Are you one of those who is tired of being passionate about photography, with a collection of stunning digital photos collecting dust on your hard drive? Do you dream of turning your creative hobby into a side income, but don’t know where to start?

Well, the wait is over! With the rise of digital marketplaces and online platforms, selling your photos has never been easier. In this post, we’ll show you five simple ways to turn your digital photos into a lucrative side hustle, without needing to be a professional photographer. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

1. Stock Photography

Stock photography involves licensing your photos for use by individuals, businesses, or organizations. Think of it as a photo buffet—people come to enjoy your visual creations, and you get paid every time they do.

Why Bother with Stock Photography?

  • Passive Income: Once you upload your images to a stock photography platform, they can be purchased repeatedly, earning you passive income each time someone downloads them. Passive income is money you make with little effort, giving you a thrill whenever it hits your bank account.
  • Wide Audience: Stock photography platforms have a massive user base, so your work is seen by many people. You can link your social media handles to your profile, allowing those who admire your work to interact with you.
  • Creative Freedom: You can photograph anything you want—landscapes, portraits, abstract art, you name it.
  • Portfolio Development: Building a stock photo collection can enhance your photography skills and strengthen your professional portfolio.

Getting Started with Stock Photography

Research and pick a reputable stock photography site.

We recommend Tristetix as the best platform to start your experience. On Tristetix, you can upload African-inspired photos without worrying that they won’t sell. Tristetix aims to promote African culture through beautiful and compelling stock photos. Your creative freedom is guaranteed, and our user base will attract top digital marketers to your work since few photographers are exploring African imagery.

Steps to Succeed on Tristetix:

  • Create High-Quality Images: Quality is crucial. Use a good camera, pay attention to lighting and composition, and ensure your images are high resolution and free from noise or blurriness.
  • Keyword Your Photos: Use accurate and relevant keywords so people can find your photos. Think about the subject, setting, emotions, and possible uses of your image.
  • Submit Regularly: Keep your portfolio fresh by regularly uploading new images. Aim for a diverse range of subjects to appeal to a broader audience.
  • Stay Updated on Trends: Keep an eye on current trends and market demands. This will help you tailor your photography to what buyers are looking for.

2. Online Marketplaces

An online marketplace is like a giant visual party where everyone is showcasing their products, trying to catch attention. As a photographer, you need to find your spotlight and shine without getting drowned out by the visual noise.

Therefore, even a photographer needs a marketplace. Etsy and Redbubble are two popular online marketplaces with user-friendly interfaces and great tools to help you reach a global audience.

Etsy is known for its vibrant community of artists and crafters. It’s a fantastic platform for selling digital photos. You can set up a personalized shop to showcase your work. Etsy charges a small listing fee per item and takes a percentage of each sale. Here are three ways you can sell your photos on Etsy:

  • Physical Prints: People love hanging art on their walls or buying small prints of stunning landscapes. Prints make great gifts for friends and family and are always in demand. However, selling physical prints involves logistical and design related challenges. It’s serious business, not a playground affair. Ensure the shipping fees aren’t overwhelming before you start selling prints.
  • Digital Prints: If you don’t want to worry about shipping logistics, sell digital versions of your pictures. Users receive a download link to your photo as soon as they buy it. This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to earn money on Etsy. Striking images with the right keywords can attract many buyers. Copyright rules are crucial for digital files. Include a note in your description stating what users can and can’t do with your pictures.
  • Photography Books: Creating a shop on Etsy gives you a fantastic option to showcase your work in a book. You can sell it as an ebook or a physical copy. If you prefer not to create a simple photo book, consider writing a guide accompanied by your pictures or a book filled with behind the scenes photos and creative stories. Photography books can build a unique connection with people as they spend time with your book.

If Etsy doesn’t meet your needs, consider Redbubble. This platform connects artists with customers and allows you to sell your photos on various products, such as prints, clothing, and home decor items. They handle manufacturing, shipping, and customer service, letting you focus on creating and uploading your artwork.

Here is the experience of a photographer who has successfully used Redbubble for ten years:

“My experience with Redbubble is that it is an online art marketplace you can use to sell your photos worldwide. Redbubble’s network of manufacturers around the globe makes this possible.

I’ve been using Redbubble for more than ten years to sell my art. The print options are good quality, delivery fees are reasonable, and you can customize the print margins. There’s no fixed monthly fee, making it a great way to start.

