We love our smartphones, so much so that many people will own their $600+ device and accompanying monthly plan in lieu of shoring up their personal finances. These productivity and media powerhouses are a necessity for communication, safety, and working on the go. If you have an iPhone, you probably also enjoy its wonderful camera and editing software. What you might not realize is how much money you can make taking pictures with an iPhone.
How do you make money with iPhone photos? There are multiple ways to get paid to take photos on your iPhone. These include:
- Taking people’s dating profile pictures
- Selling stock photos on different apps
- Using the pictures, you take to create posters and prints
- Use your photos to expand your own brand
- Take real estate photos for realtors
- Become a secret shopper
Your iPhone has an incredibly high-quality camera attached to it and every year it gets better and better. Depending on the model you have, your phone might be able to compete with a classic DSLR. They already replace many digital point and shoot cameras. Want to cash in on that tech? Is the quality actually there to make money? Read on to see how you can do it.
Can You Really Make Money From iPhone Photography?
Yes! There is this stigma that with a smartphone, namely your iPhone, can't take quality pictures. Another stigma is that your iPhone is so ubiquitous, so popular, that no one would pay for a “photographer” that uses such a common consumer device.
Camera Quality from an iPhone
First of all, let's take a look at the camera tech in a comparison between a top iPhone phone and a top Galaxy phone. I also acknowledge One Plus phones and Google phones, but want to keep the table small.
|Camera||Apple iPhone 12 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra|
|Main (wide)||12MP f/1.6||108MP f/1.8|
|Telephoto||12MP f/2.0||48MP f/3.5|
|Ultra-wide||12MP f/2.4||12MP f/2.2|
|Selfie (front)||12MP f/2.2||40MP f/2.2|
|Rear Photo Image|
The zoom is getting better, the colors and lighting are getting better. The software and AI are also getting better. Do you think this tech is good enough for quality?
Market for iPhone Photos
What if I told you that when most people buy a stock photo or a photography service, they don't care what kind of camera you use to take the shot. There are exceptions to this of course. Like if someone is hired to take a specific shot or if you are expected to capture all the important moments like a wedding photography.
People generally like the direct, homegrown look of iPhone photos and videos. I have personally made money using iPhone photography to take pictures of products for online resale, products as a service for local pawnshops, landscapes (stock), and even assets for property managers. The focus was what I was helping them accomplish.
How Do You Make Money with iPhone Photos?
Just about any photo you take will be marketable in one way or another. It all boils down to how you market the pics and how you make it work for you.
To make the money you want from your iPhone, you’re going to need to find a way to sell the photos you’re taking. What you are essentially selling is the end result, not necessarily a photo from a common consumer device.
This guide will break things down into essentially two parts: understanding how to market your wares and understanding how to find places that will buy your work. Let’s start.
Before You Begin: Putting Together A Marketing Plan
The more people know about your photography, the better off you’ll be. Thankfully, social media makes it possible to flaunt your pics and advertise yourself without having to spend a dime. Before you kick off your hunt for gigs, make sure to do the following:
- Create a Facebook Page. You would be surprised at how many people find photography gigs via Facebook. Your Facebook page should have information about your location, pictures you’ve taken, as well as a general outline of any service specialties you have.
- Create an Instagram Account. Your photography-centric Instagram account should have the best of your photos, plus information on how you can be contacted. Instagram's iPhone app makes this extremely easy. There's even a built-in editor.
- Start Putting Together Photos. You will need at least 10 to 15 photos to kick off your social media accounts. This is your basic portfolio that people will use to judge your work. Go through your iPhone’s photos and pick the ones that you feel best market you.
- Get Model Releases. You can’t just post photos of other people without their consent. If you want to use any friends’ photos as part of your portfolio, get them to sign releases. You can download free model releases online. It’s good to keep a stack of them with you in a folder.
Once you have all these things put together, you’re ready to start making some money. These methods below will make it possible to cash in with your iPhone sooner rather than later.
Taking Other Peoples’ Dating Profile Pics
A quick swipe through some common dating apps, and even Tinder, will reveal a very sad truth about people: most of us cannot take a good photo of ourselves. In a world where looks matter more and more every day, the demand for people who can take some good dating profile pics is sky-high.
Advertising yourself as a photographer who specializes in dating pics is a great way to earn extra cash, especially in larger cities. Many of these gigs can be found on freelance job boards, message boards, and sites like Craigslist.
How To Sell Your Profile Pic Work
People who are looking for dating profile photos are not looking for super upscale shots. They just want something casual, believable, and flattering. Again, you're selling the result. When dealing with these clients, these tips can help:
- Explain how your knowledge of the dating scene makes you a good candidate. Do you know what people want in a partner? Do you know how to make others appear attractive? Mention that when you write to clients!
