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 make money by selling your photographs.
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.
The other reason is that 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. 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.
This website also allows photographers to sell their photos elsewhere. 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 them.
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 uploading and selling.
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.
You retain full control over how your photographs are displayed. This is ideal, as competitors’ images are not displayed next to your own.
Fotolia 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.
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.
It boasts over 30 million users. And several different ways to sell your photos through their platform. The great thing here is that they have a larger audience than most stock photo sites. Their demographics are the ones who are ready to buy your images.
You can also recreate your brand on Etsy. You set the price for your images and design your own page. They also gives you full control on how you want to display your photos to buyers.
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 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.
For example, 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. It allows digital photographers to sell their images. 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. This service turns photography into a game.
It is a real-time online photographic competition system. Photographers compete against each other across a plethora of different subjects.
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.
They use special proprietary algorithms. These ensure each submitted photo gains equal exposure. This is regardless of when it was submitted during the challenge. It gives each entrant an equal opportunity to win through “statistical-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
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.
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.