How to Make Money with Photography Online

Julia Raznik

Written by Web Hosting Expert

Reviewed by Verpex Blog Editor

Updated September 13, 2022
How to Make Money with Photography Online

You don’t need a degree in photography to make money with your camera online. It’s true that you can diversify your skill set in order to capture more opportunities, but with the right content, audience, and consistency, you can make money from your photography skills alone.

Here are some tips on how to make money with photography online.

Stock Image Libraries


Online Stock Image Libraries

Stock image libraries are professional photographs, illustrations, or videos of common landmarks, places, people, or events that are sold and bought through various licensing models and can be used and reused for commercial design purposes.

Customers pay a fee to buy the rights so they can use the stock videos or photos legally and incorporate them into their personal projects or marketing strategies.

  • Adobe Stock – Adobe Stock, formerly known as Fotolia, is a marketplace by the creator of the most popular photo editing software solutions, including Lightroom and Photoshop. This platform is one of the first online marketplaces to sell photos, and it has been around for over ten years.
  • Getty Images – On the higher end of stock photography sites, you will find Getty Images. This platform attracts publishers and brands looking for hard-to-find and high-quality exclusive images to license.
  • Shutterstock – For over 15 years, Shutterstock has been a popular platform to buy stock photos from. They have millions of purchasing customers and over 200 million videos, images, and music tracks that users can purchase.
  • Alamy – Although the site doesn’t have as many buys as Adobe Stock and Shutterstock, it is still a great competitor when it comes to stock images. What makes this platform popular is that it doesn’t have any fast and hard rules, and photographers can upload their photos without any copyright issues or licensing.
  • Etsy – Although it is more well-known for selling handmade products, Etsy also is a great place if you’re looking to buy stock photos. Etsy has a large audience, and there you can sell prints as well as digital images.
  • 500px – One of the best places to sell photos online is 500px, which allows you to create a portfolio of your images and sell them. It also adds your new uploads to a Discovery page, which increases the exposure your photos get.
  • Unsplash – This platform offers its users a wide collection of over 300,000 photos. Thousands of photos that are high-quality are added every day from its contributors.
  • Dreamstime – Dreamstime is a well-known microstock website with over 35 million images. Photographers can withdraw their funds once the account balance goes over $100. To get started, photographers must be approved.
  • Stocksy – Even though relatively new when compared to its competitors, this platform is worth considering. Stocksy accepts smartphone photographers, which is rare to find among these platforms. However, it accepts a limited number of new photographers each year.

Selling Your Photos On Your Own Website


How to make a photography website

The number one place to sell your photos online is your own website.

For those who don't want to deal with the hassles of third-party services, it might make sense to sell their images on their own website. Doing so offers a number of advantages: you'll have complete control over your sales process, including setting your own prices and terms.

If you want to find out more about how to start an online portfolio, make sure you read our blog!

Domain name

A crucial part of setting up your photography website is a domain name. A domain name is the identity of your website on the internet.

Hosting

The hosting service you choose is a very important part of your success as an online merchant. Web hosting is a little more than just online storage space on a website. It's the place where your website exists, and it's an essential part of running a successful site.

CMS

CMS for creating Photography Online

A website builder or a content management system will make a huge difference when creating your website if you don’t have any experience building a website from scratch.

There are many CMS options for easy management of the website, the most popular are Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal. If you’re interested in the difference between CMS Wordpress and website builders, as well as what types of CMSs are out there, make sure you read our blog!

Integrate eCommerce

If you want to grow your business as a photographer, an eCommerce store should always be at the center of all your efforts. Your website has the potential of growing into a profitable online business not just a portolio where you showcase your work.

