The prevalence of mobile phone cameras has made photography more accessible to regular people. While that has led to a lot of crappy photos being uploaded to social media, people who are keen on improving their skills have a lot of opportunities to get paid for photos.
If you’ve ever thought of making money taking pictures, or want to get paid for pictures, this article is for you. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my top methods to find photography jobs online. To get paid to travel and take photos is as close to a dream job as possible – hopefully, these tips will make that dream more reachable!
Why Should I Take Stock Photos?
Well, the biggest reason is the potential earnings, of course. The competition is stiff, especially in the stock photography scene (okay, any photography scene, really). But if your work resonates with people and captures their attention, you can make good money taking stock photos.
But photography also has benefits on one’s wellbeing. When you take photos, you’re forced to get out of your comfort zone – usually literally. When I was a work from home person, being cooped-up in the home office can get really boring. But photographers get to work outside, and that has a positive effect on your mood and health. Plus, photographers have to interact and direct their models, and that human interaction is also a really good thing.
This article I came across on the PictureCorrect blog also agrees with me (and I’m willing to bet the writer knows more about photography than I do!). It says:
Photography is a Wonderful Stress Reliever
I mean, really, how much can you concentrate on that all-consuming problem when you turn your focus instead to the petals of a flower, the wings of a butterfly, the graceful curves of a majestic mountain, or the dimples of a smiling baby?
Go ahead. Take your blood pressure before and after spending just 30 minutes focusing on getting that perfect picture. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
Then, for better overall health, just rinse and repeat often. It’s okay. I promise the problem won’t go away. It’ll still be there when you’re ready to start worrying again.
Photography is a Wonderful, Safe, and Natural Self-Esteem Booster
My 14 year-old loves the feeling of pride she gets when she takes pictures of her friends and they turn out good. When she downloads and sees them on the computer she’s in seventh heaven. And, of course, she loves sharing them with her friends.
What Will I Need to Get Started?
Before you can make money taking pictures, you will have to invest in equipment, of course. That means you’ll need a decent DSLR camera, preferably one that takes at least 20 megapixel images. Cameras can get pricey, but luckily, most phone cameras already meet these specs. While a phone cam won’t be as good as a DSLR (at least not yet), it lets you test the waters before investing in pro-level gear.
You will also need lights. When I started taking photos, I had a bunch of regular Ikea lamps with high-watt LEDs installed. I wrapped tracing paper over them to act as diffusers. Again, doing a bit of DIY is the way to go if you’re not ready to invest in “proper” expensive equipment.
Once you’ve decided to go all-in, the sky is the limit to the type (and cost) of gear you can get. This is largely up to the type of photography you want to do and your personal work style, but that is a topic for another day.
The Skills You’ll Need
You’ll need to know how to operate a camera, of course. But beyond that, here are a couple of skills you’ll need.
A Good Eye for Detail
That same article from PictureCorrect has this to say:
When I look at something I can’t possibly take in every aspect that is within my vision. For instance, a beautiful sunset only lasts so long and I may not notice all aspects of how the colors play on the water (I live in a beach town). The look of the sand (such a simple thing) changes as the sun lowers. All of these aspects are much more evident in a picture, and I can concentrate on the overall view while knowing that the individual components will not be lost forever.
… so being able to spot great details and angles is a definite plus!
Unless you take landscape or nature photos, you will have to direct models. And because of that, it would be helpful to know how to direct and manage people.
Sites for Online Photography Jobs
If you’re still with me, here are a few legit websites that enable you to take pictures for money
Shutterstock is pretty much a household name by now, and one of the go-to sites for people looking to buy stock photos. You’ll earn 25 cents whenever someone purchases one of your photos as a digital download. When you’ve sold a total of $500 on the site, your cut will be bumped up to 30 cents. It doesn’t look like a big raise, but you’re selling lots of photos, that 5 cent raise can be huge.
Fotolia is one of the bigger players in the stock photo industry. Adobe owns the company, and that tells us this is a legitimate site. The site gets a 50% commission for each photo you sell. It’s a steep rate, but it’s worth being able to tap the site’s large market.
Imagekind contains millions of photos from indie artists and photographers. The site specializes in artsy photos (whereas Fotolia and Shutterstock are geared more towards corporate and publications). Having an artistic slant might not resonate with visitors of regular stock photo sites, but ImageKind gives you the opportunity to take artistic shots and make money off your work. If you’re the artistic type, you should give this site a shot!