Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
Do you want to sell your photos online and earn some money? Wondering which websites allow you to sell stock photos?
As a photographer, you can easily earn some extra cash (or even start a new career) if you know the right places to sell your photos online. Photographers of various skill levels are in high demand for their work, now more than ever. Everyone from large corporations, small and medium size businesses to bloggers, graphic designers, marketers and publishers buy and use photos regularly online. The days of stealing images are becoming numbered due to tools that can easily match pictures and their originators. For most legitimate firms the potential lawsuit is not worth it. Thats great news for photographers looking for recurring income.
In this guide, we will share the top 12 best places to sell photos online and make money doing what you love.
1. Sell Photos on Your Own Website
The number one best place to sell photos online is on your own website.
- You can set your own prices
- No one else takes a cut
- You have 100% control over how to display your photos
- You can set your own terms and conditions
- YOU’RE in control
Don’t have a website yet? It’s not hard to start. You should check this simple guide on how to create a photography website in WordPress. The majority of professional photography sites online are created on WordPress.
After creating your website, you need to showcase the photos beautifully to attract visitors and convince them to buy. We recommend you to use a top-rated WordPress plugin like Envira Gallery and create image galleries for your photos.
You can also create photo albums with beautiful customizable Lightboxes to display and categorize your images beautifully.
Envira Gallery plugin has a WooCommerce add-on that allow you to sell photos easily. You should check this guide on how to sell your photos in WordPress.
Shutterstock has been a popular site for over 15 years to buy stock photos online. They have over 200 million images, videos, and music tracks for folks to purchase royalty free which also means they have millions of purchasing customers.
As a photographer, you can earn great money with this marketplace in the long run. According to their site over $500 million has been paid out to their worldwide community of contributors.
Shutterstock allows you to keep your copyrights protected, so it’s up to you to set the rights on the photos. Shutterstock also gives credit to the image’s owners, which is a major plus to protect your ownership and market your brand.
You can become a contributor to their site and start earning every time your content is downloaded by one of their customers. As a contributor you can make anywhere from 20% to 30%. Payouts are done monthly. The great thing is you don’t have to worry about exclusivity, where you are only allowed rights to sell through them online like some of the other marketplaces for stock photos.
You can get started here to submit your photos through their platform.
3. Fotolia (now Adobe Stock)
Fotolia is a marketplace by Adobe now branded as Adobe Stock. It has been around for over 10 years and known to be the very first online shops to sell photos. The royalty share is also higher than the other online shops.
Photos uploaded at Fotolia becomes a part of the Adobe Stock library which means they are also available in other Adobe applications like Photoshop, Illustrator and more to make the purchase easy for buyers.
Contributors make anywhere from 20% – 60%. They also do not require you to make them an exclusive seller of your images.
Given the behemoth that Adobe is, its likely that Fotolia/Adobe Stock will continue to become a prime destination for buyers and sellers of stock photography.
Alamy is another a great platform to sell stock photos without any hard and fast rules. Alamy may not have as many buyers than Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, its still a great contender and another great option for revenue. Photographers can upload their photos without licensing or any other copyrights issue. To date Alamy has made $180 million in payouts to photographers.
You make 50% on each sale, which is why Alamy is known as one of the best online places to sell photos and earn well.
Etsy is better known as a marketplace to buy and sell unique handmade goods. However, it does boast over 30 million users and several different ways to sell your photos through their platform. The great thing about Etsy is that they have a larger audience than most stock photo sites and a demographic that is ready to purchase your images. You can even sell your prints, but remember you would need to properly pack and ship them.
You can set the price for your photos and design on your own. Etsy also gives you full control on how you want to display your photos to buyers.
Fotomoto is not an online marketplace, but it is a widget that integrates with your website to sell photos online. It manages all the process for you after adding it on the site.
It has multiple monthly plans and transaction fees with all the features available to sell photos online without the hectic procedures.
Crestock is a place to sell photos and earn the money easily. You need to set up a free account on this website and upload the photos. They will assess and approve the images to add them in your Crestock portfolio.
You can add the keywords and description for each image, so it becomes easier for the editors at Crestock to review and accept your photos.
500px is an online marketplace to create portfolios of your images and earn money. It is one of the best places to sell photos online.
You can set up a free account with 500px and add the images. They also run several contests to make help you earn more in exchange of your photos.
Snapped4u is a marketplace for photographers who cover events like weddings, parties and more. It allows you to simply upload the photos and not worry about anything else.
You will get the most share on each sale. If the photos are sold on good prices, then Snapped4u will charge their commission.
PhotoShelter is an online shop to sell and deliver prints to the clients. They allow you to set up your template for sharing the photos.
However, you need to buy the space on their platform to upload the photos. There are multiple plans for monthly and yearly options with different features.
BlueMelon is a simple website to upload, share and sell images for the photographers. The platform is secure to upload your images. They serve as more of a portfolio for your images vs as a marketplace. In short, you do the marketing they handle the display and payment processing.
They give fairly good royalties in comparison to the other contenders on this list and credit the owner of the photos. BlueMelon helps you integrate your social media, blog or website to upload your photos and videos. You can also choose how you want to receive your money from multiple options available.
TourPhotos is a hub of tourism photos from different photographers and travelers. Most of the travel agencies and tour companies use it to upload the photos of their adventure trips for the attendees and general public to purchase from here.
It is a great platform for travel photographers to sell their photos online to a like minded audience.
Who is Buying and What Type of Photos are Selling the Best?
The largest buying base of stock photos are bloggers and small to medium sized website business owners.
What type of images are they buying the most of?
- All types of People – Kids, adults, various cultures.
- People working – Very popular with businesses. Folks working on laptops, writing, speaking at a meeting, etc. Just don’t make them so generic they become a meme.
- Food – Various types of delicious foods even empty unwashed plates.
- Tools – Gears, hammers, nuts, bolts and screws can convey a lot of things for potential buyers.
- Cities – Cityscapes, buildings, people commuting.
- Nature – This is a no brainer which never gets old to shoot or sell.
- Travel – Shots from around the world are always in high demand.
Pro-tip: Have a look at the categories for some of these marketplaces to see some of the most popular images.
We hope this guide has helped you to find the best places to sell photos online and make money. You may also want to check out our guide on 15 places to sell nature photography online. It’s really helpful!