A great place for photographers to market their photos is the internet. We have many ways to do this, depending on your knowledge level, the amount of time you put in, and the amount of cash you wish to earn. In this article titled “How to Sell Your photos online and be earning about $150 per image“, there will be a breakdown of the most popular options that freelance photographers have for marketing photos online, whether it’s stock photos, fine art photography, or photo-printed products.
More than 48% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, it, therefore, means that the same number of people at least are now granted access to the Internet.
Today’s internet had made communication easier now than ever before and made the whole world united. The Internet has also made it simpler than ever for photographers everywhere in the world not to only share but also to gain money from selling photos on the internet. Cheer to tools like WordPress, which now powers about 42.5% of all sites, create your photography site easily and start selling your photos on the internet.
How You Can Sell your photos online via the internet with stock sites
One of the fastest solutions for photographers to start earning as a freelancer is by shooting photos for stock sites.
Things you need to know about photos on stock sites:
- Some stock photography sites will want you to go through an approved process. You can not just upload your images and start selling right away. Your photos must meet a certain value for both content and quality.
- Photography stock websites don’t allow you to set your prices. You sell your images at the prices the stock website sells them for.
- Renowned stock photo websites are very competitive but may give you exposure. You have ideas to get your photos in front of many content creators, but your images will be listed among millions of other photos competing for the same thing. However, it’s important to stand out.
- You don’t need to keep all of the profit, pay is commission-based. Every stock website has a different commission structure.
Make research to see which one is good for you. Or, you use multiple websites to maximize your gain.
- Stock photo sites may need exclusivity in some cases. It means you won’t be allowed to sell your photos on any other stock photo websites. You need to make sure you read the fine print.
- You have retained the copyright when you have sold your images through a stock photo website. Nevertheless, you are offering the pictures with a royalty-free license, which means the person who buys them has a special right to use them. They can use it for marketing materials, such as on their site or a brochure. Although, they can’t resell your photo.
Good Places to Sell Your Photos Online via The Internet
The table below shows you a summary of the nice platforms that allow you to sell your photos online, with their respective commission payouts.
|🏆 Editor’s Choice: Modula + Easy Digital Downloads||100%|
Adobe Stock has the credibility of being the creator of the most widespread photo editing software on the market. Any photos you upload to the marketplace are quick to access in other products of Adobe.
This improves the visibility of your work. It is instantly accessible from within their Photoshop, Illustrator software, or Adobe Lightroom.
You are given incredible freedom when selling stock photos on Adobe Stock. You can even sell your photos somewhere else since Adobe Stock does not demand that you give them exclusive selling rights. Above all, gains are usually 33%.
Don’t hold back if you think you do have what it takes to become a photographer. Turn your zeal into profit. Adobe Stock is a very nice place where you can sell your photos online without struggle.
Joining the Adobe Stock network as a contributor has a disadvantage which is, that you’ll be competing with some talented photographers from around the world. This implies you are going to need a lot of hard work to make people get the awareness of your creative work.
Advantages of Adobe Stock:
- In the media industry, Adobe possesses a great reputation which shows you are in a better hand.
- They give great help from their support team whenever you need it.
- The professionals use their plugin because it is trusted
Disadvantages of Adobe Stock:
- Too much competition makes it very difficult to get attention
- You cannot submit audio-only submissions
The most famous stock photography site is Shutterstock which has been for over 15 years. They not only have millions of images but also have music tracks, videos, and most importantly, millions of customers buying them.
According to their site, over $500 million in payouts to their supporters have been fulfilled. As a creator, you can earn a significant amount of money by trading your pictures on the Shutterstock marketplace in the long run.
In addition, Shutterstock permits you to retain the copyright of your pictures which means you still have some control. Similarly, image owners are provided with credits, which is a huge advantage if you’re trying to create a brand around your creative work.
You’ll need to create an account on their Contributor platform for you to sign up for Shutterstock as a contributor. Becoming a Shutterstock Contributor is free and easy with the company’s fast application and photo review process. When your application is authorized, you’ll be notified by email.
You can earn anywhere between 15-40% as a contributor based on how many times your customer downloads your content at the end of every month.
