Making money from our photography allows us to continue with our passion, extend our gear and ensure we keep pushing for excellence.
Our article here looks at a few places where you can sell photos online.
We will be looking at both stock and non-stock photography websites.
Stock Photography Websites
Stock photography sites are great in two ways. They sell your work for you.
You upload the image and sit back while it (hopefully) works.
As well as helping you sell photos online, they provide information on current trends. This means they give you ideas and hints on what images have a higher chance of making you money.
The problem with these sites is that they provide a lot of content, which grows every minute. Companies and those who buy the images need to search long and hard to find the content they need.
Also, it can take a long time to edit and work on images to upload. Stock photo websites also require you to follow strict guidelines to sell photos online. These revolve around quality and information needed for every image.
Alamy is a British stock photography website, started in 1999. To date, it has over 60 million images and videos. There is a reason for this huge amount of content. It’s partly down to the 50% royalty payment on each photograph sold.
Because of this lack of exclusivity, it isn’t hard to see why this service made the cut in our list.
This is one of the first choices for those looking to buy images and also sell photos online.
iStock photo is a great place to sell stock photos if you are just starting out. They have popular forums and resources, helping you understand how to upload and sell photos online.
Getty Images owns this service. This is a stock photography page. Their iStock service is a microstock service.
The royalty payment starts at 15% per download. It can increase to 45%, depending on your photos’ popularity. If a customer purchases an image using their subscription credits, you only receive the 15%.
If you are into exclusivity, iStock photo will give you between 22-45%. This works on a contract with a 30 days notice period.
Shutterstock houses 184 million images and 91 million videos. They’ve had steady growth in sales since its founding in 2003. In 2017, 172,000,000 images were downloaded, making the 350,000 contributors money.
Uploading to the marketplace will net you up to 30% of the sale price of your image. This percentage depends on the size of your image, with payouts falling between $0.25 and $28.
The best thing is, you get to keep the copyright and can sell the images in other places.
Placing images on a stock photography website doesn’t interest you?
Then Photoshelter is a great option for you. This service offers a photography-orientated e-commerce platform which integrates into your own website.
There are many benefits to this service. It gives you cloud storage for your images. And an intuitive interface, social media integrations, and a decent SEO service.
Photoshelter allows you to decide how your images are showcased. This is ideal, as competitors’ images are not displayed next to your own.
Fotolia (now Adobe Stock) is another microstock photography website that represents over 57 million images. Adobe bought this site back in 2014, integrating it into its creative cloud service. Here, you can receive royalties of between 20 and 46%.
The best part about this site is that your royalties come immediately. Other sites wait until you reach a financial threshold, or after a 30 day period.
4 Million buyers use this site, so it is in your best interests to show them your images.
Stocksy isn’t the biggest stock photography website, but it certainly isn’t the smallest. This is one site that publishers love to look at when searching for new images to use.
You will find that this site has very high standards. It might take longer to find your best images and make sure they are spic-and-span for this page.
They also require exclusivity to your work, meaning you can’t sell them elsewhere. In the end, it is all worth it, as you receive between 50% and 75% of the total purchase.
500px is one of the most popular photography websites of the last few years. It is what everyone expected Flickr to be. Here you’ll find a collection of the most professional images on the interwebs.
Not only is it a market place for people to purchase your work. It is also has a ‘like’ and ‘photo view’ area, showing you how popular your latest shots are.
Here, you receive detailed data of where these interactions are coming from. This could be helpful when it comes to selling your work.
You can upload as many images as you want. You can even run photography workshops through it too.
There are four plans to join, ranging from Free to Pro and Adobe.
Selling your images goes through the exclusive use of Getty Images & VCG (Visual China Group) which is all done for you.
If you are a photographer who is focused on advertising and commercial work, EyeEm might be the option for you.
You’ll find three different licenses you can sell you images under; Social, Web and Full. These images are sold to clients for $20, $50 and $250 respectively.
You will need to pay 50% commission on each image sold. But without them, you might not sell any images at all. Something is better than nothing.
to help get your name and brand out there, there is an EyeEm magazine, and missions that you can enter, following a specific brief.
Sign-up and start adding images easily.
