If you want to make some extra income as a photographer, you may want to sell photos online. But there are a lot of platforms to consider, and some are better than others. Even then, some websites offer more commissions.
Do you have a backlog of photos you don’t know what to do with? Before you delete those files, consider if you should sell photos online.
If so, you should consider the best place to sell photos online to make money. Then, you can set up an account and get your images out there so that you can better make use of your photography skills.
No matter your experience with fine art in America, there’s a website where you can sell photos online.
Where to Sell Photos Online
Before you start selling photos online, you should consider where you will do so. You can find a lot of different options, including stock photo websites. However, you also have the option of selling on a creative marketplace or your own site.
Whether you want to make money with photos full-time or part-time, the right site can make a huge difference. Some sites may help you get sales, while others rely on you to promote your work to get people to buy.
Either way, here are some of the best places to sell stock photos online and make money, from Adobe Stock to your website.
Shutterstock is an excellent option for beginners looking to sell photos online easily. You can sell photos for a cheap price, so you’ll need a lot of sales to make a decent income. The platform pays you every time someone downloads your images.
Payment rates are around 20 to 30%. If you want to make more money, you’ll want to upload more photos so that you have a better chance of getting a lot of sales. Another way to make money is to join the affiliate program to refer photographers and clients.
You can sell the stock photos on other websites along with Shutterstock. That gives you even more of a chance to earn money.
Another one of the best websites to sell photos online is Adobe Stock. Most of the customers here use images for graphic design and photo editing. It can be a great place to sell photos in all sorts of niches.
You can make anywhere from $0.33 to over $26, depending on the order. Adobe Stock is the best place to sell photos and videos online. Videos will pay more than photos, but you don’t have to sell videos to use the site.
If you like Adobe products, you may want to try this program. Then, you can make it easy for other Adobe customers to use your images.
iStock by Getty Images
Getty Images created iStock to let photographers upload and sell stock photography online. It’s a great website to use if you want an exclusive partnership. That means you can’t sell your images elsewhere, but that may help get more sales.
People have to go to that one site to buy your photos. By uploading exclusive images, you can make up to 45% of the sale price, or you get 25% for non-exclusive shots. Plus, you can also sell videos to increase your earning potential.
iStock isn’t the best option for beginner photographers though. You’ll need to upload the best possible stock photo to find success on the platform.
Another website where you can sell images is BigStock. This platform has a different structure than other websites when it comes to pricing photos. As you sell your photos more, the price of those images increases, so you can make more money.
The commission rate starts at 30%, which is about average. If you also create videos, vectors, or illustrations, BigStock is great. You can sell all of your visual creations on the site, so you have more opportunities to make money.
Customers can search by industry or keyword, so be sure to optimize your image listings. That way, you can get more impressions and sales.
If you’re looking for stock photo sites without too much competition, consider Stocksy. It’s not as large as some competitors, but there’s a good market there. You’ll need to upload images exclusively to the platform.
However, that exclusivity comes with a commission rate of up to 70%. Like many other sites, you’ll need to upload high-quality images, so it’s not the best site for beginners. If you’re a professional looking to make extra money, it’s a great choice.
The high commission rates are very attractive, and they’re more competitive than other sites. So you may want to give this stock photo platform.
CanStock Photo is yet another fantastic place to sell photos online. The pricing is a bit low, at $1 to $2.50, and you’ll make $0.50 to $2.50 on photos that you sell. However, customers don’t need to have accounts to download images.
That can make it easier to get more sales since anyone can buy your images. Uploading photos to the site is relatively easy. You can upload one image or a batch of photos, so you can save time.
When you upload a picture, you’ll be able to upload a file with the tags and keywords you want to apply. That way, you don’t have to add those keywords during the upload process.
Beginners should check out Dreamstime when deciding where to sell photos online. The platform is more flexible regarding the images and photographers it accepts. The website is also user-friendly, so you can get your photos up quickly.
When you first start selling photos online at Dreamstime, you’ll make 25 to 27%. The higher commission is for exclusive images. Over time, you can increase your commission rate up to 45 to 49.5%, so you can make even more.
