Do you like taking pictures and are wondering how to make money online by selling them?
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to make money selling your photos online.
Quality stock images and pictures you may see on the internet could very well have been taken by people just like you.
Your smartphone can take great pictures and you can sell them online to different websites and companies.
If you’re looking for recurring income ideas, this is a great side hustle to consider since you’ll take photos once and make money whenever someone buys them.
You can sell the same photo multiple times if you use some of these sites mentioned below.
7 Places to Sell Photos Online and Make Money
Where you sell your photos online matters if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck. Stock photo sites like Shutterstock are great options because they sell a wide variety of photos to users.
You’ll typically earn a commission whenever one of your photos is downloaded or purchased.
Aside from stock photo sites, there are a few other clever ways to make money off your beautiful photos. Here are some of the best options to consider when looking for options on where to sell photos online.
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Shutterstock is a top stock photo site that adds new images to their inventory daily. Users can pay a monthly fee to download a certain number of stock photos every 30 days.
Since the website allowed contributors to sell their photos online, they’d paid out to $1 billion in sales commissions worldwide.
To get started, just sign up to become a contributor and submit your photos online. You can even download Shutterstock’s contributor app to submit your images straight from your mobile device.
You can also use the app to track your earnings on the go.
Like I mentioned, Shutterstock has paid out over a billion dollars to their worldwide community of contributors in the last 15 years!
2. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock allows you to buy single stock images or sign up for a monthly subscription to access multiple images.
In addition to being able to sell your own high-quality photos on their website, you can also sell HD videos that you record as well.
You must be 18 years old to become a photo contributor. You must also sign a photo release if your content contains recognizable persons or private property.
You’ll earn royalties each time your photos are licensed or downloaded by users.
Adobe lists royalty rates online and you can earn anywhere from $0.66 to $3.30 per image or anywhere from $21.12 to $26.40 for extended license images.
With videos, you can earn up to $28 per HD video or $70 per 4K video. Realize you may even be able to shoot 4K videos from your phone since newer smartphones have a 4K camera already built-in.
3. Your Own Website
If you’re really passionate about photography, consider selling photos on your own website.
Posting your own breathtaking photos on social media for free may be great for a hobby, but you can start earning passive income if you license some of your images to others.
You can start a website or blog and share samples of your pictures to let people know what they could buy.
The best part about selling photos on your website is that you can set your own rates. To generate passive income, you may want to start your own stock photo site as well.
There are plenty of stock photo sites that are owned by individuals. Upload high-quality images regularly and offer a subscription program.
That way, people can pay one monthly fee and have access to your entire photo library.
And selling photos is not the only way to make money with a blog. You can also partner with affiliate programs or companies, in your niche, then make money through affiliate marketing, in addition to the income you get from your beautiful pictures.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a great course that I like recommending to my readers who want to earn money with their blogs.
The course creator, Michelle Gardner, is a six-figure blogger who helps her students earn six figures in a matter of months. I’m one of her many successful students.
You can read my blog income report here that I released last year of how my blog is making me money then…
4. Getty Images
Getty Images is one of the top professional photo sites around and they also own websites like iStock, Image.net, and Photos.com.
Getty Images is a great site to sell photos online and make money. It probably charges some of the highest fees to license photos, but as a photographer, this means you could make a higher profit for submitting high-quality photos and videos.
There are over 330,000 contributors and counting to the photo collections on the website. To become a contributor, download their contributor app and read their guidelines to make sure your images qualify.
Upload 3 to 6 sample images, illustrations or videos (via YouTube links) and the team will review your samples to let you know if you’re accepted to contribute to either Getty images, iStock or both.
Contributors earn a 15% commission for photos and 20% for videos and illustrations. Exclusive contributors can earn between 25% and 45%.
Etsy is well-known for being a platform that you can sell crafts and handmade goods on. You can also sell digital goods on Etsy as well like printables and photos.
Again, this can be a great way to earn a passive income because all you have to do is set up your store and sell your photos multiple times to customers.
You can set your own prices for your images and even offer discounts and specials to drive sales. Etsy deducts a fee when you sell your items so keep that in mind when setting your pricing.
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EyeEm is a stock photos site where users can download lifestyle images as well as images for branding, products, travel and more.
