How to Make Money by Selling Photos Online - Make Money Online Easily


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Thursday, August 10, 2023

How to Make Money by Selling Photos Online

Are you an accomplished photographer seeking to monetize your skills and creativity? Selling photos online can be an excellent way to make money while doing what you enjoy most. In today's digital world, there are numerous platforms available that enable you to sell your images globally, giving you the chance to monetize both your skills and passion.

Selling photos online offers several advantages, such as setting your prices and working from anywhere - plus potential passive income streams.

This article will offer a comprehensive guide on how to make money by selling photos online, from selecting the ideal platform to crafting an impressive portfolio and effectively marketing your work.

Select a Platform for Selling Photos

If photographers want to make money off of their work, they must select the best photo-selling platform. Here we introduce the five best photo-selling platforms for you. 



Shutterstock is one of the world's leading photo-selling platforms, maintaining an expansive library of over 400 million images, videos, illustrations, and music. The platform offers advanced search tools that make it simple for customers to locate and purchase content they require, as well as a mobile app for effortless uploading on the go. Shutterstock offers a range of pricing models (06 levels) such as subscription and royalty-based models with an industry-leading royalty rate of 40%, starting from 15%. Commission fees range from 15% to 40% depending on the license type and contributor's earnings tier.


·        Large customer base for potential high sales volume

·        Easy-to-use tools for uploading and organizing photos

·        Introduced a new AI content creation tool


·        Strict technical requirements and approval process

·        High commission rates in comparison to other platforms

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is a photo-selling platform that boasts an expansive library of more than 200 million high-definition photos, illustrations, and videos. It is seamlessly integrated with Adobe's Creative Cloud, enabling users to search and license images directly within their applications. Adobe Stock offers various pricing models, such as subscription and pay-per-image options, with a royalty rate of 33% (photos, vectors, and illustrations) to 35% (videos) for contributors.


·        Fully integrated with Adobe's Creative Cloud

·        Create high-quality content

·        Enjoy generous royalty rates for contributors

·        Flexible pricing – monthly and annual subscriptions


·        Fees may seem high initially.

·        Strict technical and aesthetic requirements for contributors


iStock is a photo-selling platform offering various pricing models, such as subscription and pay-per-image options for contributors. Customers have access to high-quality photos, illustrations, and videos at an impressive royalty rate ranging from 15% to 45%. iStock categorizes its contributors into non-exclusive and exclusive contributors. No-exclusive contributors enjoy 15% royalty on stock photos and 20% on videos while exclusive contributors can earn up to 45% for licensed content.


·        Extensive library of high-quality content

·        Up to 45% royalty rates for exclusive contributors


·        Relatively high commission fees

·        Strict review process

Canva Pro

Canva Pro provides high-quality photos, illustrations, and templates to use in their designs. Currently, it is offering around one million photos and graphics free of cost – simply one of the largest hubs providing affordable graphic solutions. For premium versions, it offers even more than 100 million premium stock graphics and videos. It offers an attractive royalty rate of 35% and facilitates the contributors with an easy upload and approval process.


·        User-friendly interface – enabling you to become a pro even with less expertise

·        Offers customizable templates

·        Affordable


·        Relatively smaller customer base as compared to Shutterstock

Getty Images

Getty Images offers customers access to an expansive library of high-quality photos, videos, and illustrations. Customers have various licensing options including royalty-free or rights-managed options. The rate is 20% for royalty-free still images and 25% for royalty-free video clips.


·        Extensive customer base

·        Frequent sale rate

·        Offers multiple uploading platforms e.g., Getty Images, Partner Portal,, etc.


·        Relatively low royalty rates

·        Slow earnings at the start

Tips to Choose a Photo-Selling Platform 

Here are some guidelines for selecting a platform to make money by selling photos online that meets your requirements:

·        Evaluate your niche and the platform's customer base

·        Examine commission rates and royalty fees on the platform

·        Research the platform's review and approval process

·        Examine its technical requirements and uploading process

·        Consider features and user interface of the platform

·        Evaluate the platform's reputation based on customer reviews

·        Research customer support options offered by the platform

·        Search for platforms with a robust marketing and promotional strategy

·        Research any exclusive requirements or limitations on other selling options

Understand the Market and Customer Demand

Being familiar with both customer demand and the market potential is essential when making money online by selling photos. By doing this, you can craft images that appeal to your target audience, boost sales, and establish yourself as a reputable photographer in the industry.

Research Popular Photo Styles and Themes

Researching popular photo styles and themes can give insight into which types of photographs are in high demand, which in turn helps direct content creation. Popular topics include lifestyle, travel, nature, and food photography.

Identify Gaps in the Market and Niche Opportunities

Recognizing gaps and niche opportunities can help you stand out from competitors and target a specific audience. For instance, you might specialize in photos of an underserved city, culture, or hobby. Doing this will enable you to build loyal customers and boost sales at the same time.

Consider Customer Demographics and Preferences

It is essential to take into account customer demographics and preferences when creating and selling your photos. Knowing who your customers are and which types of pictures they tend to purchase can help tailor content and marketing strategies accordingly. For instance, if most of your customers belong to businesses, focus on producing photos suitable for commercial use such as in office environments or professional settings.

Create a Portfolio of High-Quality Photos

A high-quality portfolio is essential when selling photos online, as it will help you to attract potential customers and earn huge money. By investing in professional equipment and lighting, as well as using effective editing and post-processing techniques, your photos will stand out in the marketplace and attract attention.