If you want to test the waters of selling stock photography, Dreamstime is great. You can always expand your business to different sites when you can produce better images.
500px is a combination of a stock photography website and a social network. Along with listing stock images, you can follow other photographers. The platform also offers competitions with prizes, so you can make good money there.
Viewers can “like” photos on the platform, and that can help you see what’s popular. That way, you’ll know what types of images to take to upload and sell to grow your photography business.
This website also recently introduced an NFT vault. If you want to start selling your photos as NFTs, 500px is a great place to start.
If you want to sell stock photos, 360-degree images, videos, and vectors, Alamy is for you. The stock photo site pays photographers and distributors 50 to 70% of the sale price. You’ll need to earn $50 in commissions to receive your payment each month.
Despite the high commission rates, Alamy doesn’t require exclusivity. That makes it one of the best websites to sell photos online. You can reach more people than you would with an exclusive network or your photography website.
Beginners and experienced stock photographers can create an account. You’ll get access to analytics to see how well your photos are selling and performing.
Selling a photo on FreeDigitalPhotos.net is a risk. The stock photography site lets users download images without paying anything. When people download your photos for free, they will have to give you credit.
However, people can also pay to download your stock images on this site. When that happens, you’ll make 70% on the sale price. If you’re willing to give images away, this can be a great way to get your name out there as a photographer.
Then, people may search for your site or your presence elsewhere. That can lead to more sales down the line.
Another place for selling photos online or giving them for free is Pexels. Of course, listing your pictures on this stock photography website isn’t the best option if you want to make money with photography. But it’s a way you can get more exposure to your work.
If you’re new to photography and want to get customers, this is a great option. People can get to know your name by downloading a free image. If they want to support you, they may follow you on social media.
However, people can donate to photographers directly on Pexels. So if you do a good job on your photos, you may get donations regularly.
Yet another free photo website that’s worth testing is Pixaby. Like Pexels, customers can leave a donation, so you could make some money. If you publish high-quality photos, customers may want to reward you.
You can upload photos, vectors, music, and videos. No matter what you want to sell, it can be a great platform to get experience. You’ll learn how to upload images that you take, which may help when you want to start selling them.
That can make the process of selling photos online easier. You’ll already know some of the basics and can focus on pricing or other factors.
SmugMug lets you create a portfolio site where you can upload and sell photos online. It’s similar to having your own website, but you don’t have to choose a host and design your pages to make the site look good.
Plus, SmugMug pays 85% in commissions, so you can make more here than on other photo platforms. Like a website, though, you’ll have to pay to list your photos on SmugMug, and the fee renews yearly.
There are different tiers that offer more or fewer features. But if you want to get started, the platform is a fantastic choice. You can continue to use it as you get better at stock photography.
To start selling photos online with Depositphotos, you’ll need to pass a test. You can create an account to take the exam to prove that you’re a good photographer. After you pass, you’ll be able to upload stock images to the site.
The platform also accepts vector images as well as videos and music. It’s a great option for someone creative in different ways. You can make more money selling various types of content.
Depositphotos uses a royalty system to pay photographers for downloads. When you first start, you’ll make 34% per image, and that will increase to as much as 42%. That’s a great incentive to focus on creating good photos to sell on the platform.
The best stock image website for amateur photographers to sell photos online is Foap. You can take and upload images using your smartphone, so you don’t need a fancy camera. Instead, you’ll download the Foap app on your iOS or Android device.
Foap lets you upload and sell photos of almost anything. When someone downloads your image, you’ll make $5. You can also participate in missions to make more money.
A mission is where you have to fulfill a client brief. If the client accepts your photo, you can make up to $200 for your work. This is a great option for photographers who like snapping photos in their free time and want to make some extra cash.
If you want to sell on multiple photo sites, consider using EyeEm. This platform will distribute your images to various websites for you. That way, you don’t have to create multiple accounts and upload photos to each one.
EyeEm also lets you sell photos online on the website itself. It’s a great choice for busy photographers who want to expand their income potential.
You’ll make 50% off the sale, and you get to keep your copyright. That means you can also sell your photos on your own website or another platform that doesn’t partner with EyeEm. You may make more money than with other places.
