A while back, I explored how you can sell feet online and had been wondering about other ways to sell pictures of yourself online for money. If you’re in the same boat, you’re in luck.
Here’s what I found out with further research. There are 3 ways people earn money from selfies:
- Taking pictures of yourself, then selling them as stock photos
- Modeling and selling the photos via apps
- Creating your own brand on social media and your own website
We’re going to avoid the obvious way with this post because, let’s be honest, if you were looking to do THAT you would have searched something very different.
Instead, we’re going to stick to much more traditional ways, starting with…
7 Sites to Sell Pictures of Yourself Online for Money
You don’t need to be a professional photographer.
You just have to be passionate about photography, have a decent phone with a high-quality camera or an actual camera, a niche that separates you from thousands of people selling their own photos, and join any of the following sites:
- 123rf.com – This site lets you list your photographs non-exclusively (you can also upload the same photos on another site) and earn between 30 to 60% commissions.
- 500px – Gain exposure and get paid for your work with 500px Licensing. You’ll earn 60% royalties when you license your photos exclusively with 500px’s global distribution partners.
- Alamy – This stock photography site is open to anyone. When you upload a picture, it will quickly be up for sale at Alamy within 24 hours. Any sale gets you 50% of royalties.
- Picfair – You can set your own prices for your photos, then Picfair will add 20% of your price as their commission rate.
- PhotoShelter – This site gives users like you your own photo gallery for $10 a month, markets your photo galleries on your behalf, and offers you access to partner print labs that would print your photographs when someone buys them from your store.
- Scoopshot – If you upload photos or videos to Scoopshot, you have two ways to earn money. Either someone buys one of your content (then you’ll be paid directly to your account) or someone chooses your content to be used on other online publishers (then you’ll take a share in the advertising revenue whenever someone browses through your photo or video).
- Smugmug – Anybody can create an account for free, pick a niche (feet pics, hand modeling, beach selfies), then set your own prices. Set up your photography business on SmugMug in as little as 15 minutes and offer prints and products backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Note that many of these websites would ask you to sign a release form. If your photos include other people (aside from yourself), you might also need their signatures as well.
How much can you earn from stock photos? Crestock should give you an idea of pricing your photos.
5 Apps to Sell Pictures of Yourself
Apps work differently from stock photo sites.
Some apps will ask you to buy clothes and model them before uploading them on the marketplace, while others are more straightforward and just ask you to upload any photo of yourself (as long as you own the copyright).
Check out how to get paid for pictures of your body with these apps:
- Foap – Take photos with your phone and sell them at the app for $5 a pop.
- EyeEm – This vibrant community has over 25 million photographers. To earn from your selfies, you need to upload your pictures into the marketplace and wait for people to buy copies of your work. You retain the copyright of all your photos and receive 50% of the commission every time the photo sells. The minimum licensed photo they sell is $20 a pop, so you get to earn at least $10 for each picture. The amount you earn will also depend on where the buyer will use your photo (and the corresponding license they’ll pay for) such as:
- Social license = $20/photo
- Web license= $50/photo
- Full Commercial license = $250/photo
- miPic – Available only from the Apple store, the miPic app is a print-on-demand app that lets you showcase your work and let buyers decide to have it printed on t-shirts, pillows, towels, face masks, and framed prints (among others).
- Snapwire – Download the app, and choose between selling your shots in the marketplace (where buyers can purchase them directly) or joining challenges and winning the posted payout.
- Stockimo – Developed by Alamy, this app lets any users sell stock photos and receive 20% of every sale. The average sale price is about $90, but the downside is that it’s only available for iPhone/Apple (sorry Android users).
There are also hybrid companies like Canva, which offers both a desktop version and an app.
You can join the 185 million contributors here and receive 35% of your every content license purchase.
Sell Pictures of Yourself on Your Website and Social Media
Okay, let’s be clear here: creating a website doesn’t reap rewards overnight. This is especially true for photography sites, no matter how good your photos are.
However, if you push at it and know how to do it properly, this website could be a passive income-generating project that could surprise you.
Here’s how to do it:
- Build a website, showcase your photos and decide if you’d like to offer these for prints. (Make sure to check my guide on running a Print-on-Demand store). You can also promote your work for direct buyers or receive commissioned work through the site.
- Use social media to reach out to would-be customers. People are attracted to talented people, so if you showcase your work on social media, you’ll be able to attract followers organically. Check New York-based photographer Silva (@JnSilva on Instagram) on how he uses social media to further get new people to his website. Don’t discount Pinterest and Twitter when planning for social media marketing.
- Leverage YouTube and TikTok. Even if you’re not selling videos, you can create snippets of your process or showcase how you do your makeup for a shoot or any promotional videos. You can then post these on YouTube and TikTok, which could help bring your work into the limelight as well.
Yes, these will take a lot of work to do, but if you have the skills and unique vision, success online will be inevitable.
Other Ways to Get Paid for Selfies
If you’re a professional photographer whose niche is self-portraits, giant stock photo companies like Getty Images (15-20% commissions), Adobe Stock (33% commissions), Shutterstock (15-40% commissions), iStockphoto (15-45% commissions), or Dreamstime (25-60% commissions) would also accept photos. If you have photography and editing skills, you can earn up to $80k with these brick-and-mortar jobs.
Contests may only be rare, but you can join companies like Agora Awards which are known to host some of the best photo contests around and earn up to $25k a pop.
If you prefer online jobs instead, you can dip your toes into paid online surveys or Nike product testing. You can also work from home with Amazon or Disney remote jobs once you’re ready to go full-time.