Skip to Content
© Bill Kennedy | Dreamstime

Need some extra cash? How to make money selling photos

If you’re a photography enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with all those stock photography companies. And you know you can sell your photos as stock images.

But that’s not the only way you can make money through stock photo sites.

Let’s take Dreamstime, for example. It’s the largest stock photography community in the world. Making money with Dreamstime isn’t limited to snapping stock photos to add to its library.

1 .Submit newsworthy editorial photos

You may not be aware, but sending in newsworthy editorial images could bring you a nice upload bonus of $5 per image.

Your pictures have to be very recent, preferably shot same-day, but in some cases yesterday’s events can be accepted. They must have good technical quality and need to illustrate an event of international importance.

When you select and upload potentially newsworthy images, our editorial rules in mind:

  • Photos must be authentic. Do not manipulate the truth using editing software.
  • Descriptions should answer the 5 ‘s: Who, What, Why, When and Where.

To submit quickly, consider uploading photos from the mobile app while you are still attending the event. If your camera has a good Wi-Fi connection, send them from your phone immediately.

If your camera doesn’t have a good Wi-Fi connection, or you don’t have a camera with you, consider using your smartphone. Its camera is very capable of shooting great pictures that you can shoot and upload any time.

2. Sell stock photos

Selling stock photos is the easiest and most well-known way to make money on Dreamstime. From the moment you become a contributor, you can start uploading your images. All you need is an email address to sign up and you’re good to go.

Every photo buyers download earns you royalties. The amount you receive depends on factors such as the type of license purchased, popularity of your image, your exclusivity status and more.

For more information, see our list of possible earnings.

All photos must be high-quality at a minimum of 3-megapixel resolution. Upload the jpg file and the RAW. RAWs sell for more than jpg files, so if someone buys them, you get paid more than if they simply downloaded your image.

3. Sell vector illustrations

If you want to sell vector illustrations in the form of cartoons, vectors, clipart or other formats, follow the same process you would for commercial or editorial photos.

The only difference between vectors and editorial or stock images is you can upload the vector format as an additional file, instead of a RAW.

4. Sell your videos

Regardless of how you produce videos, they can be uploaded and sold on Dreamstime. That means you can use expensive equipment or the smartphone sitting in your pocket.

All stock video upload requirements can be found here. If the information seems too complicated, try using the old trial-and-error approach. Just upload your video files and see if they get processed.

5. Sell audio files

Do you love creating music, sound effects or loops? Sell the files on Dreamstime for some extra cash. It’s even better if you record nature sounds, since all audio files must be royalty-free.

Upload audio files the same way you upload videos and photos.

6. Refer contributors

Referring contributors to Dreamstime is a low-effort way to generate money. Dreamstime has one of the best referral systems among all stock photo websites.

Head over to the referral program to see all available options, including shareable links, banners, badges and even a personalized Dreamstime search. You earn 10% of all sales generated by your referrals for a period of 3 years after registration.

7. Refer buyers

Referring buyers to Dreamstime works the same way as referring contributors does. Use the same links, banners or badges. When you refer buyers, you earn 10% of all plans bought by designers you referred for 3 years after they sign up.

If you have an active blog, a large social media following or do well with forums, referring users to Dreamstime could get you quite a bit of money.

8. Set up an API on your website

When you set up a Dreamstime search engine, which is fully customizable, on your website, you become a Dreamstime affiliate. That means you retain control of your website while getting Dreamstime’s full support.

When people visit your site and use the Dreamstime search engine, you get a commission up to 10%. This program is very helpful for those who have a lot of visitors on their websites.

9. Win prizes in the monthly photo contest

Whether you’re a photographer, illustrator or graphic designer, you can submit your best works to Dreamtimes’ monthly assignments for a chance to win one of three cash prizes: $300 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third place winners. Themes change every month and, after the submission period is over, users vote for their favorite works.

cryptocurrency e-book hero

New eBook: ‘Cryptocurrency 101’

Don't want to lose your dough to crypto? Check out my new eBook, "Cryptocurrency 101." I walk you through buying, selling, mining and more!

Check it out