And just like that, you have captured a moment within seconds in a photograph.
We all click photos almost every day. Being able to capture moments that are very mundane to the very special ones is a beautiful ability that we can do with just a click of a button. However, apart from creating memories or posting the photos you click on your social media accounts, have you ever thought about how to sell photos and make money?
If yes, then you must have an eye for clicking breathtaking photos. That is a great skill to have, but, all your friends are going to be after you for clicking their photos. So, you better be prepared for that.
Coming back to how you can sell the photos you click and make money. There are many ways to do so, and there are certain people and websites that are willing to pay the big bucks to acquire a good photograph. So, in this article, we are going to talk about how to sell photos and make money.
Before we go into depth, we would like to tell you that photographers just like you are in high demand for their work, especially now as companies solely rely on digital marketing, and traditional marketing has become obsolete. Large corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, bloggers, marketers, publishers, graphic designers, and many other people are always looking for good-quality photos to buy and use online.
So, you need not worry about whether you would be able to find a market for your photos or not, because it is safe to say that you will. In this article, we will also tell you about websites where you can sell your stock photos for money.
Get started with the basics: the equipment
You may ask yourself, "How do I start selling photos?’
Well, the first thing a photographer need is a camera. The market is flooded with good quality cameras for you to choose from. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to purchase a camera in order to sell your photos for money.
If you already have a DSLR camera, then you are good to go. But, if you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can purchase one that suits your requirements. These digital cameras indeed capture high-quality images. However, if you are not able to purchase one, you have that magic device in your pockets that will come to your rescue.
Nowadays, smartphones are coming with cameras that are surpassing the quality of those expensive digital cameras. Many websites purchase photos that are taken on mobile phones. We will talk about them later.
Speaking of these smartphones. They are equipped with cameras that enhance the quality of the photos. Anyone with the latest iPhone can call themselves a photographer. However, if you want that your photos should stand out, and most importantly, sell, then you would need to:
Find a niche
Build an audience
Showcase your photos on various websites
Selling your photos for money is nothing short of being an entrepreneur. You have your product with you that you want to sell. You need to ensure that you can produce it in front of the right people and at the right place.
Another thing you need to get your photography career kickstarted is the ability to edit the photos you take. So, let’s have a look at some of the platforms you can use to edit your photos.
Photo editing software you can use
No matter how skilled you are in photography, or how good your equipment is, you would need to edit your photos from time to time, to enhance and improve their quality, if you want to be present on the best websites to sell your photos.
In this list, we are going to cover both, free software and paid ones as well.
Let’s begin with the free ones first.
WorkinTool is a free-to-use and download photo editing software that you can use to convert and edit any type of image, easily, and most importantly, for free. There are numerous editing features you can use in the software, such as deform, brush, filters, and much more to enhance your photos to sell them online.
You can also change, remove and modify the background colour of the photos you click. So, if you are looking for software to edit your photos, you should definitely check out WorkinTool.
GIMP is another excellent photo editing software that is available for free. It is best suited if you are new to the world of editing. The software offers you an editing platform where you can edit and enhance your photos, and take them to the next level.
GIMP is also equipped with a range of painting tools, among various tools that you may require for your editing purpose. It is a highly rated software if you are in the market for a free-of-cost photo editor. Do check it out.
Darktable is a free-of-cost photo editing software that comes with multiple format support. You have the flexibility to edit pictures according to your liking, which helps you enhance your photos with ease.
So, if you are looking for a photo editor that makes the whole editing process faster, then Darktable is the right software for you. As Darktable offers zero latency, it reduces the time needed to perform the edits substantially.
Paint.NET is a photo editing software that is available for you to use for free. However, it is only compatible with Windows OS. It is best known for its multi-level image editing. Usually, editable layers are only available in paid software. Paint.NET offers this to you for free. The icing on the cake is that every edit to a layer is recorded. So, if you don’t like a certain edit, you can always go back and hit undo.
Apart from that, you also can play around with the contrast, brightness, hue, curves, and much more, using the tools available in the software.
Now, let’s talk about the paid photo editing software that you can use to enhance your photos.
Canva is one of the most famous photo editing software available at the moment. It is safe to say that almost everyone has either heard of or used this software at some point in their lives.
It is best known for its quick editing due to its instant drag-and-drop features. It allows you to add certain text or any type of filter in just a few clicks. The main reason why Canva is so widely used is because of its ability to help you perform edits and get your work done faster.
There is a free version of the software available. However, if you are looking to use more features, you can opt for the premium version as well, which is available at $119.99.
PixTeller is a complete online photo editing solution that is available for free with limited features. However, there are two premium versions available, i.e, Pro Plan ($7/month) and Diamond Plan ($12/month). So, you can choose the plan you need depending on your requirements.
PixTeller offers you many designing tools, and its user-friendly interface makes it easy to create, share, and download designs. You will also get access to numerous templates, design tools, and royalty-free images. Using this software you can take your photos to the next level.
