The camera on your smartphone can earn you money in a number of ways, from selling pics to image libraries to getting cashback on groceries.
There was a time when you needed to be a bit of a photography buff before you’d carry around a camera with you capable of taking stunning looking pictures.
But nowadays, with many of us strolling around with costly smartphones that come with powerful cameras as standard, it’s much easier to get snapping.
And if you’ve got a bit of a knack for it, you can put those pictures to better use than simply getting a few likes on Facebook and Instagram. You can actually convert those pictures into cold, hard cash.
Selling stock photos
Take a look at the websites you go on every day. Plenty of them will rely on stock photos to spruce up their sites, pictures that they have purchased the right to use.
Here at loveMONEY we are no exception.
What’s more, the websites that sell on these photos don’t just accept submissions from professionals – plenty of the pictures that media outlets and businesses can purchase have been uploaded by amateurs just like you.
Whether it’s a person looking pensively at a letter or laptop, an empty wallet, or simply a picture of a famous landmark, there are all sorts of snaps that you can take with your mobile and then make available through stock photo websites.
One noteworthy new option is Stockimo, an app from Alamy. It’s only available on relatively up to date iPhones at the moment, but you can potentially earn a packet if lots of different users opt to license your snaps.
The actual price for each photo will vary, depending on a host of factors including its size, where it’s being used and for how long. You’ll get to keep 20% of every sale though.
There are loads of different stock photo websites to consider though, including the likes of iStockPhoto and Shutterstock.
It’s important to have a proper read of their terms and conditions to see how – and how much – you’ll be paid for any of your photos that are used.
With iStock, for example, you’ll need to sign up and then send over a handful of examples of your snaps before you’ll be allowed to flog photos through the site. With Shutterstock all of your uploaded pics need to be reviewed, as well as correctly ‘tagged’.
Alternatively, you could try to sell your stock photos through a site like Etsy. It may not be the first site you think of when it comes to selling photos, but you're in more control over precisely what you sell – and what you can charge doing so.
It’s also important to think about what sorts of stock photos you see popping up on news sites and where there might be gaps.
And let’s be honest, there’s no doubt your friends fancy their chance at being a model, even if it’s just posing in your kitchen rather than on some glamorous shoot abroad.
We can’t all be amateur David Bellamy's of course. So even if you’re dreadful at taking photos that you could sell on, there are still ways to turn that camera on your phone into a little earner.
For example, some cashback sites will give you a few pennies back if you purchase particular items the next time you hit the supermarket, such as Quidco’s ClickSnap service.
Take a picture of your receipt with your phone and then share it with the cashback site and you’ll get a bit of money back. It may only be small amounts, but it can quickly add up to something more substantial, particularly if they are items you were going to buy anyway.
Other apps worth a look here include HuYu, SnapMyEats and ReceiptHog.
Another option is the Job Spotter app. It is the brainchild of jobs website Indeed, and is an attempt to bring some of those job ads that you might only see in shop windows online.
So while you’re out and about, if you spot a ‘help wanted’ ad in a newsagent, local bakery or wherever, take a snap with your phone and upload it to the app.
You earn points for each approved ad – basically, one that hasn’t already been uploaded by someone else – and those points can then be converted into gift cards for places like Amazon.
Again, it’s not going to make you rich, but you can quickly make a few quid just by being a little eagle-eyed while out on your lunch break or on the commute to work.
Become a YouTuber
Not that long ago the mere idea of someone basing their career around uploading videos to the internet would have seemed utterly ridiculous to me. But I confess I have gone through a complete turnaround on this, to the point that I now actively seek out specific ‘YouTubers’, god help me.
And while many successful streamers have invested in quality broadcast equipment, there are plenty of people filming their content from their humble smartphones.
For example, my family are planning a holiday to Disneyland and the sheer number of channels specifically designed to offering guidance to holidaymakers – and which are shot almost entirely on camera phones – is remarkable.
Making money from YouTube is far from easy though, as our guide makes clear.
Looking for even more ways to make extra cash: read our comprehensive guide to boosting your income.
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