How to Sell Photos Online
Pro Tips

How to Sell Photos Online

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I know you've seen others getting paid for their photos online; but did you know you can do it too? In this post, I will explain exactly how it's more than possible to make extra money selling your pictures online. I will advise you on the process of getting paid, which qualities your photos should possess, and which stock photography sites to spend time selling on.

Selling Photos Online - What You Need To Know

The best, easiest way to sell photos online is through stock photography sites. You can make a decent profit from stock photography if you have hundreds of quality pictures or if you're willing to take them.

Getting Paid

  • You'll need to upload hundreds of pictures onto your stock photo account for the opportunity to make good money. Then, you have to make sure they get approved. Go through all of your pictures and sift out the quality images you think might sell. Use the criteria below to determine if they're worthy.
  • You can make anywhere from 15 to 50 percent of the revenue from each sold photo depending on the stock website you're using. Some websites let you choose how much you get paid and others choose for you. You may be able to receive a higher percentage for each photo if you sell them exclusively on one site.
  • There is usually a minimum amount of money you have to make in order to be granted access to your funds on stock photography sites. For example, iStock Photo requires you to make $100 before you have access to the money. Once you reach the minimum, you can request the payment to your Paypal account, direct deposit and more, depending on the website.
  • Keywords are extremely important when you're uploading photos. Without accurate keywords describing your photos, the right people may never find them. Tailor your photo descriptions to specific industries you think would buy to help their chances of being sold.

Quality of Camera and Photos

get paid selling photos online

Use a digital SLR camera to take photos for stock photography sites. The camera should allow you to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO if you want to. Make sure it takes J-peg images. Your photos shouldn't be grainy at all when you go through them on your computer.

How to Sell Photos Online

What Kind of Photos Can I Sell Online?

You can sell any photo online, but they'll be more likely to sell if they have certain qualities. Some of the most popular photos sold online include:

1. Pictures That Represent Positivity

positive pictures to sell online

Positivity is always popular. Whether you're looking to sell to blogs and magazines or advertisers and art enthusiasts, quality photos that ooze positivity are more likely to sell.

2. Versatile Images

versatile images to sell online

When I say versatile, I'm talking about which industries can use it and how many subjects it can be used for. For example, This picture can be used by bloggers, magazines, other websites, brochure makers, and more. It can be used as a travel, climate change, cold weather, mountains, positivity, and more. Make sure your pictures are versatile to give them a better chance of selling!

3. Photos That Exude a Certain Mood

mood photos to sell online

Bloggers and online magazines are usually looking for pictures that represent a specific mood. For example, the photo above makes me feel adventurous, but relaxed and curious about the world.

Search your photo library for quality photos that make you feel a certain way when you look at them. Try to capture different moods when you take new pictures to sell. If you can make your photo meaningful to a large audience, it will probably sell more.

4. Photos of Food

food photos to sell online

As I write this article, there are 111,787,152 posts with the hashtag #foodporn on Instagram. Food photography is undoubtedly trending right now. Whether it's in an article on delicious recipes or a Snapchat of your friend's dinner every night, you'll notice food pictures everywhere you look. You know why? It's because people love food!

Take a picture of your home-made dinner in quality lighting each evening or capture your colorful breakfast in the sunlight every morning. There's no way you won't sell something.

5. Photos of Exercising

exercise photos to sell online

Exercise photos are another popular seller right now. There are fitness articles, flyers, and advertisements all around us selling the best work-out programs and the best weight-loss programs. If you want to sell photos of people working out, just try to make sure they're unique, quality images. For instance, you can change the angle of your shot to get a different perspective. Unique images will have a better chance of selling.

6. Quality Travel Photos

travel photos to sell online

If you have photos that allow others to experience your travels without leaving their living room, sell them! If you think your photos will inspire others to travel, sell them! There's a good chance a journalist or blogger would love to use your photos for their newest post or article.

Most people desire to travel, which is why there are so many travel websites, ads. and guides out there right now. There is no reason to leave beautiful photos rotting away in your photo library with no recognition.

