The ability to make money online as a photographer, is all about the creativity of your work and the monetization of your talents. Since the rise of picture sharing on Instagram and other social media platforms, even amateurs start to master the basics of photography. There are many online courses that you can check out to perfect your photographing skills, however if you are not willing or don't have time or other resources for a complete course, you can find many short and free tutorials on YouTube.
If you find it can be difficult to make it in this area, amongst all the amateur and professional photographers, just think of this: you only need to find your niche and grow an audience. This will become the base for monetising your skills.
Who and what kind of photos do people buy?
The largest buying base of stock photos are bloggers and small to medium sized website business owners and the most wanted themes are the following:
People — kids, adults, elderly from every country and culture
People working — These images are very popular with businesses. People with laptops, writing, speaking at a meeting, etc. again from every culture
Food — Various types of delicious foods even empty unwashed plates
Tools — Gears, hammers, nuts, bolts and screws can convey a lot of things for potential buyers
Cities — Cityscapes, buildings, people commuting
Nature — This is a no brainer which never gets old to shoot or sell
Travel — Shots from around the world are always in high demand
Where should you sell your photos online?
To make it easier for you, we compiled a list of marketplaces and platforms where you can upload your images and start earning money.
On your own website
Like this you will have total control over pricing and how you expose your photos. Another convenience is that you won’t have to pay commission for each photo that you sold through a marketplace.
If you don’t have a website stay tuned, soon we will publish a guide on how to easily create your own website with no technical knowledge.
What you will love about this is that photos uploaded to Adobe Stock become available also in other Adobe applications, which means a great base of potential buyers. Adobe Stock does not demand you to give them exclusive selling rights, so you can sell your photos on multiple platforms.
Shutterstock has been on the market for more that 15 years, that means they have millions of potential customers. According to their site, sellers on Shutterstock have made over $500 million worldwide! Shutterstock allows you to keep your copyrights protected, and gives credit to the image’s owners, which is a major plus that protects your ownership and markets your brand. Like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock also doesn’t force you to sell exclusively through them.
This platform may not have as many buyers as the previous two, but it is still a great place to showcase your portfolio and it has very competitive rates.
Even if Etsy is better known for selling and purchasing handmade stuff, there are a lot of photographers selling their photos. Etsy has a huge base of customers, a larger audience than most stock photo sites. If you are looking to expand your photo business Etsy is a great place, since you can also sell prints. It’s a great place since you have full control of how you expose your photos. If you don’t have a website and also don’t want to create one, Etsy is the best option in terms of flexibility and control.
You can simply create a free account on this platform. After you upload your images, the Crestock team will evaluate and approve them. Once approved, these will be available on the marketplace. To help potential buyers find your images, you can add captions and keywords to each of them.
500px is a great platform to add your photos to. Once you have uploaded the images, it boosts them to show up in the Discovery Page, where thousands of potential buyers will see every day. Also this platform provides analytics, so you will be able to track how many clicks your images received and what is their ranking in comparison to other competitors.
If you are into photographing events, like weddings, anniversaries, parties or other, snapped4u is your place to be. You just create a gallery and upload your images. That’s it. Snapped4u will sell your images and send you your part of the income on a monthly basis.
This is a great platform to upload your images to. However, you need to purchase space on their platform to be able to add your photos. There are monthly and yearly subscriptions available, tailored for all needs.
This is a great platform for travel photographers to sell their travel photography to like minded potential buyers. Many travel agencies and tour companies are using this platform to sell their images.
Getty Images is a supplier of stock images, editorial photography, video and music for business and consumers, with an archive of over 200 million assets. They also have ancillary businesses, such as helping customers secure the rights to an image, or selling prints of iconic and beautiful images as wall décor. Getty Images will ask you for exclusivity of the photos you upload to their platform.
Depositphotos is a global marketplace for stock photographs, vector images and video. It is a very user-friendly platform, which make it easy for potential buyers to navigate and to search for the photo they need.
You can upload images and assign keywords to these, which are reviewed for quality and content. If accepted the images are available for royalty free licensing. Dreamstime pays a set fee based on the popularity of the image, to photographers for each image that is licensed. This is established in the contract that the photographer signs prior to uploading images.
123RF is one of the world’s largest digital stock agency with creative imagery, sounds and motion contributed by talents from around the world.
Zenfolio make it easy for photographers to showcase their work, attract new customers and sell their photos and services online.