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Top 6 Websites to Earn Money by Selling Photos Online

26th April 2024 | 7 Views

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There are many ways to #earn money online, by writing blogs, selling #digital products, newsletters and tons of other methods. Did you know that you can make a profitable passive income selling #photos online? These websites that buy such photos are called stock photo websites.

How Stock Photo Websites Work

Just like any online selling platforms, your photo products are #advertised, and you earn when it is downloaded by customers.

  1. Sign up as a #contributor on the #stock photo platform.
  2. Upload original and high-resolution photos that you have taken. Most websites allow digital images.
  3. Moderators will review each photo to check if it meets their platforms standards.
  4. After approval, you will earn each time a user downloads any of your photos. The website will keep a small portion of your earnings as commission.

How to select the best websites to sell photos

There are several #websites to choose from but you need to consider various factors such as payment rates, payment methods, licensing options and the target customers.

  1. Always choose platforms that offer a fair payment and commission ratio. If the website offers 50% or less, don’t waste your time there.
  2. The platform should allow uploaders to retain the rights to their photos. This means you can sell the same photos anywhere without committing to any exclusivity.
  3. It must also have a global audience for sufficient exposure. If you are a beginner, always opt for established websites, you don’t have the luxury to experiment yet.
  4. Check if the platform supports payouts to your country.

Best and most reliable websites

Here are some of the best websites that allow to earn money selling photos online. There may be many others but this list mainly explores those that I have tried out to some extent.

1. Shutterstock

This is one of the largest and most popular stock photo websites with a huge global customer base. You earn a commission each time your photos are downloaded by anyone. #Shutterstock offers flexible pricing options for buyers, so it manages to draw various types of customers. It’s a great platform for newbies to get exposure for their work.

2. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is another popular website for selling photos online. It’s one of the very few platforms that accept AI generated photos. So if you are not an outdoor person, this platform is for you. As an Adobe user, you also get access to other #Adobe tools such as Firefly which is great for graphic design newcomers. Adobe Stock offers a better commission rate compared to other platforms. But they do take a very long time of 8 to 12 weeks to review and approve photos.

3. Alamy

Alamy is another stock photo website that offers a 50% commission rate for photographers. This platform is quite unique because allows photo sellers to set their own prices. While I have read some great reviews, I’m yet to make any actual earning on this one. Perhaps not the best for new photo sellers because setting your own price can be tricky, too low means you are underselling your work, while too high means nobody will buy it.

4. Etsy

Etsy is a popular online marketplace for selling handmade and vintage goods, digital products and print on demand products. Photo sellers need to create their own #Etsy shop and sell their photos, either as digital downloads or as printable images on various items such as mugs, t-shirts, etc. Etsy is a great platform if you want to establish your own brand.

5. SmugMug

SmugMug is a website builder as well as an online store. As a photographer, you can build your entire portfolio on their website to advertise your work to prospective clients. SmugMug offers their own print on demand services, that way the sellers don’t have to worry about logistics. It’s a good fit for photographers who wish to combine online selling with portfolio building.

6. 500px

500px is a somewhat lesser-known online photo selling platform that allows photographers to connect with each other. Just like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, you can license photos through the 500px marketplace and earn a royalty each time your photos are sold. 500px also holds photo contests to make things interesting.


How to get your photos accepted by websites

  1. Upload only high-quality and eye-catching photos that stand out.
  2. Check the photo requirements set by the platform. This might be the minimum resolution, sizes, acceptable formats and other constraints. Edit the photos to meet those requirements to avoid rejections.
  3. Use all kinds of relevant keywords and tags to make your photos more discoverable.
  4. Promote your work on social media regularly.
  5. Experiment with different websites to find what works best for your photos.
  6. Continuously update your portfolio with fresh content to attract buyers.
#Selling photos online can be a good way to earn a passive income, persistence i the key. Just choose the right websites and invest some time each day. If you are already into photography or happen to be an avid traveller, selling stock photos can gradually turn into a profitable side hustle.

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