How to turn your photography hobby into a fun way to make money

Hi there.
This is sato.

I’m going to write about how to turn your hobby of photography into money while having fun.

Contents of this article

There is the best way to make money just by enjoying your hobby

Have you ever thought.

If I could turn my hobby into money or I could make money just by enjoying it?

It would be great if you could do that, wouldn’t it?

For a while Youtube was making a big splash with the catchphrase “Live by what you love.”
Nowadays, Youtube may be the leading means to turn “what you love” into money.
There are quite a few Youtube channels that introduce photographic techniques and equipment.
However, the method I am going to introduce this time is not on Youtube.

To begin with, it is a very hard act to enter Youtube and compete with the leading competing channels.
Moreover, to do so, you will need specialized knowledge of photography and cameras, advanced skills, talk skills, video editing skills, and so on.
It is quite demanding, isn’t it?

The “How to turn your hobby photography into money while having fun” introduced here is a method that does not require specialized knowledge of photography or cameras, nor advanced skills, much less talk or video editing skills.

What is the method?

The way to turn your hobby photography into money while having fun is “Stock photo”.

The way to turn your hobby photos into money while having fun without any special knowledge or skills is to register your photos on stock photo sites.

What is Stock photo?

“Stock photo” is a service that allows you to purchase a wide variety of photos.

This service is especially familiar to people like me who work in the field of web design.
Of course, this service is also familiar to designers of print media and video creators.

Photos purchased through Stock photo are used in a variety of ways, such as on websites, in advertisements, and in videos.
Stock photos are also often used in TV news programs and variety shows.

Have you ever seen the words “Afro” or “Getty Images” in the corner of an image on a TV news or variety show?
“Afro” and “Getty Images” are the names of stock photo services.

“Contributors” who supply photos for stock photos

With stock photos, you can buy photos.
This means that there is someone who is taking the photo.
Of course, there are professional photographers who work exclusively for stock photo services, but there are others who do not.

Many stock photo services, including Adobe Stock, are always looking for professional and amateur photo contributors.

Anybody can become a stock photo contributor

Anyone can become a contributor to any stock photo.
Whether you are a leading professional or a weekend hobbyist, you can contribute photos under the same conditions.
And if your photos are purchased, you will receive the same rate of compensation regardless of whether you are a professional or an amateur.

There are no equipment requirements.
Even if you do not have a full-fledged equipment such as a single-lens reflex camera, photos taken with a smartphone will be fine.
However, there is a high possibility that photos of poor quality will not pass the screening process, so it is best to use good equipment.

Adobe Stock and PIXTA are the easiest to register

Adobe Stock and PIXTA are the easiest to register.
There is no particular screening process for registering an account, and once you have an account, the process for registering photos is not very strict.

PIXTA, in particular, almost never gives NG when registering photos.
I basically register the same photos on both Adobe Stock and PIXTA, and there are many cases where photos that received NG on Adobe Stock are OK on PIXTA.
On the other hand, there are very few cases where a photo that received an NG on PIXTA is OK on Adobe Stock (although there are a few cases).

Amana images +, Afro, Imagenavi, etc. have a strict screening process.

On the other hand, I have the impression that amana images +, Afro, Imagenavi, etc. have a very strict screening process just for account registration.
In fact, I had a hard time getting through the screening process and finally gave up.

Let’s register as a contributor to Adobe Stock!

Adobe Stock is a very attractive stock photo service, as it is easy to register an account, and there are probably many users downloading photos all over the world.
Let’s register with Adobe Stock right away.

Access the official website.

First of all, access here.

If you have an Adobe account, simply log in with that account to get started.
If not, click “Join” to create an account.

AdobeStockTop page

Enter the required fields.

There are not many fields to enter.
There are only four fields: email address, name, optional password, and date of birth.

Create AdobeStock account

In the case of Adobe Stock, rather than “creating an Adobe Stock account,” you are creating an Adobe account.
This allows you to use the services provided by Adobe for its member users.
You can use CreativeCloud products such as Lightroom and Photoshop for one month for free, or Adobe Stock for one month for free.

Once you have filled out all the fields and clicked the “Create Account” button, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you entered.

Create AdobeStock account confirmation

Click the URL in the confirmation email to complete registration

Check the email you received and access the URL listed to complete your account creation.

Create AdobeStock account Confirmation email

Clicking on the URL in the email will take you to a page with the terms and conditions of your Adobe account.
Don’t worry, the Adobe account itself is free and does not cost you anything.
If you wish to “purchase” stock photos from Adobe CreativeCloud or Adobe Stock for more than one month, you will be charged an additional fee.
Click “Agree” and Continue.

