Best photo apps to earn money
There’s more you can do with your phone's camera than take endless selfies, spend all day on Snapchat and take photos of your food. You could be making some real money with these Android apps instead. Amateur photographers and semi-pros alike now have a range of different options to make a little spare cash from their hobby, but not all platforms are the same - and some are downright worth avoiding. We've rounded up the best Android apps available for selling photos today.
FOAP is probably one of the best-known platforms for amateur and professional photographers alike, which is both a good and a bad thing.
It’s good because it means there’s a huge selection of photographers and snaps to choose from for buyers, which keeps them interested, but it’s bad because it also means there’s an awful lot of competition from anyone wanting to make a little money off the platform.
As it’s a larger platform with lots of users, it’s also attracted brands, so there are higher-paying (and more fiercely contested) gigs from established names too. Its most recent update brought a UI makeover, new social features, an improved cashout selection, a model release upload option and a whole lot of other tools aimed at selling your images a little easier. It’s free to download and there are no ongoing membership fees.
Snapwire, like the rest of the apps in this list, gives you the opportunity for the amateur or semi-pro snapper to monetize their passion.
However, it’s also a little bit different to a general photo marketplace, as the emphasis really is on quality images. That means it might be more attractive for semi-to professional photographers initially, but the app has enough gamified elements to keep it interesting for amateur users too.
The ability to earn is either via Challenges or Requests, but before you can respond to the more lucrative brand requests, you’ll have to prove your skills and ‘level-up’ your account. The focus, excuse the pun, here is really on allowing the photographer to have an easily accessible and attractive portfolio of work - from there, buyers can purchase an image directly.
EyeEm is one of the biggest names in this list, and with that comes positive and negative points. On the plus side, a huge network of members combined with a scheme that highlights the best new photographers can help a few people make a splash, but it also means that there are millions of other users’ photos that prospective buyers can purchase.
Unlike some of the other ones here, EyeEm doesn’t focus on just being a photo marketplace. Instead, it’s worked to bring together people who love taking and sharing photos by building filters and other tools into the app, and found a good way to keep them coming back for more while monetizing the service at the same time.
You can upload any images you want to sell or license to the marketplace, and keep control over all rights (allowing you to assign different levels to different images, for example) at the same time as giving brands and agencies the opportunity to use them for a fee. Alongside the traditional market setup, there are “exhibitions, awards, magazines and Missions” to help entice users to keep coming back.
Like many that came before it, Dreamstime provides the now familiar marketplace features you’d expect, but keeps things pleasingly simple. It also provides some good sales feedback and stats via the mobile app and tools (like model release forms) for pros that will be appreciated.
There are a range of license options available for your images too, depending on which you choose. It might not have the reach of the largest players, but Dreamstime is worth checking out.
Shuttershock is a well-known platform for stock photos and with this app, you can showcase your work and get paid for it. Although the app works exclusively for approved Shutterstock artists, you are now allowed to now sign-up for Shutterstock directly through the Contributor app, making it quick and easy to start uploading your content right away.
The app also provides information on your sales and how customers are engaging with your content, to help you better monetize your craft.
Bonus app - miPic (iOS only)
We’re only including this one here for originality, and anyone that happens to have an iOS device lying around as well. We know you’re out there.
With another spin on the marketplace and competition formats already seen in this post, miPic still manages to bring something new to the table. Like Snapwire, MiPic puts the emphasis on shining the spotlight on photographers, but it also adds new ways of monetizing images that are uploaded to the platform in a way that could appeal to consumers, rather than brands and agencies mass-acquiring images from these marketplaces.
Of course, it allows you to sell the snaps too, but allows customers to print the image directly onto an item (mugs, tees, etc.). You, as the creator of the image, get 20% of each sale that uses your images. But as already mentioned it’s still iOS only for now.
If you go looking for other apps that claim to allow you to make money from your photos, there are a couple you’ll come across that are worth avoiding at this point, for a few different reasons. Clashot and Iconzoomer are the first two you’re likely to find and they haven’t been updated in over a year and over 4 years respectively!
