The idea of making money selling pictures may seem foreign and exclusive to professional photographers, but these days all you need is your smartphone.
Picture quality of smartphones is getting better and better with every new phone version.
You no longer need a professional expensive camera with lenses worth thousands of dollars.
You can easily turn your shots to money!
Heck, you can even get paid for your selfies!
But how do you get started?
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Who do you sell your pictures to?
We’ve got you covered!
We’ve gathered a list of 7 sites that pay the most for stock photos.
While each website has a different payment structure, they all pay you at least $50 or more per image.
So, if you’re a bit of a shutterbug, consider selling your images on one of these seven stock photography sites.
What will I learn?
1. 500px Prime
- Official site: https://500px.com/licensing/contribute
500px is an incredibly popular website and photography community.
It offers royalty free photographs.
The website features two collections:
- The Core Collection.
- And the Prime collection.
Photos eligible for the Core Collection can be taken on any camera – whether that’s your smartphone’s camera or a DSLR.
For photographs that you sell in the Core Collection, you earn $34 per web ready photo and $149 per print ready photo.
Photos that are eligible for the Prime Collection are premium, unique and hand-picked by the site’s team of Content Editors.
For photos you sell through the Prime Collection, you earn $49 per web ready photo and $249 per print ready photo.
There are two types of licenses you can choose from on 500px:
If you choose to sell your images with an exclusive license, then you’ll keep 60% of the profits.
But, if you choose an exclusive license, then it means that you can only sell that image on 500px.
If you choose to sell your images with a non-exclusive license, then you’ll only keep 30% of the profits – so it’s definitely worth opting for the exclusive license if you want to make some real cash!
2. SmugMug Pro
- Official site: https://www.smugmug.com/
On SmugMugPro, you can sell your images and set up your own customized storefront to do so.
The best thing about SmugMugPro, however, is that you can set your own rates!
And, you keep 85% of the profits!
That’s a pretty generous amount compared to other similar websites.
So, if you charge $120 per image – that means you could potentially earn $102 per image.
Another great feature of the site is that you can also sell your images as prints, gifts, and digital downloads.
All you need to do to sell your photos through SmugMugPro is sign up, upload your images, choose the products you want to sell and set your rates.
- Official site: http://www.alamy.com/contributor/how-to-sell-images/best-place-to-sell-stock-images-photos/
Alamy is a highly popular photography website – in fact, it claims to be the Internet’s largest stock photography site.
On Alamy, you can set your own rates per image, and you get 50% of the sale.
One of the best aspects of Alamy, however, is that it doesn’t limit you to selling photos exclusively through the site.
You can also sell the same images elsewhere – meaning you can maximize your profits.
The amount you’ll earn for your photos on Alamy really does vary, depending on license type and use.
For example, the average price an advert image sells for is $500 and the average price for a book cover image is $150.
This is because the site deals with clients across multiple industries and countries, who are looking for photos for different purposes. But, in general on Alamy, the average image license fee is $90, but it can be over $1k!
- Official site: https://www.snapwi.re/photographer
Snapwire is a website that allows you to set up your own photography portfolio and sell your images.
The site is very photographer-focused, in fact buyers can search by photographer.
So, the more you build up your portfolio on the site, the better.
The amount you can earn on Snapwire varies. But, you can earn from $2 to $250 and you get to keep either 50% or 70% of the profits.
So, for example, if you sell your image for $72 and you get 70% commission, then you’ll earn $50!
Snapwire also runs plenty of competitions on the site, which offer pretty good cash prizes. And, winning photos get promoted heavily, bringing more potential customers to your portfolio.
What’s unique about Snapwire is that it assigns levels to its photographers.
They are known as:
You move up a level by earning points and the higher the level you are, the more money you’ll make from your photos.
- Official site: http://submit.shutterstock.com/
Shutterstock is an incredibly popular stock photography website, which has paid photographers more than $300 million.
On the site, which also sells stock video footage, you can earn up to $120 per image.
The pricing structure on Shutterstock is a little bit complex. But, essentially, the higher your overall earnings or lifetime earnings are as a contributor, the more you’ll earn per image.
Also, on Shutterstock, you can make money through referrals!