However, because of the popularity of Shutterstock in the industry, this might not necessarily be a good thing as a matter of fact for starters. Stock photography websites that are quite famous and notorious for making it harder for new, aspiring photographers to actually make some money.
Publishing and marketing your work on the Shutterstock marketplace does not limit you to only trading through their network – definitely, it's still worth giving it a try.
Advantages of Shutterstock:
- It is the most famous paid stock photography website, if your work is good, people will find it and purchase from you.
- It is greatly easy for you to sell your photos.
- Professionals use and see it legit.
Disadvantages of Shutterstock:
You don’t have a brand and the way your own photos are circulated, nobody will realize you are a photographer.
ABC News has featured Foap as being a good app for selling photos. Users make 50% of the gains from it even when big brands, such as MasterCard and Sony purchase their photos.
The way it works is quite interesting when compared to the other regular stock photography sites in the rest of this post. This site describes itself as a customized visual-content platform where creatives for creative professionals powered it. What does that really mean?
As cited above, it really isn’t a regular stock photography site. The process is outlined below:
A label looking for the perfect photo goes to Foap and sends their brief to them which describes the tone, target audience, and aesthetics.
Foap has what we call Missions where Photographers can then compete.
Presenting a photo or video to one of Foap’s missions is the easiest form to make the most money out of marketing your creative work. All you must do is produce a photo that matches that of the described Mission brief to meet the requirements and the kind of imagery that the label is looking for.
Just one photo has the possibility to make hundreds of dollars with Mission.
If you’re a photographer or a company that is in need of photo or video content, Foap customer service representatives are available all year round 24 hours a day.
Advantages of Foap:
- The platform is outstanding and tends to give photographers a lot of chances to participate than other platforms.
- Trusted and used by some prominent brands such as Heineken, Volvo, and Nivea.
Disadvantages of Foap:
- The platform isn’t as famous as other stock photography sites which can make it difficult to succeed.
Another great place to start selling your stock photos online without giving yourself any complicated rules is Alamy. Despite the fact that the Alamy network may not be as popular as Adobe Stock and Shutterstock which means it won’t have as many clients – it is indeed still worth considering.
Alamy has made up to $180 million in payouts to their related photographers at the time of writing this post. It is One of the most outstanding places for selling images because you make an incredible 40% on each sale.
To become an Alamy Contributor is relatively simple. You’ll need to fill out an application first and then upload your first 3 images for the license. After they are licensed, you’ll be able to upload up to 500 photos at a time with the use of Alamy’s online interface. While they allow very broad content, be aware that Alamy has a somewhat strict quality control process to approve images, so be sure to review their image quality conditions before uploading. When your application is authorized, you’ll be notified by email.
Alamy provides a direct buy option without using subscriptions or credits. They think users can purchase Alamy stock photos, not credits, so any photo bought are done in US dollars, British pounds, and Euros. With this, direct buying rates are straightforward, licensing costs are easy to understand and whenever consumers need them, they can buy them.
Advantages of Alamy:
- It takes a lower cut so photographers can gain up to a surprising 50% on every sale.
- Not as popular as some other photography websites. However, it has paid out more than $100 million to its related photographers.
Disadvantages of Alamy:
- Community aspect of the Alamy platform is not much.
- Creating a profile you can share is not something that can be done.
- Photographers don’t get much exposure to Alamy.
Another great place to sell photos online is iStock Photo. They have basic tutorials that help photographers start selling. Getty Images are the service owner and operator.
15% commission is what you receive when someone downloads your photo but commission can actually increase all the way to 45%.
However, it is entirely dependent on the fame of your profile and work on the site, and if a customer buys one of your images as a part of their monthly or yearly subscription you can only receive 15% of the sale.
Advantages of iStock Photo:
- It has a great reputation and is a popular platform used by businesses and individuals searching for professional stock photography.
- If you work with iStock photo, you know that you are in good hands and will also get the support that you need as a photographer if only your work stands out on their platform.
- It is owned by Getty Images.
