How and Where to Sell Photos Online

  • 01 of 04

    3 Ways to Make Money Online With Your Phototgraphy

    Young woman using DSLR camera
    MarioGuti / Getty Images

    Whether you are a professional photographer looking to build additional revenue streams or a talented amateur with a dream of going pro, selling your photos online can be a lucrative way to make money from home and build your portfolio. No matter the style or subject matter of your photography, if your work is high quality, there is likely a niche for it online. 


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  • 02 of 04

    Sell Stock Photos

    Creative businesswoman reviewing photography proofs on office floor
    Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

    Stock photography sites maintain huge inventories of images (photos, illustrations and videos) that anyone to anyone in need of high quality photos. e.g., art directors, website designers, media outlets, can purchase and download. Photographers collect a commission each time their work is downloaded. While these photos typically don’t fetch large sums, once uploaded each photo is its own little revenue stream that never needs updating or changing.


    Pricing of images and commission structures vary...MORE among the websites that sell stock photography, as do the market share and customer bases of the companies. Research which company is the best fit with your skill level and style.


    One thing to keep in mind with this kind of work is that if there are people in any of your photos you will be required to supply a signed model release from the subject. Also you must be the owner of the copyright of the image.


    One of the top, online stock photography sites, iStock is owned by Getty Images. Quality is essential, and photographers must be approved (by submitting 3 their best images). Exclusive images earn a 45 percent commission and non-exclusive 15 percent. 


    Owned by Adobe, images on this site are never exclusively licensed and the commission is 33 percent for photos and vector art and 35 percent for videos.


    Any photographer can join Dreamstime, but all photos will be assessed for quality before publishing. Exclusivity is not required but, like iStock,  exclusive images earn a larger commission, and exclusive contributors get an even bigger cut. Non-exclusive images pay 20 to 25 percent.


    PhotoSpin works very much the same way as the others. However, it is does not have nearly as large of customer base, but it pays a 40 percent commission for non-exclusive images.


    Like the other stock photo companies listed Shutterstock sells images, videos and vectors (or illustrations). However, Shutterstock, unlike the others,  accepts news photography, and it also sells music clips. With music exclusivity is required. Rates for the different types of contributions vary.


    Unlike the others, Flickr is not an agency that will sell your work and pay a commission. It is a online photo management and sharing application, but it can also be used as a marketplace for photographers. Art directors use the site to find suitable work and then contact photographers and negotiate payment (or ask to use it for free). While it is not as simple as uploading to stock agency, it does give your work the opportunity tremendous exposure. For a while Flickr had a partnership with Getty Images to license images, but that partnership has ended.


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  • 03 of 04

    Take Real Estate or Business Photos

    Home exterior
    Stewart Cohen / Getty Images

    The ideal for working as a real estate photographer is to develop a relationship with a local real estate agent for whom you can do extensive photo shoots or their high-end properties. However, that is not likely where most people begin. If you are starting out. these websites will pay you to photograph homes for sale. You can do this to build your skills and portfolio and expand your network before taking your real estate photography business to the next level.


    Airbnb 


    Home-sharing company uses...MORE freelance photographers all over the country to shoot its properties. When available, jobs will be listed on its site.


    Obeo 


    This company, which contracts with photographers throughout the United States and Canada, pays a flat fee per home. Rates vary based on the homes and the market. External flash is required.


    Similar to Obeo, this company also requires a background check as part of its application process. 


    Though this company is similar to Obeo and The Tour Factory in the kinds of photography it offers its clients. Its model for photographers includes a fee.


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  • 04 of 04

    Sell Art and Photography Prints

    Woman looking at photographs in gallery, rear view
    Stuart O'Sullivan / Getty Images

    Ebay and Etsy have opened a lot of doors for artists to sell their work online; however, selling via these outlets require a lot of work that is not necessarily making art. If you like to make art but selling, framing, manufacturing and shipping are not your thing, consider a one if these websites that will take care of the production for you. And if you want to expand into the production of clothing, home decor, phone cases and other items branded with your art, these sites offer a practical...MORE way for artists to do this.


    You can upload your images and create online marketplace for your work. However, the production, fulfillment and shipping is done by the company. While some of these sites have marketing tools, but marketing your art outside their platforms will increase your profits.


    The focus of this company is sales of framed prints; however it does offer other items like phone cases, pillows, greeting cards, etc. as  a canvas for your images. It sets a base price for the item but you set how more than the base to charge. 


    Similar to Fine Art America, this company is more about art prints than merchandise. It also lets you set your own price. 


    This company has the same pricing structure in which artist set their own price above the base price of the item. But its focus is on merchandise (clothing, phone cases, knickknacks, coffee mugs, etc.) rather than prints.


    Like Red Bubble, this site is all about the merchandise. However, its pricing structure is different. Artists receive a 10 percent commission on items sold.