Make Money From Your Photos & Other Docs

Image by: GraceFamily
By Gordon J. Pruitt

We all make stuff in the digital realm. Our hard drives are littered with writings, pictures, drawings, scans, plans, etc. – none of them making money for you, however. Seems like it’s time to make a course correction of sorts by doing the computer equivalent of dumping a bucket full of change into a Coinstar machine.

That’s right, you could be making some bank on that stuff collecting dust on that hard drive which will crash eventually anyway. Note: Back everything you own immediately if you haven’t done so already, take it from someone who’s been hard fried.

Game Face

It’s time to get in the game, gentlemen. With so many online depositories eager to feature your content, you really have no excuse for leaving potential profits to the wayside.

While there is potential to make excellent money if someone wants to buy your photo of President Jimmy Carter eating breakfast, the reality is that you won’t be vacationing in Hawaii off of your hard drive spoils. But remember, there is value in what you create, no matter what you college professor told you.

From Pro Bono To Pro Fessional

In your approach to this exercise, you need to think of yourself as a pro photographer or writer. And guess what? Real pros do not give their stuff away (unless they are mere hobbyists or … sadists). And hey, if some mom blogger in Idaho wants to license that poem you wrote about cantaloupe for her new e-book Cookin’ With Spuds & Melons, then you’ll take her $20.

The key here is volume, my friends. And anyone who knows anything about how to make money on the Internet will attest that isn’t named is Mark Zuckerburg, it is always “a bunch of littles to equal one big” approach. Yes, coins add up to dollars, and dollars add up to Maybachs.

I have assembled a hit list of places to stock your stuff for fun and profit.

Photos & Illustrations

Forget photo site Flickr – you can’t make any money on Flickr. Unless parent company Getty Images notices your work and signs you on, you are basically giving it all away (whether visually, or, if you assign your photos a Creative Commons license, legally). You need to go to the stock block.

The industry leader in stock photos is iStockphoto (also owned by Getty Images, ahem). They deal in photos that publishers purchase to run along with a printed story or online report. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen their watermarked images during a Google search. They are everywhere, meaning perhaps that there is a buyer out there for your vacation photos from St. Barts, after all.

Alternatives to iStockphoto: Dreamstime, Fotolia, ShutterStock, 123RF, DepositPhotos.


Do you have a lot of graphic elements lying around? Did you spend an entire weekend making an awesome font based on pots and pans? Then head over to and set yourself up an account, cowboy.

The folks at have set up an easy-to-use site that allows creators to post their wares, and gives graphic artists an inexpensive way to expand their creative minds all at the same time.

Everything Else

While they don’t quite have their act together yet – their website actually looks like it isn’t finished yet, but is – Gazhoo may be an example of the future of document marketplaces. Why? Because they do not discriminate. You can post and sell just about any type of document on Gazhoo, and, according to their website, sell the same doc twice unlike other sites. Huh?

Search the docs on Gazhoo and you start to feel what it must be like to be a copy machine – this thing is loaded with white backgrounded entrees like “Project Report on Titan Industry.”

Hey, don’t laugh – that could be your boring report selling for $15 a pop. WARNING: Several users have complained about how long it has taken to get paid, so pay close attention to your account.