Selling photos online can be profitable and can help you make money as a YouTuber or Instagrammer. But, this all lies in the art of harnessing your creativity. It can seem hard to make it when anyone with the newest iPhone can call themselves a “photographer” and everyone is using some sort of free photo editing software. But success, for most creators who turn to entrepreneurship, comes down to three things:
- Finding your niche
- Building an audience
- creating several streams of income
This guide will provide you with resources and business ideas to help you start a photography-based business, as well as some of the things you should know about selling photos online.
- Define your niche.
Every successful photographer’s work is characterized by a recurring style or theme. Whether your thing is travel, design, cityscapes, nature, food, and so on, consistency is essential.
Online, people follow other people to see more of what initially piqued their interest. When those expectations are not met, people unfollow other people.
If you want to sell pictures online, you’ll need to find your niche by looking at which photos and styles appeal to your target audience. But you can also evaluate the demand for certain topics using keyword research to analyze the search volume for terms related to your photographs.
Like bloggers, YouTubers, and artists of any kind, photographers ought to put money into growing their followers because doing so ultimately enables them to expand their business and sell their work online.
Whether you’re outsourcing or selling photography online as prints, you’ll have to fabricate and use your organization to extend your span and validity.
- Integrate ecommerce into your portfolio
The majority of photographers have a primary portfolio website where clients can view their work and hire them. But by adding ecommerce to it, including the ability to accept payments, you can open several more doors to monetization, like selling courses, physical products, and services.
For instance, Anjan Lal has a shop where customers can buy wall art and see examples of his wildlife photography work.This helps him gain a following and generate sales. But, these aren’t the only ways to sell your creativity..
Selling photos online
There are plenty of platforms available right now. With multiple platforms available, here are somewhere you can explore your options for selling your images.
- Your Own Website
The best place to sell photos online is on your own site. This method gives you full control over your online photography business, including its pricing, display, and terms and conditions. Most importantly, you get 100% of the profit from your sales. There are two main ways to make your own photography website – using a content management system (CMS) or a website builder. A CMS has a steeper learning curve than a website builder, but it gives you more control over your site.
With a CMS, you will also have to purchase a web hosting plan and a domain name. On the other hand, most website builder plans typically already include elements like hosting, maintenance, and support.
Go with a CMS like WordPress if you want a more hands-on method, or choose a website builder like our Hostinger Website Builder for a quick and hassle-free approach.
Alamy is a British stock photography website offering numerous images, vectors, and videos. It pays over $1 million every month to its contributors. The stock agency offers various tools to track customer needs and sales. It also doesn’t edit submissions, so creators have full control over their work. Alamy’s contributor contract has a 45-day notice period, and you can start selling images online within 24 hours after uploading them. There are three commission models: Alamy Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Alamy Silver contributors earn a 17-20% commission, Alamy Gold contributors get 34-40% from a sale, and Alamy Platinum contributors obtain 40-50%. In addition, this stock photography site is a great place to sell your photos online if you’re a student contributor, as you will earn a 100% commission for two years.
3. Getty Images
There are three different stock photography sites operating under Getty Images Holdings, Inc. – Getty Images, iStock, and Unsplash. Getty Images is a stock photography website, while iStock is a microstock photography provider. Even though both are great places to sell your photos online, they differ in the number of sales and the pricing system.
Stock photo websites facilitate fewer sales compared to microstock websites, but they also offer higher prices. iStock contributors can earn around 15-45% commission, while Getty Images contributors get 20% for still images and 25% for video clips.
Acquired by Getty Images Holdings, Inc. in 2021, Unsplash is a previously free stock photography website. This stock site now offers Unsplash+, a paid tier that provides customers access to curated content that can be used for commercial purposes. Those who sell stock photos on Unsplash+ get a one-time compensation of $5-$30/image.
Dreamstime is a royalty-free microstock media provider with over 40 million users and a large library of over 200 million stock media files. In addition to stock photos, it offers vectors, video clips, and audio files. The stock photo site offers contributors a 25-50% revenue share, with exclusive images receiving an additional 10% bonus. Furthermore, exclusive contributors get a 60% revenue share for all sales and an additional $0.20 for each approved submission.
It also has a referral program that offers affiliates 10% of the gross value of their referee’s transactions. This arrangement lasts three years after registration per referral and applies to contributors and customers referred to Dreamstime. To help affiliates, the platform offers tools such as links, badges, banners, and a WordPress plugin.
