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Making money online as an Instagrammer or YouTuber is all about harnessing your creativity and applying it to monetize your talents. In this article, we’ll focus on how you can make money selling photos online & the best website that you can use to generate good income.

When everyone has the latest iPhone and is a professional photographer, it can be challenging to succeed. Everyone uses free photo editing software. For most entrepreneurs who choose to venture into entrepreneurship, success comes down to three factors:

  • Find your passion niche
  • Building your audience
  • Multiple streams of passive income

This guide will cover some of the basics you need to know about making money selling photos online. It also contains resources and business ideas that can help you build your photography-based business.

What are The best places to sell your photos online and getting cash?

There’re different ways to make money selling photos online; here are 18 top places to license or sell images online:

  1. Alamy
  2. 500px
  3. SmugMug Pro
  4. Shutterstock
  5. iStock Photo
  6. Etsy
  7. Getty Images
  8. Stocksy
  9. Can Stock Photos be Used
  10. Adobe Stock
  11. Twenty20
  12. Depositphotos
  13. Dreamstime
  14. EyeEm
  15. 123RF
  16. Foap
  17. Zenfolio
  18. Pixieset

Licensing is a popular way to “sell” photos online to publishers and brands. This is the key. It is essential to look at how brands or publishers might use your images. Photos that convey ideas and are versatile tend to be more popular than photos featuring human subjects.

There are many stock photo websites that you can make money online through,

Let’s take a look at the best places to sell photos online.

1- Make money selling photos online on Alamy


Alamy boasts the most extensive stock photo collection globally, including more than 215 million vectors, stock photos, videos, and 360-degree panoramic shots. As a result, anything is possible, from everyday images to niches. 

There are more than 60,000 users worldwide and 110,000 buyers. Stockimo is also available. This app allows you to sell iPhone photos and make extra money from your selfies. Alamy pays contributors every month and has a simple payment structure. 

It will give you 50% of all direct sales if your images are exclusive to Alamy. Images that are not exclusive to Alamy earn 40% of all direct sales. Alamy does not offer long-term contracts.

2- 500px


500px Prime (formerly 500px Licensing) is home to millions of photographers who sell photos online through 500px, its stock photography website. The company’s distribution partners have over one million customers worldwide and are the best choice for creative content. 

All content submitted to the site is royalty-free, which means you can use it for unlimited and perpetual purposes. File size determined to price. 500px is a community-based platform that supports amateur and professional photographers. 

Follow other photographers and list your photos on their marketplace. You can also participate in Photo Quest competitions to win prizes. Exclusive photos can bring you up to 60% in royalties, while non-exclusive photos will earn you a 30% commission.

It is easy to get started. You only need to create an account, upload your photos, authorize the store, fill out the forms for each image, including liability releases, and then you can start selling!

3- Make money online selling photos on SmugMug Pro.

 SmugMug pro

SmugMug is a great way to sell photos online, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional photographer. It offers a portfolio, sales platform, and tools that will help you grow. In addition, SmugMug allows you to keep 85% of your profit between the price that you set and the default print prices.

Imagine that you are selling a 5×7 photo for $10.79. The markup for this print is $10 if the default price on SmugMug is $0.79. You keep an $8.50 profit in this instance. You will need to sign up for a monthly Membership, which costs at least $200 per Year for the Portfolio plan. However, the Plan gives you tons of eCommerce tools that can help you sell photos online.

4- Shutterstock


Shutterstock is the best stock photography website to sell photos online. In the last 15 years, Shutterstock has given out more than a billion dollars to its members. It can also get your photos seen online by millions. Shutterstock is a microstock site.

Photos are less expensive and non-exclusive. The primary way to increase your downloads is to contribute large quantities of images used in visual metaphors. Although you won’t make as much, it is a great place to start selling stock photos.

Your earnings over time determine how much you get paid. Payouts can range from 20% to 30%. You can also earn extra money by referring new customers or photographers to the affiliate program.

5- Make money online selling photos on iStock Photos.


iStock Photo, a micro-stock division of Getty Images, is iStock Photo. One significant difference is that you can sell your photos on iStock to other agencies. Meaning that you will earn a lower commission than exclusive photos. Depending on whether the images were complete or not, your commission ranges between 15% and 45%.

