How to turn smartphone photos into actual money
  • Feb 10, 2019
  • Prabhjot Kaur
  • Rank 6 in Group II : Emerging Career Options
Category I : Photography


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How to turn smartphone photos into actual money

Do you like to capture everything around you? Is your smartphone full of amazing photos you have taken from the last many years? Are you thinking about getting paid for these pictures? If any of these questions is yes for you then this is a perfect guide for you to convert your passion into actual cash. This article will give you guidance about where and how you can earn money with smartphone photography. Let’s look briefly at photography.

What is Photography?

Photography is an art of freezing the moment and reliving the same memory in the future. Whenever we witness the emotional memories, we as a human being always try to relive those moments in the future, so we take help of the photography. Photography means drawing with light. The device used to take pictures is called a camera (an obvious yet important fact). A picture is a collection of different points, creative lines and specific artistic shapes which delivers a particular message to its viewer. It is well said that a picture is more than a thousand words. Because you can express your messages and thoughts well with photos. The laws of physics help in implementing this idea of taking photos with a camera. Photography does not mean to own highly expensive and stylish cameras, rather photography is a creative art that touches the emotions of viewers. The way in which things, individuals or components of the photo are arranged to deliver a message is called composition. Photography is all about mastering composition, perfect lighting and the right time to click the shutter button. Let’s now look at smartphone photography and specifically which can generate you a dollars.

Smartphones redefined photography

With the invention of the smartphone, the definition of photography is changed. The evolution that smartphones brought to photography cannot be underestimated. Billions of photos are being posted daily on many social media including Instagram and Facebook. Because of smartphones, people discover their interest in photography which they never considered before. With smartphones, everyone thinks that they are photographers. Let me clear you right away, that not everyone is a photographer but they can become one. No doubt everyone has access to photographic equipment, which they can learn to take advantage of. This article is going to give you the idea of getting the most out of your smartphone camera.   

Which Images are worth selling

The companies discussed later in this article, are the providers of high-quality photos and visuals, so you have to capture those photos which these companies will approve for selling on their marketplaces. Now, what are those photos which these brands will accept? It is not that you require expensive DSLRs to sell your photos. You can check out my profile on iStock, Shutterstock and EyeEm. And I am honestly telling you that I don’t own any DSLR and not even an expensive smartphone like Apple or Samsung. I am encouraging you by telling this because if I can then you can too. Let’s look at the quality measures of photos which will be accepted.

  • Focused and Sharp: The photos in which subject is in focus and sharp enough which make it the message clear and separates the subject from its background. It does not mean that you sharpen your images in post-production, because sometimes you can ruin the beauty of the image and those platforms clearly mentioned in their latest terms that they will not accept oversharpened images.

  • Unique and Creative: Selling your own photos online does not mean to copy other people’s work and remake them. Instead, you should get inspired by their work and should encourage yourself to come up with unique photos which will be worth selling. Try to find out ways and get creative while taking photos.

  • Unedited/Original and High Quality: The pictures which are not edited and uploaded in original form as it was captured have great chances of acceptance. The original photos are clean and worth high quality.

Quick tips and tricks

When you want to earn money with smartphone photography then it does not only mean tapping on shutter icon of your camera app, rather it takes your creativity and consciousness to capture moments in their best way, and it’s not that hard. Don’t feel low, whatever qualities you read above are easy to achieve and you just need the right track to follow. Learning those important points and tips is easy enough that you will start implementing them right away. When you will implement these tips and tricks, I promise, you are sure to click pictures worth selling. These tips I personally follow and most of them came from my personal experiences. By following these points I got accepted at brands of stock photography. The following section describes quick points that you can note next time you will launch your camera app.

  • Clean the lens: It sounds quite obvious but it’s easy to ignore at first hand. So make sure to clean and clear your smartphone camera lens with a soft and clean cloth. You can use the cloth that you might get with your sunglasses. Make sure not to over clean your lens with harsh stuff because this will lead to permanent scratches on the lens.

  • Hold your phone with both hands: Holding your smartphone with both hands can avoid blurry images.  It will also add your control over the scene you are capturing. Moreover, it adds security to your phone.

