I love taking photographs of places I travel to.

Stock photos are taken by the photographer edited and ready for use.

Photos are memories that help you jog your mind to how life looked a few years or months.

Do you like taking photos of beautiful people and scenery and making memories?

What do your photos remind you of?

Why do you take photos?

Did you know you can make money with photos lying around?

You may think that with the available competition around this niche, you don’t stand a chance to successfully sell stock photos.

Competition means people want photos, are willing to buy photos and are looking for photos.

Don’t let your smartphone stay in your hands to show off to your hands only.

Stock photos are in high demand today and people are looking for more creative and unique stock photos for use.

You may not take much at first, because you don’t have a vast collection of photos but you make more money depending on the descriptions you use, your SEO knowledge and your marketing efforts.

Is Selling Stock Photos Online Profitable?

Selling stock photos is a good business, especially if you are looking to make a lot of money online.

It is a great way to make extra income by doing the thing you are passionate about.

Like any other business, you have to be ready to put in enough effort and time so that you can get what you expect in return.

There are photographers who have made a living out of selling stock photos and they boast of how this particular business has very high-profit margins.

Selling stock photos is very lucrative and if you are skilled in photography, you should consider starting to sell stock photos online and meet your financial needs.

What are Stock Photos and How Do They Work?

Stock photos are many pictures or photographs that are taken and put together for sale online.

So, you take beautiful aesthetic pictures and exchange them for money through online stock agencies (more on that later).

You set the price you want to sell your stock photos and the users pay for it, so they can use it royalty-free.

You can also receive payment more than once on one particular photo.

Stock photography is a freelance type of photography and it involves creating photographs to sell them to as many clients as are interested in your work. 

What are the types of Stock Photos?

There are two types of stock photography that sparks interest in millions of users worldwide. 


This is traditional stock photography.

Online stock agencies here sell very high priced exclusive images and license the individual images directly to the client.

Their images can go for $30- $3000 a year. You will then get royalties as the photographer.

Examples of macro stock agencies include the well known Getty Images, which has rights-managed images. 


Most people get into this stock photography.

It is a good place to start if you are a beginner.

It goes with quantity more than quality oftentimes and they sell their photos for much less and on a royalty-free basis.

You will get no royalties as the photographer, but you get paid per image downloaded.

Examples of these companies include Shutterstock, iStock- which is a hub of Getty Images, Dreamstime and Depositphotos.

How Do I Start Selling Stock Photos?

Starting to sell stock photos is quite simple.

You do not need to meet crazy requirements to get into this business.

For the most part, all you need is to be passionate about what you are doing and the rest will beautifully fall into place.

Here is a step by step guide I know you will find useful once you have made the decision to start selling stock photos. 

Analyse your market

Before you start selling stock photos, you have to do market research and analysis.

Find out what it is that clients love.

What are the most common photos that are selling? What are their prices?

What are your competitors doing?

It is good to establish these facts beforehand so that you may know if the idea is feasible or not.

Once you have identified the market gap in the industry you can move on and start your business. 

Identify an online stock agency

An online stock agency is a platform that allows you to sell your type of photograph.

There are different stock agencies online, which we will talk about later in the article.

When you choose to sign up to any of these online stock agencies, you have to know their features and policies so that you can see if this particular stick agency works for you or not.

Understand the legal framework for selling your stock photos

Since you will be transferring your stock photo rights to the buyers, you have to know the legal framework that gives the buyer rights over your stock photos or not.

You have to know the copyright issues involved so that you may not end up getting used to the rights to your stock photos. 

Take quality pictures

Clients want high-value photos.

You need to know how to take quality photos.

You need to invest in a good quality camera, know how to use it, take unique popular shots, expand your knowledge on photography, learn about stock photos and always prepare for each photoshoot.

If you do not know how to take quality photos, sharpen your skills and always keep practising until you become perfect in it.

Upload your photos and start selling

Sign up for a good online stock agency and start selling your stock photos.

Pick an online stock agency that appeals to you and sell your stock photos through them.

What Will I Be Doing When I Start Selling Photos?

When you start selling stock photos, you have to know that that is not all that you will be doing.

Matter of fact, you have to spend ample time in your business if you want your stock photos to sell.

Here is what you should be concerned about in your business.

  • Searching for good sites and travelling quite often to identify scenic destinations 
  • Taking great photos
  • Editing photos using a great editing software to improve the overall quality.
  • Uploading your photos to online stock agencies 
  • Keeping track of your progress 

What Do I Need to Start Selling Stock Photos?

