With a title like that, how could I not click it? Make thousands of dollars on your own photos that you will take anyway! Pay for vacations! What a magical experience. However, the reality is much more mundane and deflated my emotions quickly. Forbes reports the average US vacation expense per person being in excess of $1,000, and so people always look for ways to mitigate that damage. This is certainly one of the more creative routes I’ve seen.
“All you have to do is snap a few photos”
According to traveler and photographer James Wheeler, you need to upload your photos to microstock / stock photo websites. The photos need to be high quality, available for purchase across several different platforms, and you will receive a cut of the sales. One photo made him over $4,000 over the last five years, a beautiful shot of Moraine Lake in Alberta, Canada. The concept of this one photo more than covering the cost of the entire three-week family vacation camping trip is insane. Of course, you have to be supremely lucky – finding the right shot, having the right site to upload to, having it approved, and getting it noticed by potential customers.
Monetize Your Travel Photos: How to get Started
The Penny Hoarder reviewed the concept of selling stock photos thoroughly, and recommends researching the highest-paying sites, which makes sense. Once approved on stock photo websites, amateur photographers “can expect to make about 15 percent on the sale of each of their photos.” I am surprised at such a low commission, although the site has all the power here in a limited seller marketplace. There is not a tremendous amount of competition, as well as an information asymmetry of photo providers perhaps not shopping their photos around, or focusing on quantity first.
Find a large quantity of the most beautiful, high quality, generic pictures, as they will sell best. The article recommends “shots of famous landmarks, landscapes, and photos people can’t find anywhere else”. These photos will be in high demand, due to their frequent use (landmarks, landscapes) or rarity, and thus produce the most sales resulting in more commission for you. Upload them to the sites, cataloguing and providing all relevant information, and hope they get accepted.
Is it possible to make thousands? Sure. Is it likely? No. You’ll have to follow the previous footsteps, grinding out quality photos, uploading them to a variety of sites, and hoping that they do well or sell at all.
For this blog, I am thankful to be able to use royalty-free photos, such as those on Pixabay or Unsplash, as well as the travel photos that I take. This is a very interesting business and revenue source, and I am very curious about this side-hustle route. However, my iPhone limits me for photo-taking purposes. I doubt those would be sufficiently high quality to make it on to the stock photo website. Let alone, someone actually purchasing it. Who knows, maybe I will try it out and sample one of the websites, such as istockphoto.com or shutterstock.com, with my “impressive” shots of luxury hotels or food. Those are the pictures I take, since they are important to me. But if they are important to others – maybe I will be able to monetize them as well. Perhaps they will help pay for the next trip I take!
Featured Image is Piute Lake in Utah, from Unsplash. No way am I paying for a photo license. Original article here. Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which, should you click through and/or make a purchase, grant me a commission. Also, I only post in the best interest of my readers. Lastly, thank you for supporting my blog and my travels.
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