Canva is a graphic design and photo editing tool. The platform provides thousands of stock photos to its users. You can join the platform to start uploading your images and graphics to reach the people who use Canva regularly.
As of this writing, Canva paused sign-ups due to a ton of interest. However, you can check back later to see if they reopen enrollment. Once you get into the program, you can make money through the use of your visual elements.
If you already use Canva, you should upload stock images. Then, people can use it to create some of the best fine art America has to offer.
A more general website you can use to sell a photo or graphic is Etsy. The platform is open to anyone who sells something handmade or digital. You can create a seller account and set up your Etsy shop to get started.
Listing an item will cost you $0.20, and the listing lasts for four months. However, you’ll get access to thousands of customers who use the platform. If you optimize your listing with keywords, you may be able to get more clicks and sales.
Compared to other stock photo platforms, Etsy is more like your own shop. You have control over when you list something and how you price it. You’ll also make more than on other platforms since Etsy fees are relatively low.
Fotomoto isn’t a photo platform itself, but it integrates with your own website. You can upload photos using the tool and connect them to your photography business page. Then, you’ll be able to get sales without having to set up an eCommerce section.
That can be nice since some website platforms charge more for eCommerce features. It’s particularly useful if you want to sell your photos as prints. Fotomoto will take care of the printing for you, so all you need to do is get customers.
This will give you more time to focus on photography. That way, you’ll have more images that you can sell to your website visitors.
Another platform that helps you sell photos online and ship prints is Picfair. You can set up a shop on the website, so you don’t need an external site to bring in customers. The site also gives you more control over the pricing, so you can make more money.
With the free version, you can upload 50 images. That can help you determine if you’ll make good money on the site. Eventually, you may upgrade to Picfair Plus to get unlimited uploads.
No matter which tier you select, you’ll earn 100% of the photo price. However, the free version will charge customers an extra 20%. That may affect how you price your photos, and you might not get as many sales.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that makes it easy to sell photos online. You can sell just about anything, and it’s very similar to having a website of your own. However, Shopify is specific to eCommerce sites.
That means you don’t have to install any eCommerce features or upgrade your hosting. The lowest price will have everything you need to start selling.
Now, it does take more work to set up a Shopify store. You’ll also have to get all of the traffic to the site so that you can get sales. However, you’ll have full control over the pricing and images, which is great for professional photographers.
Along with Shopify, you can look at website platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix. No matter which you select, having a website you own gives you a lot of control. You don’t have to wait for a platform to approve the images you upload.
Pricing is up to you, and you can select the payment gateways you prefer. Plus, you don’t have to meet a payment threshold to receive your money. That’s a great option for full-time photographers or part-timers who need money soon.
A website is also great if you also want to offer photography services. You can have pages to sell photos online and book photo sessions. Then, you can grow your photography business.
How to Choose Where to Sell Photos
With all of the stock photography sites out there, it can be hard to decide which ones to use. Before you choose a site, consider the different features and benefits. And remember that you don’t have to choose one platform.
Diversifying can be a great way to expand your business and make more money. Here are a few things to think about as you decide where to sell stock photos.
Ease of Use
One of the most important factors is how easy the site is for you to use. Consider how long it takes to upload an image and how hard the process is. If it takes forever to upload a photo, the platform may not be worth it, at least not yet.
You may also consider how easy it is to get started and create an account. Some platforms vet photographers, so you’ll need to share your best work. Other sites are more forgiving, so you can start as a beginner.
Of course, you also have to think about how the website will pay you. Some platforms use PayPal, while others might use a different method. If you don’t have access to a payout method, you shouldn’t upload anything there.
However, you might also consider the fees associated with payout methods. PayPal can charge some high fees that will cut your profits. And that’s after the stock photo website takes its cut.
When you sell photos online, you should know how much commission you’ll get. Some sites, like Adobe Stock, pay about 33% per sale. Some sites pay way less than that, but other places will pay way more.
As you look at commission rates, consider if there’s a difference between exclusive and non-exclusive images. If you upload your photos online to multiple places, you may get a lower commission rate from some platforms.
If you want to make stock photography a massive part of your business, you need to think about pricing. Some websites let you set your own prices, while others choose the pricing.
