How to Make Money from Selling Photos Online

Introduction of how to make money from selling photos online

Are you naturally gifted at taking photos? Do you enjoy snapping pictures of the world around you? Then you can start making money by selling photos online. The great thing about selling photos online is you don’t need any specialized training, the opportunities are plentiful, and most of the time you don’t need a website to get started.

Visual content is viral in online circles. People rapidly share blog posts with high-quality images on social media. All these photos have to come from somewhere. That means if you have a keen eye for details and can take worthy shots, selling pictures online can be a gold mine. You can earn some money when you submit your images to stock photography services.

A guide on how to make money from selling photos online

While anyone with a Smartphone or camera can take pictures, to capture the best shots you need skill and talent. If your family and close friends always praise about your photography skills, you can use your skills and make some passive income. How do you start making cash from digital pictures that are eating up your storage space? This guide will help you on how to make money by selling photos and the best places to sell your online.

Essential equipment for photography

It’s important to collect good equipment for your photography before you can start making money from selling photos online. But, as we said earlier, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a fancy camera to sell your images.

If you’ve got a DSLR camera (or fancy getting one for a steal), you’ll have more options for selling photos to stock libraries, to sites for prints, or for print-on-demand products. This is because digital cameras will generally produce higher-resolution images.

Steps to sell photos online

While photography is often considered passive income, you have to put in some work to get a steady bankroll. The following are the steps to sell your photos online for making money.

Step 1: Know your buyer

Knowing, to whom you are selling to, gives you an idea of the types of images to take and the quality standards. When starting, your target customer base is bloggers and small business website owners. Therefore, you should capture shots that appeal to these groups. While large companies purchase stock photos, most hire in-house photographers since their demand is enormous.

Step 2: Figure out photos that sell

While seasonal trends and events often affect demand for different types of pictures, some photos never lose their novelty. For instance, many bloggers and marketing agencies are drawn to images of people in different settings. It could be kids playing or a picture that tells the story of a particular culture. If you can also capture great shots of people working, you can make a fortune online. Images of adults working on a laptop or during a meeting are in high demand. However, you should be careful not to make them generic.

Step 3: Discover your niche

When starting, you can take random pictures and upload them to stock sites. However, if you want to make big bucks, you need to narrow down your focus. Remember, tons of people are trying to sell their photos. Therefore, you need to stand out with a niche. It would also be best if you adopt a consistent theme or style throughout your work.

You can also use data analysis to evaluate photography genres in high-demand. With a little keyword research, you can figure out pictures with higher search volume; often, they have high-profit potential.

Step 4: Take high-quality images

While you cannot, predict what your clients or stock market sites will want, you should take exceptional images. Your photos should tell a story and draw in an audience. Therefore, ditch the mind-set of creating stock images. Instead, treat every picture as a piece of art and bring out its best aspects.

Step 5: Edit your images

Since quality is critical in photography, you must ensure you nail the contrast, sharpness, and white balance. A little editing gives you a winning stock photo that will earn more money. Fortunately, editing photos nowadays takes seconds, and you can find multiple editing software. Adobe Lightroom is worth mentioning, but for in-depth editing, you can use Photoshop.

How to sell print-on-demand products

Print-on-demand is a brilliantly simple way to make money from key rings, t-shirts, bags, books, and more – often with zero set-up costs.

The real beauty of print-on-demand is that, while you can advertise loads of products, they don’t exist until someone buys them – so there’s no stock to store, lose or trip over. Even better, there are sites out there that do all the producing, printing and posting for you, so all you have to do is take the photos.

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Best places to sell your photos online to make some extra money

Photography is such a fun hobby, so making money doing what you love is a bonus. This photo selling websites can finally give your photography the recognition that it deserves.

Selling photos on your website

When you want to make money with minimal effort, stock sites are the best option. However, if you aim to get a steady bankroll, then it is advisable to build a photography website. While you will still be selling stock images, a personal site gives you flexibility. You do not have to worry about approval processes and exclusive selling rights. Besides, you set prices for your pictures, handle the displays, and set terms and conditions.