Not only does that mean they’re probably a waste of time in terms of the time you’ll invest in creating a profile, but it also makes them a potential security risk. Apps, like operating systems, should always be kept up to date with the latest security practices, so using one that’s four years old for any financial transactions doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Do you use any other apps to make money from your photos? Let us know in the comments below!
The best I’ve found, the ones that pay and I get consistent downloads from in this order:
Getty / iStock
The rest I’ve tried and none have any consistent downloads or payouts using the same portfolio for all. Anything with a contest seems to just be a social platform to get you to spend more to enter more contests. Agora is horrible stay clear of them, people report photos stolen from there regularly. Dreamstime has a very low download ratio. Shutterstock seems to do the highest volume, Adobe pays the most per download consistently, however I’ve made upwards of 20 dollars on a single download from shutterstock at times. Getty pays anywhere from 9 cents and up but again they consistently show downloads every month.
Remember when you add items to your portfolio it should be curated, this gives you a chance to improve by getting feedback. This also means there is some form of quality control which means there will be customers interested in your images. Contests are great but a stock portfolio will pay over time. It’s like a small investment if you do it correctly and will help you upgrade your gear or pay for software. Pay attention to what it is you shoot that customers download and run with it. You can have 2000 images online but if they aren’t what customers want they won’t earn you any money. Performing post using an app like Lightroom is not cheating, it’s like developing an image. Do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise. It is impossible to take a beach shot in bright sun and get all the details without at least creating an HDR. You can almost never photograph lightning and get the foreground in focus while getting a clean shot of a bolt in the distance. This is why we work on techniques for shooting and techniques for developing in post processing. Practice will improve your skills and feedback will help you grow a good portfolio.
Hello I’m looking for opinions about AGORA images app. Thanks
I have used Agora almost a year. They only recently started to sell the images but allowed for us to upload a good year before the market place opened. There are contests on the app which I used to find fun but I have noticed some stuff with them that is not the most reliable.
1) They do not do anything to verify your images so you could snap a blurry shot of your toe and upload it and there is no issue. This is horrible because what buyer is going to want to sift through crap.
2) I sell on 4 other apps including shutterstock. They all checked and verified my images fairly fast (first time was around 10 days). My Agora profile has been pending now for over a month with no word on if they approve me to sell or not. I find that odd.
3) The tech support and customer care sucks. They take days to reply if at all. The site itself is also a bit glitchy. For example I was in Thailand and wanted to start selling but stripe is not available in Thailand. Even though I am from Canada and have a stripe account I had to get a vpn to get the site to allow me to register.
4) The higher your "level" the more points you give when liking a photo. So say an advanced will give 5 points for each like. That sucks because you could have a really awesome photo and have only 25 likes but they are from 25 separate people. Someone else could upload a crap photo get 7 people to like it and have 35 likes on the site. So really if you are say entered in a contest, you will end up losing even though more people have liked your photo. This also affects the price (they say) when selling. Pictures are more expensive as your level increases.
I am at a point where I think Agora is a waste of time and actually started removing my items because for all i know they are uploading my images to another site and selling them. Would be a good way to do things, build a website get submissions and then say the photos are yours and put on one of the other apps that actually pays.
Try shutterstock if you want a similar experience and actually get paid.
Hi Yaman, is it possible to edit photos, like adjust colors or increase brightness before selling them? I'm rew to this and haven't tried any photo selling apps yet.
Yes you can make all kinds of edits before selling them. Some sites are more restrictive than others. iStock by Getty pretty much passes anything as creative, although it may or may not download. If you are looking for apps that make money on any device:
Adobe Stock / Lightroom
Contribute to these if you are able and try to have a fair sized portfolio. If you have the images people are in demand for you will see a small but fast return.
Shallet has introduced a totally new way for mobile pics monetization
You must buy photo to maybe sell photo. It looks pretty much like pyramidal fraud!