If you want to know how to make money selling photos online, first you must understand this. You are a content creator, much like the owner of an Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube account.
Therefore, you need to find a way to turn your photography skills, your creativity, and your content into money. Of course, in today’s world, where everyone owns a smartphone and takes pictures 24/7, that might seem difficult.
That’s why I created a list of great websites that will pay you for your passion. Read on to find out where to sell pictures for money!
1. Selling Photos Online - Dreamstime
I have chosen Dreamstime as the number one entry on our list for several reasons. The most important one being the fact that it is a very old and reputable company that has earned the respect of the industry.
Dreamstime has been in the photography game for more than 20 years.
In these past decades, it has served the creative market. This includes Fortune 500 companies, businesses in the private sector as well as independent customers.
As you can see, if you choose Dreamstime as your platform, you will have your pick of clients to which you can sell your high-quality photography.
At the current moment, Dreamstime has more than 31 million members and over 600, 000 photographers that contribute to its platform.
It gets over 20 million unique visits every month and it hosts some 145 million photos.
Now, let’s talk money! Because I know that’s why you’re really here - selling pictures for money. Needless to say, Dreamstime pays well. But, I must tell you that you will have to commit to them.
That means that the website requires you to submit more than 70% of your portfolio to them. And to keep it open on their platform for 6 months.
If you are a non-exclusive contributor, you can get between 25-50%. Exclusive contributors earn up to 55%.
2. Make Money Selling Photos - Alamy
I have ranked Alamy as the number two option for photographers who are interested in exchanging pictures for money.
Check out their website! You will discover that they are the most diverse platform in the world when it comes to stock photos.
This is fantastic news for you as a photographer trying to sell your art.
Because you can submit pictures related to virtually anything you want. Food, animals, nature, people, architecture, and everything in between. Therefore, if you don’t have a niche as a photographer, this is the website for you.
Alamy hosts more than 60,000 contributing photographers just like you.
And more than 110,000 people who are ready to buy your photographs.
The other reason why Alamy ranks number two on my list is this. They have an app called Stockimo. You can use it to sell photos that you have taken with your iPhone and earn yourself some extra cash. They even buy selfies!
The platform will give you 50% of the sale as long as you are an exclusive contributor.
If not, then you get 40%, which is still very good.
They do not offer long-term contracts and the payment is on a monthly basis.
3. How to Make Money from Photos - Etsy
If you want to know how to make money with photography, this has to be one of the easiest ways.
Who hasn’t heard of Etsy?
This is the reason why the option is on my list and is currently ranking at number three.
Because it’s incredibly easy to get started. In fact, if you already have a bunch of photos you would like to sell, you can have them up as soon as today!
All you have to do is create an account with Etsy and then open your own online shop.
Not only that but unlike other online platforms, Etsy only charges you a very small fee to operate on their platform.
For every sale you make, Etsy will charge you only 5%. And this includes any shipping fees that you might set for your photos.
At the same time, Etsy allows you to sell your photos both in digital and print format.
It is also very friendly to beginner photographers.
And the great thing about it is that you can sell your artistic photos as opposed to stock ones.
4. Where to Sell Pictures for Money - Shutterstock
This is a very obvious choice and one that you might have been expecting to see on this list.
But the truth is that Shutterstock is a great platform for stock images that will allow you to make money selling photos.
In fact, statistics prove that in the past 15 years, Shutterstock has paid no less than 1 billion dollars to its contributing community.
That’s right, a billion with a b. I’m sure I’ve got your attention now!
The main thing you need to understand about Shutterstock is that quantity counts. The reason is that the platform qualifies as a micro-stock one.
That means that all photos are non-exclusive and cheaper than with other platforms.
Make sure to upload as many as you can to increase your chances of earning more money.
Shutterstock will not make you as much money like other places for selling photos online. The payout here is between 20 and 30%. But it’s a great start for beginner photographers.
Or people who have a full camera roll and want to make some cash out of it instead of posting it online for free.
5. Selling Photos Online - SmugMug Pro
SmugMug Pro is a fantastic platform that caters to both seasoned and beginner photographers.
So, you might be wondering why I placed it at number five on my list.
The reason is simple. While this is a wonderful website for selling photos online, there are pros and cons to using it when it comes to how much money you can make off it.
Let me break it down for you.
The main pro when using the SmugMug Pro platform is that it has one of the lowest fees and charges of all the websites in the industry.
