How can I sell my photos and make some money???

This is an old post but I left it here because the comments are still very interesting and hopefully useful! If you are looking for the eBook, it is here:  eBook – Getting Started in Stock.

(Visited 365 times, 1 visits today)

41 Responses

  1. I have this and read the whole book. While geared toward microstock newcomers, I did find a ton of great info inside and a few things I didn’t know and/or had forgotten about. A good read!

  2. Siegfried says:

    £12000 per year is not a bad score, I may take a look at your ebook!

  3. Compuinfoto says:

    When i buy and pay this book by paypal, do I get a downloadlink to download the book?

  4. Matt D says:

    Great article. Just starting out in photography with the cannon eos 1100d. My uncle had some great success with sites like shuttershock and similar sites. Sadly he’s no longer with us, so I’m starting out without his knowledge and experience. Adding this site to one of my favorites to learn from for now.

    Keep up the great work on site.

  5. Yann says:


    Wow, i bought your ebook 2 days ago and so far, so great!

    clear informations, and good data.

    of course, some specs (like always make the metadata) looks not the easypart of stock, but i guess it’s the rules to follow if we want to get money, haha.

    just a quick question (i asked here because i didnt find your contact on the webpage):
    10 years ago, i was photo journalist for movie magasine, in france. i took few famous actor/actress/director (they were posing for me, quickly, after the interview was made. but it was not “paparazzi” style). but there were never “model release” document. my question is: can i sell this pictures anyway? where/which website?

    thank you for your reply!

    and to always share kindly your experience.


    • admin says:

      Hi Yann

      Glad you are enjoying the book – as I try to say many times – it is not easy to do this well and it needs a fair amount of work and effort to get the keywords correct! However, if no-one can ever find your beautiful image, then there is no point in trying to sell it!

      On your model release question – I think the answer is probably no, you can’t sell them. I’m not a lawyer, but if the images were taken in some public place and they just happened to be there, then you could sell them as editorial and both Shutterstock and iStock are OK with that (as are a number of other sites). If the actor is the main focus and they were taken in a studio, then I think the location and the lack of permission to take and sell the images could be an issue. Also, if you were paid to be there and take the images, then the magazine that paid you probably owns the copyright, unless your contract says otherwise. A tricky one!


  6. Sue Gresham says:

    Great Book – A friend has also bought it – a newbie to microstock.
    Just found the Excel Archive on Dreamstime – wonderful – found I had 22 sales (not a lot of money though)

    Would love to know how to set up a Rate per Image – RPI that is talked of on the forums – have Googled – but found no real results. Now with 14 agencies with a smattering of sales here and there – I hope I will need this program/app???
    Best wishes and thanks – great site.
    website still in very beginnings so I have not entered it

  7. admin says:

    Hi Sue – thanks for your kind comments about the book! The Excel archive on Dreamstime was new to me – it is very helpful in terms of working out whether new or old images are selling, for instance.
    On RPI – there are two ways to calculate – one is to divide the revenue from a site by the total number of images you have available for sale (on any site). The other is to divide by the images you have on that one site – as you may not have uploaded everything, or they may have rejected some. You can argue back and forth about which is the most useful. I rarely work this out though – it is interesting from time to time to see if you are maintaining a steady RPI (is your revenue tracking the increase in files you upload), for instance. However, what do you then do about it? At an extreme, if you waited 6 months and deleted all the non-selling images, then your RPI would be really high – but for what benefit? I don’t tend to over-analyze these things – just keep taking photos and keep uploading them!

  8. Federico says:

    Hi Steve, I have recently found this web and I find it amazing. I’m really thinking about getting into this world of taking and selling photos and your books seems really promising.
    I was searching a lot on the web but I couldn’t find this info that I’m sure you can provide me. You said you increase your earnings by 30,000 a year and I’m very intrigued about the effort of that, how many pictures have you put on sale since you started?

    Keep on with this great site!


  9. Bobby Gentry says:

    I am at the point now of trying to decide on which “stock” site to sign up with and it is harder than I thought. I will look over your site try to make the jump.

    • admin says:

      I do have a post – perhaps 3 months back – of which sites I submit to, and why. Please use my referral links on the right if you don’t mind!

  10. Alessandra says:

    I have read your book and the thing I am most curious about is how you keep track of all those sales with graphs etc. It looks to me like an unsurmountable accountant’s task. Do you keep it all on a database?

  11. Hey Steve … is this how I subscribe in order to be notified when you do new posts? I didn’t see a “Subscribe” button.

  12. Alessandra says:

    Great book. Thanks to it I sold my first photo today, on 123rd! Oh my I earned 24 cents!

  13. Dana Henry says:

    Hey there,
    Now that has been taken down, what are you using for bulk uploads to the stock sites you mention in your eBook?


  14. admin says:

    I’ve no idea – I’m sure you will somehow have to create a JPEG from it and then upload that in the normal way.

  15. Cyn says:

    A while back I purchased one of the earlier copies of the book, but I see that it’s been updated. Is there a discounted price available for those who purchased an earlier version?