7. Business Photos

business photos to sell online

Business photos are a huge seller in the stock photography world. Articles relating to business and finance are usually full of complex information. As a result, editors like to add in pictures to break up the text for their readers. You can take photos of people working in an office or working at home on the computer. Just try to make them look as clean and professional as possible. For example, there shouldn't be any distracting objects or shadows in the photos.

8. Photos of Human Connection

human connection photos to sell online

Stock photography buyers often search for photos containing human connection. Ultimately, human connection tugs on human's emotions. When we can relate to something and feel it through visualization, it is more likely to resonate with us. This is why photos of human connection are such great sellers.

9. Cultural Photos

cultural photos to sell online

Cultural photos are popular sellers because they showcase the amazing diversity that exists on this gigantic planet. Writers and readers love exploring new cultures and cultural photos are a way of doing just that. If you have been to some diverse places and believe you have photos that others should see, sell them!

10. Photos with Vibrant Color

vibrant color photos to sell online

You usually can't go wrong with vibrant, colorful photos. If you believe they'll catch people's eye, chances are you'll be able to sell them. If you can, always try to incorporate various color schemes into your photos.

Where to Sell Your Photos Online


Earn up to 30 percent of the revenue from each photo with Shutterstock. The cool thing is you will get to keep the copyright for your image when you sell it. The percentage of royalty you get depends on the size of the photo you sell.


Fotolia boasts over four million buyers and will give you 30-46 percent of the revenue per photo. They have over 45 million photos for sale on their site. The interesting thing about Fotolia is its affiliation with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. When you upload your photos to be sold on Fotolia, anyone who has one or more of those three applications will be able to buy your photos through the apps.

iStock Photo

iStock Photos's royalty rate starts at 15 percent and can get to 45 percent depending on how often your photo is bought. If somebody uses the site's credits to buy your photo, however, the rate is 15 percent by default. If you want to sell solely on iStock, they'll pay you 22-45 percent for your exclusive photos.

Fine Art America

Fine Art America is an easy place to sell photos online. If you choose to print your own prints, you won't have to give them any money to sell your photos on their site. You also have the option of having them print and ship the photos out for you.

If you do this, you will have to fill out details on each photo including how much you want to get paid for it. Regardless of how much Fine Art America marks the photo up, you will get the amount you specified.


You can keep up to 85 percent of revenue from your photos if you sign up for SmugMug Pro. SmugMug Pro allows you to set prices for every photo and access coupons and marketing tactics not available on the free version.


Alamy is selling over 60 million photos and videos right now. They are one of the best sites to sell your photo on because they give sellers 50 percent royalty payments on every photo sold. If you want to sell your photos, you should definitely consider Alamy.

Other Ways to Sell Photos Online

  • 500pxPrime - With 500pxPrime, you can upload images to be licensed by various publishers, advertisers and marketers personally and commercially. You'll split 70 percent of the license fee. It's a great way to help your photos gain exposure. With 500pxPrime, you can also get paid to do individual photo shoots for brands and marketers.
  • Etsy - If you want to sell photos on Etsy, you have to print them and ship them yourself. Opening an Etsy store is free, but you'll have to pay for transaction, listing, and payment processing fees. If you're going to do it, I would suggest you have some unique photo frames or something that will stand out to customers.
  • Blog - You can sell pictures from a blog if you have one or want to create one. Set up a gallery linked to your Paypal account and get paid for digital downloads and prints if you don't mind doing it all on your own. You'll have to self-promote for sales!

Start Selling Photos Online Now!

make extra money selling photos online

Now that you know all there is to know about selling photos online, get started! Go through your thousands of pictures and make an album of quality photos with best seller characteristics. Upload your photos and see how they do! It's definitely worth a shot.

Would you rather get paid to take pictures for companies in your area? Check the best job search sites for freelance photography jobs near you.

If this post helped you through the process of selling photos online, please share it with your friends and family. You can leave me a reply in the comments if there are any questions you have that I missed. Subscribe to the MoneySavingPro Blog and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for easy access to numerous money-saving tips.