Fotor is a photo editing software that is best known for online editing and providing the best possible results. It caters to your basic and advanced photo editing requirements.
It is available for free, as well as, it has a premium version which is available at $8.99/month.
Fotor comes with an online editing option which will ensure that you can perform quick edits from your PC or any other device. Another attractive feature of Fotor is the option of having multiple photo frames.
Using Fotor as your photo editing software will surely help you enhance your photos before showcasing them on any online photo-selling websites.
4. Adobe Photoshop Express Editor
Adobe Photoshop Express Editor is best suited for people who have prior experience in photo editing. It is a complete photo editing software that has almost everything you might need to enhance the quality of your photos.
Even if you are using the free version of this software, you would find enough features that you could use. There is also a premium version of this software available at $34.99.
It is regarded as one of the best editing tools available in the current market. Many editing professionals, all around the world, prefer to use this software over others.
inPixio is a photo editing software that is best known for automatic image correction. So, you have the ability to make quick edits, like a trained professional. You can easily remove unwanted objects and erase backgrounds in the photos that you click.
There are not many tools available in the market that provide the same precision and smooth background image controls, as inPixio does.
inPixio is available for free, and it also has a premium version which is available at $49.99. So, if you are looking for photo editing options, inPixio can be the solution to your requirements.
Before we get to talking about which is the best website for you to sell your photos, we are going to talk about two essential things that will help you answer your question, ‘How can I sell my photos for money?’
So, let’s get started.
Two essential elements that will help you sell your photos online
1. Defining your niche
We mentioned earlier about ‘defining your niche’, so, now let’s talk about it in detail.
If you are a budding photographer, you must have certain photographers that you look up to. You would notice that every photographer has a niche, i.e., their pictures have a consistent theme or style. With time, they are automatically associated with their niche as their audience expects their pictures to be a certain way.
You would need to do the same here. Pick your niche, whatever you like, it could be fashion, travel, animals, nature, food, architecture, and the list goes on and on. There are many options to choose from. However, you need to make sure of one thing: consistency is key.
By doing so, you will be able to attract a section of the population that is interested in your niche. This way, you are creating an audience for your photos. People all over the world only follow people whom they are interested in or are interested in the type of content they post. So, if you are posting about a particular niche and people are liking it, and if one day you shift your niche to something else, there are chances that your existing audience might unfollow you and look for someone else, as their expectations are not being met.
Another way of finding your niche is by supplying what the demand is. You can evaluate the demand for certain keywords and topics to determine their search volume of them. Numerous extensions can help you find the search volume of keywords. Some of them are:
You can add any of these free Chrome extensions for keyword research to your browser and see the search volume as you search for anything on Google. This makes the whole process easy and you get to try out different niches to see what fits best for you.
Let’s understand this better using an example. So, if you search for the keywords ‘cat pictures’, it has a monthly search volume of around 49,500. To put this into reference, anything that has more than 1,000 average monthly searches is a keyword that can be worked on. So, if you find cats cute, then cat pictures should be a keyword that you are targeting.
The next thing you need to do is build an audience. Ultimately, you are doing all this to sell your photos to an audience. So, irrespective of the fact that you are a freelance photographer, or selling your photos through a website, you would need to have an audience that is interested in your work.
A great way to build an audience is to use the power of social media.
Social media has given us a platform to connect and interact with people from all around the world, for both personal and business purposes. Let’s take the example of the most popular social media platform currently, Instagram. It is a visual social media platform that can allow you to share your photos and reach a wider audience, easily. You should link all your social media accounts together, as they will help you reach people on all those platforms, simultaneously.
There are numerous photo-sharing websites also available that can help you connect with other photographers and build a network. This way you can also find out what types of photos sell best, and boost your photography career to the next level.
2. Introduce ecommerce into your main portfolio
Almost every photographer in the world starts with having a main portfolio website to showcase their photos and attract potential clients to hire them. So, there is one thing that you can add to your portfolio to take your career to the next level, and that is ecommerce.
Adding the ability to accept payments, you can give your career a real boost and earn some extra bucks. Just imagine yourself in this situation, you have your own portfolio where you showcase the photographs you take related to your niche, where you can directly let people purchase the photos.
These are just two small elements that you need to add to get the most out of selling your photos online. Now, it’s time that we talk about where you can sell your photos online and earn money through your passion for photography.
Websites where you can sell your photos and earn money
‘Where can I post pictures for money?’ That is a question every budding photographer has had at some point in their lives. So, here is a list of some of the websites you can use to sell your photos for money.
Shutterstock is, if not the most famous, then one of the most famous websites when it comes to buying and selling stock photos. They have been in business for almost two decades, and have millions of photos, videos, and music tracks for its users to purchase.
So, if you are a photographer who is looking for the best website to sell photos, then you should definitely check out Shutterstock.
