How to Make Money Taking Pictures With Your Phone or Camera

FT Contributor

As smartphone cameras continue to improve and photo sharing is easier than ever, photography has become a popular creative outlet for many. Photography can actually be one of the best side hustles for when you need to make a little extra money, no matter your skill level.

You don’t have to have formal training or advanced equipment in order to get paid to take pictures. Knowing where to find the right opportunities to market your photography or photography skills is the first step toward making money taking pictures.

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Websites That Let You Sell Pictures for Money

Selling pictures and prints is one way that you can make money taking pictures. There are many sites through which you can sell your photos, prints, or even merchandise with your photos on them.

Each site will have different rules for its contributors, including how much you can contribute at a given time, and what pay scale you can expect.


Etsy is a great place for creatives to market their work. You can set up your own store on the site and sell pretty much anything. For photographers, prints, printed merchandise, and even cameras and equipment are all fair game to sell.

With Etsy, you can ship all over the world. It should be noted that the Etsy site collects a 5% transaction fee on all sales, so sellers should factor this in when setting their prices.


Society6 is another marketplace website that focuses more on home decor and lifestyle items. This is a great site to sell your prints or printed merchandise as wall hangings, throw pillows, or other home goods. Society6 also takes a seller’s fee for each transaction, but it can vary depending on the type of item you’re selling.

Getty Images

Getty Images is a stock photo website. Photographers can submit original photos and videos, and if your submission is accepted, you can choose to donate it or make it exclusive.

If you donate it, you give up the copyright. If you make it exclusive, you retain the copyright and you’ll receive payment for it. Getty will pay photographers a percentage of their photos’ worth per month, and these percentages vary from submission to submission.


Shutterstock is a similar site to Getty images. Photographers submit their photos to Shutterstock and once accepted, they are paid 15% to 40% for each photo depending on their contributor level. Shutterstock contributor levels reset on January 1 each year.


Becoming a freelance photographer is one of the most scalable ways to get paid to take pictures. As a freelancer, you get to decide:

  • Your service or merchandise prices;
  • The types of jobs you take;
  • The amount of work you take;
  • The clients you’ll work with.

Pursuing freelance photography is a great way to experience working with a variety of clients and projects. It can also be a good reason to pursue photography courses if desired. Those interested in freelancing may want to invest in a camera and some equipment, in order to access a wider array of features and add-ons that can be beneficial to their work.

Selling Pictures With Apps

As the gig economy continues to grow, more and more gig apps have been developed to help freelancers and other gig workers find jobs. Apps can be helpful because they’re accessible, easy to use, and offer flexibility. The following apps can help you find work, help potential clients find you, or offer payment for completing challenges or requests.


Fiverr is an international freelancer marketplace. On Fiverr, freelancers post their service and pricing, and are then hired directly by clients. Despite the name, as a freelancer on Fiverr, you can set your own prices as you see fit. Fiverr does charge a $2 fee on transactions up to $40, and a 5% fee on transactions over $40 dollars.


Upwork is a freelance platform that serves all types of markets, including photography. Freelancers can post their profiles to the talent marketplace, where potential clients will browse, or freelancers can look for work themselves in the project catalog.


Freelancer works similarly to Upwork, where independent contractors can post their profiles for clients as well as search for work. Freelancers may be better suited for freelancers who are not yet established in their industry, while Upwork can be easier to navigate for more experienced freelancers.


Snapwire is a unique app, most suited for those looking to make money taking pictures with their phones. You make money on Snapwire by responding to specific photo requests. These requests are centered around keywords, such as “nature” or “swimming pool.”

Photographers can submit photos they believe fit the request, then the company who issues the request will buy one, or several, of the photos submitted. Snapwire keeps 30% of the payout from photo purchases, while the photographer keeps the rest.

Tools You’ll Need to Make Money Selling Photographs

Photography can be an accessible hobby for people of all skill levels, and even all budgets. You can buy cameras or equipment new or second-hand, or even rent or lease.

The specific equipment you’ll need to start selling pictures for money will vary depending on what kind of pictures you want to take, what sort of jobs you’re interested in, or the end product you want to create.


Before you purchase a camera, you should decide what kind of pictures you want to take. Not all cameras are created equal, and different cameras will have different features.

If you’re using your phone’s camera, you’ll want to get familiar with the camera settings and capabilities. This way, you can maximize the quality of the photos you’re taking. This can help you better determine if your phone camera is suited for your projects, or if you actually need to invest in something else.

You’ll also want to consider whether you want to take digital or film photos, or both. You can find a camera that suits your needs online, through camera retailers, or second-hand. Digital cameras range in cost anywhere from $30 to thousand dollar price tags depending on the type of camera you’re looking for and where you buy it.

Camera Equipment

Whether you’re using your phone camera, or something more advanced, there is some camera equipment you will need to assist your success. This equipment may include:

  • Memory cards;
  • USB cables;
  • Cleaning cloths;
  • Spare batteries or film;
  • Carrying strap;
  • Tripod.

Other equipment you may want, such as varying lenses or filters, or lighting equipment, can vary depending on your camera type, photography needs, and experience level.

Photo Editing Software

Investing in photo editing software and learning the basics of photo editing is a great idea when you’re selling pictures for money. This software can not only improve your individual photos, but it could also be a separate service that you can offer and monetize. Photo editing skills can grow your portfolio and potential client-base, both of which support the sustainability of photography as a side-hustle.

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to take or sell pictures for money. Whether you’re looking to make money taking pictures with your phone as a casual side hustle, or you want some experience taking professional-grade photos as a freelancer, getting paid to take pictures is tailorable to your needs and experiences.

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