I know what you’re thinking (this is definitely clickbait! ) who makes money by offering free services? Well, the good news is that it’s possible for professional and amateur photographers to make extra money by offering free photo shoots or taking pictures during leisure time. How is this feasible? Two words — stock photography.

An increase in the number of internet users and development of apps designed to encourage the art of self publishing, has increased the need for stock images that tell stories, highlight a concept or promote ideas. Stock images are used on websites, blogs, book covers, newsletters and company reports. You’re probably going to say “have you heard of google images?”

However, in some cases, it is prohibited to use certain google images without the permission of the owner. Also, the free images available might not capture your ideas. Finally, access to a variety of photos created by skilled photographers can give your project a creative twist.

So let’s say all this is true, who would you sell the pictures/ portfolio you’ve worked to create rather than enjoy your well deserved free time? An easy way to make money is to sell pictures to third party micro-stock websites who offer royalties up to 70% per sale of each photograph. The websites attract lots of people and can do all the marketing for you.

Sounds exciting? Here are some tips to get noticed on credible micro stock websites:

Create a portfolio to be uploaded on the website of your choice 
It is imperative to pay attention to the royalty rate offered by the different websites available. Once you’ve chosen a website, upload as many pictures as you can. More pictures increase your chances of being selected by the website.

Create your niche 
Find out the type of pictures preferred by the customers of the website. This can guide your decision on the nature of pictures to upload.

Find your inspiration/muse
Offer family and friends free photo shoots on the condition they give you exclusive rights or permission to sell their pictures. You can also take pictures of landscapes or capture unique abstract concepts.

Promote your photos on the website
Read blog articles written to provide experienced and amateur stock photographers with information on current trends and strategies to boost sales.

The steps highlighted should help you get started. Good luck and make sure you have fun!