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How to Sell Photos Online | 10+ Best Places

by | Jan 22, 2024

Hey photography enthusiasts! Do you carry your camera with you all the time, capturing amazing photos wherever you go? Well, here’s some good news: You can actually make money by selling those photos and turn your hobby into a side gig! You can monetize your passion for photography by selling your photos online. There are stock photography websites and other online marketplaces that provide a convenient platform to sell your photos and earn extra money. The best part is that it doesn’t take much effort once you’ve edited and uploaded your photos. So those files sitting unused on your hard drive can now become a source of additional income with minimal effort.

The Best Place to Sell Photos Online

Let’s talk about the top spot to sell photos online: your own website! Selling your photos on your own website gives you full control. You can set your own prices, keep all the earnings for yourself, decide how to showcase your photos, and set your own terms.

If you don’t have a website yet, don’t worry. Creating one is not difficult, and many professional photography sites are built on WordPress. Once you have your website, it’s important to display your photos attractively to attract visitors and encourage them to buy. You’ll want to ensure that your images are displayed properly, your design is user-friendly, your photos are protected from theft, and your images are optimized for search engines. Additionally, you’ll need a reliable eCommerce system to process payments and provide digital downloads for selling your photos.

Luckily, achieving all of this is quite easy with Team-X! Just give them a call and get consultation from them. You’ll have complete control over the process. With the Digital Downloads Addon, users can easily download your photos, and you can even enable direct printing from your WordPress gallery with the Printing Addon.

Team-X offers many other popular features, including client image proofing, social sharing buttons, filterable galleries, video support, album organization, SEO-friendly deeplinking, watermarking and image protection, built-in image compression, Adobe Lightroom integration, compatibility with page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder, and much more. Also read How to Take Good Instagram Photos.

With the help of Team-X, you can create stunning and functional galleries that set you apart from your competitors, all without needing any coding skills. The best part of working with Team-X is that they can put you in front of millions of people online.

How to Sell Photos Online | 10+ Best Places

No.Site NameType of SitePayment StructureWhat We Like
1500px PrimeStock photosUp to 60% royalties (100% with higher membership)High commissions for artists
2SmugMugClient photo galleriesSet your own markup per itemPersonalized website and client management tools
3ShutterstockStock photosEarn 15-40% royalties, based on licenses sold/yr.Earn additional commissions for referrals
4iStockStock photos15-45% royalties, based on exclusivity + licensesSell through both iStock and Getty with 1 account
5Adobe StockStock photosEarn 33% royalties, min. 33 cents per photo soldOption to import directly from Lightroom
6StocksyStock photos50% regular license sale, 75% extended licenseHigh royalties and co-op business structure
7DreamstimeStock photosEarn 25-60% royalties, depending on exclusivityFree account with no approval process
8FoapStock photosEarn 50% royaltiesUpload directly from your phone
9EtsyArt marketplacePay 20 cents/listing + 6.5% + 3% + 25 cents a saleSet your own prices, and sell any arts and crafts
10Society6Art marketplaceSet own markup from 10% to 999% of the base pricePrint-on-demand products featuring your photos
11Fine Art AmericaArt marketplaceSet your own markup per itemPossibility to sell online and through stores
12BlurbSelf-publishingSet your own markupSell print books through Amazon, other retailers
13PatreonFan membershipPay 5-12% of earnings, depending on planConnect with fans and earn recurring income
14Easy Digital DownloadsWebsite plug-inPay annual fee $199-$999Sell directly to your audience from own website

1. 500px Prime

500px Prime

According to the website, more than 1 million customers buy stock images from 500px. If you have a free account, you can get up to 60% of the earnings, and if you have a paid account, you can get up to 100% of the earnings for each exclusive license sold. Moreover, if you submit your photos for commercial licensing, they might be used in well-known advertisement campaigns.

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To give 500px Prime a try, start by signing up for a free account on 500px. After that, you can submit your photos, set up your online store, and complete the necessary forms for each image (such as model releases and liability releases).

You’ll also have the choice to select either an exclusive or non-exclusive license for your images. With an exclusive license, you can earn more money, but you won’t be able to license or sell the photo to anyone else. For non-exclusive photos, photographers earn 25% of the net sales.

2. SmugMug

SmugMug

If you’re a professional photographer, SmugMug offers a subscription plan called SmugMug Pro starting at $28 per month. This plan allows you to create galleries and sell your photos using a customized website with your own domain name for your photography business.

When you use SmugMug, you’ll enjoy features like automatic watermark protection, a personalized website, and tools to manage your clients and sales.