- Show them some of your samples, and why they worked. Do you know that one extra special shot you took of a friend? The one that convinced her fiancé to date her? Show them that one.
- Emphasize your flexibility. People who want profile pics are often pressed for time. This means that you should emphasize that you’re willing to work with their schedule. Offering to work on their time and being willing to come to their location can make a huge difference in getting a paying gig.
- Offer dating profile writing services too. If you’re good at writing a decent (non-creepy) dating profile, especially Tinder, you can add this as an additional service. Depending on your client, this can get you anywhere from $10 to $50 extra.
How Much Can Selling Dating Profile Photoshoots Make You?
For the most part, people aren’t really looking to spend too much on dating profile work. In most cases, people will be willing to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 unless you have killer success stories. While this may not be much, it will probably be enough to cover a nice portion of your phone bill.
Selling Stock Photos
Selling stock photos is a common way for people to make money using iPhone photos, and it’s also the most accessible option on this list. While many stock photo platforms will not allow “cellphone” pictures to be used for sale, there are some that welcome it with open arms.
This money-making option offers up a quick way to earn a passive income while on the go. All you need in order to make it happen is an iPhone and a little imagination. It’s worth pointing out that you get complete control over what you shoot for stock photography. That alone makes it a great hobby to have.
How to Sell Stock Photography Through Your iPhone
The hardest part of the stock photography option is finding a platform that will welcome your photos. These below are the most popular picks for selling iPhone pictures:
- Stockimo. This is the sister site of Alamy, and it specializes in iPhone photography. Payouts are great, and so is their user base. Uploading is easy, but adding in all the keywords, you need to make your photo searchable can be tedious.
- Foap. Foap is a slightly larger app that also is open to iPhone shots. Their client base includes major names like Heineken and MasterCard. If you’re good at taking shots, this is a very promising option. You get to set the price, and payouts are around 50 percent.
- Getty Images. They allow iPhone images to be added to their library via their Contributor app. Getty is the most popular stock photography site among top companies, magazines, and advertising firms. If you choose this option, make sure your photos are amazing.
Tips for Selling Stock Photos
There are literally thousands of other people who are taking shots just to sell them online. To make your stock photos rule, you’re going to need to market them well. Aside from getting good shots and editing them, your best bet is to use keywords and tags to make them more searchable.
When putting in keywords and tags, getting a good mix between the generic and the specific is ideal. Keep that in mind when you’re writing your descriptions, too!
What Stock Photos Sell Best?
Any stock photo has a chance of being a bestseller as long as it’s bright, colorful, and well-taken. That being said, there are certain categories that seem to be more popular than others:
- Photos Suggesting Commerce. Many photographers use editing to add in graphics that emphasize things like e-commerce or cash exchange to shots they took using their iPhones. These sell very well.
- Photos of Good-Looking Couples. There’s something about seeing good-looking yet generic couples doing things that seems to be a winning option. The more popular options include hiking, arguing, talking over coffee, or enjoying a day out.
- Food Closeups. Bunches of apples, bananas, or even just a good cup of coffee can all be highly marketable. The thing to keep in mind with food images is to look for fresh, visually pleasing foods that are laid out in an aesthetic manner.
- Special Situations. Certain frequently discussed topics can be underrepresented in stock photo selections. These topics include things like crying brides, drug use, as well as certain music subcultures.
What Keywords Work Best on Stock Photo Sites?
This can be tricky since each site has its own algorithm. Most fare well with a mix below:
- Photo Subjects. What are you taking a picture of? A man, woman, food item? This should be included in your photo regardless of what the photo is displaying. Some detail, such as “brunette” or “blue eyes,” can also help push your results to the top.
- Emotion. Does your photo elicit a certain emotion? In some cases, this can also help. “Angry man” or “anger” can both help get people to see your shots.
- Situations. Keywords that describe situations the stock photo will likely be used to make things way easier to search. Such keywords include things like “eCommerce,” “divorce,” “technology,” “farming,” and “wedding.”
- Nationalities. If your work involves a person of a certain nationality, this can be a very useful keyword to add in.
How Much Can You Sell Your iPhone Stock Images for?
This can vary widely, depending on the payouts that you’re being offered. Truth be told, many casual photographers see very little income as a result of their sales. Most people make 25 cents per image, or similar.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to add on a few thousand dollars per year to your income. However, results are different for everyone. Some can get as much as $120 per photo, while others will be lucky to receive a dime.
Taking Photos to Create Printed Materials
Most of us have gifted friends a pillow, calendar, or poster print at least once. In order for that to happen, you’re going to need to have photos and patterns that are worthy of printing out. If you’re creative, you can make this happen with the right iPhone photos.
Sites like CafePress, RedBubble, and Society6 allow you to upload iPhone photos to your account and then make printed products from them. You get to keep a decent amount of money from every printed item you sell.