According to Getty, the current exclusive rates are:


6- Get paid selling photos on Etsy


An Etsy photography shop is a great way to sell your photos online. It is easy to start selling prints online. Etsy charges 5% of the transaction price. This including shipping costs. If you sold an image is on Etsy, Etsy collects a $0.25 payment processing fee and 3% of the transaction price if you use Etsy Payments.

Etsy is different from other sites to sell photos online because most people won’t search for stock images. To get the best out of Etsy, you will need to invest in design and marketing. It may be worthwhile, however, if you get a small percentage of each sale,

7- Getty Images

Getty images are at the top of stock photography websites. This platform is popular with publishers and brands looking for exclusive photos to license. Over 1.5 million people worldwide use this website, as well as its microstock site, iStock.

You can expect Getty images to have higher standards than other stock photo sites. For example, Getty Images charges 20% for photos but can go up to 45% for licensed photos.

8- Make money selling online photos on Stocksy.


Stocksy has a reputation for being a mid-range stock photo site. which is especially popular among creatives and publishers. Stocksy contributors can earn high payouts: photographers can earn a 50% royalty on standard licenses and a 75% on extended licenses. However, all photos are exclusive to Stocksy. You can’t use them on any other stock photo sites. and this is also one way to make money online selling photos online.

Website Stocksy is an artist-owned cooperative. That means you can take part ownership and help to direct the business’s direction. If the co-op is in surplus, contributors can receive profit-sharing through patronage returns. The amount you contribute to the co-op by selling your footage and photos is determined.

9- Can Stock Photos

Can Stock Photo has helped more than 92,000 photographers to sell stock photos online? You can choose from fixed or percentage payouts. Can Stock pay $5 for every 50 photos that your referral sells? Can Stock Photo will list your pictures for sale on Fotosearch.

10- Get paid online selling photos on Adobe Stock.

Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock can be a great place to sell photos online. Photos listed here are also available on Fotolia. In addition, you can upload your images, videos, and illustrations directly to Adobe Stock CC or Adobe Bridge CC if you have Adobe Suite for other creative projects.

It allows you to sell photos and reach millions of buyers. You also get exposure to the most significant creative community in the world through their favorite apps. You can also earn a 33% commission for photos that you sell through Adobe Stock.

11- Twenty20


Twenty20 is a platform for Instagram photographers to market their images to companies. It’s now a full-stock photography website where you can sell your photos online and meet potential clients. There are three ways to make money:

  • Earn $2 per photo license
  • Photo challenges offer cash prizes
  • Receive 100% commission from any brands that hire you for scheduled shoots

This site allows you to sell photos through its app or upload them directly to your website on the brand’s domain. It’s an excellent place to sell photos online and make money doing the things you love.

12- Depositphotos


Depositphotos, a global marketplace of visual content, has a library with over 150-million files. It also serves clients from over 200 countries—Depositphotos, trusted by major international companies like Warner Bros. and TripAdvisor. The experience of a contributor on Depositphotos, the resolution, and the license type are all factors that determine the commissions. They can range from 34% to 42%.

13- Get cash selling photos on Dreamstime.


Dreamstime provides high-quality images for clients in the creative marketplace. It includes independent customers and Fortune 500 companies. The stock agency is now:

  • 31 Million registered members
  • 600,000.
  • 144 million photos and illustrations, clipart, vectors, and clipart
  • 20 million unique monthly website visitors

Contributors to Dreamstime receive a generous payout. However, it does require more commitment. You must keep at least 70% of your portfolio active on the site for a minimum of six months. Non-exclusive contributors earn between 25% and 50%, while exclusive photos can generate a 27.5%-55% Commission. Referrals can be a great way to make money on both the buyer and contributor sides.

14- EyeEm


EyeEm is a more focused place for advertising stock photography. It’s one of the best places online to sell photos if you are in the commercial photography industry. In addition, brands like Spotify and Airbnb can book you for shoots.

It supports more than 25,000,000 photographers and videographers in over 150 countries.