Tips for Taking Professional-Quality Photos

·        Utilize high-quality equipment and lighting

·        Consider composition and framing

·        Pay close attention to detail and sharpness

·        Be mindful of color and contrast

·        Experiment with various angles and perspectives

Editing and Post-Processing Techniques

Editing and post-processing your photos can enhance their quality, making them more marketable. Some of the techniques to consider include color correction, cropping, and eliminating unwanted elements.

Organizing and Categorizing Photos for Ease of Browsing

Arranging and categorizing your photos for easy browsing is another essential aspect of creating a portfolio. Consider organizing your photos by theme, style, or location with clear titles and tags that describe what each picture does. This makes it easier for customers to locate them quickly and boosts their likelihood of purchasing from you.

Pricing Strategies to Sell Your Photos Online

When selling photos online, setting prices that balance profitability and customer demand is essential.

Factors Influencing Photo Prices

·        The type of license or usage rights purchased

·        The size and resolution of the photo

·        The degree of exclusivity or uniqueness of the content

·        The type and complexity of the subject matter

·        Perceived value and quality of the photo

Pricing of Royalty-Free and Copyright Photos

Different pricing models, such as royalty-free and copyrights, can affect photo prices. Royalty-free licenses give customers unlimited use of a photo in various projects while rights-managed licenses restrict usage to specific projects or periods.

Tips for Maintaining Balance Between Profitability and Customer Demand

Setting fair and competitive prices for your photos is essential if you plan to make money through online photo sales. By considering all factors that affect photo prices and using pricing models that balance profitability with customer demand, you can increase sales and establish yourself as a successful and reputable photographer in the industry. Here are some tips to set prices while considering profitability and customer demand simultaneously:

·        Research the market and competition to understand what other photographers are charging for similar photos.

·        Assess your time and expertise when creating the photograph.

·        Consider all potential uses and benefits of your photos for customers.

·        Be mindful of production costs, such as equipment and software expenses.

·        Offer package deals or bulk discounts to encourage the customers to boost profit margins.

Promoting Your Photos and Portfolio

You cannot become a successful photo-selling photographer till the time you don’t have wide-spread visibility in the market. Of course, it can only be done through an effective promotional campaign of your products as well as your portfolio.

Tips for Optimizing Your Portfolio for Search Engines

Promoting and selling photos online can be lucrative business ventures, so it pays you if you spend some time optimizing it for search engines. Here is a list of highly effective tips for you:

·        Create clear and descriptive titles and tags for your photos.

·        Include relevant keywords in the description.

·        Use alt text and file names that accurately convey what the photo is about.

·        Optimize your website or platform for fast loading times and mobile responsiveness.

·        Regularly update your portfolio with fresh and relevant content.

Social Media and Content Marketing Strategies

Social media and content marketing strategies can also help promote your photos and portfolio. Consider creating a social media presence, sharing photos, and the content using relevant hashtags and keywords. Moreover, guest blogging, creating email newsletters, or collaborating with other industry professionals are great options to expand your reach.

Networking with Potential Clients and Industry Professionals

Building up a network with potential clients and industry professionals can be beneficial to increasing your sales as a photographer. Attend relevant events, join online communities and groups, and reach out to those you think might be interested in working with you to build relationships and strengthen your brand.

Best Practices to Make Money by Selling Photos Online

Selling photos online can be a lucrative and rewarding career, but it's essential to be aware of legal considerations and some best practices associated with it. Selling pictures requires careful consideration of legal matters, negotiation techniques, and customer support management strategies. By being aware of these elements and implementing best practices into your business model, you can position yourself as an established and successful photographer in the market.

Legal Considerations

·        Be mindful of copyright laws and ensure that you own the rights to your photos.

·        Utilize clear and transparent terms and conditions regarding sales or licenses.

·        Speak to legal professionals if you have any queries or issues related to intellectual property or contracts.

Tips for Negotiating Licenses and Contracts

·        Clarify the purpose and duration of the license or contract.

·        Consider the value and exclusivity of content when setting prices.

·        Utilize plain, straightforward language in contracts and licenses.

·        Be open in contracts to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with customers.

Strategies for Managing Sales and Customer Relationships

·        Provide clear product descriptions and pricing.

·        Utilize accurate measurements when charging the customers.

·        Be responsive and professional in your communication with your clients.

·        Provide high-quality customer service and support.

·        Consider offering discounts or promotions for returning customers.


Selling photos online can be a lucrative way to turn your passion for photography into an income stream. By selecting the correct platform, creating an impressive portfolio, setting fair prices, effectively launching a marketing campaign, and following best practices in the industry, you will quickly establish yourself as an accomplished and respected photographer in your niche. When creating and selling the photos, remember the factors like market demand, customer preferences, and legal repercussions. By formulating careful and practical strategies and dedication, you can make money by selling photos online and turning this hobby into a rewarding business.

So why not start selling photos online right today?

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of photos are most popular on the web?

The categories of travel, lifestyle, business, and food are all quite popular.

How much money can I make by selling photos online?

The earnings of successful photographers might reach hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month, however, it depends on many criteria.

How long does it take for online photo sales to start producing a profit?

Building a portfolio, earning a name, and attracting buyers can take some time. While some photographers see financial success in as little as a few months, others can need a year or longer.

What should I do if a buyer wants to negotiate the price of my photo?

Consider the buyer's budget and intended use of the photo, and be open to negotiating if it makes sense for you. But also value your work and time.

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