How to Sell Printed Materials Using Your iPhone Photos
You will need to create accounts with a “swag printing” firm to get started. From there, you will need to upload your iPhone photos, pick the products that you want to sell, and put in some keywords that help bolster your chances of getting searched.
How Much Can You Make Selling Printed Goods?
This can vary widely from person to person, but the truth is that most people don’t make too much money from this. Much like with stock photography, these markets are flooded with designs. It’s easy to get lost in the flood.
Another issue is that many people prefer graphic designs for these printed items, especially when they get older and wealthier. This can make matters even more difficult.
Using Photos to Expand Your Own Brand
We are now living in an age where anyone can be an Instagram influencer, as long as they have awesome pictures. If you are willing to invest in yourself and use your own iPhone photos for an influencer account you have.
Good photos can help increase attention to your brand and your social media accounts by:
- Showing where you are. People love to see influencers who do and say things that are above the norm.
- Flaunting your skills and knowledge. If you’re looking to show off your latest cooking or pictures of your latest crafts, this is a good way to do it.
- Giving you illustrations for your newest blog posts. Bloggers use their iPhone pics to promote on social media all the time.
How to Make Money by Boosting Your Own Brand with iPhone Photos
Pictures talk. That’s why others say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Having the right photos for your social media or blog posts will encourage people to read your stuff, share your content, and bond with it.
You don’t need to sell your photos to make money off them. Here’s what you can get from using your own images to increase your brand:
- Increase your following to your photo page. Having more people who follow your photo page doesn’t just feel good. It also gets potential clients to your door. With enough followers, you will be able to get people to approach you specifically for your work.
- Get potential sponsorships. Companies are now looking for influencers with good photos that want to boost their brand through photography.
- Increase visits to your site and increase readership. The more people you have who are aware of your brand, its products, and your services, the better off your income will be. Even if only 1 percent of viewers buy your goods, that still will make you 100 customers if you get 100,000 views.
How to Make Money by Selling Digital Products and Services with iPhone Photos
Building your brand and increasing exposure is one thing, creating a digital asset beefed up with your iPhone photos is another. There are all kinds of ways to build your own iPhone photography into your own products and services (aside from selling stock photos and printed merchandise).
Here's a few ideas on how to monetize your iPhone photos:
- Take pictures of your own products for online resale, eCommerce, and more.
- eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify
- Include your own photos in product reviews, ultimate guides, eBooks, information products, and more.
- Customize your platforms.
- Social media, course authorship services, web platform, landing pages, membership services, and more.
- Capture photos and videos for individuals, small business owners, pawn shops, non-profits, churches, local events, and more.
- This is not just the service of capturing the photos either, you could quite literally be hired to blog about an event from a spectator point of view.
How Much Money Can You Make from Your Own Photography?
If you’re using your iPhone photos to market yourself, the amount of money you make is going to vary based on how well you market yourself. Sometimes, great photos are all you need to turn your business into a top seller. Other times, the marketing might fall flat.
This method sounds like it would be a gamble, but people love seeing authentic photos over the same stock business photography over and over any day. The time and effort in bolstering your presence with your own photos is worth it.
Taking Photos for Real Estate Groups
Most people don’t realize how important photography is for real estate groups. It’s not just a matter of getting good interior pictures or staging rooms to look more sellable, either. Real estate, as an industry, is filled to the brim with photo opportunities.
The best part, you don't have to be highly experienced, or even use a crazy expensive camera. Don’t believe it? Take a look at these opportunities that you might find appealing:
- Get social media photos for realtors. Realtors need to paint themselves as part of a community. They regularly ask others to take snapshots of them at community events or for profile pictures. If you’re handy with an iPhone camera and have a good portfolio, this could be an awesome way to cash in.
- Taking outdoor shots of properties. Many vacant properties require regular photo updates to real estate developers, investors, and buyers. This helps curb any damage involving vandalism and ensures that the property is not being broken into.
- Taking insurance-related pictures. If you work with a property adjuster or a tax adjuster, you might be able to get a gig which involves taking photos of damaged homes. These photos are what will be used in court cases and insurance writeups.
- Taking indoor shots. Though much rarer, some rental companies will be okay with hiring freelancers with an iPhone to take photos of a property’s indoors. Other developers will also for indoor shots relating to lockouts and cleanups.
How to Sell Your Real Estate Photography Services
There are two major hurdles you’re going to need to overcome if you want to work with real estate groups: your iPhone and actually being able to find the job. These two hurdles are fairly easy to overcome with the right knowledge.
If you have an iPhone, it will be a little tricky to convince professional real estate firms to hire you for their photos. It's mostly about the optics of something they feel they can do on their own, even if they are terrible at it. This is why having a good portfolio matters! If you have a good portfolio on your social media accounts, real estate groups will be far more likely to work with you.
