Photographer taking photo of model knowing How To Sell Photos Online

How To Sell Photos Online [Essential Photographer’s Guide]

If you’re a photographer, you may have thought more than once to sell your photos online.

Selling your images for money can be one of the most effective methods of passive income, which means that you can publish your picture on a stock photo site, sell its license, and get money from your pictures over and over again!

The internet has made selling photos online way easier than it was back then, and if you have proper photography techniques and equipment, you can make significant income from your photos.

Ways To Make Money Selling Photos On The Internet

There are many ways to sell your photos online; whether it is photo books, prints, or stock images, you can monetize your content in a wide range of options, giving you endless possibilities to make money online.

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However, there are some steps that you may need to fill in first to start selling photos online in a successful way. Don’t worry, it is very easy to do, and if you follow these steps correctly, you can make money right away with your images!

Find Your Niche and Build Your Audience

Finding your niche consists of knowing what style and theme your pictures follow. You may have a lot of talent in taking photos of cities, dogs, or food, so the first thing that you have to do is to find out which themes are popular with your audience.

You can also find out what people are looking for on the internet by doing some keyword research and use that to sell your best pictures regarding that specific theme.

Remember that, as any online business owner, you have to build your audience to find out what their interests are, so you can sell photos that they may like.

Instagram and Tumblr are excellent sites to advertise your photos since they work as visual social media. You can also link all your accounts so you can share your pictures in many other places as quickly and easily as possible.

For example, if I wanted to sell photos, but don’t know where to start, the best thing that I could do is starting an Instagram or Tumblr account. I can build my audience there, know what their interests are, and then use that information to promote my photos in other photography sites.

Find Sources of Income for Your Photos

This step is essential because it’s about finding the source of your revenue, and this can depend on which type of photos you use to sell on the internet.

There are many photography sites that you can use to make money; pics of any kind are in high demand all the time, and I’m going to show you some of the best ways to sell your photos on the internet.

Create Your Own Photography Website

This is the best way to sell images online and get as much control as possible over how you sell them. After you create a website, you can create your portfolio in which you showcase your best work, as well as including payment options for those who are interested.

I recommend using a third party such as SmugMug to handle the e-commerce side of your business. SmugMug takes care of the printing, shipping, and payment processing of all your photography prints.

The most remarkable benefits of having your website are the following:

  • You have total control of your site and your pictures.
  • You can implement your terms and conditions while selling your images.
  • You take 100% of the earnings.

Most photographers use WordPress to sell their images, so if you haven’t considered creating your website, give it a try!

For more info on starting your own site, check out this guide on how to start a blog and get paid for it.

Selling Photo Prints and Photo Books

People love good-looking t-shirts, coffee mugs, bags, and many other objects. If you have already built an audience, you can use that to sell your image prints for conventional products.

To make this work, you can partner up with a local printing lab, publish the models on the internet, and then you can produce and sell them to whoever is interested!

The best thing about this is that you can advertise many products without actually having to make them first. You can put your designs on a model bag, for example, and publish them on the internet. Then, if someone buys it, you can go to the printing lab to produce it and give it to your customer.

You can also make beautiful photo books with a specific theme or style and publish them on the internet to sell them! Use sites like Blurb to publish your eBooks and then sell them. You can also sell them on your website.

Sell Your Photography Services

If you want to sell your services as a photographer, you can do this by publishing some images that you may have taken for an event or a product and use that to promote your services.

There are sites such as Upwork and Fiverr, which offer a high demand for product photography services. This can also be a great way to promote yourself and the images that you take, widening the possibilities.

Stock Photography

I have been over the most common ways to sell your images on the internet. However, one of the most effective ones is stock photography. Licensing your images makes it possible that you get money from a picture even after a long time of it being published.

The demand for stock photography has increased tremendously over the years; this is because there are a lot of people on the internet that want to publish a book or just a beautiful picture for their website.

Selling stock photos is easier since most agencies do all the marketing for you. You just provide the pictures, sell the license to use it, and then get a fee every time someone purchases that license.

Check out the best apps to sell photos for money straight from your phone.

Stock photographs can be used in blogs, flyers, social media posts, newsletters, websites, and many more! If you have an extensive collection of photographs, you can definitely give stock photography a try.

How To Sell Stock Photos

Selling stock photos is one of the easiest ways to make money from your images, but before I get into that, I’m going to answer some basic questions that you may have regarding the term.

What Are Stock Images?

