If you believe you have taken some photos people would be willing to pay for, you need to know the most profitable places to sell photos online.
Thankfully, there are some reputable websites that can help you turn those photos into cash, and selling your photos online can help diversify your income.
There’s a reason why Alamy has over 160 million videos and photos for sale on its website. It offers photographers a huge 50 percent royalty payment on each photo sold. The site also allows photographers to sell their photos elsewhere, but you’ll only get 40 percent commission for those.
This has enabled Alamy to become the world’s largest marketplace for stock photos, with a huge number of monthly visitors—all of whom are potential customers for your photos.
Since launch, Shutterstock has paid out over $500 million to its contributors. When you upload a photo to the marketplace, you still keep the copyright. And you can earn up to 30 percent of the sale price of your photos depending on the size of your image. Currently, the payout starts at $0.25 and can go up to $120 for custom images.
3. iStock Photo
If you’re interested in learning about the best types of photos to sell online, take a look at iStock Photo. Its popular forums and resources will help you to find your feet, and understand how to sell photos online.
You have to apply before you start selling your photos. The application process consists of submitting a few samples of your work through the Contributor by Getty Images app. Since iStock Photos and Getty Images are partners, you may get accepted into either platform.
The site doesn’t provide any specifics about how much you can get paid, but states that you’ll earn a percentage off of every photo that you sell.
If you want to sell your photos online, but would rather make those sales through your own site, PhotoShelter is a fantastic tool for this.
At its core, it’s a photography-oriented eCommerce platform that you can integrate into almost any website. This includes cloud storage for your photos, a built-in shopping cart, drag-and-drop website templates, an intuitive interface, decent SEO (search engine optimization), and several social media integrations.
The benefits of this option include retaining full control over how your photos are displayed, not having your competitors photos displayed alongside your own, and the ability to earn much more of the sale price.
Unfortunately, you will have to pay a subscription fee for this service. The basic plan starts at $10/month and comes with the minimum amount of features.
5. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock is a beautiful site that offers a royalty of 33 percent for photos and 35 percent for vector art. You can deposit these royalties into your bank account after you’ve reached a threshold of $25. Adobe Stock is integrated into Adobe’s apps, making it more likely your photo will get noticed.
Adobe has simplified the way you upload your photos. Instead of going through the painstakingly slow process of tagging all of your images, Adobe’s smart tagging system does it for you. To make your life even easier, Adobe allows you to upload your photos through Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Bridge CC, or its website.
The SmugMug Pro package is an alternative to PhotoShelter. The platform enables you to showcase your work on a massively customizable storefront, and to manage your orders for a yearly subscription fee.
The main distinguishing feature is the ability to use SmugMug’s printing service create prints, books, and greetings cards from your snapshots. There are also some additional features such as the ability to create coupons, photo packages, and built-in analytics. You’ll also get to keep up to 85 percent of your revenue.
If you’re looking for an easy way to sell your photos online, Can Stock Photo is a viable option. After you submit three images to the site’s editors, you’ll need to wait 24 hours for approval to start selling.
When uploading photos onto the site, Can Stock Photo will also post your work to one of the largest stock image databases, Fotosearch. You can earn up to 50 percent in royalties on the site, and can withdraw your money into PayPal once your balance reaches $50. If you want a mailed check, you’ll have to wait until you have earned $100.
This site has over 110 million files on offer, with almost 100,000 more added every day. The royalties payable vary between 30 percent and 60 percent depending on your level of contribution. This means that the more photos you upload, the higher your payout.
If you upload less than 999 images to the site, you’ll earn 30 percent, which equates to $0.216 per download. If you upload over 1 million images, you’ll receive 60 percent, which equates to $0.432 per download.
In the stock photography world, Dreamstime is a reputable player. It achieved this status by ensuring that all uploads are reviewed to check they meet their high standards, thereby guaranteeing quality.
Once your photos are approved, you’ll receive royalties of 25-50 percent. However, this could increase to 60 percent on all images if you sign an exclusivity contract. If you do sign that exclusivity deal, you’ll also receive an additional bonus of $0.20 for your first 100 approved submissions.
FineArtAmerica is the perfect place to set up an alluring portfolio, and to sell physical prints of your shots. You can sell each photo as a canvas print, poster, framed print, metal print, acrylic print, greeting card, phone case, and more.
When you make a sale, the order (including the printing) can be fulfilled by the company’s own printing service. You’ll have to pay the base price for the production, but you can make a profit by raising the price of the final product.
In other words, if a canvas print costs $50 for FineArtAmerica to produce, you can increase the price to $75—that way, you’ll earn $25 from an order.
If you’re a photographer who takes photos at events—parties, gigs, festivals, weddings—you should know that Snapped4U allows you to easily sell these pictures online. You can also use the sale of your photos as a way to raise money for a good cause.
By uploading and selling your photos here, you don’t need to deal with the nightmare of order processing, printing, and postage. Snapped4U deals with all of that on your behalf. For each photo sold that costs $5 or less, you’ll have to pay a $0.50 fee. If the photo is sold at more than $5, Snapped4U will charge a 10 percent commission.
For photographers who already have a website, but want to sell physical prints, Fotomoto is the way to go. This site handles all the printing, packing, and shipping, so you can concentrate on taking pictures. All you have to do is copy and paste Fotomoto’s code into your website, and you can instantly start to sell your photography online.
The most basic subscription plan is free, but you’ll have to pay 22 percent in transactions fees.
Stocksy pays out some of the highest royalties for contributors, making it one of the best sites to sell photos online. To apply, you’ll need to submit at least 25 photos, along with some information about yourself. If you manage to get accepted, expect to see royalties ranging from 50-75 percent.
Stocksy recruits top-notch photographers who take high-resolution images, so make sure that you have all of the essential photography gear you need to snap amazing photos. You should also keep in mind that Stocksy requires that all of your photos are exclusive.
EyeEm is a creative community app that lets you upload and sell photography online, while allowing you to retain your own copyrights. Better yet, you’ll earn 50 percent in royalties every time someone buys one of your photos.
This site pairs up with other image marketplaces as well, giving your pictures a ton of exposure. The more exposure, the more money you can earn. If you’re starting to run dry on ideas, visit EyeEm’s community page on the app to gain some inspiration from other professional photographers.
Sell Photos Online to Earn Some Extra Cash
Photography is such a fun hobby, so making money doing what you love is a bonus. These photo selling websites can finally give your photography the recognition that it deserves.
Hopefully, as you improve your photography skills, you’ll start figuring out the photos that sell well (and those that don’t)—leading to more sales and bigger profits! You might also want to use your photography skills to sell other things online.