How to Sell Your Instagram Photos (14 Legitimate Ways to Make Money!)
Updated on: by Olivia
Instagram has become a prime online spot to showcase some of the most beautiful photos from all over the world.
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And it’s never been easier to take gorgeous pictures, thanks to the technology we now have at our fingertips with smartphones.
You don’t even have to be a professional photographer to know how to snap a photo that gets tons of likes and comments on the social media platform.
That means that it’s also never been easier to make money on your photos without going through the hassle of setting up a photography business.
Whether you’re a casual photo taker or a passionate photographer, you can earn money just from your Instagram photos alone.
A Note on Selling Instagram Photos
I know it sounds great to sell your Instagram photos for cash.
But there’s something I want to point out first because I see a lot of other people talking about selling Instagram pictures but not mentioning this important fact first.
Depending on licensing you offer with your Instagram photos, you could get yourself into hot water by selling someone the same photo that’s already on your Instagram page.
Some licenses give a buyer exclusive rights to that image, meaning that only they are able to purchase and use that image.
This isn’t always the case with selling photos, but it is a possibility.
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The problem is, if a person who buys your photos doesn’t know that they already exist on Instagram, they’ll probably be upset finding out that their exclusive license isn’t so exclusive.
And technically, under Instagram’s Terms of Service, Instagram always holds somewhat of a right to your photos you post.
So, before you go selling any pictures from your Instagram feed, you need to be sure you’re not selling them as exclusive.
It’s also a good idea just to make people aware that your photos do appear on your Instagram page as well; it never hurts to give a head’s up!
How Can I Sell My Instagram Photos for Money?
Now, let’s talk about how you can make money with your Instagram photos.
Not only can you sell photos that you’ve already posted to Instagram, but you can also sell photos you haven’t yet uploaded to Instagram in the following ways:
Sell Them from Your Account
First, you can use your Instagram account to display photos that you have for sale and sell them directly from your account!
Use your profile link to link to a page where people can go to buy prints or digital photos they like.
In each photo you post, make sure you remind people to click that link in your bio to go to your selling page.
Your link can point to your shop’s page on your website, your Etsy shop, or even your profile page on a stock photo site – wherever people can go to purchase your pictures.
This is one of the more lucrative ways to sell your Instagram pictures because you can be in full control of how much they sell for.
In your Instagram captions, you can add the price for each picture if you want, or just direct people to your online shop where they can get the details themselves.
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Whether you want to charge $5 or $500 for your photos, that’s up to you!
Sell Them Directly to Brands
You can also sell your Instagram photos to brands you love that align with your feed.
Maybe you post about interior decorating and you fell in love with your new living room set.
You can do what you do best and post some styled photos that include your new furniture pieces.
Tag the brand and work on fostering a relationship through commenting on and liking their posts.
Then, you could strike up a conversation through DM or the brand’s website to let them know how much you love their stuff and point out that you’ve posted a few photos that highlight the brand.
You may just score yourself a deal!
Some brands reach out to Instagrammers when they post photos of their products to see if they can buy the photos for future branding or marketing.
And they’re often willing to pay good prices to do it.
Or, they might see you as perfect brand ambassador material.
That means that they’ll pay you to post authentic Instagram photos showcasing their products/services.
Either way, you’re getting paid for your pictures!
Start a Membership
Do you seem to have a very engaged Instagram audience who drool over your pictures?
If so, setting up a membership with Patreon could be a good way to get some consistent income rolling in.
Patreon is a platform for creators of all types where their fans can subscribe to a membership to get exclusive stuff.
As a photographer, you can create your membership for people who want access to exclusive photos that non-members won’t get.
You might add 10 new photos per month, for example, for members only and give them rights to use those photos on their websites, on social media, or in email newsletters.
You can add one teaser photo on Instagram each month to pique interest and encourage more sign-ups.
Make sure you add your Patreon link to your captions or in your Instagram bio!