15- Make money selling photos online on 123RF


123RF has been a significant player in stock photography. The platform’s content is not exclusive, and you can also sell it on other websites. Plus, 123RF will promote your photos to more than five million buyers in 44 countries and 17 languages. You can make between 30% to 60% per license you sell once you are a contributor.

16- Foap


Foap’s community of more than three million creatives is what defines it. You can upload professional photos or make some money by selling your photos. Can use Foap’s app to sell pictures. It’s an excellent option if you look to have your images and videos displayed by brands such as KraftHeinz and Nivea.

This site (Foap) gives contributors several ways to make money online selling photos:

  • $5 for each image sold
  • Missions: $100 to $2,500, where brands submit photos and offer cash prizes for the winning entries.
  • Online selling of images via partner platforms such as Adobe or Alamy

17- Zenfolio


Zenfolio makes it easy to sell photos online, both for professionals and beginners. To showcase your work and attract new customers, you can create a website that allows you to sell your photos online. It also offers digital and print options for photography, along with a 7% commission. Zenfolio requires you to sign up for a monthly subscription, which costs $5 per month.

18- Make money selling photos online on Pixieset


Pixieset gives photographers everything they need to share, deliver and sell online. Pixieset makes it easy to create an online store that sells products and prints of photography.

You have complete control over your Pixieset store. You only need to set the price of your products and promote your photos. Paid plans start at $8 per month and require a 15% commission.

Two essential steps to selling photos online & making money:

You can generate money selling photos online using multiple platforms, Let’s now talk about how to make your photography business succeed.

Defining your niche

Each successful photographer has a consistent style. Consistency is essential, regardless of your passion for fashion, travel, cityscapes, or nature.

To see more of what interests them, people follow others online if it did not meet their expectations, people unfollow others.

If you are looking to sell photos online, you will need to find your niche. Usually something you discover as you explore which styles and pictures appeal to your target audience. You can also use keyword research to determine the demand for specific topics.

Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that displays the search volume directly below your Google search. It makes it easy to search for and experiment with popular subjects and angles so you can see what your photos can do.

Keywords Everywhere

It is worth considering capitalizing on any search volume that exceeds 1,000 monthly searches.

Just like YouTubers and bloggers, photographers should invest in their audience. Ultimately this helps them grow their photography business and sell their photos online.

You will need to grow your network, regardless of whether you are freelancing or selling prints online.

You can reach a large audience using visual social media platforms like Instagram or Tumblr with built-in audiences such as Tumblr and Instagram. In addition, there are photo-sharing websites that allow you to connect with other photographers, build a following, and sell licenses for your digital photos, depending on which platform you use.

It’s easier to link your accounts across multiple platforms. Especially important when trying to sell your photography. For example, Instagram allows you to go to Settings > Linked Accounts and connect Tumblr, Facebook, or other accounts to publish one post in multiple places.

IFTTT, a free tool that allows you to create other valuable integrations between apps that don’t usually integrate, like Instagram or Dropbox, is available for download.

You can also use hashtagify on Instagram to find relevant and active hashtags that will increase the visibility of your photos and help you get more likes, comments, and engagement.

Incorporate e-commerce into your portfolio

Photographers have a portfolio site that showcases their work to potential clients. In addition, you can increase your monetization opportunities by including eCommerce on your website, such as the ability to accept PayPal and Shop Pay payments.

Dave Sanford has, for instance, a store where he sells prints and calendars.

Shopify allows you to create a portfolio or store and then install the appropriate apps to make it your own and monetize your business. In addition, you can share and sell your photos in many forms, such as ads and offline, through Shopify POS.

You can choose from various Art and Photography themes, or you can start with a free one. Of course, you can always change later. Can add Shopify apps such as Digital Downloads (free), an Instagram gallery, and can add many more to your workflow.

Your eCommerce website can be the best place for selling photos online. We’ll cover many reasons below.

How to sell photo prints, products, and photo books

Publishers and brands do not only desire your work. Your fans may be interested too.

You can make and sell many things that your fans could own, such as a simple print or a pillow. Selling your physical products is much easier than you might think.

Many sites and tools allow you to upload your photos and sell them as photo prints on paper or as physical products such as calendars, mugs, T-shirts, and calendars.