If you refer another photographer, for the first two years after they are approved you earn $0.04 each time one of their images is downloaded.
If you refer a customer looking for images to Shutterstock, you earn 20% of their first payment.
- Official site: http://www.photostockplus.com/sell_stock.php
Another website that offers a generous commission to photographers is PhotoStockPlus.
On PhotoStockPlus, you get an 85% commission on all sales.
And best of all, you get to set your own prices.
But, when you are setting your prices, keep in mind that the site charges a processing fee, which is 3.25% on each sale where users pay by credit card.
The site allows you to post any photo you want and host private galleries. You can also apply for posted assignments to earn cash.
You can sign up for a free 10-day trial and give the site a try. But, once the trial is over you’ll need to pay a monthly membership fee of $24.95.
- Official site: http://fineartamerica.com/sell-art-online.html
FineArtAmerica is an excellent place to sell physical prints of your photos.
On the site, you can create a stunning profile page that showcases your images.
Your profile page can also feature your biography, contact info, and a blog if you want!
Through FineArtAmerica, you can sell your photos in many mediums.
You can sell your images as prints, like:
- Canvas prints
- Framed prints
- Metal prints
- Acrylic prints
- and Posters
But, you can also sell your images as greeting cards, phone cases, throw pillows, tote bags, shower curtains and duvet shower curtains, making FineArtAmerica a very versatile site!
Best of all, the website offers a print-on-demand service. So, you don’t have to worry about printing yourself.
On FineArtAmerica, you do have to pay for the printing service, but you can set your own prices.
The average payment per image varies depending on the type of product your image is printed as.
For example, you’ll earn much more for a large canvas print of your image than you would if you sold the same image as a greeting card.
Images on the site frequently sell for more than $50.
Tips for selling stock photos
Anyone with a camera can make money from their images online. But, many photography websites, like Shutterstock, have pretty stringent vetting processes. So, if your photos aren’t high quality, then they might be rejected.
And, if you want to make $50 per image or more, then you’ll need to make sure your images are up to scratch.
So, here are a few tips to help you to make even more money from your photos.
-Research what’s selling
Researching what types of images are popular on the site you’re uploading to can really improve your chances of making a sale.
Most photography websites have a recently sold section – so check out what types of images have been selling.
Then, tailor your shots to fit what’s popular.
By doing this, you can make sure that you’re actually uploading the types of images that there’s a demand for.
And, as a result, you’re much more likely to make a sale!
-Learn about your camera’s features
You don’t necessarily need a DSLR to take amazing photographs.
Nowadays, most smartphones include a good quality camera. In fact, there’s an awards event called the IPPAWARDS that celebrates and recognizes iPhone photography.
And, people nowadays, can make entire movies from their phones!
But, whether you’re using a DSLR or a smartphone to capture your images, you need to learn about your camera’s features, like shutter speed/aperture, and cropping and editing features – and how to use them.
By learning how to use your camera’s features properly, you can prevent photography sites from rejecting your images, and boost your earnings.
You can learn about how to use your camera and get photography tips online. But, you could also consider taking a basic photography course.
-Make it easier for buyers to find your images
Even if you take beautiful photographs, if people can’t find them, then they aren’t going to sell.
So, you want to make it as easy as possible for potential buyers to find your images.
Make sure that you write a description for every one of your photos – and be sure to include relevant keywords.
When you include keywords, potential buyers looking for images are more likely to see your images in the search results.
Also, consider promoting your portfolio on social media sites and include a link back to where you can buy your images.
-Build your portfolio
Don’t just upload one great image and expect it to sell.
The more images you upload to your portfolio, the more likely you are to make a sale.
A person with 200 photographs in their portfolio will earn more than a person who submits only 20 images
Just make sure that you don’t upload too many photographs of the same theme or your images might get rejected – for example, the site likely doesn’t want ten photos of the same building from different angles.
Hopefully, you can use some or all of these sites to earn good money from your photography, whether you do it as a hobby, a way to earn side income, or hoping to become a pro and make a living as a photographer.
Sure, you may not get $50 for every single picture, but over time, as you improve your skills and learn to take sharper and better pictures, you’ll make way more than $50 per picture.