Etsy lets you sell both print and digital images.
You can add your favorite Instagram photos to your shop and start selling!
Just be sure to factor in shipping costs and the cost of materials (printer, printer ink, and photo-quality paper) if you decide to go the print route.
You might even offer framed photos, too.
Companies like CafePress and Zazzle let you upload your own creations and images to sell on a variety of products, like t-shirts, mugs, and pillows.
Customers can decide what they want to buy, place their order, and you don’t have to lift a finger.
Just upload your pictures and the company takes care of fulfilling the order, shipping the items, and collecting payment to send to you.
Set yourself up with a Shopify store, and you can sell your photos directly from your own website!
You can connect to a print-on-demand company that works with Shopify to set up a shop that’s similar to CafePress and those types of sites.
This way, you can still get the hands-off printing experience and perk of not holding inventory or shipping items yourself while customers can browse your store, order what they want, and the print-on-demand company takes care of the rest.
Getty Images and iStock
One of the most common things people want to know on this subject is how to sell your photos on iStock.
Technically, iStock and Getty Images are the sibling companies, so you’ll need to apply to the overseeing company to become a photographer for either site.
You can do that by clicking here and reading through the information.
It requires downloading the app available on Google Play and the App Store.
Then, upload a few of your best photos for the team to review.
If you’re accepted, the team will let you know and you’ll be an official contributor.
The sites don’t say exactly what you’ll make for each photo because royalties can differ depending on how active you are and how in demand your photos are.
But you will receive a percentage of each sale, so lots of sales can add up to a lot of money.
Get your pictures licensed by 500px and start selling them!
You can submit your photos to head to the marketplace where they can get up to 60% of the sales price in royalties.
One perk about this place is that photo editors will review your work and offer some feedback, which can help you tailor your photos to the platform and get as many eyes on them as possible.
500px also has some partnering opportunities available where you can get paid even more for your photos for special projects.
As a photographer on Foap, you can sell Instagram pictures quickly and easily by uploading them through the app.
People can purchase your photos over and over again, and you’ll get 50% of the sale every time they sell.
Not only can you sell pictures directly to others on the marketplace who want to buy them, but you can also participate in Foap missions.
These give you a chance to get creative with your camera and submit photos relevant to a particular challenge to earn even more money.
EyeEm has a marketplace where talented photographers can sell their photos.
You can batch upload your favorite photos from your computer or smartphone and get 50% of every sale.
Like Foap, you can sell photos multiple times, so there’s no cap on what you can earn.
As long as people want to buy your pictures, you can keep making money.
Snapwire is a photo buying and selling platform that gives photographers two ways to get paid.
First, you can make money when your pictures sell to anyone who has a monthly or yearly subscription.
When this happens, you’ll get 50% of the royalties, which is up to $6.45 per download.
Or, you can get 100% of what your photos sell for when you complete custom photo requests or win a challenge.
This happens when you respond directly to a request for a photo and yours is the lucky chosen one.
This app is another one to use to take advantage of the selling power your Instagram photos offer.
Sign up as a creator from your iPhone (the Google Play app isn’t ready yet, but should be soon), and upload what you want to sell.
You’ll get paid 100% of what you earn from winning challenges and a percentage of the sales price on all directly sold photos, which you can learn more about here.
Conclusion: How to Sell Your Instagram Photos
Success with this side gig is totally possible – possible enough that it could become a full-time thing if you set up enough pathways for selling.
For example, you might become a brand ambassador for two brands who occasionally pay big money for your photos.
And you set yourself up with three stock photo sites to earn a pretty consistent cashflow from royalties.
And then you have a Patreon membership that gets about 10 new sign-ups a month of people who want to gain access to your exclusive stock photos.
Think about how much money that can bring in as you continue to grow!
If you come across other places that are helpful for selling Instagram photos or other tips to share, please let us know in the comments below.
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