Do you have a portfolio of professional photographers looking to create a passive income from your job? What about a novice photographer with a sense of beautiful images and the desire to begin their own company?
Whatever your skill set or experience level, selling photos online is a lucrative business in 2023 and will get more attention in the coming years.
From being a contributor to websites with stock images or creating a site where you are unique, there are endless possibilities to earn money from your creative ideas.
We’ll review the fundamentals of what you should learn to set up your photography business online and up.
We’ll look at the top sites to sell your photos online, the steps to establish your business and brand, legal requirements, and ways to create other sales, such as printing and photography services.
The best places to sell photos on the Internet
Many websites allow you to sell or license photos and images. The top ones include:
Alamy is most famous for its vast stock photo collection. The site has over 215 million stock video vectors and 360-degree panoramic images. Selling everything from niche subjects to everyday photos and earning money from your creations is possible.
Alamy is a simple arrangement for payment and will pay contributors every month. You will receive 50% of the sales if Alamy has made your images exclusive. Other embodiments make up 40% of direct sales. Signing a long-term contract to sell your photos online through Alamy is unnecessary.
If you’re looking to market your images online, launching an Etsy store selling stock photography could be the best alternative. The process is simple and requires registering an account, selecting an appropriate name for your shop, and adding images to your storefront.
It is also essential to spend money advertising your Etsy shop so that customers can see they’re buying something unique on the site. Etsy accepts only 5% of the sale cost as a commission, including the shipping costs you charge.
Shutterstock has been selling stock images since 2003 and is now the primary source of income for many contributors. Although the platform has cut profits with its new system, you receive anywhere from 15% to 40% per download, depending on the contributor’s level.
The most effective way to earn money through Shutterstock is to upload many images. In addition, you can recommend other photographers to earn income each when they sell.
If you’re seeking a simple and cost-free platform to begin selling your photos, 500px is ideal.
Not only is it an excellent selling platform, but it also hosts photography contests too. It will also pay you 60 percent of the sales for selling exclusively through 500px.
The platform is a partial exclusive, which means you’re not limited to making sales through 500px. Additionally, the development of 500px came about through the efforts of photographers, which means it’s a highly secure and specialized area for photographers who are just beginning in the business.
Already use Adobe Creative Suite? You’ll find it simple to sell images online using Adobe Stock. Stock photos can be imported straight into Adobe Stock directly from the Adobe Stock library from Adobe Bridge and Adobe Lightroom and through the Internet.
Thanks to Adobe’s wide range of products and vast marketplace, selling your work through Adobe Stock will allow you to connect with millions of potential buyers and be a part of an extensive creative community. You’ll also earn a 33% royalty on the images you sell.
Dreamstime has a wide range of users, including more than 31 million members registered, as well as more than 600,000 contributors to photographers. It is not necessary to sell exclusively on Dreamstime to utilize it. However, exclusive sellers can earn more. Additionally, you can make a bit more by referring others.
Dreamstime has a far more competitive way of selling. You get between 20 to 60% depending on many factors. The rate you are paid is determined by the quality of your photo, how well-known your work is, and how exclusive you are with the image.
If you’re an amateur or professional photographer, SmugMug can assist you in selling your images online by creating a stunning personal gallery that instantly gets your attention. All you have to do is upload your pictures, and the site will do all the rest. It’s a lot more simple than this.
Additionally, SmugMug gives you 85 percent of the sales, significantly superior to other platforms for stock images. However, you must enroll for monthly memberships priced at $200 for the year. Membership packages, while expensive, give you access to numerous eCommerce tools to sell images online.
How to sell your photos online
Stock photo sites are the easiest way to sell your photographs. But they take such a huge percentage of each sale that creating your website for photography might be worthwhile. Let’s examine ways to market your images online using an authentic and direct channel.
Pick a niche
Your niche is the subject you’ve chosen to use in your portfolio. If the outdoors is your source of inspiration, then your subject matter could be related to travel, nature, or landscapes. If you can create memorable moments that last for the rest of your life, it is possible to capture graduations or weddings.
Finding the right niche is a way to ensure that you’ll do the work you love while making sure you’re targeting the right audience with the marketing efforts you run. A few examples of niches you can choose from include:
People. You may snap photos of writers and business leaders or candid photos at events and engagement parties.
Business. If you’re interested in working with companies, you can take branded photos for companies to use on their websites or shoot photographs of products.
Architecture. Love beautiful buildings? Make sure to focus your photography on incredible landmarks of your local area.
Nature. Photos of nature, flowers, and other natural wonders are ideal for selling prints of your images for wall art.
If you’re unsure where to concentrate your photographer’s efforts, see what’s trending first. Tools such as Keywords Everywhere or SEMRush can help you determine what your customers are searching for. This allows you to base your photography around topics attracting the most attention.