Disadvantages of iStock Photo:
- iStock Photo’s rules surrounding capturing photographs in certain places without permission, and model releases are strict.
- The measure of joining is not easy as some of the other stock photograph sites mentioned in this post – the service is controlled and owned by Getty Images
Though Stocksy was founded back in 2013, they are not that well-known when compared to popular alternatives such as Shutterstock.
They have a serious vetting measure in place for their photographers which means that your possibilities of being accepted aren’t that high, but if you do this, it puts you at an advantage.
Would you not rather be a part of a stock photography network that sees itself on quality instead of just accepting every application they have?
The above quote is from their page for applications. At this point, they’ve reopened the application process which they refer to as a “Call to Artists” for the first time in 2 years and they’re looking for new international talent. This is the time to join!
Advantages of Stocksy:
- Easy to sell images with them online.
- Your creative integrity is preferred.
- A quality network of photographers they truly partner with to ensure quality.
- They pay the highest royalties in the whole industry (50-75%) they are not taking a huge cut of your gain.
Disadvantages of Stocksy:
- If you miss the period where the “Call to Artists” is opened, joining is not easy.
One of the most famous names in the stock photo industry is Getty Images.
In over 200 countries they have over 1.5 million customers, and large audiences around the world will see your photos.
Joining Getty Images, first, you’ll need to download their mobile app and fill out the application. You’ll also need to submit 3-6 samples of your photos. Your application will then be checked and you’ll be informed if it’s been accepted. For royalty-free photos, Getty Images offers between 15% and 20% commission.
You must be over 18 and can only present original videos, images, vectors, or diagrams, to be a contributor. When your photo has been accepted, you can decide to donate it or license it out. Exclusive photos earn you money. You can track your earnings when a customer purchases the right to use your content. On every occasion when customers pick your content, Getty images release a payout.
Your content is worth between $300 and $500 on average when Getty images approve your submission. Getty charges you $20-30 per month of the real worth of the sales. No indication of how often pictures are sold. The costs adjust depending on the type of license for which they apply and how much consumers use their content.
Advantages of Getty Images:
- This is a popular and known name in the industry.
- There is a large audience, therefore you will have a lot of exposure.
Disadvantages of Getty Images:
- Expect lower payout rates than some other websites on this list.
How to sell photography services on freelance jobs sites
While freelancing sites like Guru, Fiverr, Freelancer, People Per Hour, and Upwork are heavily geared toward other types of freelancing jobs like writers, IT, and graphic designers, photographers can also find gigs on these platforms. You may find that you have less competition here than you do in other places.
The major difference with selling photos through freelance websites is that you won’t sell pictures you’ve already taken as you will with stock photography websites. Rather, you’ll connect with clients who need precise photographs, if you can meet their needs and both of you agree on a price, you shoot the photos for them.
The gain of selling photography services on freelancing websites is that you can set your own cost. Each website will take a small percentage of your commission, in exchange for the service. Upwork for example, takes between 5% and 20%, depending on how much and how often you bill clients. The more you bill, the less commission they retain.
To sign up for Upwork is easy and free — simply click the “Sign Up” button on the home page and fill out your data and your work profile.
If you already know The category where your skills are perfected, Fiverr might be perfect for you.
Fiverr was a website where you’d go to pay someone $5 to do anything for you in its early days. Those days are long gone. Now the name remains, and many jobs cost well into the hundreds of dollars.
If you excel at a specific category— especially product photography — you might try to sell your photography services on Fiverr. It may come as a surprise that some people are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year freelancing on Fiverr!
Is very much easy creating an account on Fiverr. You simply need to create a user name and password, then enter your email, and join. You are in, once you activate the account through your email. After that, you need to set up a Gig to begin selling. Nevertheless, there are tips to making sure your gig is very successful.
Advantages of Freelance Sites:
- You reach clients all over the world than just locally.
- Payment is guaranteed through sites.
- Easy way to fill space in your schedule.
Disadvantages of Freelance Sites:
- It’s competitive you must work very hard to stand out.
- Not constant or insured work.
- Some platforms can delay cash releases for up to weeks.