Shutterstock is a provider of stock media like images, vectors, videos, and music. Over the last 15 years, it has paid out over $1 billion to its contributors. The platform lets people submit content, create and share a personalized portfolio page, and track earnings. A contributor’s earning rate increases as more of their content is licensed. There are six earnings levels for stock photos and videos, letting contributors earn 15-40% commission.
In addition, users can earn money by referring people to Shutterstock. When an artist signs up using your link, you earn $0.04 on images and 10% on videos when their work is downloaded. When a buyer signs up with your link, you can earn up to $200 on their first payment.
6. Adobe Stock
Integrated into the Adobe Creative Cloud platform, Adobe Stock is a microstock media provider offering a wide variety of high-quality assets. These include royalty-free images, illustrations, vector graphics, templates, music, and videos. The stock photo website offers contributors numerous advantages. People can upload, keyword, and sell stock images using Adobe’s machine-learning intelligence and import albums directly from Adobe Lightroom.
Moreover, Adobe Stock artists also get free access to Adobe Portfolio, a tool that lets users create a portfolio website quickly and easily.
Regarding revenue share, Adobe Stock offers contributors 33% royalties for images, vectors, and illustrations and 35% for videos. You can also sign up for the Adobe Affiliate Program for extra income. If you promote Adobe Stock on your platform using its marketing banners or text links, you can earn $72 for a monthly payment, or 8.33% of every single purchase.
500px is a photo-sharing platform for photographers to sell photos online, connect with one another, give or receive feedback, and find work opportunities. It comes with numerous useful features. For example, its Pulse algorithm constantly shows new photos and photographers, while its Statistics feature gives photographers insights into their photos’ performance. The platform also offers Quests, which are weekly creative photo challenges people can participate in to win prizes.
There are three 500px membership levels: Free, Awesome at $3.99/month, and Pro at $7.99/month. 500px offers members of all levels the opportunity to become contributors. Free members can earn 60% of net sales when they license photos exclusively through the platform, while Awesome and Pro members get 100% commission.
Catering to people interested in creative goods, Etsy is an online marketplace focusing on handmade or vintage items and arts and crafts supplies. Many also use the platform to sell photos online, both in the form of digital images and physical prints. Etsy sellers are subject to three different fees – listing, transaction, and payment processing fees. It costs $0.20 to list an item. If it sells, Etsy charges a 6.5% transaction fee on the sale price, including shipping. If you use Etsy Payments to receive money, it also charges a 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee.
Signing up and starting a shop is free, but you can pay $10/month for Etsy Plus to get extra perks. In addition, sellers can sign up for Etsy’s Offsite Ads program to have the platform advertise their products across the web. All sales from the program are subject to a 15% fee.
Snapped4U is an online marketplace specifically built for selling portrait and event photos. Photographers can create a gallery, set their own prices, and upload images in.jpeg format. Then, they can send the photos via email after receiving payment from clients. Each account owner has a Personal Page showing all of their active galleries. The user can also add an image and a short bio, as well as personalize their URL. Moreover, you can also choose to make a gallery private using a password.
Photographers can post pictures for free, but there is a $10 registration fee. Snapped4U also takes a commission for each sale.
US accounts are subject to a $0.50 commission fee for photos priced at $5 or less and 10% for photos priced above $5. On the other hand, non-US accounts are subject to a $0.60 commission fee for photos priced at $5 or less and 12% for the rest.
Fotomoto is an eCommerce widget offering print-on-demand services for selling photo prints or digital photos. It integrates seamlessly with your website and supports numerous platforms, including WordPress and Joomla. Its intuitive dashboard provides users with useful customization and tracking tools.
To use the widget, users need to sign up, link their payment method to the Fotomoto account, and set up their online store. Once the Fotomoto shopping widget is added, buy buttons will appear next to images on the user’s site. After receiving orders, site owners can let Fotomoto’s network do all the work or fulfill the order themselves.
The platform offers three subscription plans. The free plan doesn’t require the user to pay, but it charges a 22% transaction fee. The Pro plan is available for $10/month with a 12% transaction fee. Finally, the Pro Plus plan costs $25/month and charges 10% for a transaction.
There are more options than ever before for selling photos online, whether you do it as a side business, as a hobby, or as a full-time job. Your ability and your assurance eventually conclude your acquiring potential, yet the pay you get from living life to the fullest and doing what you’re great at is the absolute best money you’ll ever procure.