Before you start selling stock photos, you have to get all the equipment you need ready to start taking good photos. You also have to set up your online presence and use your skills to improve your photos.

  • A good camera. You can buy a good camera or use a quality camera smartphone, if you cannot afford to buy a camera at the moment.
  • A computer
  • An editing software
  • An online stock agency where you have to sign up
  • Your own website if you want to promote and sell your stock photos without any middlemen.

What Kind of Stock Photos Sell the Best?

It is good to start checking the different stock agencies to see what stock photos sell best and why.

Are they artistic? Do they carry emotion?

What do you need to focus on so that my stock photos may start to sell?

Here’s a secret: the best selling stock photos are those which can be used in billboards or online advertisements and blog sites and which can beat the test of time. Stock photos in these areas are a good place to start with.

  • Office photos
  • Food and drink
  • Lifestyle
  • Tech photos
  • Travel photos

Where Can I Find Stock Photos?

You can easily find stock photos on the different stock agency sites that I have mentioned.

A simple Google search can also help you find a photo you are looking for.

What are the Best Places to Sell Stock Photos Online?

When you want to start selling stock photos, you have to go to an online stock agency.

These agencies allow you to showcase your stock photos and they pay you a commission on the price paid for the stock photos.

Some of these stock agencies allow you to fix your own price although some give you a price range for which you can sell your stock photos.

I will list some of the best stock agencies where you can start to sell your stock photos.

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is integrated with other Adobe programs like Photoshop and Indesign to help you edit your photos before starting to sell.


This is a hub of Getty images and you can sign up for premium to start selling your stock photos.


This stock agency is quite popular and a great place to start selling your stock photos. 


This stock agency is the best for beginners in selling stock photos. You get paid based on the number of downloads your stock photos have received.


This stock agency has a free version and allows you to set your own prices and earn up to 85% commission on your stock photos.

Your website

Note: There are certain requirements that are needed to sign up to these stock agencies so always make sure you put that into account.

What are the Expenses for a Stock Photographer

These are the costs that you will incur when you want to take photos that you can sell online.

  • Equipment. If you have to buy a new camera or a good quality phone to start this business, then you have to factor in the cost of buying a good camera in your budget.
  • Transportation costs, of travelling from one place to another to search for beautiful sites to take pictures of. You need to scout for locations/places in order to capture the best scenes. You can invest in a car, motorbike or a bicycle, the choice and the kind of photography determine the kind of transportation.
  • Internet costs, because you need to set up WiFi to get connected online.
  • Software. If you want to get good software to edit your photo, you will have to part with some money.
  • Repairs. This is an ongoing expense in case your camera stops working, or needs an upgrade.

How Much Does it Cost to Start Stock Photography?

As you can see, stock photography requires little startup costs to get started.

On average it should cost you around Ksh. 20,000, depending on whether you already have your set of equipment together and you are ready to get the ball rolling.

How Do I Make Money Selling Stock Photos?

You will make money selling stock photos by payment per download. You will select your own price for the photos or a stock agency will provide a platform and arrange for you to sell your stock photos. 

You can also make your stock photos available in large print to sell at art fairs and private galleries.

How Much Should I Charge For Stock Photos?

If you are setting your own price for a stock photo, I’d advise you first look at the following factors.

  • Competition. Get to learn what other people before you are doing and the pricing range they offer so that you do not set your prices too high or too low. You want to remain fair and profitable.
  • Your costs. Consider the amount of money, time and effort it took you to take a photo and turn it into what it is. Set the price to how you see fit.

On average, stock photos go for around $ 0.35 to $ 9.95 per image.

How Much Money Can I Make From Selling Stock Photos?

You will be earning around $0.35 and $2.24 per image per sale, per month by selling stock photos. If you have an extended license, you can earn up to $500 per sale. 

What Skills Do I Need to Start Selling Stock Photos?

There are certain skills and qualities you need if you want to start selling stock photos online without breaking a sweat. This is what you need to have. 

Photography skills

Since you will be selling stock photos, you have to have good photography skills.

If you are not an expert photographer, you can always learn how to take good photos.

There are YouTube tutorials that will teach how to focus on angles to get the best shots.


  If you are passionate about photography, you can consider selling stock photos to get some extra income from this business.

It may get repetitive and boring so you really need to cultivate interest before you get into stock photography. 

Organisation skills

When you are taking your stock photos and selling them online, you should be organised so that you do not mix up your work.