How to begin a photography store on a third-party platform
Stock photography sites are designed for photographers to sell their photos multiple times. However, those who want to limit the number of times their pictures are sold or choose to market them as fine art should consider creating a photography store with the use of a third-party platform instead.
Websites like Picfair, Photoshelter, Pixpa, and Zenfolio, and are all examples of third-party photography e-commerce platforms. Each of the third-party sites works a little bit differently, but they all give you, the photographer, the ability to start your online store, complete with digital downloads, integrated credit card payments, and automatic order fulfilment through a print house.
These platforms are not free for use, but, their price is reasonable ranging from $7/month to $49.99/month depending on what features you want and how many sites you want to create. They’ll more than pay the monthly fee if you make sales with these websites. However, some of the platforms will take a commission or charge an additional service fee when you make a sale. So you must be sure to compare them if you make a decision to go this route.
Advantages of Store on a Third-Party Platform:
- Fulfillment from the printer to the customer directly is automatic.
- You set your own price.
- Receive payment online and get paid immediately.
Disadvantages of Store on a Third-Party Platform:
- Some platforms take a commission on your sales.
How to sell photos online – with self-hosting & WordPress
It’s best to start with our personal choice– WordPress (the self-hosted version). WordPress is a great option for photographers that are assured that they want to retain control over their own pictures and brand.
With the official WordPress archive housing around 55,500 plugins, it’s more obvious than ever to fix a store to sell stock images without sacrificing the prestige of your label by selling on other sites.
Though some might argue that it takes far too long to set a site up with WordPress, most will find that it is really easy and fast to get started, and even for those who do find it hard, it’s absolutely worth it in the end.
Selling pictures online, on your own site, might be more difficult unless you are fairly well-known already and have built up a standard around your work.
Most big individuals and businesses will prefer to buy photos on stock photography sites that they know are 100% secure and reliable.
Advantages of selling your work on your own site are:
- Your own competing prices can be set by you.
- No one else takes a share from the sale of your work.
- You have full supervision over how your work is displayed on your site.
- Your own terms and conditions are defined by you.
The great news is that this can be freely done in WordPress with the Modula Gallery plugin.
Create your photography portfolio with Modula
A WordPress plugin that gives you full control of how your videos and images are shown on your site is Modula Gallery. To create a unique gallery, the plugin allows you with zero coding experience. All you need to do is just for you to press a few clicks. You can choose between several image hover effects, different grid types, image-loaded effects, password protection and watermark for your galleries, video integration, and much more to customize your photography site.
A portfolio is necessary for your business to grow. It acts like your online business card. Plus, by creating galleries for different works you’ve worked on, you can easily display photographs from different positions you’re interested in and sell them to a wide audience.
It sounds amazing, right? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Install and activate Modula:
You need to navigate first to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard and search for Modula.
Next, click Install Now and then Activate so Modula is ready to go on your site.
Step 2: Create your photo gallery:
Once you have installed and activated it, in the WordPress Admin menu you’ll find the Modula plugin. So creating your first gallery, you simply need to click on Modula > Add New.
Next, add a descriptive title and start uploading your pictures to your WordPress gallery.
Using descriptive names will help you change this gallery even when you have multiple galleries in your photography portfolio.
After choosing the pictures you want to add to your Modula WordPress gallery, you’ll see them in the gallery editor as displayed below.
This area has been created to be extremely user-friendly and easy to use notwithstanding your experience with WordPress or portfolio plugins. Special thanks to the Modula drag-and-drop interface, rearranging pictures is as easy as clicking and dragging them around!
You can choose between 4 gallery types in addition (custom, creative, masonry, and slider) and arrange your images according to your preferences. These features help you design a unique portfolio that your customers will come to know and love.
Step 3: Customize your gallery:
Modula gives you full control over your galleries when it comes to design and functionality. It comes with a ton of customization options to enhance your site’s look and feels.
You can do the following for example:
- Add passwords and watermarks to your work to prevent image theft
- Include video content from Vimeo, YouTube, or self-hosted galleries
- Optimize your pictures for faster loading times
- Add social sharing options
- Organize your images into albums
- Create automated sliders and slideshows
- Enable hover effects and animation
Step 4: Broadcast and insert your gallery:
Now that you have some attractive pictures in your galleries it’s time to save your work by clicking Save Gallery.
