Whether you are a hobbyist or a pro photographer, selling photos online is a lucrative side hustle.
There are millions of dollars up for grabs in the photography market.
In 2021, the global stock imagery market was valued at $4.6 billion.
And with an annual growth rate of 6.95%, the figure is expected to rise to $7B by 2027.
Shutterstock, the world’s most popular photo marketplace pays out up to $15 million to contributors yearly.
If you know how to sell photos online, you can bag a significant cut of these million dollars.
- 8 Best Places to Sell Photos Online (Overview)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Sell Photos Online: 5 Ways To Earn
- How to Sell Photos Online as Stock Images
- What You’ll Need to Sell Photos Online on Stock Image Libraries
- 8 Best Places to Sell Photos Online
- 4 Other Stock Photography Websites to Sell Photos Online
- How to Sell Photos Online On Your Website
- What You’ll Need to Sell Photos your Website (WordPress)
- How to Sell Photos Online on Freelance Job Sites
- How to Sell Photos Online Using Photography eCommerce Platforms
- How to Sell Photos Online as Physical Prints on Products
- Wrapping Up
- Similar Tutorials to Check Out
8 Best Places to Sell Photos Online (Overview)
We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much money can I make selling photos online?
How much money you make from selling photos online depends on your expertise, the volume of your collection, and the channel you are selling on.
For instance, selling photos on stock websites can give you around 0.25$-0.45$ per sale. Your cumulative earnings will depend on the quantity sold. So there’s no limitation to your earning potential.
What type of photo sells best?
There are different image types you can sell. But the kind that sells best online is stock images. For marketing and advertising, brands and publishers worldwide prefer stock photos to custom images.
One reason is their quick accessibility. Another is that they come at a fair price than hiring professional image makers. In short, cost and time are driving up the requests for stock imagery.
What is the best website to sell photos?
By commission, Alamy is the best stock photo website to sell stock photos online. You can earn up to 50% royalty per sale on non-exclusive images.
By market, Shutterstock and Adobe Stock are the two largest websites to sell photos online. You can reach millions of potential buyers in no time. But their payment rate comes second to Alamy.
How to Sell Photos Online: 5 Ways To Earn
What you’ll learn:
- How to sell photos online as stock images
- 10 best places to sell photos online
- How to sell photos online on your own website
- How to sell photos online on freelance job sites
- How to sell photos online using photography eCommerce platforms
- How to sell photos online as physical prints on products
How to Sell Photos Online as Stock Images
Stock photography websites are the answer if you want the easiest way to sell photos online.
Stock photo marketplaces are where creatives go to pick pictures that speak a thousand words.
These platforms already have a huge customer base. So there’s a ready market for your photos. Selling photos on stock websites has many advantages:
- You can get started right away at zero cost.
- You can submit a photo once and keep making money forever. Every time someone buys, you earn.
- Your work will reach millions of buyers worldwide in no time.
- You don’t have to worry about the integrity of your work. These websites protect your intellectual properties with sky-high defense.
You should note most of these platforms have strict guidelines; a long list of rules to keep photo quality and details in check.
It can be a bit weary at the beginning. With time, you’ll understand the rules are only meant to keep you on the ball to pick your best shots.
What You’ll Need to Sell Photos Online on Stock Image Libraries
To sell photos on any stock photography website, you need 5 items.
- A good Camera
- A photo-editing software
- A photo management software
- A photography computer
- A contributor account
A camera: Quality is what matters most in this business of photography. Before you can cash in on digital photos, an excellent shot-taker is a mandatory investment.
A photography computer: Photo editing is a heavy task. Just any computer, laptop, or desktop won’t work. Invest in a dedicated photo-editing PC.
A Photo-editing software: You need decent photo-editing software to light up your work. Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are the best options. But if they weigh too heavy on your pocket, these free photo-editing software should get the job done: Raw Therapee, PIXLR, and GIMP are great options to consider.
A Photo management software: Now that you are ready to start an online photography business, you need software for managing photos. Here are some to check out:
- Adobe Lightroom
- Magix Photo Manager
- Adobe Bridge
- Adobe Elements Organizer
- Google Photos
A contributor account: Once you’ve invested in hardware and software, the next move is to get yourself registered and approved on a stock photography website. Approval may take some time, but your work’s quality will open the door here.
8 Best Places to Sell Photos Online
Licensing is the secret to making money on stock photography platforms.
Rather than selling your photo one-off, anyone interested can acquire the license to use your photo, and you get a cut of the amount paid. That way, you continue earning forever.
There are over 100 stock websites on the internet. Here are the 8 top picks for the best places to sell photos online.
After registration and approval, selling photos on these platforms is a straightforward process and, most times, requires 3 steps:
- Create: Produce high-quality images.
- Submit: Upload your photo to the platform and follow basic optimization steps to boost your reach.
- Get paid: Make money when customers download your content.
