabay

Keep in mind that selling stock photography on these sites can be a bit complex at first. Just as well, make sure you read into the fine details about royalties. Far too often do enterprise-level stock photo sites offer abysmal rates to their photographers.

Earn Passive Income Through Coded Market

The easiest way to make passive income with your photos is by uploading them to a marketplace platform. Coded Market is one of the best marketplaces for photographers to sell their work. The platform is similar to Envato, Adobe Stock, Getty Images, Unsplash and other marketplaces. 

There are a ton of advantages to selling on Coded, including:

  • Photographers earn 90% commission on all their sales, which is the highest of any creative marketplace.
  • There is no exclusivity requirement, so photographers can sell on other marketplaces.
  • Coded is free to join and you can start earning passive income from your graphic templates, stock photos, and website templates from day one.

It’s a good idea to sell your work on multiple channels as well, if that suits you. Some great additional markets to sell your photography on include Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Alamy, and Etsy.

How was our guide to making passive income as a photographer? Tell us which of these tips and tricks helped you the most in the comments below.

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