Create AdobeStock account Terms of Use

Your email address has been verified and you are now ready to create your account.

Create AdobeStock account Email Confirmation

Click “Click to Continue” and you will be taken to the photo upload screen.

Let’s register your photos with Adobe Stock!

Now that you have created an account, let’s register your photos.
Click “Try Uploading Assets” to go to the photo upload screen.
Adobe collectively refers to materials used for creative purposes, such as photos, illustrations, and videos, as assets.

Create AdobeStock account Done

Drag the photo to the browser with the upload window displayed

Simply drag the photo you wish to register into the browser window for easy uploading.

Upload AdobeStock Photo Try to upload

Set titles and tags for photos

Set titles and tags for uploaded photos.
The title and tags you set will make a big difference in whether or not the photo will be purchased, so be sure to think carefully about them.
However, you can freely change the title and tags later, so it is a good idea to start by setting the ones that come to mind quickly and easily.

Set titles and tags for AdobeStock photos tags

Submit for review.

When you have finished setting the title and tags, click on “Submit one item for review” in the upper right corner of the screen.

AdobeStock photo with title and tags for your AdobeStock photo.

Your photo has been submitted for review.
Wait a few days, and you will receive an email notification of your selection OR rejection.

AdobeStock photo submission complete

Titles and tags are super important

The title and tags you set for your photos are extremely important.
The trick is to language the image.

For example, what title or tag would you give this photo?

For example, what title and tags would you put on it?

Would the title be “blue sky” or “blue sky and white clouds” or “sky and trees”?
Are the tags “sky”, “blue”, “clouds”, “white”, “trees”, “forest”, “green”, etc.?

The important thing is to “verbalize the image”

Of course, such specific words are important, but what is more important is “language of the image“”.
It is to put into words the images that can be perceived from these photographs.

The designer should develop an image and put it into words, such as “fresh,” “clear,” “refreshing,” “cool,” “summer,” “summer vacation,” “memories,” “excitement,” and so on.

Designers often search for photos using these image words during production.
For example, if a designer wants to create a “summer vacation event announcement page for children”, he or she will search using image words such as “summer vacation” or “summer”.

If the client requests a “fresh image” or “the excitement of summer vacation”, we will search using those abstract image words.

Not if it is far from the general feeling

It is important to verbalize the image you perceive from the photo, but if you let the image grow too much and become like an association game, you run the risk of eventually deviating from the original image.

If this happens, your photos will not be searched properly and will become useless tags that do not contribute to sales.

How much you sell depends on you

So, how much will your stock photos sell for?

This is up to you.

Basically, the more photos you register, the more sales you will get.
Anyway, as you register more and more photos, I think you will start to see some “I don’t know but they sell” photos here and there.
This is one way to increase sales of stock photos.

It is difficult to target photos that sell well

It is generally said that “portraits sell well,” but of course, not just any portraits will do, and photos of living creatures, nature, architecture, etc. will not fail to sell either.

In fact, in my experience, even very ordinary photos that are probably similar in many ways sell well.
It could be cherry blossoms or sunlight leaking from trees, and there are many similar photos.

Even with similar photos, there are subtle differences in the conditions for selecting photos, such as the composition of the photo, what elements are covered by the photo, etc., depending on the purpose of use.

Revenues for the last 12 weeks (3 months)

By the way, my sales (reward) for the last 12 weeks (3 months) is 2,266 yen.

AdobeStock 3 Months Reward

It’s $2,266 for 3 months, so, well, it’s not much at all, but it’s not bad when you consider that you just register your photos, there is zero maintenance or other costs, and you really don’t have to do anything to get paid.

And considering that the photos I registered years ago are still selling today, I think there is a pretty good chance that I will be able to accumulate more and more photos in the future and get paid more in the long run.

[Adobe Stock] Adoption/Rejection of Photos

Adobe Stock’s review process is not very strict, so most of the time the photos you submit will be accepted.
However, sometimes they are rejected, and I sometimes wonder, “What’s wrong with this? What’s wrong with it?”.

The reasons for rejection may be easy to understand, such as “infringement of copyright or portrait rights”, or they may be vague and difficult to understand, such as “quality and technical problems”.
Photos with a lot of noise or blurred images of the subject or camera shake will generally be rejected.

For more information on photo rejection, please refer to the official Adobe page below.

[Adobe Stock] Receive your commissions via PayPal or Skrill.

Unlike other affiliate services, you will receive your commissions from either PayPal or Skrill when your photos are sold on Adobe Stock.
This is a bit disappointing.

