How Can I Make $10 Per Month Online?

Tips for getting started selling stock photos

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How can you make $10 per month passively online?

If you have a DSLR camera or even a good cellphone, I would recommend trying out stock photography. There are at least ten solid stock photo websites currently operating, and in most cases you can post your photos to more than one.

If you’re just starting out in photography, you’ll most likely be working with Microstock websites like iStock, Dreamstimes, and the like. You might be able to get your work onto sites like Shutterstock, too. And you should consider Alamy, which is a great marketplace and accepts any photos which are technically well-shot (they don’t curate based on content).

In my experience, most beginning photographers make about $0.20 per image, per year from microstock. Experienced photographers who are new to stock often make $0.50 per image, per year. It’s not a lot, but it does add up, and it’s passive income.

If you make it onto a fullstock site, expect to make a lot more. But unless you have an established brand in photography, you’re likely looking at microstock.

$10 per month means $120 per year. So $120 / $0.20 means you’d need 600 photos to get $10 per month in passive income.

That might sound like a lot of photos at first. But once you get the hang of shooting and submitting photos, you’ll get very fast at producing them. I generally shoot about 300 photos per day when I got out on a photoshoot — sometimes more.

If you shoot in-demand topics (like technology topics), live in a major city, or can get model releases for any people you photograph, you can likely make $10 per month with a lot fewer photos. If you focus on those topics/locations, you can likely get there with more like 200 photos. You can do that in a day if you’re fast, even if you’re just getting started.

If you’re just getting started with stock photography, how do you know what to shoot? Check out Shutterstock’s Shot List for ideas of what to shoot each month. You can also read through Dreamtimes’ blog, which has some excellent articles on what sells.

Why $10 per month? You have to start somewhere. And stock photography — like many kinds of content — is additive. The more photos you have online on a particular marketplace, the more image buyers are likely to see your collection, and the more future sales you’re likely to make.

If you go exclusive with a marketplace like iStock, you’ll also earn higher commissions as you sell more images, which means each image you create will become more valuable.

Once you have a process that earns $10 per month, you can likely scale it to earn $100, $1000 or more.

This short-form article originally appeared as part of an answer I provided on Quora.

Co-Founder & CEO of Gado Images. I write, speak and consult about tech, privacy, AI and photography.

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