The advantages of selling your photos on your website are:

  • You can set your competitive prices
  • Nobody else takes a cut from the sale of your work
  • You have full control over how your work is displayed
  • You can define your terms and conditions
  • And, once again – you’re in full, total control

Social Media

The possibilities are endless with the potential to reach millions. People often overlook social media as a viable platform for selling products and services. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all ways with which you can sell photos online to make money. Moreover, the cost to promote and sell photos through social media is low compared to the commission rates on stock sites.

Now let’s explore the best sites to sell photos online:


There’s a reason why Alamy has over 160 million videos and photos for sale on its website. It offers 50 percent royalty payment to the photographers on each photo sold. This site allows photographers to sell their photos elsewhere too, but you will get only 40 percent commission for those.


It boasts a large consumer base with millions of images and subscribers, but potential earnings are not high. Image prices are low and even at high download volumes, the commission is only 40 percent. But when used in conjunction with other stock sites, you can rack up a nice flow of cash.


The 500px website is both a photography community and a platform from which to sell photos. It features high-quality photos in a range of different disciplines. Users can advertise their photography skills and promote their work to potential clients. The rates are 60% for exclusive image rights, which is quite attractive. Even the lower rate of 30 percent for non-exclusive photos is comparable to other stock sites.


If you’re a photographer who takes photos at events – parties, festivals, weddings – you should know that Snapped4U allows you to easily sell your pictures online. You can also use the sale of your photos as a way to raise money for a good cause.

For each photo sold that costs 300rs or less, you’ll have to pay a 30rs fee. If the photo is sold at more than 300, Snapped4U will charge a 10 percent commission.


If you are accepted by Stocksy, you could earn a lot. This curated stock photo site periodically opens applications–you cannot join at any time, like other stock sites. It has a fantastic 50% standard earning rate; one of the best available for stock photo sites.

The emphasis here is on quality and the photos featured are exceptional. If you are accepted, you know that you have true talent.


Etsy is a huge marketplace. It is arguably the most popular e-commerce marketplace for arts and crafts in the world. There are both transaction and payment processing fees which amount to just under 10 percent. But, this does mean you take over 90 percent of the selling price.

It boasts more than 30 million active buyers, so the potential for earning is great. Listing fees are minimal at just 20rs. Furthermore, each listing lasts for 4 months.


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.

EyeEm is a creative community app that lets you upload and sell photography online while allowing you to retain your copyrights. Better yet, you’ll earn 50 percent in royalties every time someone buys one of your photos.

Adobe Stock

It is a beautiful and worthy 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. 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.

Getty Images

You’ll often see Getty Images used in news articles. The best thing about them is the photo sale price is fantastic, even for small resolution images. So even though the commission is only 20%, you can still make a decent amount. Another plus is that the approval process for photos is considered more lenient than some other sites.


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 creates 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.


Dreamstime is a reputable player in the stock photography world. 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.


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 if you upload more photos you will get a higher payment.

If you upload less than 999 images to the site, you’ll earn 30 percent per download. If you upload over 1 million images, you’ll receive 60 percent per download. 

Can Stock Photo

Selling photos in Can Stock Photo is an easy way. After you submit three images to the site’s editors, you’ll need to wait 24 hours for approval to start selling. Can Stock Photo will also post your work to one of the largest stock image databases when uploading photos onto the site. You can earn up to 50 percent in royalties on the site.

Tips to make extra money selling stock photos

Tips to make extra money selling stock photos.
Tips to make extra money selling stock photos.

Here are the best ways to make more money selling stock photos online:

  • Upload quality images to multiple stock photo sites
  • Sell across a range of sites
  • Research photographic trends and niches
  • Include people in your photos – but it’s worth noting that anyone you pap may need to sign a model release form to say they’re okay with you using it.
  • Check the T&Cs. Also, find out what happens to your photos if you want to cancel your account later on.
  • Sign up for contributor newsletters from stock photo sites to improve your camera and editing skills and for insights into what pictures are in demand and how.
  • Use relevant keywords when uploading photos to stock images sites as this will help more people find them.


Your talent and your determination ultimately decide your earning potential, but the income you get from doing what you love and what you’re good at is some of the best cash you’ll ever earn.

If you have a passion for photography, there are many ways to sell your photos and services for cash. Try out a few different options and see which ones work best for your skills, lifestyle, and schedule.

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