It’s easy to start selling your photography through EyeEm. Just create a photographer’s account and start uploading your images for review.
You’ll earn a 50% commission for each image you sell and you can even keep your copyright privileges to some of your images.
EyeEm also partners with Getty Images so this could be a backdoor way to get your photos on their platform as well. Track your sales using their app and add specific keywords to help users find your images faster.
7. Big Stock
Consider selling your images on Big Stock, a prominent stock photo site with thousands of images and videos. You can sign up to become a Big Stock contributor for free.
Complete the contributor’s tutorial, then start uploading your images. The team will review your images to see if they meet standards and can be resold.
If your images are good to use, they’ll get added to the Big Stock collection and you’ll keep copyrights to your work.
You’ll earn a 30% commission each time your image is downloaded by a user who does not have a monthly subscription (single image download) Big Stock image prices vary by size.
For example, if someone downloads a small version of your image, they’ll spend $0.50 in credits but if they download a large version it’s $2.00. Vector images are $3.00 so your commission amount can vary.
Another way to earn passive income by earning royalties from Big Stock members who have a monthly subscription. People may purchase a plan that allows them to download more photos per month.
You’ll earn a tiered commission rate depending on how many times each of your photos gets downloaded.
4 Tips to Take the Best Images that Sell
It’s important to spend a little time learning how to take the best pictures and how to sell your photos online the right way.
Selling photos online to make money may require more effort than just signing up for the sites mentioned above. It’s important to think about what people are looking for when they’re buying images to make sure you’re matching those quality standards.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you consider the best way to sell photos online.
Related: Selling Printables Guide
Tip 1: Good Lighting
Good lighting is key even if you’re just posting images on social media. It’s easy to see that some photos that are dimly lit or unclear may not get much engagement online.
We have all the tools available today to take bright and clear images.
You may want to invest in some lighting equipment, or simply play around with your camera settings and take advantage of the natural light that’s available during the day.
Tips 2: The Right Subjects
Having a passion for photography is a great place to start, but it’s also crucial that you pay attention to what type of photos can make you the most profit.
Scan stock photo sites if you’re looking to sell there and see what the top searches are. Also, see how many pictures are in certain categories that you’re targeting.
If you find that there aren’t enough photos of pets with their owners, perhaps you could fill that gap and have less competition if it has a high search volume.
The same goes if you’re selling on your own website or a site like Etsy. See what people are searching for or send out a survey asking what type of images people would like.
If you’re going to sell photos on your own site, you can even target bloggers or small business owners who publish content regularly.
High-quality images of office and home office settings are always popular. Just do your research to determine what type of photos may be best for you to sell.
Tip 3: Understand Photography
It never hurts to brush up on your photography skills. An online course can provide an easy way for you to review some best photography practices and learn new skills.
You can also check out YouTube videos for expert tips and hacks. Also, keep taking pictures and working on your editing skills. The more you do it, the better you’ll become.
Tip 4: Get Editing Software
Editing your photos is a key element to polishing your pictures up before you list them for sale. Even the best photographers with the top equipment might still take time to edit their photos to enhance them.
Luckily, you can do this with editing software like Adobe Lightroom, Canva, and Gimp. Gimp and Canva’s photo editors are free to use so you can play around with features and learn how to edit your photos efficiently so they can sell quickly.
High Quality Images Sell Best
If you’re always snapping pictures anyway, you may want to consider seeing if you can sell photos online and make money.
Learning to how to sell photos online is as easy as signing up for one of the stock photo sites mentioned above and learning some basic photography and editing skills.
The best part about selling your photos online is that it allows you the opportunity to make money passively so you’re not constantly trading your time for money. That way, you can focus on other jobs or areas of your life.
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Virginia Nakitari is a full-time blogger and a work from home expert. Join Virginia and 200,000 monthly readers on EarnSmartOnlineClass to learn how to make money online, even as a beginner. Before starting this blog, Virginia worked as a freelancer, specializing in general transcription and virtual assistance. Her wide clientele comprised of business coaches, podcasters, bloggers, and other online entrepreneurs. It’s through these interactions that Virginia developed a knack for writing and showing people how to work from home, make money online and attain financial freedom.