The website allows you to keep your copyrights protected, and also gives credit to the photo’s owners. It markets your brand while protecting your ownership. That is a win-win situation.
When your photos are up on the website and they start selling, you begin to earn money every time someone purchases and downloads your photos. You earn somewhere in the range of 20% to 30% of what the photo sells for, which you will be paid monthly by Shutterstock.
PhotoShelter is a website used to sell photographs online. The website allows you to set up your template for sharing photos. However, PhotoShelter will charge you a certain amount to buy space on their website to upload your photos.
There are numerous plans that you can opt for, both, on a monthly and yearly basis. So, if you are looking for an online photo-selling website, you should check out PhotoShelter.
3. Adobe Stock
From the makers of Photoshop and Lightroom, comes a stock photo marketplace where you can sell the photos you click, called Adobe Stock, formerly known as Fotolia. It has been around for more than a decade and is one of the best websites to sell photos.
A great plus point about selling photos via Adobe Stock is that the photos you upload will become a part of the Adobe Stock library and will be available across multiple Adobe applications, hence, reaching a wider audience.
For every photo you sell on this platform, you will earn around 20%-60% of what the photo sells for. It also does not force you to give them exclusive selling rights to your photos, meaning that you can sell the same photos on other platforms as well.
Now you may be a little confused as to why Etsy is on this list. Etsy is a marketplace to buy and sell unique handmade goods. However, you can even sell your photos via this platform, as they have a larger audience than other stock photo websites.
Apart from digital photos, you can also sell prints which will help you expand your business even further. Remember to factor in the cost of printing, packaging, and shipping when you set a price for your prints and grow your business. This is what makes Etsy one of the best websites to sell photos.
Picfair is one of the best online photo-selling websites as it allows you to decide how much your image would sell for. However, they add 20% on top of the price you set for their cut. But, you will always be paid for the price you set for.
You need to factor in a lot of elements when deciding the price of the photo. People would be tempted to purchase a good-quality photo for a low price. However, many people will be willing to pay the big bucks for a simply breathtaking photo.
6. Getty Images
Getty Images is one of the most famous and reputed websites when it comes to purchasing stock photos online. You would find pictures from this website being used in many places, such as blogs, articles, magazines, and much more.
They offer somewhere around 15% of the selling price of any photo. However, if you give the website exclusive selling rights, then they offer you 25%-45% of the selling price.
Earlier we talked about certain websites where you can sell photos that you click from your phone. Foap is one such platform. Everything is handled through their app which is available for free for both, Android and iOS users.
The platform sells photographs for up to $10 (per photo) and splits the earning equally after deducting taxes and any dues.
They also have regular missions where you can submit photos according to the required theme and earn extra money and perks. So, if you are a phone photographer, Foap is how you can sell your photos online and make money.
Another platform where you can sell photos clicked through your mobile phone is Dreamstime. The app is available for both, Android and iOS users to download for free and sell photos.
The photos are sold for around ￡0.25 - ￡3.50 on this platform and they will offer you up to 60% of the selling price of the photos.
EyeEm is a platform where you can showcase and sell your photos. It is a lot like Instagram. So, if you want people to not just like your photos but also purchase them, you can sell your photos through the platform.
Depending on how much money you made via the website the previous year, you can earn around 25% - 55% of the selling price of the photos.
The platform also has regular how-to articles being posted and themed missions that you can do to sell your photos online and make money, through your phone and PC.
Crestock is another online photo-selling website that you can use to earn money for the photos you click. All you need to do is set up a free Crestock account and upload your photos. They will be evaluated by the team, and if approved, the photos will be added to your Crestock portfolio for customers to purchase.
You would also need to add relevant keywords and descriptions for your photos as it will improve your chances of getting approval, and once approved, it will be easier for customers to find your photos amongst the various others present on the website.
Time to capture the world through your lens
If you have the eye and talent to click good quality photos, then selling photos online can be a great way to earn money. The best part about it would be that you are using your passion to earn money. If you are doing something that you love, not even a single day feels like work.
In this article, we talked about how to sell photos and make money, the different photo editing software you can use to enhance your photos, and even the various websites you can use to showcase your precious clicks and sell them.
However, you might wonder how much money you can make selling stock photos online, right?
So, for someone who is just starting their photography career, they can earn somewhere around $0.25 to $0.45 per photo. That amount depends on the type of photos you click and the platform you use to sell them. As you continue your journey as a photographer, the money you earn will also rise.
Another thing to note is that your photos can be stolen, sometimes by mistake. Fortunately, there is an easy way to avoid this, and that is by adding a watermark to your photos before selling them. This adds a layer of protection to your photos.
A very small watermark in the corner will not hamper the beauty of the photo and also prevent it from being stolen. There are many other ways through which you can protect your work. You will get to know them as you start working in this industry.
So, determine your niche, build your audience, take out that camera, and explore the world through your lens.