Content

Make sure that your website has an about me page, a contact page, and a comprehensive gallery. Other pages that might be could be useful are testimonial pages from clients, their logos, as well as links to social media accounts. ​​

Sell print-on-demand products on your photo website

Sell Your Photos on Social Media


Sell Your Photos on social media to make money online

If you have a phone and an Instagram account, you’re halfway to monetizing your social media presence. While there are countless ways to make money on social media, selling your photos is one of the easiest:

  • One way to make money from social media is taking photos of some products that you would want to recommend to your followers and sharing them with affiliate links on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By using affiliate links, when people buy products, you will earn a commission.

  • As an Instagram user, you have access to a lot of Authentic images that brands would love to use. You can fill a niche by providing these types of images and get paid for it!

By using social media as a way to sell your photos, you won’t need a website since you already have a massive potential audience, and your feed is your portfolio.

Photography as A Service


While you can list your services in freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, selling your photography as a service usually includes locally networking with people. Some great places your can do that are:

  • Attend networking events where event organizers and entrepreneurs go since these people will definitely need a professional photographer for future events.

  • If you're looking to get your name out there and build up your portfolio, consider offering to shoot a local charity event for free. You can hand out business cards or leave them on tables, which may lead to future event bookings or sales of your photos.

  • Selling your photography prints at art fairs and festivals is a great way to get some visibility and exposure for your business. It's also a great opportunity to network and hand out your business cards.

  • Another great way to get your work out there is to display it in local businesses. Coffee shops, restaurants, and offices are all good places to start. Not only will this help you promote your work, but you might also make some sales in the process!

Make sure you optimize your profile for the main photography service you provide and showcase your work. You never know when and where you will meet a potential client, so always have a business card ready.

Tips to Sell Stock Photos Successfully

Tips to Sell Stock Photos Successfully
  • Quality Make sure that the photos you take are high-quality. Keep the image in focus, flood the area with light, remember the rule of thirds, and use the best quality settings.

  • Review registration agreements on every stock image library Make sure you read the registration agreement of the stock image library you are signing up to sell your photos on.

  • Monitor your sales to see what’s popular among users If you want to sell your photography, you will sell a lot more if you’re creating photos of things people are looking for. For instance, stock photos aren’t used that frequently by people decorating their homes, while businesses and marketing companies heavily use stock photos. Consider the photos that businesses find useful since there isn’t such a high demand for artsy shorts or photographs of landscapes.

  • Use relevant tags, keywords, and descriptions when uploading your images to stock libraries When using tags, keywords, and descriptions, it is important you think like a buyer. Make sure your keywords are relevant and don’t use spam keywords.

What to Do If Someone Steals Your Photos


To have some form of protection against theft, photographers usually watermark their photographs before selling them.

You can use a watermark generator or an identifying mark in Photoshop if you want to share or sell your own photos. Some watermark generators we recommend are Watermarkly and PicMonkey’s watermark maker tool.

With a watermark, people can see and enjoy the photo, but the photography is protected against theft. However, if someone still decides to steal your photo, what usually works is a cease and desist request or sending an invoice to the person using your photo.

Summary


Whether photography is your career choice, your side gig, or your hobby, selling photography online is a great business idea. There are more ways to sell your photography online now more than ever, and all it takes is a bit of effort and research on how to do it.

The earning potential will ultimately be decided by your determination and talent. By selling photography online, you will be doing something that you love and earning money, which is the best money you will ever receive.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you make money selling photography?

Yes, you can make money selling photography. There are many ways you can do this. You can offer your photography services, sell prints, or sell digital images.

How to start selling photography?

To sell photography, you can use stock photo marketplaces like Adobe Stock or Shutterstock, or you can create your own website.

How to make money selling photography on Etsy?

To sell photography on Etsy, you need to create an account and name your shop. Set the policies of your shop and customize your shop branding. Then, upload your images and decide on the preferred shipping process. Lastly, market and promote your shop.

What is the best way to sell your photography?

The best place to sell your photography is through your own website. To create a website, you don’t need coding knowledge. Instead, you can use a website builder or a CMS.

Julia Raznik
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Julia Raznik
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