Selling digital product Online for profit with potentially reasonable ROI? (part 4 – conclusions)

Okay, I want to sell photos online. What do next?

I might cook up some more specific instructions in the following posts, where I share some tips and tricks that I used, but I will give you somewhat reasonable steps to start with.

<– Part 3

Step 1: Start being patient.

If you are patient enough, you won’t drop this gig and will keep uploading new content until you hear your first $0.25 “cha-ching” 🤑.

If you are patient enough but you don’t want to do too much work on your content – most likely you will generate enough sales to get yourself a new lens or a new camera every once in a while.

If you are patient and hard working, you might be making some money you can live from, especially when you live in lower-income countries.

If you are not patient and want an immediate return – you should find a better investment because the photo stock market is where you actually gaining digital assets that grow on their own, but that requires time.

Step 2: Get photos

Select (or go make) 50-100 photos for your first upload set. This is where your quality comes in. Don’t drop everything and don’t skip this step because you think that you’ll be okay with mediocre (we all started somewhere, right?).

Wrong! The whole point of the exercise is that you hit all 3 points: Quality, Demand, Discoverability at the same time.

So please, begging you, work on those keywords and descriptions. Read through the rules and requirements for host websites you selected. Do a research on what photos rate better on those websites, use best practices you can find. 

Add custom titles and descriptions, add THE MOST WINNING keywords, not just some keywords

Also, make sure your photos are actually good, m’kay? Don’t upload crap, pick your best ones, that should be obvious! You will be surprised how much of a bad content there are on photo stock markets, so try not to contribute to that collection, but instead deliver some value.

Step 3: Upload

You can start with Shutterstock or Adobe Stock. These 2 are the most profitable for me and have several daily sales each. 

Other good services I used (from most profitable to least):

  1. Eyeem (Amazing service, big sales, easy upload)
  2. BigStockPhoto (Kind of like Shutterstock, easy upload, stable sales)
  3. Dreamstime (Great sales, extremely time-consuming upload. However, if you doing your work smart – this will not be your problem)
Tree in Millennium park in Chicago

Step 4: Keep uploading and wait for sales

You did your 50 uploads? Start working on 50 more. Maybe upload 1 a day. 1 good photo a day, where you photo-shopped it nicely, you put a thought in your keywords and Meta, your photo has some demand in stock photo business. Just keep doing it. Especially if it’s fun for you. It was fun for me, I had a great time both taking photos and editing them, so you will have too, I’m sure.

Eventually, you’ll see your first sale and it will only keep going up. 


Look, if you are a kid who has a DSLR and you need some beer money – just go ahead and do it. If you have a large archive of your vacation photos and you have 3 hours a week – just do it. There is no cash investing in it anyway, only your time, so you are losing nothing. If it sounds like too much hustle – trust me, it is not. I figured out all tricks pretty quickly, so I was able to do a lot of work in a short amount of time and almost no-effort and still make sales.


  • With a smart approach – you can make decent money passively. 
  • In 2018 digital content is an asset, once uploaded, these photos might make you come cash forever.
  • Low entry point. With a bit of noise removing and retouching even your iPhone photos will be good enough for most photo stock websites.
  • If you haven’t been exposed to a passive income yet – it might open your eyes a bit.
  • You can get better in photography if you practice it more.
  • If you put enough effort – you will see an actual return.


  • Not enough money on the market, since most of the websites are subscription-based and sell your photos for extremely low prices.
  • If you don’t put 100% effort in every photo – you will see no return. 
  • Time-consuming when you decide to have quantity over quality.

Final words

Well, I didn’t expect this post to be 4 parts long, since I didn’t even plan to write about stock photos. I felt like someone might find it interesting and maybe try it and make some cash. Please, subscribe to the blog and leave a like or a comment, I want to hear your thoughts. I will post more about my Real Estate and E-Commerce experience in later posts so stand by.

Autumn leaves

Thank you for reading,


If you want more content like this to let me know in a comment section or on social media:

IG: @ian.dikhtiar

FB: @ian.dikhtiar

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