Turn Your Passion for Photography into a Lucrative Side Hustle with Stock Photography

Are you interested in making some extra cash by sharing your love of photography with the world? Well, try stock photography (you can also try stock video into the bargain). Becoming a stock photographer is easier than you might think and can be profitable over time. Find below some practical tips from Shutterstock, one of the leading stock photography websites.

Don't just shoot hundreds of photos and submit them to stock libraries. Stop for a bit and think about several important things.

You want to know how stock websites work and how they make money. These days customers can buy a monthly or yearly image subscription. In this way they have access to tons of high quality images. Alternatively, there are also on-demand image packs for those who only need a few images. As a stock photographer (or contributor to stock libraries), you can earn a percentage of the price the stock library receives for licensing your images. This percentage increases as customers license and download more of your content.

Becoming successful with stock photography takes time and skill. You'll need to be able to create natural and believable imagery that people will actually want to download. Avoid cliched shots and opt for fresh and original photos that will set you apart. Keep in mind that most people are viewing content on their phones, tablets, and computers. The would mean that your photos should be composed for modern-day use cases.

If quality is super important, we need to tell you that quantity is another key component in your success as a stock photographer. We recommend setting a monthly goal for yourself, like 50 to 100 images, to build momentum with your earnings. The more images you have in your portfolio, the more consistent your revenue stream will be in the future. The best earning stock photographers have over 10,000 images in their portfolios on multiple stock sites.

Keep up with trends in stock photography to stay ahead of the game. You can follow industry blogs and social media accounts, and check popular stock photo sites to see what customers are looking for. Search on the stock websites and see what shows up at the top. Usually, these would be the best performing visuals. In other words, what gets downloads on the respective site.

Work with keywords. Keyword research and selection added to your images will help customers find your images easily. Be descriptive and specific, but avoid irrelevant or misleading keywords that can harm your reputation with customers and the site. Platforms like Shutterstock have keyword suggestion tools that can help you choose the best keywords for your images.

Offer a variety of images to appeal to a wider range of customers. This includes images with different themes, styles, compositions, and levels of complexity and detail. By diversifying your portfolio, you can increase your chances of making more sales.

Focus on people in your shots. Yes, imagery and videos with people get more attention and more downloads. Just make sure you get all model releases and permissions from the people in your photos.

If you're worried about the technical aspects of photography, don't be! You don't need a fancy camera or a degree in photography to get started with stock photography. Most smartphones these days have powerful cameras that can capture high-quality photos and videos, so use your phone to get started. 

Learn from the others. There are plenty of free online resources and tutorials that can help you improve your skills and learn the basics of photography. 

Another great thing about stock photography is that it allows you to be creative and express yourself while also making money. You can choose the subjects and themes that interest you, experiment with different styles and techniques, and build your own brand as a photographer. 

While working on stock photography, do build an online portfolio and do create more presence for yourself on social media websites like Instagram. Sharing your work will definitely bring you some side gigs and new business, which is not necessarily about stock photography. Believe us! We saw it work well.

Time and dedication is another important factor in your success as a stock photographer. You won't see results overnight, but with patience and perseverance, you can build a strong portfolio and start earning a steady income. Don't be discouraged if you don't make many sales at first - keep experimenting, trying new things, and building your portfolio, and the sales will come with time.

In addition to Shutterstock, there are many other stock photography websites where you can sell your images, such as iStock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock, 123RF. Be sure to research each site to determine which ones are the best fit for you and your photography.

So, if you're ready to turn your passion for photography into a lucrative side hustle, becoming a stock photographer is a great option. With some creativity, hard work, and persistence, you can start building your portfolio, making sales, and earning some extra cash in no time. Good luck!