Stock photos on wildlife should be kept in a separate folder as photos on lifestyle and beauty. 


You have to have a creative eye so that you can come up with unique photos that can easily sell on online stock agencies. 

Photo editing

How Do I Attract Customers to Buy My Photos Online?

In order to sell your stock photos, you need to find clients who are interested in your stock photos.

The best way to attract clients to your photos is if you start building a great and impressive portfolio that will keep your customers asking for me.

If you have a creative eye, use it to your advantage in this business and influence your customers to download or purchase your stock photos. 

Once you have started selling your first stock photos, you have to find a way to expand your customer base so that you can sell more. The best way to market yourself and your products are through incorporating these techniques.

Image SEO

Optimise your stock photos for image SEO so that they can easily appear on Google by a quick search. This is particularly important and useful if you have your own website where you sell your stock photos. 

Social media

Share some of your creative content in social media and create links through which interested clients can use to download or purchase your stock photos for their own use.

Your own website

Build your own website and share content about your stock photos. You can start a blog post about stock photography and drive traffic to your site in this way.

What are the Advantages of Selling Stock Photos?

These are the benefits that you will have when you start selling stock photos. 

  1. You earn more overtime. When you start selling stock photos, the income will be good but overtime you will be making a lot of money.
  1. You can take it as a full time job. You can get into stock photography as a side job to earn extra income or as a full time job and earn a living from selling stock photos.
  1. Low startup costs. It won’t cost you much to start selling stock photos. All you need is a good camera, your photography skills and an online stock agency to sell your stock photos.
  1. You get to love what you are doing. When you start selling stock photos, you will be more rooted in following your passions because you will be doing what you love and get paid while at it. 
  1. You will reduce your expenses. There are no ongoing expenses for stock photography and if you already have a good camera in hand, you are ready to start stock photography.

What are the Disadvantages of Selling Stock Photos

These are the problems and challenges you will face when you start selling stock photos. 

  1. Time consuming. Uploading to several stock photo agencies, adding descriptions, using keywords and titles can take up a lot of your time so you need to be ready to invest in that. 
  1. Photos are generic. Some of the best selling stock photos on online stock agencies are usually generic and you may not  not like selling these photos. 
  1. High competition. Many people are getting into stock photography today. These are millions of stock photos on online stock agencies that are produced by stock photographers. You have to beat this competition and be very unique and creative to start selling your stock photos. 
  1. Low profit margins. When you factor in the expenses involved in travel regularly to get the best images and the amount of money you receive thereafter.

What are the Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Stock Photos?

When your photos are being reviewed by the stock agencies, you will realise that some of your photos get rejected.

Although the agency will not give you a reason why there are some mistakes that nearly every stock photographer has made.

It is good that you identify some of these common mistakes so that you can start selling your stock photos smoothly and without any friction. 

  1. Technical issues. When you do not commit to the submission guidelines provided by the stock agencies, your stock photos will get rejected.
  1. Selling on a common theme. Avoid selling on a common theme. For example, there are thousands of sunset photos available on stock agencies and they may not accept any more. Be unique in your business.
  1. Aesthetic issues. If your stock photos are not properly exposed, are too cluttered or not edited well, they will not sell. In fact, they will get rejected when you upload them.
  1. Not studying what didn’t sell. If you do not study what didn’t sell, you will not know what areas need improvement in your photography skills.

How Do I Successfully Sell My Stock Photos?

Most of the success that you get out of selling stock photos is on the uniqueness and the effort you put in building your portfolio. 

  1. Improve your skills. Strive to improve your photography skills through practice and repeated photoshoots. Do not stop at being good at it. Try to perfect your skills.ao that you can create even more attractive stock photos. 
  1. Focus on quality. Produce high value stock photos that have been well edited and properly exposed. Create a beautiful aesthetic outlook with your stock photos. 
  1. Be consistent with the quantity. Focus on producing more stock photos so that you may rank higher in the online stock agencies.
  1. Upload to more than one stock agency. When you upload to more than one stock agency, you increase your chances of getting more customers and selling more stock photos. This will increase your overall success.
  1. Be diverse. Try different niches in stock photography. You can take wildlife photos as well as lifestyle, fashion and beauty, food photos etc. 
  1. Learn from other stock photos and websites. Visit different stock agencies and websites and see what they are doing so that you can determine the best option for you. 

Tips for Selling Stock Photos

When you start selling stock photos on the online stock agency, you will realise that there are way too many photos of the same kind that you have to compete with.

