When economic times are tough, a lot of people will do anything for a little extra cash. Did you know that your camera, the one that is sitting on your desk collecting dust, is the key to a window of money-making opportunities? With the help of the internet, your photos and videos can turn out to be very profitable. Here are 4 easy ways to turn your visuals into residuals!

Selling Stock Photos and Footage

The chances are high that you have several hundred photographs on your hard drive right now, from landscapes to portraits, that another person would be willing to pay a small fee to use for artistic or promotional purposes. With the advent of micro-stock photography websites, amateur and professional photographers alike can sell limited usage rights to their creations. Competition is tough; thousands of new photos are uploaded each day. If you know your way around your camera, however, and have a little bit of creativity, you are easily capable of capturing a photo that will garner a lot of cash from being sold on the internet. Videographers producing stock footage have a slight advantage over photographers in that they have less competition; stock footage is relatively new on the internet, so the time to jump on it is now.

Producing How-To Videos

Take a moment to consider everything you've ever typed into your internet search bar. Chances are, many of those phrases began with "how to...", "how do i...", or "how does...". How-to's are easily some of the most-searched topics on the internet. Do you feel like you could contribute to helping others learn? If so, how-to videos are the perfect platform to do so. It has not been until recently that the internet's most popular how-to sites have begun to offer instructional videos in addition to already-popular text articles. How would you make money from producing an instructional video? Numerous how-to sites on the internet (including this site, InfoBarrel), pay their creators a percentage of advertisement revenue gained from the pages that they produce. For example, if 10,000 people were to view your how-to video, you could potentially earn in the whereabouts of $100 for that video. Once again, this concept is still in it's early stages, with countless topics still available for instruction. If you have hopes of making money from this method, the sooner you start, the more successful you will become.

Entering Online Video Contests

Again, this method is unheard of to most casual internet users. The video industry rakes in millions of dollars a year. It is very costly for companies to professionally hire a cast and crew to produce promotional materials. To save money, and at the same time publicize themselves, companies host online video contests. The requirements range widely, from producing advertisements to producing documentary material. Prizes range from as little as $25 to large sums of more than $50,000! If you have the skill, creativity, and commitment to compete against other videographers, then this method of income may be right for you. Keep in mind that you are never guaranteed to make money this way, so much of your time may be wasted. Think of it as a lottery, only that the greater skill you possess, the greater probability you have of winning.

Producing Viral Videos

Of all the methods mentioned, this is by far the hardest to achieve for a beginner. To produce a video that circulates unstoppably across the internet requires both skill and a lot of luck. Observe typical viral videos that you've seen in the news. Most illustrate impromptu events, while others required thousands of dollars of promotion to attract viewers. Unless you are at the right place at the right time to capture an outrageously hilarious, tragic, interesting, or historic moment in time, your video is most likely not to go viral. It is still worth trying, though. The potential income from such videos is huge; a video that has attracted millions of views has also raised thousands of dollars in ad revenue alone. If you are quick enough to produce related merchandise, or launch a site (using the viral video to promote it), you have the potential to make a handsome amount of money.

While it usually requires a lot of time and planning to successfully make an income from selling videos and photos, you can still make small amounts here and there just for taking a few extra minutes of your day to upload your work. So, what are you waiting for? Get shooting and get money!