Selling photos to stock photo sites like Shutterstock and iStock is probably the easiest way to make money online from photography. The truth is, selling photos to a stock photo site has never as easy as you thought. They apply a tight enough qualification for each photo submitted by photographers. Even if you think you have submitted your best works, they are not necessarily get accepted.
Just because your photos are rejected by a stock photo site you have dreamt to become a contributor of, doesn’t mean that the world is over. There are many other ways you can try to get extra money from your hobby.
One thing you need to know, selling photos is not the only way of making money from photography online. Even if you just share your photos for free, you will still be able to get extra money by accepting donations from those who love your shots. The amount might is not too much. At least it can keep your hobby going. Following are two ways that you can try to get extra money from photography online without needing to sell any photo.
Share your photos to Pixabay
If you have been trying to upload your photos to a certain stock photo site but still get rejected due to lack of quality, I suggest you to share your photos to Pixabay first. Pixabay is a stock photo website — much like Shutterstock and iStock. The fundamental difference is all photos available on Pixabay are free to use. All photos on Pixabay are licensed under the CC0 license.
While end users can get photos for free, you — the photographer — can take advantage of Pixabay to improve your photography skill. It’s true that Pixabay is a free service, but it doesn’t that Pixabay sacrificing quality. Before being available on the Pixabay library, every photo you uploaded will be reviewed first to check if it worth enough to use by users. The reviewing process applied by Pixabay is tight enough. You can take advantage of this to improve your photography skill so next time you plan to upload your shots to a paid stock photo site, you can at least estimate what kind of photos will be accepted.
Okay. So, how to make money from Pixabay?
One thing, you need to know that Pixabay has never intended to become a place to sell photos like Shutterstock or iStock. So, never expect too much. If you want to get extra money from Pixabay, you can add your PayPal account so if there are Pixabay users who love your shots and they want to appreciate your works by making donations, they will be able to do so.
When you open a certain photo on Pixabay, you will see a “Coffee” button. This is basically a donation button.
Another free stock photo website like Pixabay that makes it possible for you to share your shots for free and accept donations is Pexels. The more quality photos you upload to both Pixabay and Pexels, the bigger the chance you get donations by the users.
Create your own stock photo website
If you think that your photos are too valuable to be given away to a free stock photo sites like Pixabay and Pexels, you can try to create your own stock photo website. By creating a stock photo website, the chance of generating money is getting bigger. First, you can install ads on your site. Second, you can also accept donations just like on Pixabay and Pexels. Third, you can also offer premium collections.
However, this method requires a massive effort and I am pretty sure that it takes some time until you get the outcome you expected. Is there an example of successful personal stock photo website?
Picjumbo I think is a good example if you want to create a personal stock photo website. The background of this project (Picjumbo) is the same you yours. Before creating the project of Picjumbo, Viktor Hanacek (the photographer behind Picjumbo) also found his photos get rejected by regular stock photo sites for lack of quality.
Photography is a pleasant hobby. And there is nothing more pleasurable than generating money from doing something you love. Many photographers might think that the only way of making money from photography online is by becoming a contributor of a stock photo site. You can try two methods above to show that they are wrong. But again, don’t expect too much to get a bunch much money from those two methods. I never suggested to make them your primary income. Instead, you can try those two methods to get extra money from your photography hobby to at least keep your hobby going.