Once you’ve done this, a gallery shortcode will be placed in the gallery editor.
All that’s left to do now is cut and paste the gallery shortcode to any place on your site you want your pictures to appear.
Modula is by far the most user-friendly plugin when it comes to user interaction.
More than 80,000 users actively use it and it provides all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a gallery plugin.
How you can easily Sell Your photos online with Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) was specifically created to sell digital files straight from your WordPress site. One of the most popular eCommerce tools around for those that want to sell their products online is this plugin, EDD – web developers, designers, photographers, and more.
As a photographer, selling your photos online with EDD will clarify the sales process. Better yet, you’ll get all the cash you earn. The core plugin is free and comes with many features to help you to sell your pictures online.
Once you’ve designed your portfolio using Modula, it’s time to sell pictures online by creating your marketplace with Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
To begin, all you need is to install and activate the EDD plugin on your site by navigating to Plugins > Add New, searching for Easy Digital Downloads, and installing and activating the plugin on your site.
Step 1: Create your product:
After you install and activate the Easy Digital Download plugin, it will show in your WordPress dashboard. Tap on Downloads > Add New to create your first product.
Next, add a name for your product description, as well as a description for customers to see. Make sure your customers are attracted to the descriptions that you write and let them be so engaging and detailed.
Next, add a price to your product. You can also set a file download limit if you want. Or else, leave this setting at 0 so customers can download your image an unlimited number of times.
The next step is designing the product URL. We’ll add the smallest cup URL from the picture gallery we designed with Modula.
From there, add the picture you’re selling to the Download Image section. After which, you’ll be ready to publish and begin to sell pictures online.
Step 2: Broadcast your product:
All you need to do is click Publish now that everything is set up. The picture is now available on your site to be sold.
If you have more than one photo to sell (which is highly likely!) you can repeat the same process with all your products. When you finish, they’ll appear on the front of your site.
Step 3: Link Easy Digital Download to your image portfolio:
- Using Easy Digital Downloads and Modula together to sell pictures online is not difficult once everything is set up.
- When you have your products and gallery of images created, go to Downloads, move your cursor over the one you want, and click View.
- You’ll be redirected to your precise product page from there, where you will see all its details. Next, from the browser’s address bar copy the URL.
- Go to your image gallery once you copy the URL, hover by the image you want to select the product and click on the pencil icon to edit the image.
- Finally, all you have to do is to insert the product link you copied into the URL field to link the picture to the product (and all the information you filled out for it).
- Click Save. Your customers will be able to purchase your images straight from your WordPress photography site now.
- And there you get it! You now know how to sell images online using Easy Digital Downloads and Modula Gallery. Although you have the chance to contribute your photographs to a stock photo site and sell your pictures online and earn a commission for every photo you sell, it’s not always the most lucrative choice.
If you want to earn a whole lot more than a small commission and full control over your photos, you just need a gallery plugin like Modula and an eCommerce solution like Easy Digital Downloads. Then, you’re free to earn 100% of the money you generate and sustain a truly outstanding look and feel for your photography site.
How to sell photo prints online
There are a few more ways you can sell your picture prints online: by using print-on-demand services on your own site or uploading your photos to an online marketplace.
Print on demand
If you don’t have the money, time, and space to manage the list of all your printed photographs, then using a print-on-demand service is a better way to handle print sales. Print-on-demand services take care of printing and delivering prints when a customer demands from your store, so you don’t have to spend time printing and storing inventory alone.
All you have to do is supply a high-resolution photo with Print on demand. Every other thing is handled by the service. The advantage is that your pictures can be printed on almost anything, and you don’t have to worry about your products being delivered on time.
How do you make money with this? The print-on-demand service charges a base price for their products, whatever you charge the customer above that base price is all gain for you.
Print-on-demand websites give integration that works with most top eCommerce platforms. So, if you have a store built with Etsy, Shopify, WooCommerce, eBay, or any other common websites, chances are you’ll find a print-on-demand platform that will work with it.