Let’s take a brief look at each of these platforms:
Founded in 2003, Shutterstock is the largest stock photography website in the world. Housing over 230 million stock images and serving millions of customers worldwide.
The platform has paid over a billion dollars to contributors in the cause of their 15 years of business.
Photos on Shutterstock are non-exclusive. Thus it has a lot of cheap stock photos compared to other platforms. The royalty ranges from 15 – 40%, depending on your tier level.
You may earn less here, but it’s a great place to start your journey.
From the maker of the most popular photo-editing software, photoshop, illustrator, and lightroom, Adobe Stock is a stock photo marketplace with a flat payout rate of 33% to contributors.
Photos uploaded to Adobe Stock are instantly available on other Adobe creative apps. Meaning your work reaches millions of potential customers with a single upload.
The good thing about Adobe stock is that you can sell your photos on other websites, as Adobe stock does not demand exclusive selling right on its platform.
Getty Images is the home for high-end exclusive images. The platform sits on top of other stock photography websites as the go-to platform for professionals, brands, and publishers.
Getty Images has been around since 1995, serving over 1.5 million customers year in, year out.
The earning potential on this platform is enormous as a photo sells at an average cost of 300 – 500$.
Contributors can earn up to 15% of the selling price on non-exclusive images and 45% on exclusive photos.
Dreamstime is a stock photo marketplace with multiple earning incentives for contributors. Any approved submission for exclusive images comes with $0.20 incentives and as much as 60% on each sale.
Non-exclusive contributors can earn between 20 – 49.5% royalties. With a customer base of over 30 million people, your work will reach far and wide in no time.
Today, Dreamstime has a stock library of over 105 million stock photos.
4 Other Stock Photography Websites to Sell Photos Online
You can register on as many stock photo websites as you want to maximize your earnings. Just take note of the rules on exclusivity.
Here are 4 other websites to sell your work:
How to Sell Photos Online On Your Website
Starting a photography website is best if you want to turn your photography side hustle into a real business.
Creating a website gives you a lot of advantages:
- You have complete control over the pricing and sales of your work.
- You can build your personal brand and add credibility to your work.
- You have the opportunity to direct interaction with customers every day.
- Rather than competing with thousands of contributors on the same platform, you can design your website to match your specific niche and stand out.
What You’ll Need to Sell Photos your Website (WordPress)
- A domain/brand name: Your domain is the name of your website on the internet. Choosing a short, memorable, brandy domain name is crucial for success.
- Web Hosting: A web hosting platform is where you house your website. Think of the internet as a city. Your website is your home, and your domain is your address.
- A CMS (WordPress): WordPress is the most popular Content Management System in the world, and for good reasons- easy, free, and flexible.
- Plugins: There are tons of WordPress plugins to achieve anything you can ever think of as a website owner, for SEO, payments, order fulfillment, emails, forms, etc.
Owning a website sounds nice on paper. But the reality is that you have to put a lot of effort forward.
The cost of building and operating a website falls on you. Likewise, marketing your photo brand via SEO and other channels becomes your headache.
The questions are:
- How do you drive traffic to your website?
- How will you rank high in search results?
- How will you attract customers?
The most accessible and affordable marketing option you have at this point is to start a photography blog. You can even make money on this blog to finance another aspect of your business.
So if you are ready to pick up the baton, your investment promises to be worth it in the long run.
How to Sell Photos Online on Freelance Job Sites
The only difference with selling photos online via a freelance platform is that you can’t sell premade images. The photos you sell here will be on demand.
You can set your price as a freelancer on any platform and work with clients long-term.
Each freelance platform charges a certain percentage of your earnings, usually ranging between 5 to 20% per sale.
Creating gigs and setting up profiles on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork is simple and fast.
How to Sell Photos Online Using Photography eCommerce Platforms
Suppose the technicality of building a website is beyond you, and you can’t cope with running after gigs on the freelance platform. You can turn to a photography eCommerce platform to sell your photos online.
Everything you need to run your business has already been integrated. From payment to order fulfillment and digital downloads, you only need to upload your images and focus on marketing.
How to Sell Photos Online as Physical Prints on Products
Selling photos online is not restricted to digital use. You can sell your work as physical prints and fine arts.
Register with print-on-demand companies like Printful to feature your work on their products and get paid.
Other platforms you can upload your pictures and get paid when the photo is used as photo prints on t-shirts, mugs, books, and other physical products include:
Now you see it! If photography is your passion, there has never been more opportunity to make money from doing what you love.
Selling photos online does not only make for a good side hustle. A stock photography website is only a good starting point. You can do more and earn more with your own photography brand.
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- How to Make Money Writing: For any word slinger seeking to monetize their skill, this article on how to make money writing answers your questions.
- How to Monetize a Blog: You can monetize your photography website if you so wish. Learning how to monetize a blog for your photography business is the way.