Do you want to sell your photos online and make some money? Wondering which websites allow you to sell stock photos?
As a photographer, you can easily earn some extra cash (or even start a new career!) if you know the right places to sell your photos online. Photographers of various skill levels are in high demand for their work, now more than ever. Everyone from large corporations, small and medium size businesses to bloggers, graphic designers, marketers and publishers buy and use photos regularly online.
In this guide, we will share the top 12 best places to sell photos online and make money doing what you love.
Who Buys Stock Photos, and What Type of Photos Sell the Best?
The largest buying base of stock photos are bloggers and small to medium sized website business owners.
What type of images are they buying the most of?
- People — kids, adults and everyone in between from every country and culture!
- People working — These images are very popular with businesses. Folks working on laptops, writing, speaking at a meeting, etc. Just don’t make them so generic they become a meme.
- Food — Various types of delicious foods even empty unwashed plates.
- Tools — Gears, hammers, nuts, bolts and screws can convey a lot of things for potential buyers.
- Cities — Cityscapes, buildings, people commuting.
- Nature — This is a no brainer which never gets old to shoot or sell.
- Travel — Shots from around the world are always in high demand.
Pro-tip: Have a look at the categories for some of the image marketplaces we’ll discuss to see some more of the most popular images.
Best Places to Sell Your Photos Online
1. On Your Own Website
The number one best place to sell photos online is on your own website.
- You can set your own prices.
- No one else takes a cut.
- You have 100% control over how to display your photos.
- You can set your own terms and conditions.
- In short, YOU’RE in control!
Don’t have a website yet? It’s not hard to start. Check this simple guide on how to create a photography website in WordPress. The majority of professional photography sites online are created on WordPress.
After creating your website, you need to showcase the photos beautifully to attract visitors and convince them to buy your images. We recommend using a top-rated WordPress plugin like Envira Gallery to create image galleries for your photos.
You can also create photo albums with beautiful customizable Lightboxes to display and categorize your images to stand out from your competitors.
Envira Gallery plugin also has a WooCommerce add-on that allows you to sell photos easily. If you choose to sell your images on your own site, make sure you learn how to sell your photos in WordPress.
Alternatively, if you decide not to use WordPress, here is a definitive guide on how to create a website using Wix or Squarespace.
2. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) is a stock photo marketplace by the maker of the most popular photo editing software solutions, including Photoshop and Lightroom. This platform has been around for over 10 years and known to be the very first online marketplace to sell photos.
The thing you’ll like most about Adobe Stock is their royalty share, which is higher than other online shops.
Photos uploaded at Fotolia become a part of the Adobe Stock library, which means they are also available in other Adobe applications and thus reach millions of Adobe users and potential buyers.
Contributors make anywhere from 20% – 60% with Adobe Stock. And, unlike some other marketplaces, Adobe Stock does not force you to give them exclusive selling rights to your images. So, you can sell on Adobe Stock and other platforms at the same time.
Given the behemoth that Adobe is, it’s likely that Adobe Stock will continue to become a prime destination for buyers and sellers of stock photography.
You can start selling on Adobe Stock’s site here.
Shutterstock has been a popular site for over 15 years to buy stock photos online. They have over 200 million images, videos, and music tracks for folks to purchase royalty free, which also means they have millions of purchasing customers.
As a photographer, you can earn great money with this marketplace in the long run. According to their site, sellers on Shutterstock have made over $500 million worldwide!
Shutterstock allows you to keep your copyrights protected, so it’s up to you to set the rights on your photos. Shutterstock also gives credit to the image’s owners, which is a major plus that protects your ownership and markets your brand.
Once you become a site contributor, you begin earning money every time someone purchases and downloads your content. As a contributor you can make anywhere from 20% to 30% of whatever your image sells for, which Shutterstock pays out monthly.
Like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock doesn’t force you to use their marketplace exclusively. You might even consider selling on Adobe Stock and Shutterstock at the same time!
You can get started here to submit your photos through their platform.
Alamy is another a great platform on which to sell stock photos, because it doesn’t have any hard and fast rules.
The site may not have as many buyers as Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, but it’s still a great contender and another great option for revenue. Photographers can upload their photos to Alamy without licensing or any other copyrights issues. To date, Alamy has made $180 million in payouts to photographers.
Alamy’s rates are competitive, too. The marketplace pays photographers 50% of each sale, which is significantly higher than some other competing platforms.
Give Alamy a try today! Sign up here to get started as a contributor.
Etsy is better known as a marketplace to buy and sell unique handmade goods, so you may not think of it when looking for places to sell stock photos. However, Etsy boasts over 30 million users and several different ways to sell your photos through their platform.
The great thing about Etsy is that they have a larger audience than most stock photo sites, and a demographic that is ready to purchase your images. Of course, you can sell digital images on Etsy, but you can also sell prints. So, if you’re looking to expand your photography business even more, Etsy is a great option!
