Believe it or not, you can get paid for the photos you take on your smartphone! New, free apps make it easy to sell your images to companies looking for stock photographs. Here’s how to cash in:
Download the top three apps. When it comes to photo-selling smartphone apps, there’s no reason to stick to just one—the more places you have to sell, the more potential money you can make!. The top moneymakers? EyeEm, Foap, and Pixendr. They’re all free to download, then you just follow their simple directions to set up your account. You’ll earn from $5 to more than $100 per photo!
Capture real moments. Instead of the typical images taken with professional cameras, companies buying cellphone photos want images that seem more “real-life”—think candid photographs of friends having fun at a party, a toddler laughing on a playground, or a puppy totally engrossed in playing with a toy, says photo pro and web designer Charlotte O’Hara, owner of Charlotte O’Hara Designs. Avoid anything posed or staged, like a family with their arms around each other smiling at the camera. Note: You will need to obtain “model releases” for anyone in your photos—that means they’ve given you permission to use their image. Luckily, the apps make it easy and provide all the paperwork for you!
Make your photos stand out. To make your images “pop” and draw buyers’ attention, be sure the background to whatever you’re shooting is as neutral as possible (such as a bare wall or some green shrubs), and try to use contrasting colors—don’t shoot something red, for example, in front of a red brick wall. “Remember that too much content can be distracting, so try not to overcrowd your image,” O’Hara says. “Clean and crisp images do well and are most popular, so stick to that style.”
Also smart: Tug at their heart strings! A couple kissing, a baby crying, children laughing—these are the “Instagram-worthy” moments that companies love to buy, especially when they have that real-life feel from a phone camera, O’Hara says.
Consider choosing a “theme." Specializing in one type of photo can help you stand out when buyers search your portfolio—for example, you could specifically feature photos of pets or scenic landscapes. Buyers who regularly need photos in one genre will soon learn to keep coming back to your page to make purchases. “It is always better to niche down and hone in on one skill or style,” O’Hara adds. “You will have a much stronger photo page, and it will help you stand out among thousands of other similar offerings.”
Draw in buyers with keywords. Keywords are terms you can “tag” your photos with—when a buyer needs a photo, they search using words describing what they’re looking for. When choosing tags, imagine what terms you would enter in the search engine—and the more keywords you use, the better, so be sure to take advantage of each app’s maximum.