They are pictures that can be used for anything. They usually involve people, pets, cities, and anything that isn’t related to a specific product or brand.

Selling stock images is significantly cheaper than hiring photographers, so this is why many people prefer to pay for licensing at a stock photo website.

What Type of Images Are Used for Stock Images?

  • People
  • Families
  • People Working
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Nature
  • Cities
  • Landscapes
  • Pets

How To Take Stock Images?

While finding photos to sell online in a ‘stock’ format, you have to keep the image as generic as possible; this means that it can’t have brands or logos on it, so the person buying the license can use the picture in any way that they want.

You also have to keep the keywords for those pictures simple and make sure that you get written consent from models if you’re planning to publish pictures with people on them.

Finally, you may want to shoot your pictures at the largest size possible. This is because most stock photography sites offer many size options for the clients; if you provide them with high-resolution images, the more likely your image can do well on the site.

Best Sites for Selling Stock Images

Now that I’ve shown you the benefits of selling on stock sites, I’m going to show you the most popular sites in which you can publish your photos!

1. Alamy

Alamy is one of the most accessible platforms to sell photos online. This site has over $180 million in payouts, and it doesn’t require you to license your photos before publishing.

Alamy pays 50% of each sale to its photographers, which makes it a lot higher than a lot of other stock platforms.

2. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock was created by Adobe, the most popular developer of photo and video editing software! This is known as the first marketplace for photos on the internet.

If you upload your pictures to Adobe Stock, they are automatically sent to the ‘Adobe Stock Library’, which means that they are available in many Adobe applications, giving you a more significant reach to obtain potential clients.

Selling photos on this site can get you from 20% to 60% of revenue per photo. You don’t have to give Adobe Stock exclusive selling rights; this means that you can upload your images to this site and other stock sites at the same time!

3. Shutterstock

This has been a very popular site on the internet for over 15 years. Shutterstock provides over 200 million videos, pictures, and much other content that can be sold to customers, meaning that this marketplace is huge.

You can set your rights on your photos, and the site also gives you credit for your content, which is great if you’re looking to advertise yourself and your pictures.

With Shutterstock, you can earn from 20% to 30% of the total selling price of your pictures. The amount that you earn gets paid out monthly.

You don’t have to give Shutterstock selling rights either, so you can work on this and other sites at the same time if you want! 

4. Getty Images

This site is for brands and publishers that are looking for more exclusive pictures to license. You can earn from 20% per image; if you give your picture exclusively to that site, you can earn much higher rates.

Becoming a contributor in this site is not so easy as the others since the clients there often demand higher-quality content. However, if you manage to turn into a Getty Images contributor, this can be a good site for you.

5. 500px

This is one of my favorite sites to sell photos online because it provides a platform in which you can upload your portfolio and check its statistics for free

500px’s algorithm adds new uploads to a ‘Discovery’ tab in their site; this tab is viewed by many people every day. You can also see how your pictures are doing on the platform, thanks to the site’s analytics feature. 

To get started on 500px, you have to sign up for a new account, and then add your pictures. It’s as easy as that! 

How Much Can You Earn from Your Photographs?

Now that I’ve shown you some of the most popular sites to sell your pictures, it’s a matter of choosing which site adapts to your needs the best.

Since you probably want to obtain as many earnings as possible, I recommend that you sign up for sites that don’t ask for exclusive selling rights; this way, you can upload to more than a single site, increasing the chances of selling!

What you can earn from each picture depends on the content that you’re selling and where you’re selling it. For example, you could earn more from a site that offers you a 50% rate of payment from each picture, than a site that offers you just 20%.

You could earn from five dollars per image; however, that number can range up to a more significant amount. As I said, it depends on where you’re selling and what you’re selling.

Can You Sell Pictures Taken from Your Phone?

Absolutely! If you consider that you are good enough with your mobile, then I encourage you to give it a go!

Mobile photography is becoming really popular these days, and some sites offer selling opportunities for pictures taken on a phone.


There are many ways to sell your photos on the internet, and all of them can be very profitable if you know how to use them! If you plan to go into stock photography, then all you need is a collection of excellent pictures and look for a site that accommodates your needs the best.

Regardless of the method you use, it’s entirely possible to get your pictures sold on the internet. It’s a fun and creative way of making money, and it’s also rewarding to have people admire and buy your work.

Now that you’ve learned about selling your photos on the internet grab your camera and start getting those amazing shots!

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  1. Trevor Headley says:

    Thanks for a very useful and easy to read article.

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