  16. Ernesto Velazquez says:

    After reading one of your blog articles I asked myself, if all this information puts it in a blog article what information will put in a book ?, I sincerely expected much less, but more than 1000 pages of information wow!!!, high and far exceeded my expectations

  17. Ernesto Velazquez says:

    It’s a pleasure to read your book, I’m devouring it!!

  18. admin says:

    Thanks Ernesto – hope it inspires you!

  19. Chris R says:

    Hey Steve,

    Great blog! Don’t see any new Symzio posts but your site there looks good? How is that going?

    Are you using a Woo Commerce theme or Symbiostock Express?

    Did it migrate your old photos over or did you have to re-upload everything?


    • admin says:

      Hi Chris
      Yes, I am using the new Symbiostock plugin and using the Sybmiostock Express theme using most of the settings that the team suggest in terms of formatting the site. The transfer was very easy from the old design, although I believe they may have just closed down that transfer system (or perhaps it closes at the end of May!). I don’t write much about it, because I get very few sales from the site. It seems to me that selling photos via your own site is very difficult – illustrations might be easier, but there are too many ways to get “free” copies of my images from sites that have licensed them properly and then put up a high definition version of the file on their website instead of resizing them. So many people who may have bought from my site probably find the same image for free in a Google search and use that instead. I don’t think that is an issue with Symbiostock – it is an issue with those sort of buyers and any type of self hosted site.

  20. Mark Dianela says:

    $30, 000 a year? Wow!

    I’ll be very happy if I’ll reach a thousand bucks a year.

    I learned a lot backyard silver! Thank you : )

  21. Mark Dianela says:

    Sorry typo error. I mean 10 thousand bucks a year : )

  22. Emanuele says:

    Hi Steve I bought your book and it is very interesting, I started uploading images on a dozen sites suggested by your site, I have a good archive of about 5000 images suitable for stock. How long will it take for images to start making regular sales according to your experience?
    thank you very much and congratulations for your work.


    • admin says:

      Hi Emanuele
      Of course it depends on the images themselves and how many you have uploaded, but you should start seeing some downloads on Shutterstock in a week or so, and on Adobe within 2 weeks I would say. To some extent it also depends on luck – do you happen to have uploaded an image that is in more demand than others either because of subject or timing. Hopefully that helps a bit!

      • Emanuele says:

        Thanks Steve, I can upload more or less 200 images a week, some sales on SS have already happened, hopefully increase.
        Congratulations again for your very useful book.


  23. Andrew Balcombe says:

    Hi Steve
    Im an Aussie based in the Netherlands and enjoyed reading your ebook.
    My question is regarding taking editorial photos inside places like train stations. As far as i know it’s ok to take editorial pcs in these buildings. Are you aware if this is correct?
    I just read in an Alamy blog that edirorial pics may not necessarily be used when taken inside museums. My mind is swirling a bit that i may have accidently submitted shots that shouldnt be submitted.
    Thanks for the informative blog. Andrew

    • admin says:

      Hi Andrew
      It must be colder than you are used to today! This whole question is quite tricky although you should remember that it is the publisher that is at risk in publishing an image, not the photographer as long as you haven’t lied about having releases. The categorization of images into commercial and editorial by agencies is to help the end user (at least that is my view!). There is a great resource on the Getty site:
      and there are a few railway stations in that list. I believe that generally you are OK to take editorial shots. Museums are different because you are entering what could be a private space and their entry rules could forbid photography altogether or commercial photography. When you enter, you need to abide by their rules. Railway stations are generally public areas in most countries and so you are free to take photos there. There are the few exceptions (Eurostar is one) that are listed in that Getty link. Hope this helps!

      • Hi Steve,
        Yes it was a bit coolish there for a while 🙂 I actually put my leg through a frozen canal today trying to get some ice skating shots, so it is thawing out a bit.
        Thanks very much for that helpful answer. I took my museum shots out of all of my portfolios. It shocked me a bit to learn that they could cause such problems.
        My train station shots are of The Hague Central and Amsterdam central. I will check out the link you so thoughtfully provided. I really appreciate that. Love the ebook too.
        The information in your blog is a great resource that I refer to alot
        Have a great weekend Steve and all the very best!

  24. Picture says:

    Bought your book because of this blog. Great read, although should be updated, especially those parts where you refer to 2014 or earlier.
    Is everything you referred there still true? I see that shutterstock adds millions of images every week. Need to find other agency for a good start.

    • admin says:

      Thanks. I last updated it at the end of 2016 and so it shouldn’t be too out of date. I try to keep things updated via my blog as it is a lot of effort to rewrite the ebook! Yes, Shutterstock adds millions of images, but many of them are not very good, in my view and so there is still an opportunity there. Adobe Stock is very good – especially with studio type shots. I’m not aware of things in the book that are not still true, but if you come across anything, please let me know.

  25. Anika says:

    How many photos do you have in your portfolio now? I had very similar income but it dropped significantly in 2017 and 2018 so I wonder if I am doing something wrong…

  1. October 30, 2016

    […] Steve Heap’s ebook Getting Started in Stock […]

I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!