  • Default camera settings: When you will capture your photos in default settings mode of your camera app, you need to look for white/color balance, monitor calibration, sharpness, focus, and many other complex measures in post-production before actual submission of your photos.

  • Rule of thirds/3*3 Grid ON: It is the most common and basic but very important rule. It is easy to understand and implement this principle. To understand this rule, imagine your frame is divided into nine equal squares with two vertical and two horizontal lines. Now next time you are ready to capture, make sure to switch on grid lines and try to place the subject on these lines or at intersection points if these lines. This rule will make your photos well composed.

  • Leading lines: Try to capture the lines in the photo. Compose your image in such a way that some sort of lines should lead to the subject. This rule of photography adds importance to your pictures.

  • Symmetry: Don’t stick yourself to the only rule of thirds and leading lines, instead try to find the symmetry around you and store that symmetry in your gallery.

  • Experimentation: This is the most important tip. After clicking your photo, don’t sit back rather review your image and judge it like someone else has clicked the photo. Then try to capture the same subject in different ways and experiment by placing the camera at different angles. You have to keep in mind that you have to come up with that view of the subject which normally people don’t observe.

  • Explore surroundings: You don’t need to travel far away places to capture stunning masterpieces. Just observe the surroundings creatively and capture it.

  • Importance of lighting: The perfect lighting is a must for best results. Either you have to wait for the right time of the day when you will get the even and diffused light or you can build your own home studio. The best time of the day to shoot is between morning and noon. You can even experiment by capturing the same location at different timing of the day. Don’t shoot in direct sunlight, instead find shadow area where you will get perfect light. If you want to shoot indoor without studio lights then the window-side is the perfect place in your house.

  • Camera gears: This is a pro tip. You can easily buy camera gears for your smartphone model to take your photography to next level. The gears that you can buy are a macro lens, tripod etc.

Platforms where you can sell your photos

There are different numbers of online websites which provides the platform of more million customers’ base. These electronic sites opened the door for amateur photographers who have grown their interest in photography after the touch of a smartphone. These websites not only give you cash for your photos but also maintains your copyrights.

EyeEm: This website provides an app for both iOS and Android for contributors to directly upload their photos from mobile. This app is similar to the famous social media platform Instagram. It provides great filters to enhance your photos. You can choose whether you want to sell your photo or you just want to post on your profile. They review your photos based on their guidelines and sell on their marketplace. They sell the photos to other companies with which they partnered including Getty images and Adobe stock. EyeEm gives 50% of the original price of the photo to its contributors. The selling price of the photo is decided by the company itself.

Getty Images: This is an electronic visual media company placed in the US. It supplies stock photos, illustrations, videos, music and editorial photos for business industries and customers. The company is well developed and has its business locations all around the globe but it distributes its material over the internet. Getty is the most browsed website by commercial organizations. It is a brand in the world of stock photo suppliers. Unlike EyeEm, it only pays 15-20% of the price of the photo which will be sold.

iStock: iStock is also an electronic service which provides royalty-free photos, videos, and audio tracks, clip arts and illustrations. The industry has a huge library inclusive of over billions of high-quality visuals. It is now acquired by Getty Images. Nearly millions of high-quality visuals are uploaded by artists, graphic designers, photographers around the world in a month. Like Getty images, it too pays its contributors the 15-20% of the price of their photo.

Twenty twenty: This Company was originally founded in April 2013 to serve as instacanvas which were a service for printing Instagram photos on canvas. After few months in October 2013, it officially launched itself as Twenty20 as stock photography marketplace. It has a library of more than 50 million royalty-free stock photos. This site pays you 20% of the price of your image for each sale. The sale price of a image is set by the company according to the size of the image. The minimum price of a photo is ten dollars. The downside of this company is that its app is only available for iOS.

Adobe Stock: Adobe Stock is an electronic service which gives designers and businesses the library of millions of vector graphics, royalty-free photos, illustrations and videos for completing their all types of creative projects specifically including advertisements. Adobe Stock visual service is available in all Adobe desktop applications including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign so that graphic designers can look, browse and add graphics directly to their Creative Cloud Libraries. The designers can access their projects anywhere and on their desktop and mobile devices.

Other stock photography platforms include Flickr, Shutterstock, Foap, Fotolia, Stocksy, Crestock and lot many to come.


Prabhjot Kaur