Finding gigs can also prove to be difficult. The most popular ways to find gigs involving real estate iPhone photography is to:
- Go on job boards like Craigslist. Craigslist is a go-to for many real estate companies that need quick, creative pictures. This includes gigs involving real estate photos and insurance photos.
- Go to real estate networking events. In many cases, going out to meetups for real estate groups is the best way to make connections with professionals who need your service. Make sure to bring business cards if you choose to go this route.
- Take a job at a real estate firm. Some real estate firms are okay with hiring outside help, but not all are. If you get a job as an assistant in the real estate firm, you will most likely get paid extra if you offer to do all the photo work.
- Advertise your services directly. Being proactive can make your chances of doing real estate photography skyrocket, even if you have an iPhone. Setting up a specialized social media account, sending out postcards, and doing similar advertising works can help.
- Apply for a job at a real estate photography firm. Though you might have to flaunt a seriously impressive resume and portfolio, some firms will make an exception and hire a great photographer who uses an iPhone.
Do I Need Extra Equipment to Be a Real Estate Photographer?
Though it’s possible to get a start in this field with only an iPhone, I'm not going to mince words. In many cases, the equipment you own will make the difference between earning $60 a week from small gigs to getting $700 a week with major firms. It's just a lot easier to project a higher level of competency with proper photography gear.
If you want to get more money fast, use the initial funds you make with your iPhone to buy:
- A Camera-Ready Drone. Drone photography is now becoming a highly demanded real estate photography technique. Having your own photo drone can make a massive difference, especially among realtors who must sell multi-million dollar mansions.
- A DSLR. Having a DSLR like a Canon Rebel or a Nikon often acts as the hallmark between a “casual photographer” and a true professional. Just owning one can act as reason enough to choose you over someone else.
- A Wide-Angle Lens. Both DSLRs and iPhone cameras have wide-angle lenses available to them. This flattering lens works well for both portraiture and real estate.
- Lighting Equipment. If you intend to branch out into interior marketing shots, having one or two softbox diffusers can make a massive difference in your overall success.
How Much Can Real Estate Photography Pay?
Real estate photography is far more lucrative than many other options on this list, and this is primarily for two reasons: the payout and the stability. It only takes a couple of steady clients or real estate investment firms to give you a regular, predictable payout. Don't sleep on this option if this is remotely interesting to you.
Being a strictly iPhone-centric real estate photographer will present some challenges, but don't let it stop you. When I made some decent money photographing condos on the beach, I only used a digital point and shoot camera. Which is funny because iPhone cameras surpassed the camera I used in every way.
A typical property shoot (outside, update images) will pay about $10 to $20 per shot, with most houses requiring three shots. Depending on the service you offer, you can get this up to $150 a session when starting out. If you are able to get portrait orders for realtors, then you’re in luck. This can easily net $50 to upwards of $100 a day, assuming that the shots look professional.
It’s worth pointing out that this option, besides event correspondent mentioned earlier, is one of the only ways to make money with an iPhone that can turn into a legitimate career. While all the other options do pay out, we're talking most side hustles here.
It may not be easy, but others have made the leap in the past. If you’re hungry for success, you can do it too.
Become a Secret Shopper
Though it’s not totally focused on photography, being a secret shopper does occasionally require you to take snapshots using your iPhone. Secret shoppers are hired to evaluate stores, restaurants, and other hospitality or service based businesses.
Doing this means you’ll have to apply to different secret shopper gigs online, fill out surveys, visit stores, and ask questions. Occasionally, you’ll also have to take a snapshot of your store trips.
How to Become a Secret Shopper
There’s a major issue with secret shopping that deserves to be mentioned: scammers. Scammers often get people to pay them money or spend gratuitous amounts of cash at stores, only to leave them high and dry.
If you choose to become a secret shopper do not:
- Sign up with any company that insists on you spending cash, claiming to reimburse you. This is a classic scam sign. They won’t reimburse you in most cases.
- Pay any company to hire you. This is the most common way secret shopper scams occur and should be avoided at all costs.
- Choose to work with a company that consistently gets bad ratings. Bad companies get bad ratings for a reason. Heed others’ warnings!
The best way to become a secret shopper is to apply to companies that have a good reputation among fellow shoppers. Since spots are very limited in most legitimate companies, you may have to apply to multiple in order to get some gigs.
How Much Does Secret Shopping Pay?
This depends on the gig, but most gigs will pay between $8 to $15 for a single visit to a store, complete with photos and surveys. The total time commitment is anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes.
You would be surprised at how many different opportunities open up by just owning an iPhone. Based on my experience and research online, I've barely scratched the surface. These means you can expect an update to this already 4K word post in the future.
Whether it’s a matter of photography, social media blogging, selling results or services, or just doing secret shopping, there are tons of ways you can make money. All you have to do is come up with the right way to market yourself… and the rest will follow.