Want to learn how to to sell photos online? On EyeEm, you can offer your images on EyeEm Market, a digital marketplace for real photography. The best photos are also distributed through our partnership with Getty Images, Adobe Stock, and others. Our image recognition technology does the heavy lifting for you by automatically tagging all your pictures – so that you can focus on uploading your work and start building a passive income with your photography.

In 2016, EyeEm’s own Michael Jones (@michael) earned $1000 by selling his photography on Market. I asked him to share some of his insight on how to sell photos online – even if you aren’t a professional photographer. Read on for his tips!

Personal goal reached - made over $1k in 2016! So excited! EyeEmPaid
Personal goal reached – made over $1k in 2016!

It’s a Numbers Game

“At the beginning of the year, I set myself the personal goal of hitting $1000 in sales revenue from my photos. I had been a member of EyeEm for a few years and started using Market when it launched in 2015, but this was nevertheless a very ambitious goal: I have a full-time job, so I don’t get to shoot much. But I figured that using any chance I had to upload something would greatly increase my chances of selling – something that turned out to be true.”

“By the end of 2016, I had 1500 photos on EyeEm Market, of which 870 were on sale via EyeEm’s partner sites. This amount meant there was plenty for buyers to choose from and I covered lots of different topics they might be searching for.”

Some Photos Will Turn Into Bestsellers

summer swimming pool water patterns light and shadow Market Bestsellers April 2016 Market Bestsellers August 2016 Bestsellers
Sold 28 times: A full-frame shot of sunlight patterns in a swimming pool. Taken with an iPhone 6 Plus.

“Contrary to what I had expected, I didn’t end up selling a large variety of photos: Instead, a few select images turned into bestsellers and were bought again and again. In total, I sold 29 individual photos exactly 77 times – which was enough to earn $1000.”

Learn & Shoot: Simplicity I love colour Market Bestsellers September 2016 Bestsellers
Sold four times: Overhead view of girl cycling with an arrow painted on the tarmac. Taken with a Sony A7ii.

Variety Beats Quality

“Even as an EyeEm team member, it can be surprising which photos end up selling. Often, the quick phone snapshot turns out to be what image buyers need – rather than the photo I labored over for hours with a big camera. I am surprised how much of my mobile photography sold, even though some pictures were taken with an iPhone I used years ago.”

Bubbles Stopping Time
Sold one time: Abstract of bubbling water in a colorful fountain. Taken with an old Canon 600D.

“Of course I read the regular trend reports on EyeEm to find out what kind of subjects are trending, but having a large variety of photos on offer also means that you can make the occasional sale in a completely unrelated field – like my abstract photo above. Many of my photos are rather opportunistic snaps, something I take in passing. Each time I sell one of these photos, it confirms that the variety of my images was key to selling them.”

whiteboard The Tools of My Craft It's Business Time
Sold twice: Whiteboard in a conference room at my old job. Taken with an iPhone 4S.

Waiting bus stop 25 Days of Summer Night Lights
Sold four times: Night scene, girl waiting at bus stop. Taken with an iPhone 5s.

Did you sell as well?

We want to hear your stories. How are you using EyeEm Market to sell photos online? Let us know on your favorite social network with the hashtag #EyeEmPaid.

Not on EyeEm yet? Download our app and start shooting:


Header image by @michael.