This can be a big deal, especially if you expect to make a lot of sales. A price difference of even a dollar can add up fast. That may not matter to an amateur or a pro who does this on the side, but it can hurt your bottom line if stock photos are your primary income source.
Access to Customers
When choosing where to sell photos online, you have to think about the customer base. Your website may be the most flexible, but that doesn’t mean it will be the most profitable. If you sell photos on other platforms, you can get in front of more customers.
That may help you get a higher volume of sales, even if you make less per sale. Overall, you could end up making more money. And the more sites you use, the greater your income potential will become.
Of course, selling your photos online will come with some competition. When you sell photos online on a platform, you have to compete with other photographers. A customer will search for what they want, and they can get a lot of results.
You could lose out on a sale if your listing isn’t first. And even if it is, you might lose the sale if a customer prefers the image from another seller. So consider how many photographers use a platform to determine if it’s worth it for you.
How to Make More Money From Your Photos
Once you decide where to list and sell your photos online, you may think you’re ready to get started. And you could begin by uploading your existing images. However, you should think about ways you can increase your earnings.
Even if you don’t plan on relying on photo sales, you can still make more money. Here are some things you can do to make as much money as possible.
Stick With a Niche
One of the best things you can do is to stick to a niche. For example, maybe you focus on nature photography, or you choose to only sell photos of food. Having a niche can help you make a name for yourself.
You’ll also be able to learn about how to take good photos in that niche. Then, you’ll be able to reach a higher level of expertise. Customers can learn to trust your work more. After a while, you can get away with charging more for your stock images.
Use a Better Camera
Whether you use a DSLR or your smartphone, you need the best camera you can get. You can swap out the lenses on a DSLR to make sure you get better photos.
If you use your phone, you may want to upgrade, especially if your phone is a few years old. That way, you’ll be able to take more pictures and improve the quality. When you upload those images, you may get more sales more easily.
Edit Your Images
No matter what camera you use, you should edit your images before selling them. You can get rid of weird things in the background to make the image look clear and clean.
If the lighting wasn’t great, you’ll be able to fix that. You can fix the contrast and other visual elements to make sure the photo looks as good as possible. Just don’t over-edit your images because that can make them look fake, and you make lose out on sales.
You should also be extra picky about the images you upload for sale. When you sell photos on a website, you want to give buyers the best possible impression. If you upload just any photo, it could lower your average quality, and you may lose buyers.
Depending on the photo platforms you use, you might not get accepted with subpar work. Some platforms only accept the best of the best. If you submit an image you aren’t entirely happy with, you might not get to sell your photos online there.
If you sell on stock photography sites, you may only be able to sell one image at a time. On your website, though, you can create bundles of similar images. This is a great way to charge more for each sale.
It’s a particularly good option if you’re targeting bloggers and business owners. They may need more than one stock photo, and they’re willing to pay more. Then, you don’t have to get as many sales to make a decent income.
Another option is to offer a subscription service on your site. Customers can pay monthly for access to a certain number of photos, so you can get recurring revenue.
Promote Your Images Regularly
Whether you sell photos using your site or a photo platform, you need to market your images. The stock site may or may not promote your images for you. Even if you show up in search results, that doesn’t guarantee sales.
Instead, focus some of your time on building a following on social media. Instagram is a great place to post previews of your upcoming photos. You can use a watermark so that people don’t steal the image, and you can drive traffic to your specific listings.
Use Multiple Sites
As mentioned, you may want to sell photos online using more than one platform. You should look at a few different websites and consider if they meet your needs. Then, sign up to as many of the sites as you want.
While it will take time to upload images to multiple places, it might be worth it. You can reach more customers who may prefer a specific site to find stock media. Then, you’ll have a chance of making more sales.
Where Will You Sell Photos Online?
If you want to make some extra income as a photographer, you may want to sell photos online. But there are a lot of platforms to consider, and some are better than others. Even then, some websites offer more commissions.
Be sure to consider your photography, income goals, and other factors. Then, you can set up an account with websites that let you sell your photos online. Couple that with an overall photography website, and you may start making some consistent income.