EyeEm: How To Make Money Even As A Simple Photography Amateur


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I discovered EyeEm in Autumn 2015 and decided to give it a try right away. Although I had NO KNOWLEDGE whatsoever about photography, I thought it could be worth my time since the process was really easy!

So, how to make money on EyeEm? Follow the NEW TRENDS and SEASONALITY of the market. Be consistent and make sure to upload enough QUANTITY on EyeEm. Use the bulk upload and do not overthink it too much: some of my best-sellers were TOTALLY UNEXPECTED.

Let’s now dive deeper into the small analysis I was able to perform based on two profiles I started in 2016.

1. Quality Or Quantity: Which Strategy Should You Adopt To Maximize Earnings?

Back in late 2015 and early 2016, I tested EyeEm for about 4 or 5 months. I basically used 2 DIFFERENT STRATEGIES:

(A) A Profile With a Selection Of Higher Quality Pictures

I decided to buy a nicer camera and tried to make more interesting pictures of higher quality. I carefully selected them and uploaded 1 picture per day. You can check out this first EyeEm profile of mine here @Humanize if you want.

My strategy with this profile was to BUILD UP FOLLOWERS and see whether this could be of any use. For instance, I wondered whether this could increase my chances of selling my photos.

Or if, like Instagram, I would be able to monetize in some way. Besides trying to post higher quality pictures, I also checked out new EyeEm photographers and welcomed them, liked or commented on their photos. Many followed back. After about 2 months, I had reached about 8000 followers.

(B) A Profile Where I Uploaded All Of My Other Pictures. And I mean, ALL Of Them.

The only pictures I excluded from this were pictures including friends or members of my family unless I had the opportunity to ask them whether it was OK. I used the BULK UPLOADER of EyeEm and uploaded ALL the digital pictures I could find on my computer, even old ones that were really low quality in my opinion.

There were pictures I had taken with an old digital camera and with my iPhone, even when the photo quality was not so great yet. I also included all of my trial pictures which were not good enough to put on my higher-quality profile. You can also check out this second EyeEm profile of mine here @AABG if you want.

I also let the bulk uploader do the work of TAGGING the pictures. This was very helpful, and I could quickly upload 50 pictures at a time. Here, I did not care about followers AT ALL. I just wanted as many pictures online as possible. To this day I ONLY have about 300 followers.

The Result: Which Strategy Was The WINNER?

(A) On my HIGH-QUALITY PROFILE, I only ever sold 2 PHOTOS (out of 63 photos in total):

  • This first picture sold in August 2017 and I received a mere $2
EyeEm Photo Sold From Humanize
EyeEm Photo Sold From @Humanize
  • This second photo sold in November 2017 for $6,45
EyeEm Photo Sold From Humanize
EyeEm Photo Sold From @Humanize

As you can see, both photographies were sold more than 1 year after I had put the work into EyeEm, and only brought a total of $8,45

(B) On my MASS PROFILE, I sold OVER 30 Photos (out of about 5700 photos) for a total of OVER $700. AND I AM STILL SELLING TODAY, over 3 years after I completely stopped doing ANYTHING on Eyeem!

  • I sold my first photo in January 2016, 2-3 months after I had started using EyeEm, and received $5. It is a picture from Salzburg, which I had taken about 7 or 8 years before with a simple digital camera. This photo sold again in October 2016 AND in March 2019. I respectively received $4 and $1,5 for it. You can find it on https://travel.usnews.com
AABG Photo Sold on EyeEm
@AABG Photo Sold on EyeEm
  • I sold my second photo in February 2016, 1 month later, and received $13,86:
AABG Photo Sold on EyeEm
@AABG Photo Sold on EyeEm
  • I sold my third photo in March 2016, a few days later, and received $25. Which I find astonishing given the fact that it was a weird half selfie taken with my iPhone 6 of the time… As you can see, the photo is nothing special AT ALL:
AABG Photo Sold on EyeEm. Is EyeEm Worth it?
@AABG Photo Sold on EyeEm
  • For the curious, here is the photo that SOLD MOST OFTEN (about 14 times) and brought me a total income of about $220 since 2016. I know, right? You can barely see a few stars. I was training with my newly bought Nikon Camera back then, and I was not really getting good results. I decided to post them anyway.

EyeEm My Most Sold Picture @AABG

  • Here is a picture that sold in April 2016 for which I received $26,02 and that got me FEATURED on EyeEm. It is a picture I took with the new Nikon camera of a nice mountain in the morning light.

EyeEm Featured Picture @AABG

  • Here are the two pictures that were the MOST EXPENSIVE. I received $125 EACH in April and May 2016. The first is a picture I took in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. I was just playing around, really… The second one was taken with a really bad old digital camera in 2010 and represents the ENTRY ALLEY OF THE UNITED NATIONS PALAIS DES NATIONS in Geneva.

EyeEm Most Expensive Picture @AABG EyeEm Most Expensive Picture @AABG

BOTH STRATEGIES resulted in about the SAME INCOME PER PICTURE of about 12 to 13 dollar cents.

I, personally, had the impression that IT DID NOT BRING ME ADDITIONAL REVENUE to have many followers. At least not in terms of photos sold.

Now that I am using stock photography myself for my blog and Pinterest images, this makes total sense. Until now, I am always looking for a specific topic and SEARCH BY KEYWORD.

This is why EyeEm’s hints on NEW TRENDS are essential for you to earn more with your stock photography.

However, I am sure that photographers developing their own style and a FANBASE around it could leverage this and sell more or sell differently. From my experience, your REVENUE is PROPORTIONAL to the NUMBER of pictures you have on.

The MORE you have on the platform, the MORE you earn.

So, I would definitely head more for a MASS STRATEGY And if you care much about followers, I would simply have a second profile (like I did) for higher-quality well-selected pictures of yours.  

2. How I Would Do It

If you are just a photography amateur like me, I would recommend the following:

  • First, DON’T OVERTHINK IT.

As you have seen, in my case the more pictures (even crappy ones) I had on the profile, the more I earned. And it’s better to upload even the photos that you think are useless.

In this case, I WOULD HAVE LOST $220 if I had not uploaded my picture of the stars. And this despite the fact that we can BARELY SEE THE STARS ON IT! Again, I would have lost $25 if I had not posted this weird iPhone 6 selfie of mine

  • Any Photography Device is Good Enough.

Don’t worry too much about your device. You can make great, interesting photos that sell even with your phone.

  • Definitely use the BULK UPLOADER when you have a lot of photos to put on EyeEm at once.

Its tagging function does most of the work for you. If you have time and are a perfectionist, you can add tags yourself as well. But you don’t have to and this can be VERY HELPFUL when you are massively uploading.

  • WATCH the NEW TRENDS.

If you are eager to increase your CHANCES of earning good money, follow the new trends indicated by EyeEm. Also, be aware of any SEASONAL trends. For instance, my STARS sky and Christmas or winter pictures sell most around when the season is approaching.

  • Be consistent.

For 4-5 months I was quite active on EyeEm, filtering through my pictures and uploading massively. I also “lost” a lot of time trying to build up followers. Then, in June 2016, I completely stopped photography and EyeEm altogether.

And although I have KEPT MAKING a small, irregular passive income via EyeEm since then, I believe I could have been able to earn much more if I had invested 1 or 2 hours per day.

However, EyeEm is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. As always, you FIRST have to invest time and love into the project, before you can later rip the benefits. This is why you should ENJOY the process, otherwise, it will be hard for you to earn good money in the long run.  

Books That I Love… To Help You Out:

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