Most of the earning methods I’ve been sharing on this blog don’t require any special skills (aside from dedication and the willingness, to put in the time. of course). And that’s by design – I want to share info that’s usable for a wider variety of people. But the internet also opens up some pretty good opportunities for creative types, and people with special talents.
So today, I’ll be sharing info on how to sell your photographs. Of course, these tips will be useful for people with actual photography skills and the necessary equipment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try selling pictures for money if you’re a newbie photographer.
In fact, I think these sites would be perfect if you’re starting out. And that’s because they give you a good idea how “sellable” your photos are. And with that sort of information, you can think about whether to pack things up and try a new type of gig, or pursue professional photography further. And if you’re an expert shutterbug, the sites I’ll be listing will surely be a big help when it comes to selling your pictures.
Okay, time to get to my list of sites where you can sell your pictures online. Let’s do this!
Shutterstock is one of the more popular places to sell stock photos. When someone thinks of a stock photo selling site, they’re usually thinking of Shutterstock. And for good reason – over the years, Shutterstock has paid a whopping $300 million to its contributors. That amounts to over 500 million downloads. So there’s definitely a big market here.
But that also means you’ll be competing with lots of people for the attention of buyers. The good thing is you can diversify your portfolio by selling vector images and stock video in addition to your photographs.
You can earn up to $120 for each photo purchases, and that amount increases the more people buy your work – so there’s an incentive for you to build a roster of regular buyers.
Here’s another popular site for selling photos online. The site is one of the OGs in the online photo selling scene. They’ve been around since 2011, and have built a pretty solid reputation for both photographers and photo buyers.
The thing about iStockphoto, though, is that they have a pretty thorough vetting process. To apply, you’ll have to first select the type of works you want to sell on the site. This includes vectors, video, illustrations – and photos, of course. They will have to review your qualifications, portfolio, and even give you a quick test. So overall, I think iStockPhoto is more a site for experienced photographers. But if you think you have what it takes to make it here, by all means, give it a shot.
You’ll make 15% of the photograph selling price, but that amount moves up to a whopping 45% when you’ve moved up to “Exclusive” status. Like Shutterstock, your status goes up the work photographs you can sell. So it’s definitely a game of both quantity and quality.
If you prefer working with smaller, but still legit, photo selling sites, go give 123 RoyaltyFree a look. The site was started in 2005, and are totally independent – no venture capital involvement here, folks. The owners of 123 RoyaltyFree are the real deal. They bootstrapped the company to where it is today. They’ve sold stock photos to some of the biggest names in the world, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and American Express.
Whenever you sell a photo on 123 RoyaltyFree, you get 50% of the final sale price, which is pretty high, even when compared to the bigger players in the field. What’s more, you can also refer other photographers, and you stand to earn 10% of their earnings. (They don’t get deducted – you just make 10% of the amount they make) Overall, this is a pretty awesome payment scheme, which shows that you shouldn’t ignore independent photo selling sites.
This is another company that offers a pretty high earning percentage. You can get 70% net for every license you sell (standard licenses are $250). Over 5 million photographers use 500px Prime, so you know the company is legit and dependable.
You will have to pass a screening process before you can sell on 500px Prime. But considering their photographer-friendly pricing scheme, you should give this a try.
Fotolia is another giant in the stock photo industry. The company is owned and run by Adobe, so Fotolia definitely has the tech pedigree. Luckily, they also offer a pretty good rate – you can make 50% of your work’s selling price.
But this is a pretty competitive platform – as you would expect, given their high pay rates. Lots of people use Fotolia to sell photographs online. That means you have to make sure your works can stand out, and are up to industry standards.
You probably wouldn’t think Etsy is a go-to place for selling photographs, but it is! While most people think of Etsy as a place to buy handcrafted or unique items, you can also sell your photo prints on the site (pro tip: framed works have a better chance of selling). When you really think about it, photographs are actually works of art, just like drawings or paintings. The only difference here is that you used different tools to create the work.
But while photos being sold on stock photo sites can be mundane, the sellable works on Etsy tend to be artistic and decorative. So chances are your photo of a yuppie raising his arms while using a laptop won’t sell on Etsy. Landscapes, portraits, and even abstract worms have a good chance of finding the right buyer on Etsy.
Etsy has a huge market. That sort of exposure costs money, of course. Etsy charges $0.20 for each sale, and 3.5% of the selling price. You will also have to be the one to print, pack, and send your photos to buyers.
If printing your own photos and dealing with shipping companies is a bit daunting, you should look into Redbubble. The site allows buyers to print your photographs as merch or art prints. The cool thing about Redbubble is that it handles the printing, shipping, and customer support.
It charges a commission whenever someone buys your design. Using Redbubble frees you up to do what you do best: create awesome pictures!
And another cool thing about Redbubble is that you can also upload graphic designs, not just photographs. Basically anything that’ll look good on a shirt, mug, notebook or tote bag can be sold on Redbubble.
Imagekind isn’t a household name like Shutterstock or iStockphoto, but they’re still pretty legit. They’ve been around since 2006, and hosts over a million images from photographers and artists.
The site puts an emphasis on “artistic” photos. So generic photos of business people pointing at a computer screen won’t cut it here. But don’t overlook this site. Producing stock photos can get a bit boring, since your subject matter won’t be the most exciting. But a site like Imagekind gives you a great outlet for your creative vision.