Once you sign up for SmugMug, you can start uploading your photos, choose which products you want to sell, and set the prices for your work.

This is a great website for people who have an entrepreneurial mindset, as you have the opportunity to work with clients directly and have control over how much you charge for your photos.

3. Shutterstock

Shutterstock

On Shutterstock, you can earn money by selling your photos. The amount you earn depends on how many image licenses you sell in a year. Here’s a breakdown of the commission rates:

  • Up to 100 licenses sold: You get 15% commission.
  • 101 to 250 licenses sold: You get 20% commission.
  • 251 to 500 licenses sold: You get 25% commission.
  • 501 to 2,500 licenses sold: You get 30% commission.
  • 2,501 to 25,000 licenses sold: You get 35% commission.
  • More than 25,000 licenses sold: You get 40% commission.

Additionally, if you refer other photographers to Shutterstock, you can earn a small profit. For each photo they sell during their first two years, you’ll earn 4 cents. If you refer a customer and they sign up using your link, you’ll earn 20% (up to a maximum of $200) of their first payment.

4. iStock by Getty Images

iStock by Getty Images

iStock, which used to be called iStockphoto, has been selling stock images since 2001. It is now owned by another stock site called Getty. Because it has been around for a long time, it has many people who contribute photos and videos. iStock carefully checks new applicants to make sure they are a good fit for the site.

To apply, all you need to do is download the free iStock app. If you want to contribute photos or videos for news stories, you will need to fill out an application. The iStock team, which is now part of Getty, will review your qualifications and you will need to complete a short assessment. The final step is to upload a few samples of your work to make sure it is of high quality.

You only need to apply once to be considered for both iStock and Getty Images, and the photos you upload may be listed on either site.

If you sell images on iStock as well as other stock photo sites, you are a non-exclusive seller and you will earn a commission of 15%. If you are an exclusive seller, meaning you only sell images on iStock, your commission rate will depend on how many licenses you sell each year. 

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Here are the commission rates for exclusive sellers:

  • Default: 25%
  • 1,050 licenses sold: 30%
  • 11,235 licenses sold: 35%
  • 45,674 licenses sold: 40%
  • 681,083 licenses sold: 45%

5. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock

If you want to sell your stock photos directly to users, you can become an Adobe Stock contributor. This means your photos will be available for people to use in Adobe products like Illustrator and Photoshop. If you use Adobe Lightroom, you can even import your photos directly into the stock library.

When Adobe users want to access stock images, they have to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription. As a contributor, you earn 33% of the sales from your photos. The prices for your photos depend on the terms of the buyer’s subscription, but you will always get at least 33 cents to 38 cents for each photo license sold. Additionally, there is a Bonus Program where you can earn extra perks like free subscriptions to Adobe products if you reach a certain number of downloads.

6. Stocksy

Stocksy

Stocksy is an online community of artists who believe in fair payment.

When you become a member of this community, you can sell your artwork and have a say in how the business is managed. However, any photos you upload and sell through Stocksy must be exclusive, meaning you can’t sell them anywhere else. If the community ever makes a profit surplus, you may also receive extra payments as a thank you.

The payment system on Stocksy is simpler compared to other stock sites:

  • Regular license: When a buyer purchases a standard license for an image (the price can range from $15 to $125 depending on the size), you get to keep 50% of the earnings.
  • Extended license and Market Freeze: If a buyer wants to purchase an extended license for additional usage rights, they pay an extra fee. In this case, you keep 75% of the earnings.

7. Dreamstime

Dreamstime

Dreamstime is a website where you can sell stock photos and royalty-free images. The good thing is, you don’t need approval to start selling. Simply create a free account and upload your photos.

Dreamstime has a payment system that might seem a bit complicated. It’s based on two factors: the “content level” and the license level. The content level is determined by how many times an image has been downloaded, and the license level refers to the type of license the buyer chooses.

Once your image has been downloaded at least 25 times (reaching content level 5), you’ll earn royalties between 45% and 60%, depending on the license and whether it’s exclusive to Dreamstime. If you have a brand-new image with no previous downloads (content level 1), you can earn royalties between 25% and 60% depending on the license details.

8. Foap

Foap

You can make money from your ordinary smartphone photos by using Foap. This app sells stock photos taken by amateur photographers, making it a perfect platform for new photographers who want to start selling their photos online!

All you have to do is upload your photos or videos directly from your phone. Brands can buy your photos multiple times, and you’ll share the profits equally with Foap, splitting it 50/50.

9. Etsy

Etsy

Etsy is not just a place to sell wedding decorations, custom Halloween costumes, and quirky cat-themed gifts. You can also sell your photos there!