Printful or a local lab can ship prints. Printful also offers dropshipping of various products, including phone cases, pillows, and other accessories, featuring your photos.

To ensure that the product quality matches your photos, order samples.

How to sell photo books as photography

Also, you can learn how to sell photos by creating photo books from your pictures and then selling them online.

Photo books can be a great addition to any coffee table. However, you will be more successful in creating a unique photo book that is consistent with your photography and selling your artwork online.

To create, print, and ship your items on-demand, you can use a service such as a Blurb or Lulu xPress, or Shutterfly.

Print-on-demand is not the most profitable way to generate demand for your products. However, it is a great way to assess whether you can meet that demand before investing.

How to make your photography a service

There are many business opportunities for professional photographers, whether you are covering events, fashion shoots, or entering product photography. Here are some ways to do your photography service.

You can list your services on freelance directories such as Fiverr or Upwork or apply to become a Shopify Expert. Selling your photography for decent pay requires networking locally since you must travel to meet clients in person.

Let’s now talk about usage rights and how to protect your work.

The legal guide to selling photos for photographers 

It can be challenging to figure out how to sell photography online. While rights and licenses for selling photography can seem like a foreign language to some, there are terms and concepts that you need to be familiar with to protect yourself against theft and to infringe on the rights of others when selling photos.

While this is not a complete list, nor a substitute for legal advice (I am not a lawyer), it should provide you with broad definitions that will assist you in understanding the world of usage rights.

Glossary of legal terms to help you sell photos online

We’ve highlighted terms that you should know about selling photos online to make it easier for you.

Use editorial. Permission to be used in blogs, newspapers, magazines, or other publications

Commercial use. permission to use marketing and advertising materials to promote a product/service

Retail us. Permission to use the photo in the creation and sale of physical products. Prints, posters, and any products featuring the photo (pillows or mugs) are all examples. Although it is in the same context of commercial use, it should treat it separately.

Exclusive. Exclusive use is when the person who purchased the license from you can only use the photo.

Non-exclusive. Photo licenses that are not exclusive can be bought and used by anyone. They usually cost less than exclusive ones.

Public domain. This work is free from copyright claims and restrictions and you can use it commercially, editorially, and personally. This category includes works created by US federal agencies, such as NASA.

Creative Commons As long as your work conforms to the restrictions, conditional use is permitted. Sometimes, it must give to the creator. Visit Creative CommonsTo generates a badge to go with this license, click here.

Royalty-free.Other people can purchase a license to use the photo for an unlimited amount of time and duration. These licenses are the most popular and the most affordable. They also come at a lower price, as they don’t usually allow for exclusive use.

All rights managed You can purchase a one-time license to use the photograph with certain restrictions. In some cases, additional permits may be required for further use.

Right to publicity when it comes down to using your photos for commercial purposes, you have certain rights to the subjects. This is an independent concern from copyright concerns. To be sure, you will need to seek permission for the issue.

If someone has stolen your photos, how to respond?

what to do if my photos stolen

Content theft is common and often done unknowingly.

Photographers watermark images online to protect them from theft. You can either use a watermark generator or apply an identifying mark to your photos if you plan on selling or sharing them.

A smaller watermark in the corner lets others still enjoy your photo. However, a giant tiled watermark with less opacity provides the best protection against theft.

What do you do if they decide to take your photos and make use of them anyway? Usually, a cease and desist letter will work. However, you can also send the perpetrator an invoice for using your photograph. Combining both of these options will be most effective in persuading perpetrators to pay you or take down the photo.

At the very minimum, you should try to get other people to credit you when they borrow your work, even if it is only for editorial purposes. Back to your portfolio website, links are great for driving traffic to other jobs and search engine optimization, and improving your Google search results.

Profit from your passion

Selling photos online is a great idea. You can sell photos online, whether you are a hobbyist, a side hustle or if you work full-time. It just takes some extra knowledge.

Your ability to work hard and your talent will determine your earning potential. However, the income you earn from doing what you love is the most rewarding and lucrative.

Finally, There’re many ways to make money online selling photography, which we’ll write about in the following articles, so stay toon. 🙂

Thank you for reading!

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