We have many sites that allow you to put your photograph or design on mugs, pillowcases, t-shirts, and much more. If it is something you want to do, check out what SmugMug has to offer.
Advantages of Print on Demand:
- Works with eCommerce platform and is simple to set up
- No shipping or packing and no inventory to keep
- Fulfillment from the printer to the customer is automatic.
Disadvantages of Print on Demand:
- There’s no direct access to your customer
- To make a decent profit, your products price must be high
- You don’t have quality control in your hands
- Sometimes, order fulfillment can take a long time.
Trading photos in an online marketplace
Online marketplaces are another way to sell your photography online like Fine Art America, Etsy, RedBubble, Saachi Art, Society6, Cafe Press, Artfinder, and the like.
Many of these websites, like RedBubble and Fine Art America for example, are also print-on-demand services. So, you simply upload a high-resolution file of your photo to the site, set your pricing, and the website controls all the rest. You make money by pricing your products above the website’s base price.
The profit of these types of websites is that they are easy to use and the marketplace takes care of accepting payment from the customer and, in most cases, also takes care of fulfilling whatever order. You can be involved or as hands-off as you want to be.
On Etsy, if your storefront is popular, you can make living income selling products there — you have to treat it like a full-time job and it has its share of disadvantages, as well.
On the other hand, your photography is seen with many thousands of other artists’ work in an online marketplace, so it can be more difficult to stand out and make a sale.
Advantages of Online Marketplace:
- Is easy and free to set up a shop
- Print-on-Demand services are often integrated
- More traffic with people on the websites already are eager to buy.
Disadvantages of Online Marketplace:
- Needs constant marketing to stay visible
- Ability to customize your store is very small
- You cannot communicate with your buyers after sales
- Marketplace also takes a share of your sales
- Excess competition, forcing lower cost.
🏆 Our winner in a nutshell: How to Sell Your photos online and be earning about $150 per image
You have two options if you want to begin a small business and sell images online to make money.
1. The winner solution: Use a combination of Modula and EDD
In my opinion, Modula paired with Easy Digital Downloads is the best choice for selling images online and earning money. For beginners, you don’t have to wait for the approval process. Secondly, you get 100% of the profits which means you are in complete control over how much money you can make.
To begin with, selling your pictures on your site is not hard. All you have to do is follow the process we’ve shared in the last section of this article.
2. Sell your photos online via the stock photography website of choice
Select a stock photo website from our list and begin selling your images there. The first part of this article has made it simple for you to choose which stock photo site to go with but if you’re still struggling to make your choice, my recommendation is:
Just begin with the most suitable one:
If you begin with Shutterstock or Adobe Stock, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be restrained from using them to sell your pictures for life. You’ll always be able to turn to another platform or even turn to selling your pictures on your own site.
The key to starting selling your pictures online successfully is not to overcomplicate the steps.
If you decide to go this route, there are a few processes to follow:
1. Create an account:
This step is very genuine. Just for you to create your account and fill out your profile with all of the needed (and accurate) information. To complete your application and, in some cases, also the profile, you need to submit it to join the stock photography network.
If the website that you’ve chosen to join has a review system in place, this can take a while so you may need to take a break between steps 2 and 3.
2. Start creating and distributing work that has the potential to be used by people:
This might be accessible but often comes up when people say that they are finding it difficult to sell their pictures. Not all images will be sold equally as well.
Obviously, it’s necessary to keep an eye out on stock photography websites to see what it is that is more trending. An example of such could be city photography, and this is something that shouldn’t be particularly hard for you to capture if you already live in a city and are able to take outstanding pictures of buildings.
In conclusion: perfect places to sell your photos online
Selling pictures online and earning money from it is not that hard. The easiest and most cost-effective option is to sell pictures from your site as you will be in full control over your gains.
But if you need more exposure, you can begin to sell your pictures on places like Alamy, ShutterStock, Adobe Stock, and other sites mentioned in this article.
I hope that this guide on “How to Sell Your photos online and be earning about $150 per image” has made it simple for you to choose how to sell your pictures and make money out of them.