Just remember when selling prints, you’ll have to factor in the cost of printing, packing and shipping.
Etsy also allows you to price your own photos, and the site gives you full control over how you display your photos to buyers. If you want full control over your photo selling but don’t want to make your own site from scratch, Etsy might be a great fit for you.
Fotomoto is not an online marketplace, but rather a widget that integrates with your website to help you sell photos online. After you add it to your site, the Fotomoto manages all the photo selling processes for you.
Like Etsy, Fotomoto allows you to offer digital photos, photo prints and even canvases to your site visitors. And, Fotomoto handles the packaging of your material photos so you don’t have to. It doesn’t get much easier if you plan to sell physical photo prints or canvases!
What’s really great about Fotomoto is that the widget itself is customizable. You can adjust the widget’s settings to display your own branding information, including your logo! That way, customers come to learn your brand and associate it with your images.
Whether your a hobbyist photographer, professional photographer or even graphic designer, Fotomoto has some great features that will work seamlessly with your existing WordPress site. Visit the widget website to learn more about its monthly, tiered plans and transaction fees.
Crestock can be a more passive way to earn money for your photography. Simply set up a free account on Crestock and upload your photos. Once the Crestock team evaluates your images, they’ll add them to you Crestock portfolio so that customers can purchase them.
You can add keywords and descriptions for each image, which increases your opportunities for approval by Crestock editors. And, those very same keywords and descriptions will make your photos easier to find amongst a sea of stock images on this site and others.
500px is an online marketplace that helps you create a portfolio of your images and earn money. It is one of the best places to sell photos online.
This free site boasts a “Pulse algorithm” that increases your exposure by adding your new uploads to a Discovery page, which is viewed by thousands of visitors each day.
The site also provides analytics and tracking services so that you can see how your images fare compared to those by your competitors. Ever wondered how many clicks your images receive? What about how you rank in comparison to your peers? 500px can help you find answers to your burning questions.
Getting started on 500px is pretty simple. Just set up a free account and add your images. Then, wait and see what you turn up! Also, watch out for contests to help you earn more and gain additional exposure.
Snapped4u makes selling your event photos a piece of cake. If you shoot weddings, parties, engagements or other events, Snapped4u was designed to make your life easier and your pocket thicker.
With Snapped4u, you can make a gallery and upload images from an even you shot to that gallery. Then, you set the price of the photos and… that’s all!
From there, Snapped4u sells your images as jpeg files and emails them immediately to you buyers. Then, Snapped4u sends you the money you made via PayPal on the first of each month.
Because each Snapped4u seller has her own gallery page, customers who book you for multiple events can always find your images in the same place. And, you can give your personalized URL to anyone you think might want to purchase your photos.
Snapped4u gives you the biggest profit share on each sale. If the photos are sold on good prices, then Snapped4u will charge a commission.
PhotoShelter is an online shop to sell and deliver prints to the clients. They allow you to set up your template for sharing the photos.
However, you need to buy the space on their platform to upload the photos. There are multiple plans for monthly and yearly options with different features.
TourPhotos is a hub for tourists and travel photographers across the globe. In fact, many travel agencies and tour companies use it to upload photos of their adventure trips for attendees and general public to purchase.
It is a great platform for travel photographers to sell their photos online to a like-minded audience. And, you’ll likely feel inspired by all of the beautiful photography that winds up on TourPhotos!
12. SmugMug Pro
SmugMug Pro lets you keep 85% of the markup for your images. The catch is you have to buy a Pro subscription, starting at $12.50 per month, to take advantage of this high royalty; there’s no free option.
Here’s an example of how the pricing structure works, from SmugMug’s website: “You sell a 5×7 for $10.79 and the SmugMug default price for it is $0.79. The markup is $10.00. You keep $8.50 as profit (85% of $10).”
Once you sign up, you’ll upload photos, select the products you want to sell and pick prices.
This is a good site for someone with a true entrepreneurial mindset, since you get to decide how much to charge for your images.
This site has been selling stock images since 2001. Since it’s been around for a while, it has an extensive network of contributors and thoroughly vets new applicants to make sure they’re a good fit.
To apply, just select the most appropriate category (photos, illustrations, video or audio) and fill out an application (it’s free). The iStockphoto team will review your qualifications and you’ll have to take a short quiz to assess them. The final step is to upload a few samples of your work to make sure it’s top-notch.
Once accepted with iStockphoto, you’ll receive a minimum of 15% of any sales. However, if you have “Exclusive” status, your earnings can increase to 45%. Here’s a full royalty schedule with typical prices to help you estimate your revenue.
We hope this guide has helped you to find the best places to sell photos online and make money. Let us know in the comments which stock photo site or strategy you’re most excited to try.