How to Sell Photos Online

You don't need to be a professional photographer to understand how to sell photos online. You only need to understand the basics and that's what we're here for.
In this article, we'll be giving you different selling routes to help you understand how to sell photos online, as well as steps you should follow to make the process a lot smoother.

How to Sell Photos Online

You have so many options and routes to choose from when you’re looking to start a business selling your photos online.
Below we’ve mentioned four common ways to sell photos online.

Selling Your Photos on Stock Websites

Stock photo websites are online markets that sell licensed photos photographers post online for sale.
Such websites exist because many business owners go online looking for high-quality, edited, and licensed photos to use for different purposes, such as marketing and advertising.
Making photos is an extremely time-limiting process so this saves them a lot of time since they get access to a library of photos for instant download.
Here are some of the stock photo websites we recommend using:

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is the most famous stock photo website to sell your photos online. It’s also an incredible option since most photographers say they make the most profit using the platform.
The website has a low payment threshold, which means you get paid on your PayPal account once you reach 35 USD or more. On top of that, you get to make passive income for every photo that gets downloaded.
Aside from the earnings you make, you get to work from anywhere. You only need an internet connection.
That said, Shutterstock offers rates that are relatively lower than other stock websites. What’s more, getting your photos approved has gotten harder lately so your photos need to be perfect.
There’s a lot of competition because there are thousands of photographers selling on Shutterstock. So, you have to make sure that you have a big portfolio before expecting real revenues.

Alamy

Alamy has over 250 million photos and sells to clients all around the world and has been around since before most of the other stocks.
On Alamy, you can make a 50% profit on each sale. You’re also not restricted to working only with Alamy. You can sell your photos on other websites in parallel.
However, you need to pass a quality control test for every photo you decide to use. Alamy is also known for its stringent photo approval guidelines. It has the ability to reject a photo due to poor exposure, sharpness, or even over-editing.

Getty Images (iStockphoto)

Getty Images is one of the very first stock photo websites created. It’s one of the biggest companies that sells photos, videos, and many other digital products.
Getty Images owns many online platforms, including iStockphoto ministock.
iStockphoto provides an excellent platform for photographers and artists who are interested in expanding their ecommerce business to sell their photos online.
Note that they don’t have a form to fill out on their website, so you have to download their mobile application.
The sales on iStockphoto are frequent with an endless client base. In addition, you get access to sell your products on other Getty websites, like Partner Portal and Photos.com.
You also have the option to correct and resubmit already uploaded photos. That’s why there’ll be no need to upload the photo again.
iStockphoto also has access to the Custom Content feature, which tells you specific client demands so you can focus on more sellable photos.
Keep in mind that you only get 15% of each sale if you aren’t exclusively selling on iStockphoto.
What’s more, unlike most other websites, iStockphoto has variable profit per photo for clients that don’t have a subscription on iStock.
On top of that, you may have to wait over a month to get approved as a contributor.
iStockphoto also has a very high payment threshold. You only get paid when you reach 100 dollars or more.

Selling Your Photos as Prints

Starting your own online business selling photos online isn’t reserved for just photos as products.
There are plenty of online platforms where you can upload your photos to be printed on many products like T-shirts, smartphone cases, mugs, and more.
Let’s look at one of the most hassle-free websites you can use.

Fine Art America

Fine Art America is the biggest, most popular platform to sell your photos online as prints. It has been in the market for decades with 16 manufacturing locations in 5 different countries. Now, it has hundreds of thousands of customers from all over the world.
While most other websites require a subscription fee, Fine Art is 100% free. You also set your own price and profit.
Sometimes artists feel limited by what items the website has to print on. Fine Art America offers plenty of options to print on.
On top of that, Fine Art America’s website offers a widget linking between the platform and your own website, which increases convenience for your clients.
One of the platform’s limitations, however, is that it has more than 100,000 photographers using the website to sell their photos. Additionally, you don’t have access to customer information, so you can’t build customer loyalty.
Fine Art America is also huge, so directing customers to the website may result in them buying a different photographer’s photos.

What You Need to Do Next

Now that you’ve had an idea about where to sell your photos online, let’s take a look at some of the preliminary steps you should take.

Deciding on a Website

Whether you’re selling your photos as products or prints, it’s critical to weigh out the pros and cons of each option.
Check out the steps below to help you choose.
  • Research your options including pay rates
  • Check photo requirements to increase chances of approval and avoid wasting time
  • Create your account on the website you’ve chosen
  • Make sure you have a PayPal account since most websites use it to pay you
  • Try using more than one website to increase your revenue

Getting Your Photos Ready

Now that you’ve chosen your product and website, the next step is to learn how to make sales soar.
Check out the steps below to help you handle your photos:
  • Upload diverse and generic photos to help reach more customers and make more sales
  • Avoid selecting lower quality photos
  • Upload the photos to the website you choose
  • Use both generic and specific tags to attract as many customers as possible (Here’s a guide to help you with hashtags)

Conclusion

Selling your photos online is simple and creates sustainable passive income when planned and done right.
Research your options, select the kind of photos to sell and how you want them sold before you start your online business to make sure you make the most revenues.
By now, you have a good understanding of how to sell photos online so get out there and make your own success story.