In order for your photos to appear on top of the searches, you have to optimise them.

Here are tips on how you can optimise your stock photos for sale.

How to Optimise Your Stock Photos For Sale

  1. Use a title and a logo. Use a title and a logo for your stock images if you want to create a brand. Clients will find your stock photos easier this way.
  1. Focus on customisation. Different customers need photos for different reasons. You have to customise your stock photos to your clients, so that they can easily be found by your clients.
  1. Image SEO.  Use image SEO to make your stock photos appear on top of Google’s search engine. This especially works if you own your website and sell your stock photos there.
  1. Use captions. Captions are a good way to attract customers to your stock photos. This increases your chances of getting your stock photos being purchased or downloaded. 

What are Some Creative and Innovative Stock Photo Ideas?

Going into stock photography, pay attention to the fact that most of what you are doing is already done.

There has to be that distinguishing factor, however, that you can give your clients.

There are many creative and unique niches that you can start when you start to sell stock photos.

I will talk about them below.

Creative Stock Photo Ideas

Here are some creative stock photo ideas that you should try today.

  • Interior design photos 
  • Diversity photos e.g race and gender
  • Food images
  • Colours
  • Drone photography
  • Work environments e.g office setting or work from
  • Family and friends photos
  • Travel images
  • Landscape photos 

FAQs on Getting Paid Kshs. 10+ Selling Pictures of Yourself Online

The following are the most asked questions about getting paid to sell pictures of yourself online and they include:

  1. How much money can you make from selling stock photos?

You can make from 30 shillings to 10k per photo and up to 50,000 shillings.

2. Can you make a living selling stock photos?

Yes, you can.

The more photos you have, the more money you get to earn.

Also, the more unique the photos are, the more money you make.

3. Do you need a licence to sell stock photos?

No, you don’t need a licence to sell stock photos.

You can however offer licences for mass use. Licences like the commercial licence, limited use licence or unlimited use.

4. How much can you earn from Shutterstock?

Shutterstock pays from 15 – 40 per cent, depending on your photo quality.

5. What are the photos that sell the most?

People photos

People on the move/people working photos






6. Who buys photos online?

Businesses (big, small or medium)

Graphic designers

Digital artists



Self-published authors




7. How do you become successful in selling stock photos?

Have a portfolio

Shoot what the market is looking for

Determine where to market, for example, are your photos a good fit for Shutterstock, Alamy?

What’s the commission they offer?

What’s the submission process?

What’re the photos selling price?

and Who are the clients buying/interested in your photos?

Choose and start with a niche but don’t go too niche

Have a variety of photos, at first, because you don’t know what customers are looking for.

Research what photos sell the most

Include keywords, descriptions, metadata and locations

Create multiple income streams from your knowledge of photography

For example, teach online photography classes, teach photo editing, have your photography website and have a YouTube channel showing how to take photos with different cameras and phone cameras.

Have patience

Without patience don’t start selling photos.

Know the trends

If you don’t know what customers want, there’s no way you can make money with your photos.

8. Is it illegal to use stock photos?

Only use photos marked, commercial use or unlimited use to avoid problems with photo owners. Otherwise, buy or take your own photos.

9. Can you use pictures from the internet without permission?

Yes, you can. The photos marked for commercial use or those in the public domain are available for all.

10. Can Google images be used without permission?

Yes, and No, always check the photos for the owner’s permission. Some owners want recognition of their work only and not money.

11. Which photography makes the most money?

Freelance Photography

Fashion Photography

Fine Art Photography

Medical Photography

Product Photography

Wedding Photography

12. What are some photography trends?

Social distance and masked photos

Drone photgraphy Realism/raw photography

Nature/outdoor photography

Activism/humanist photgraphies

Wedding photgraphy

Unbelievable photos

There is very high competition today in selling stock photos. And competition means there’s a market and people are buying.

Shutterstock, for example, gets millions of downloads a day. Imagine sharing in the profits of stock photo websites.

To reach the level of Shutterstock, where customers come directly for your photos, have a selection of photos on your website and keep marketing yourself as a photographer.

The more unique your photos are, the more money you make.

Always upload high-quality stock photos to build an impressive portfolio.

You can make as much as 50k shillings for a single photo.

Do you have a smartphone? Start taking photos of yourself then sell pictures of yourself online.

The profit you make, use it to invest in a camera.

Do you want to get paid 30, 10k, or 50k shillings per photo to sell pictures of yourself online?

Online Businesses / Online Work in Kenya