This means that SmugMug Pro allows you to keep most of the money you make from selling your pictures online.
In fact, with SmugMug Pro, you get to keep as high as 85% of the profit.
Which is incredible news for anyone who wants to know how to make money with photography.
So, what’s the con?
Well, to be able to use the SmugMug Pro platform, you will have to sign up for their membership plan.
Needless to say, this plan can be very expensive. The minimum is $200 per year. In other words, you will need to spend money to make money.
6. Make Money Selling Photos - 500px
The platform’s full name is 500px Licensing. Although it is better known as simply 500px. This is another stock photo website that hosts a large variety of content. To which you can add your own. For a pretty price, of course.
One of the most important things you need to know about the 500px platform is this.
All the pieces of content or photos you submit are royalty-free. This means that they will be free to use for anyone who accesses them at any time. As a result, the price of the photos will depend on their size.
A fantastic thing about the website is that it allows amateur photographers as well as professional ones. Therefore, if you want to make some money on the side, this can be the place for you.
500px often organizes competitions. Submit your photos and you can win prizes and money.
Speaking of money, 500px pays 60% for exclusive images and half of that - 30% - for non-exclusive content.
To get started, you will have to create an account on the platform. Fill in all the info they require for every single image you upload, such as liability, releases and models.
7. How to Sell Pictures Online - Twenty20
Hello Instagram users! This entry on my list is especially for you.
Twenty20 is a platform that allows Instagrammers to sell their photos to different brands.
In time, the platform developed into a stock photo website that pays very well. Not only that, but it allows you the luxury to connect with your potential clients.
Twenty20 has three ways if you want to start selling your photos online.
The easiest one grants you $2 per photo if it is licensed. You can also enter a photo challenge and earn money that way. If you win, of course.
The third way is to get hired by a certain brand. As a result, the platform will allow you to keep your commission 100% if you are able to perform scheduled shoots for that brand.
Twenty20 has both a website and an app that you can use, depending on what you prefer.
Needless to say, it’s a great place to make money on the side just by using your Instagram photos or working for a brand!
8. Sell High-End Photos Online - Getty Images
I have left this option for last for a good reason.
Let’s talk about Getty Images!
No doubt, I’m sure you’ve already heard about Getty Images. If you are already a photographer or you are interested in this industry, you might know that they buy photos from photographers all over the world.
However, the catch here is that the photos must be extremely high-quality. Therefore, this puts Getty Images at the luxury end of stock photo websites.
For example, if you have ever looked for a photo of a celebrity on the red carpet, chances are that it had a Getty Images watermark on it. That is the type of quality they are looking for.
If you think you can provide that for them, then Getty Images will pay you anywhere between 20% and 45% for a licensed photo.
Take into account that the platform’s standards are much higher than any others we have seen on this list!
Tips on How to Sell Your Photos Online
As you might have already discovered yourself, it’s not enough to know where to sell your photos online. You also need to know how to sell them. So, here are some tips that will help you out!
1. Specialize in a photography niche
This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. Decide what is your photography niche and stick with it.
A few good ideas include people (portraits, selfies, candids that clients will use for websites and flyers), food, nature, architecture, travel, and business.
2. Always do a keyword research
When finding your niche, it’s important to choose a topic that there is an audience for.
In other words, you might be interested in taking photos of bridges. But not a lot of people are interested in that.
As a result, you won’t be able to sell those photos. Do keyword research and find out what clients are looking for.
But don’t choose a topic that everyone else is using either. A topic that is too popular will lower your chances of selling.
3. Create a loyal audience
This is the golden rule of content creation whether you have a YouTube channel, a blog, a website, a TikTok account or you want to know how to make money selling photos.
The first thing you need to do is build your audience.
Create a portfolio that looks good and put it up on Instagram or Pinterest.
Only publish your best work! Use hashtags that people are currently interested in. This will help you reach a wider audience.
Link your social media accounts to your portfolio so that people can find you!
Are you ready to start selling your photos online?
This selection of the best websites where you can make money selling photos online will help you start your journey into becoming a professional photographer.
The online stores and platforms curate your portfolios and pay for your time and efforts.
In this way, your creativity and artistic sense are rewarded every time!
Are you photographer and wants to earn money from hobby? You can choose any of the above or all for earning money for your efforts? Don't forget to share you thoughts here.