How To Make Money Doing Mobile Phone Stock Photography

Have you ever wondered how to make passive income with mobile phone photography? Stock photography is a great outlet for you to practice your creativity while making a little extra cash on the side.

Just think of all those great photos you’ve taken on your phone. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get paid for taking them? Turning your favorite hobby into a side hustle is an opportunity you just can’t miss.

So, what are you waiting for?

Can I Take Stock Photos With My Smartphone and Make Money?


Stock photography might seem like something you can only do with a DSLR, but there are actually a ton of mobile phone photographers making money off photos taken with their smartphones.

While the quality of older smartphones may not be up to par, the latest and greatest mobile phones take high-quality pictures that are perfect for stock photography.

How Does Smartphone Stock Photography Make Me Money?

phone stock photography
Ethos 3

Stock photography sites are generally easy to navigate, even if you’re new to this idea. In many cases, these entities are apps now which makes them even easier to use.

First, photographers upload their photos to the website platforms. Websites typically provide a list of general guidelines of what their requirements are. Do note that in many cases free stock photography sites will get your work seen by more people. While obviously this doesn’t make you any money, uploading your work to a free stock photography option may be worth considering.

Here are some of our favorite stock photography sites:

So, you’ve uploaded those mobile phone stock photos. What’s next?

Pixabay phone stock photography

When uploading your photos, you’ll likely be asked for a list of tags to help buyers find your work. Before starting, you may want to do a little research to see what tags sell best for your style of photography.

Finding the most searched for tags will help you understand what buyers are looking for.

After photos are evaluated and approved by stock photography sites, they become available for clients to buy. When clients buy your photo, you typically will receive either a flat fee or a percentage, depending on the website. You probably won’t make much per photo, but as more buyers download your images, the more money you’ll make.

Patience – Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

Once your photos have been uploaded and approved, you simply sit back and wait for the money to roll in. However, it’s important to note that if you only upload a few photos, even if they’re incredible, you may be waiting a while. When it comes to stock photography, patience is a virtue!

Stock photography is a bit of a numbers game. Most photographers don’t find success in their new side hustle until they have a significant number of images uploaded to the website. That may sound frustrating, but otherwise, those photos would just be sitting around on your phone not potentially making you any money. You might as well try!

At the end of the month, the stock photography website of your choice will simply send you a check (or online payment) for the royalties you’ve earned from sales. Remember, uploading more photos will only increase your chances of success at the end of the month.

What are Stock Photography Sites Looking For? Social Media Style Images

stock photography

Although some smartphone photographers have found success with various niches of stock photography, in general, the most successful images are those that resemble social media photos.

Buyers who are searching for social media photos want images that feel authentic and one way to accomplish that authentic feel is with pictures taken on a mobile phone.

That’s not to say that no one will buy your beautiful landscapes or portraits, but those types of photos might be better left for DSLR photographers. Remember, stock photography is a numbers game and you want to go with a niche that has the best chance of success.

In most cases, stock photography websites only want images that have little to no editing, but that’s often not the case with mobile phone stock photos. Since many websites want that authentic social media vibe, editing and filters are fine and, in some cases, even encouraged.

Tips for Taking Stock Photos with Your Phone

Tips for Taking Stock Photos with Your Phone
Twenty20 Stock Photos

Free Stock Photography Tip #1 – Embrace a Social Media Aesthetic

The most successful stock photos taken with smartphones are those that resemble someone’s social media feed. You can take pictures of any subject, but you want to avoid photos that look overly staged.

You also want to focus more on the emotion you’re trying to convey with your photos, rather than getting everything right. Food is a great option to try because it by nature is messy.

Free Stock Photography Tip #2 – Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.

With regular stock photography, that tilted horizon or strange lighting might not fly, but it can work with mobile phone stock photography as long as it conveys the right feeling or message.

So, keep track of your experimentation and how those photos fare on the stock photography sites. If you find a particular method of experimentation is selling, then keep doing it!

Free Stock Photography Tip #3 – Immerse Your Viewer into the Scene

Try taking photos from an immersive point of view. Think of your favorite social media influencers and how many of their pictures make you feel like you’re right there beside them. Immersing your viewers in the action will draw buyers to your images.

Free Stock Photography Tip #4 – Diversify Your Smartphone Photography Portfolio

It can be helpful to have a broad portfolio on whichever stock photography website you choose to use.

Uploading a hundred images of the same subject won’t reach as many buyers and may even get your photos rejected for duplicate images. Get creative and try experimenting with different subjects.

So, Stock Photography on a Mobile Phone or a Traditional Camera?

One of the greatest benefits of doing stock photography with your smartphone, rather than a DSLR is the freedom to experiment. Buyers want images that look like real life, or at least a glamorous version of real life, so you have a lot more freedom than you do with traditional stock photography.

Social media has become such a big part of life that it’s also affected the market for stock photography. In order to get that Instagram-type feeling, you have the freedom to take imperfect photos or experiment with different filters.

Buyers want unique images that depict the spontaneous or emotional moments in life, just like those you’d want to show your friends, family, and followers. Keeping your buyers’ interests in mind will help you to capture the perfect stock images and add to your passive income.

At the end of the day, you’re not going to get rich selling stock photos taken with your mobile phone. But it can be a great way to earn additional income without ever lifting a finger. That is after you’ve taken the time to take great photos and upload them to the website. Even if you keep your expectations low, it’s still a fun way to capitalize on the photos you’re already taking.

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