7 Easy Ways to Make Money with the Pictures on Your Smartphone


easy ways to make money

7 Easy Ways to Make Money with the Pictures on Your Smartphone

I recently moved from Florida to Oregon, but before we moved my wife and I went through everything (literally everything) we owned and sold anything we didn’t use anymore. If we couldn’t sell it we gave it to Goodwill for the tax write off.

When we arrived in Oregon I found a giant Rubbermaid box full of photos from my childhood that had somehow slipped by me during packing. I hadn’t looked at the photos in years, but I couldn’t part with them. So I sat down with two goals in mind:

  1. Scan them onto my computer so I could sync them with my Google Photos account (where literally every photo I own is)
  2. Get rid of a huge box of photos that are taking up space in my closet

After I finished going them I walked the box of pictures to the trash and my wife jokingly said, “It’s too bad we can’t make any money off these.

I was looking through some of the pictures on my phone the next day when I started thinking about it: there’s got to be a way to make some extra money from all the pictures we take.  After a little bit of research and digging, it turns out there is.

And here’s the 3 step process for making some extra cash with pictures that are already on your phone.

Step 1. Download the App and Sign-up

In order to sell photos in the past you had to register at a stock photo site like Dreamstime or Shutterstock, but if you own a smartphone, just using and app is so much simpler.

Below you’ll find a review and some details of our top 2 favorite apps, and also a list 9 additional apps that you may want to check out.

#1: Foap

Foap is an app for iPhone and Android that allows you to upload pictures directly from your smartphone for sale. It’s a super simple concept: photos sell for $10, you get to keep $5 and Foap gets to keep $5.

Once you download the app you can check the “Latest Sold” tab to get an idea of the types of photos people (and companies) are buying.

Foap recommends verifying your account and also keeping a broad portfolio of photos ranging from photos of animals or nature, to photos of people, places, or things.

It was shocking to see that simple photos like a selfie of yourself at Disney World can sell very well.

This was our favorite app.


#2: Twenty20

There are four ways to earn money from your pictures with Twenty20.

  1. Single photo licenses. Earn 80% commission, on photos that sell for $10, $20, or $50 depending on the size/resolution of the photo purchased.
  2. Subscription licensing. High volume buyers subscribe to Twenty20 and you can a 20% commission on photos involved.
  3. Photo challenges. A buyer (or Twenty20) can list a photo challenge. If your photo is selected you keep 100% of the listed prize.
  4. Commissioned work. If a brand or company really likes your portfolio they can request to specifically commission work from you. You earn 100% of the commission.

Twenty20 has a very clean interface and this is a close second to Foap.


9 Additional iPhone and Android Apps to Make Money from Your Photos


After submitting photos they are available for sale in the Scoopshot store. Once an image you submitted is purchased you’ll receive a notification and your balance will be updated. Scoopshot doesn’t specifically say how much money can be made from a single image, but you can cash out at any time via bank transfers or Paypal.



Iconzoomer is an assignment based photography network. You get your photo assignment from Iconzoomer, take a picture of whatever the assignment may be, upload it, and receive credits. Credits can then be traded in for money, products, or charity.



Brands and businesses sign up and request specific photos they need. They can then nominate their favorite submissions and choose to purchase which ones they like.



Upload photos (that comply with the quality standards) and browsers will purchase for $0.50 to $80. Photos are sold from Depositphotos photobank.



Stockimo’s slogan is to “turn spare moments into spare cash.” If they sound familiar it’s because they are the iPhone app of Alamy, one of the largest websites for picture buyers. Photos sell based on how Stockimo chooses to license them. However, the average photo on Alamy sells for $90, but it could go for as little as $5 or as much as $500.



EyeEm was unfortunately one of the more confusing apps and services. Once you sign up you will get requests for a specific type of image or buyers can search through the database. EyeEm licenses the image for $20 (minimum), which you will get a percentage of (undisclosed by EyeEm).


Step 2. Upload your Photos

Once you’ve chosen an app (or perhaps several) now is the time to go through your photos and upload the good ones. I recommend being a little picky at first so your “portfolio” on the app looks decent. Try to choose some pictures with a good representation of people, places, and things. Color and focus is your friend. The more vivid the photo, the more likely someone is to buy it.

For the most part each photo you upload has to pass some type of quality control standard. That means that not every photos you submit is going to be approved. Don’t get discouraged, everyone has photos rejected.

Step 3. Go the Extra Mile

Most non-photographers that are selling photos don’t want to spend a ton of time trying to actually sell them, especially if you’re doing this just for an extra $20-$50 or so each month.

However, it does pay off to take about 5 minutes and make sure your account is verified, your profile is filled out, and you have a decent profile picture (i.e. one of you smiling).

And that’s it.

If you’re not a photographer then don’t get frustrated if it takes a few weeks for a photo to sell. Several people have said a general rule of thumb is $1 per 100 photos per month. As you can see it takes quite a bit of photos to gain any traction using those numbers, but it can quickly turn into some nice residual income.

Author Bio

Wesley Banks is an author, adventurer, and founder of Photography Today, a blog that was inspired by his recent venture into the world of photography.


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