When you list your photos on Etsy, there is a fee of 20 cents for each listing, and it stays active for four months. If your photo doesn’t sell within that time, the listing will renew automatically for the same fee. Once your photo sells, you’ll need to pay a 6.5% fee to Etsy for the transaction and a 3% fee plus 25 cents for payment processing.

Compared to other websites, the fee structure on Etsy is beneficial for photographers. However, it does require some extra effort to make sales because not everyone browsing Etsy may be specifically looking for photos. That’s why marketing your photos is important if you choose to sell them on Etsy. But the advantage is that Etsy takes a small percentage from each sale, so you have the potential to earn a lot.

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The best part is that when you have your own Etsy store, you can set the prices for your photos, which means your earning potential is practically unlimited.

10. Society6

Society6

At Society6, artists can upload their designs to be printed on all sorts of things like duvet covers, coffee tables, and stickers. Once you create your account and decide what you want to sell, Society6 takes care of printing or producing the items whenever they are sold.

When it comes to pricing, Society6 determines the base price of the items and adds a 10% markup for the artist’s share. For prints, you have the option to set your own markup, which can be as high as 999%. A higher markup means you’ll earn more royalties, but it also means a higher price for customers, which might make it harder to sell if it’s too expensive.

11. Fine Art America

Fine Art America

Fine Art America is an online store that specializes in selling beautiful artwork. They offer print-on-demand services for prints, home decor, and clothing.

As an artist, you can sell your photos in various formats such as canvas, framed prints, wood or metal prints, posters, and even have them printed on items like tote bags, shirts, pillows, notebooks, and shower curtains. Fine Art America goes beyond online sales and also supplies art to retail stores across the United States and Canada. They even help artists license their art for use on TV shows aired on ABC.

To sell your photos on Fine Art America, you can create a free account. If you want access to premium features for promoting your products, you can upgrade to a $30-per-year membership.

The best part is that you have control over how much you earn for each product you sell on Fine Art America. You can set your desired markup, which determines your earnings. The item’s list price will include your markup, along with the cost of materials and Fine Art America’s own markup.

12. Blurb

Blurb

Blurb is a self-publishing service that focuses on creating stunning print books and ebooks with vibrant colors.

With Blurb, you have the option to edit and design your book right on their platform. You can also import a design from Lightroom or InDesign. When you make a sale, Blurb will print the copies for you. They even assist with distribution by making your book available on Amazon and through Ingram distribution, which includes thousands of online and physical stores.

When it comes to pricing your book, Blurb starts with a base price and includes vendor distribution fees. However, the good news is that you can set your own markup. This means you have control over how much you earn from each sale.

13. Patreon

 Patreon

Patreon is a popular platform for creators in the creative industry. Whether you’re an artist, performer, writer, or have a business, you can set up your own Patreon page.

As a creator on Patreon, you can create different tiers of subscription for your supporters. You decide on a price and determine the rewards that members, also known as “patrons,” will receive each month at each tier. It’s a way to connect with your most dedicated fans and provide them with special benefits like videos, chats, tips, articles, podcasts, or exclusive digital or printed content.

The great thing about Patreon is that creators get to keep most of what they earn, with a deduction for payment processing fees and a fee to Patreon based on the type of creator plan they choose:

  • Lite: This plan offers a single membership tier where patrons can choose how much they want to pay each month. The fee charged by Patreon is 5% of your monthly earnings.
  • Pro: With the Pro plan, you can add multiple membership tiers and access promotional and analytics tools. The fee charged by Patreon is 8%.
  • Premium: Designed for established creative businesses, the Premium plan provides additional features like merchandise options, a team account, and a dedicated account manager. The fee charged by Patreon is 12%.

14. Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress plug-in that allows you to sell digital products on your WordPress website.

By using this plug-in, you can sell digital photos directly to your audience through your own website. It provides convenient features like payment processing, a shopping cart, discount codes, and file downloads.

The great thing about Easy Digital Downloads is that instead of paying a percentage of each sale, you only need to pay an annual fee to use the plug-in. The fee starts at $199 per year.

Conclusion

In conclusion, photography enthusiasts like you have a great opportunity to turn your hobby into a profitable side gig. You can monetize your passion for photography by selling your photos online. There are stock photography websites and other online marketplaces that provide a convenient platform for you to showcase and sell your photos, allowing you to earn extra money. The best part is that it doesn’t take much effort once you’ve edited and uploaded your photos. So those files sitting unused on your hard drive can now become a source of additional income with minimal effort on your part. If you’re constantly capturing amazing photos with your camera, why not consider selling them and transforming your hobby into a rewarding venture?

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