Etsy is the biggest marketplace on the internet for handmade products. For photography, they can be physical prints or digital downloads. Most of the products are unique, and a lot are one-off items, never created again.
With more than 30 million users, Etsy is a great platform to sell your photos.
You can also recreate your brand on Etsy. You set the price for your images and design your own page in the way you want to photos to be displayed.
Etsy keeps 20 cents on each sale as well as 3.5% of the sale price. Selling items here can be a challenge. However, they offer a helpful handbook. This can teach all about branding, marketing, how to price your items, how to sell your photos, and how to succeed.
Smugmug is a great site for those photographers with an entrepreneurial mindset. They let you choose how much to charge for your images, and they let you keep 85% of the markup.
Here’s an example for that from their website: “If you sell a 5×7 for $10.79 and the SmugMug default price for it is $0.79. The markup is $10.00. You keep $8.50 as profit (85% of $10)”.
The catch here is you have to buy a Pro subscription. This starts at $12.50 per month. There is no free option to take advantage of.
Instaproofs is an online photo storefront. The ‘Insta’ part of their name comes from the ease of taking images from your Instagram account. Then you can place them in your account.
You define the print sizes and the price tags that come alongside them. The free account lets you create 15 galleries with a 3 GB storage capacity. They also take 12% commission.
The cheapest paid account available is $10 per month. This lets you sell images without commission.
GuruShots isn’t exactly a place where you can sell photos online, but you can use them to make money.
Similar to a photo competitions, photographers compete against each other across a plethora of different subjects, making the process interesting and playful.
Other photographers vote on the images and the winners get prizes worth up to $300. Here, you enter a challenge and upload up to four images for that theme.
According to their site, “GuruShots uses special proprietary algorithms to make sure each submitted photo gains equal exposure regardless of when it was submitted during the challenge, giving each entrant an equal opportunity to win through ‘statistically based objectivity’.”
We have a full GuruShots review to check out too!
Fine Art America is a Print on Demand site. This means they print and ship them for you, when and where the purchasers need them. Their focus is on fine arts, such as photography and digital images of painting etc.
Here, you get paid as much as you ask for. Too much, and purchases might skip your work, and too little, you won’t receive what you deserve. The pricing here is almost reverse, in the way that you set your profit, not the final price.
For example, if you demand $10 profit, Fine Art America adds their own markup. The final price may be $47 dollars, of which you get $10. You keep 35% of the final price, and they get the other 65%.
It isn’t bad if you don’t need to print or ship the images – they take care of that. And of course you can raise your profit, but then the final price raises too.
It is a viable option for the amount of work it takes to sell photos on your part.
Fotomoto isn’t a place to sell your images – instead, it allows your website to sell images through its widget. After signing up and installation, it will sell the images for you.
This gives you more time to focus on your image capturing and post-production editing.
It takes five minutes to sign-up. If you’re looking for versatility, this site offers it! There is even a ‘free’ plan, where you give out more commission than you would with other plans.
This gives you a chance to see if your images are selling before joining a monthly fee plan.
Your Own Website
There is nothing like selling your work on your own site. If you are tech-savvy, you can find a way to do this ‘free’ (not counting domain and hosting fees).
If you are not built for web design or programming, you can join Wix or Square Space. They do all the background work for you.
Once set up, you can offer as many images as you want! There are no fees or commission to pay third-parties after each sale.
A quick google search can help you find the best system for your website. Then you can start selling your own high-quality stock images.
This is a great option if you get a lot of traffic to your site.
There we have it. 10 websites where you can sell photos online and make money. The stock websites may give you dribs and drabs, but the more they are used, the more money you make.
There are some we left off our list, such as Dreamstime, who also sell stock images. We feel we have chosen the best on our list.
The best things about these is the workload it takes off you as a photographer. They continue to make you a profit just by sitting in your portfolio.
The non-stock websites will make you more money per image but may need more work. Etsy requires that you print and ship the images yourself, which takes time, effort and energy.
They also need effort in learning how each site works.
The benefit here is most of them are non-exclusive. You can add the same image to all stock photography websites, widening your audience.
On top of that, you can then sell the same images as prints elsewhere. You take advantage of both worlds, from images you only edited once.
And here’s a cool video we found on this subject.