I am familiar with PayPal, but I have never heard of Skrill.
Skrill was available in Japan for a while and was used for online casino payments, but currently (June 2022) Skrill has already withdrawn from Japan and is no longer available.

You can choose which service you would like to receive your reward through at the time of receipt, but in Japan, PayPal will be the only choice.

Increase sales by registering with multiple stock photo services

If you are going to register with a stock photo service, you may as well register with multiple services to increase your chances of making a sale and boost your sales.
Although it takes more time and effort to register, in many cases you can copy and paste titles and tags, so it’s not that hard.

Why is it better to register with multiple stock photo services?
There are two reasons

  • The photos you can register are different
  • Different users

You can register different photos.

Earlier, I mentioned that there are cases where “a photo that was rejected by Adobe Stock is OK on PIXTA” or conversely “a photo that was rejected by PIXTA is OK on Adobe Stock”.

In other words, from the point of view of those who buy photos, there are cases where “a photo that was not available on Adobe Stock is available on PIXTA” or, conversely, “a photo that was not available on PIXTA is available on Adobe Stock”.

When we designers search for photos, we generally do not use only one service.
There are two or three services that we can use to find the right photos, and we look through them in a flash.
First, I search Adobe Stock, and if I don’t find anything I like, I search imagenavi, and if that doesn’t work, I search PIXTA and buy the photos I find most suitable.

Of course, if I find the perfect one in the first service, I will buy it, and if I don’t have time, I may search for the one service I trust the most and make a decision.
But basically, we use multiple services across the board.

Therefore, it is important to register with multiple services in order to be able to handle such a buying process.

Different users.

As mentioned earlier, each of us designers has several stock photo services as our favorites.
In my case, it’s Adobe Stock, imagenavi, and gettyimages, but this lineup varies from person to person.
For example, some people may not have Adobe Stock on their list, or they may not have shutterstock or 123RF. Some may be candidates for such services.

This is because they have chosen the service that suits them best, for example, in terms of pricing or photo lineup.
Others may change the service they use depending on the characteristics of the project.

With these points in mind, you can aim to increase sales by making your work more visible to a wider audience.

Making money “without turning your hobby into a job” or “as a hobby”

Sometimes people talk about the pros and cons of “turning a hobby into a job.”
Opinions about “turning a hobby into a job” are often divided into positive and negative camps.
One side says, “It’s great if you can make money from your hobby,” while the other side says, “It’s no fun if your hobby becomes your job.
I think both sides have a point.
There is no right answer to this question, and all we can say is that it depends on the person.

Disadvantages of turning a hobby into a job

By nature, hobbies are enjoyable, but in some cases, when a hobby becomes a job, it instantly becomes less enjoyable.
For example, when it is a hobby, you can do whatever you want, whether it is painting, music, sports, or anything else, and there is no one to tell you what to do.
However, when it becomes a job, there are restrictions such as “I have to sell well” or “I have to win,” and you cannot do what you want to do or you have to do things you do not want to do.
Hobbies that were supposed to be fun are no longer fun.
This is one of the disadvantages of “turning a hobby into a job.

Merits of turning a hobby into a job

Conversely, the advantage of “turning a hobby into a job” is, of course, that you get paid just for doing what you love.
This is assuming that the aforementioned “disadvantages that could occur due to turning a hobby into a job” do not occur.
If you are in such a fortunate environment, you can do whatever you want, no one will tell you what to do, and you won’t be restricted in any way.
If you are in such a blessed environment, “turning your hobby into a job” must be fun.
Or, there may be some people who say, “I am able to do what I love, so I don’t feel that is a disadvantage.

The reason why turning a hobby into a job is not fun is because it creates “constraints”

The reason why it is not fun to turn a hobby into a job is because of the “restrictions” that are created.

The reason why it is less enjoyable when you turn a hobby into a job is because of the “restrictions” that arise.

Basically no restrictions with Stock photo

With the stock photos we are introducing here, all you have to do is take the photos you want to take and register them, and no one tells you what to do.
Of course, if the photo is against the law or ordinances, offensive to public order and morals, or deemed “unsuitable” by Adobe, you will not be able to register the photo.

In return, you do not know if it will sell or not.
There is no guarantee that you will earn a fixed income.
There is no risk and low return.

Additional Income from Stock photo While Enjoying Your Hobby

Stock photo is a no-risk way to enjoy your photos as a hobby.
If you want to make more money and start taking pictures of things you don’t normally take or going to places you don’t normally go, you will have to do a little more work, but if you can enjoy that too, it’s a great thing.

Well, this time I wrote about how to turn your hobby photography into money while having fun.
How was it?
I would be happy if it could be of some help to you who read it.
See you soon.

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