passive income stock photo video

If you are wondering how you can make some extra cash and have a couple quality photos and videos lying around, then you have come to the right place. You might not think the photos or videos are worth anything, but someone could pay a lot of money for them.

Is it true that you can make passive income selling stock photos and videos? You can make passive income from selling stock photos or videos. There are people who have made this into their primary source of income, making monthly recurring revenue from their stock photos and videos, and you can as well.

Some people earn hundreds of dollars every month for the photos or videos they have posted on various stock platforms (source). If a platform you are using does not specify they have exclusive rights to sell your photos, then you can upload your work to several sites and reach an even greater audience. So, if you love taking photos or have a lot lying around, then you can sell them for a profit following the simple steps outlined below.

Although some people are making $500 per month, this can take years to build up (source). Therefore, we set the bar lower at $100 per month considering a complete beginner successfully selling a couple photos on multiple platforms monthly. If this passive income source really interests you, check out this article for a very in-depth step by step guide on how to create more passive income from selling stock photos and videos.

1. Learning to Take HQ Photos & Videos

Nobody will give your low-quality photos or videos a second look. As a matter of fact, the stock photo website you intend to use might not allow you to upload such photos to the platform as it can lower their credibility as a source of great stock photos and videos. On sites like Crestock, your photos have to undergo a quality check before they are listed on the site, and that’s practically the industry norm. But to take high-quality photos, you do not need a high-quality camera. Luckily, today’s smartphones can produce excellent quality photos people would happily pay for.

Learning a few tricks on how to take high-quality photos would also not hurt. Instead of having to worry whether you are good enough, you can put your skills to the test and have someone look at the photos and tell you whether they are up to the mark. However, don’t get discouraged when you see truly stunning photos on these sites by professional photographers. There might be something unique about your work that these pros might not offer. We highly recommend Project 24, that not only teaches how to build passive income blogs, but also offers a full in-depth photography course for beginners to boost their skills to pro-level.

Learn More About Project 24’s Photography Course

Note Make sure that you have written consent to publish and sell your content from any people that are featured in your photos. If someone’s face is visible, you need their authorization to sell their photo. Learn more in each platform’s guidelines.

2. Choosing Your Platform(s)

There are dozens of places you can sell your stock photos and videos. Some popular names in this space include Shutterstock and Alamy. But you can also sell your photos on digital marketplaces like Evanto Market. Generally speaking, dedicated platforms like PhotoDune can also help you make money as a seller of stock photos and videos more easily. Look into what each platform can offer you to choose your favourite(s). For instance, there are places where it is easier to sell your photos based on the field of photography you are into. For instance, as a nature photographer, you would earn more easily by posting your photos at a site that focuses on nature photography.

It is also worth taking into consideration the site’s policies regarding the content you post on it. For instance, some platforms might give you better deals if you don’t post your photos on any other site. But for some websites, it makes no difference where you post your photos after you have uploaded them onto their platform. Also, keep in mind that joining some stock photo sites is not easy. For instance, Getty Images and Corbis accept professional photographers. But if you can get in, you can make a lot of money.

Then you have to look into how a site will let you make money off your work. For instance, on a stock photo site like 123rf, members pay $0.36 to download a photo. But on a site like Shutterstock, you can sell your photos at a higher price and make more money, which makes sense if you went to a lot of trouble taking the photo. Make sure to double check if the platform is free or paid.

3. Registering Your Account

Now that you have chosen your favourite platform, you can register an account so you can start uploading your work. Usually, the process is easy. But generally, consider issues like the commission you will get paid, the ease with which your work will get uploaded to the site, and the likelihood that your work will get customers easily. Here are some well-known platforms to choose form:

  • Alamy
  • iStockphoto
  • Evanto Market
  • Shutterstock
  • StoryBlocks

4. Uploading Your Photos or Videos

Now that you have an account at a stock photo and video site, you can upload your work. Understand that your work will not instantly show up on the site as soon as you upload it since it will have to undergo a quality control process that will determine whether it applies to the site’s theme or whether it meets its quality standards.

Otherwise, once your photos or videos have been accepted, they will get listed on the site and you will start getting paid once they get downloaded by site visitors. Ideally, have several hundred photos in your account to improve your earning potential.

One thing to observe as you get into this business is to ensure that your work is unique. You can also research and see what photography or videography themes are in greatest demand so you can make more money. That is also why you should upload your photos to the right sites. Otherwise, keep uploading your photos as soon as you get the chance and the money can keep rolling in years later as customers keep buying them.

How Passive Is Selling Stock Photos?

Selling stock photos and videos is very passive, but can take years to build up. Still, you can make money today from photos you took several years back. Additionally, you don’t have to keep taking new photos to keep making money. As soon as you have a good enough collection, you can relax as your photos and videos sell on various platforms. Of course, you need to have in-demand photos with a high number of downloads to make significant revenue. Therefore, having a large quantity of popular photos and videos will increase income.


This business is quite scalable. For instance, you can create accounts on many stock photo and video sites and upload your work on each of these platforms. This can give you a chance to make more money and increase your profits. Another way to boost your earning potential is to upload more content. You can also make more money by selling your photos on your own website if you gain enough traffic. Learn how to sell digital products in this guide on our site, and how to get traffic with a blog in this guide.

Learn More About Project 24’s Photography Course

Startup Costs

You don’t have to spend anything to get into this business. Chances are that you already have some stock photos and videos you can sell. But if not, you probably have a powerful enough smartphone camera to get started. So, unless you are signing up with a site that requires you to pay a subscription fee, selling stock photos or videos should not cost you much, if anything at all.


Making money off stock photos and videos easy. And even though standing out helps, your generic work might still get you a lot of attention and make you a lot of money. Therefore, as long as you have stock photos or videos that get accepted on these platforms and actually sell, know that you have what it takes to get into this line of work.


You can get started today and begin selling your work as soon as it is available on your preferred stock photo and video platform. However, it might take a while, meaning years, to create a successful portfolio.


There is always a risk that your attempts to make money by selling stock videos and photos might not go as you planned. For instance, the site you so wanted to join might not accept you. Maybe your photos might not get as much attention from potential buyers as you had hoped. Also make sure to have written consent from any people who are distinguishable in your photos or this can cause you problems in the future. Fortunately, with the tips above, you can do something about this and start making money.


Seasons should not affect your stock photo and video business. This industry has several themes that you can explore to keep you in business throughout the year. In any case, some photo and video categories are in demand throughout the year. Some photos will sell better over particular times of the year. For instance, Easter-themed photos do better over the Easter season, while Christmas-themed photos get more attention during the Christmas season.

Return on Investment

Since stock photos and videos cost little or nothing to create, their ROI is usually pretty good. Generally, you can join the relevant platforms at no cost. Additionally, you can make a lot of money off work you created indefinitely depending on the number of customers paying for it.

Related Questions

Do I need a lot of images or videos to earn an income through stock photos? To some extent, yes. The more content you offer, the more you can earn. But you can start out small and build your portfolio. Besides, considering that you can sell a photo for as much as $100 on some sites, the most important thing is having quality work.

Is it necessary to get a high-quality camera to make it in the stock photo and video industry? Many professional photographers on stock photo sites use high-quality cameras. But these days, smartphones have enough photo editing features and a powerful enough camera to create amazing photos people would gladly pay for on stock photo and video platforms.