Redbubble takes its share from manufacturing and delivery fees only if you sell something. The platform is also easy for potential buyers to use. Redbubble automates everything, including payment and updating the customer about the production and delivery of your work.”

If you’re unsure how to market yourself as a photographer in an online marketplace as big as Etsy or Redbubble, read this blog post on marketing strategies.

3. Freelance Photography

Selling your digital photos effectively can be achieved by offering your photography services on freelance platforms. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer provide a global marketplace for photographers to connect with clients.

Steps to Succeed in Freelance Photography

  • Create a Compelling Profile: Your profile is your digital storefront. Ensure it showcases your best work, highlights your skills, and clearly outlines your services. A well crafted profile can attract potential clients and set you apart from the competition.
  • Set Competitive Rates: Research what other photographers charge for similar services. Setting competitive yet fair rates will help attract clients while ensuring you are adequately compensated for your efforts.
  • Build a Portfolio: Upload a diverse range of your best photos. A strong portfolio demonstrates your capabilities and helps clients envision the quality of work they can expect.
  • Write Clear Proposals: When applying for jobs, tailor your proposals to the specific needs of each client. Highlight how your skills and experience make you the best fit for their project.

4. Understand Photo Licensing

Photo licensing is the process of granting legal permission to individuals or businesses to use your photos while you retain the copyright. This allows you to sell the rights to use your images without giving up ownership. Licensing can be exclusive or non-exclusive, depending on the terms you set. An exclusive license means only one party can use the image, whereas a non-exclusive license allows multiple parties to use it.

Benefits of Photo Licensing

  • Revenue Generation: By licensing your photos, you can earn money each time someone wants to use your image. This can be a one-time fee or recurring income if the license agreement includes royalties.
  • Retained Ownership: Licensing allows you to maintain ownership of your photos, giving you control over how and where they are used.
  • Wide Reach: Licensed photos can be used in various mediums, such as websites, advertisements, and publications. This provides exposure to your work and can potentially attract more clients.

How to License Your Photos

  • Choose a Licensing Platform: Several online platforms specialize in photo licensing. Websites like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Getty Images allow photographers to upload their images and manage licensing agreements easily. Research these platforms to find the one that best suits your needs.
  • Upload and Tag Your Photos: Once you’ve chosen a platform, upload your photos and add relevant tags and descriptions. This helps potential buyers find your images based on keywords related to their needs.
  • Set Your Licensing Terms: Determine whether you want to offer exclusive or non-exclusive licenses. Set your prices accordingly, considering factors such as the image’s uniqueness, quality, and potential usage.
  • Promote Your Portfolio: Use social media and photography communities to promote your licensed photos. Engaging with potential buyers and showcasing your work increases the chances of your images being purchased.
  • Negotiate Directly with Clients: In addition to using platforms, consider reaching out to businesses and individuals directly. Create a professional portfolio website to display your work and make it easy for clients to contact you for licensing opportunities.

5. Creating and Selling an Online Course

Another profitable way to capitalize on your photography skills is by creating and selling an online course. Here’s how you can turn your expertise into a profitable educational product.

How to Create an Online Course Teaching Photography Skills

Outline Your Course Content: Identify the key topics and skills you want to teach. Structure your course with a clear, logical progression from basic to advanced concepts.

Develop Course Materials: Create comprehensive lesson plans, including video tutorials, written guides, and interactive assignments. High-quality visuals and examples will help reinforce learning.

Record and Edit Videos: Invest in good recording equipment and software to produce professional-looking videos. Clear audio and sharp visuals are essential for maintaining student engagement.

Design a Marketing Plan: Develop a strategy to promote your course. Use social media, email marketing, and partnerships with influencers or photography blogs to reach your target audience.

Platforms to Host and Sell Courses

Selecting the right platform to host and sell your course is critical for its success. Consider the following options:

  • Udemy: A popular choice for many instructors, Udemy offers a broad audience and extensive marketing support, though it takes a commission on sales.
  • Teachable: Known for its customizable platform, Teachable allows you to create a branded course website and offers various pricing plans to suit different needs.
  • Skillshare: This subscription-based platform allows instructors to earn revenue based on the number of minutes watched by students, providing an incentive to create engaging content.


By following these steps and leveraging the right platforms, you can effectively sell your digital photos and turn your passion for photography into a reliable source of extra income.

Also, perhaps you might feel like you want to expand your income in photography beyond selling digital photos, then you should read our blog post on photography income which would be very helpful.

So, have you sold photos with any of the steps we listed? What other method used to sell digital photos do you think we could have added?