How to Make Money with Photography Online

Julia Raznik

Web Hosting Expert ··Website Tips

How to Make Money with Photography Online

You’ve got a camera, a computer, and the right skills for photography, so why not make some cash by doing something that you love? Wedding photography isn’t the only way to profit off of photography.

Thanks to the internet, there are now plenty of options available for you to make money. If you know the right places to sell your photos online, you can easily earn some extra cash or even start a career in photography.

Currently, there is a high demand for skilled photographers. Everyone from bloggers and small and medium-size businesses to large corporations is looking to buy photos 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.

Tips to Sell Stock Photos Successfully

Tips to Sell Stock Photos
  • 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.

Your Own Online Photo Store

How to make a photography website

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

The reason for this is because no one else will take a cut of your profits, you will set your own prices, you will set your own terms and conditions, and you will have complete control over how you display your photos.

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

Domain name

The first thing you will need to set up when creating a photography website is a domain name. A domain name is the identity of your website on the internet.


Another thing just as important as the domain name is the hosting. Web hosting is a space where you update your website, so others could see it. Web hosting is required for every website.


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, so your website is not just a portfolio but a store

If you want to grow your business as a photographer, an eCommerce store should always be at the center of all your efforts.


Make sure that your website has an about me page, a contact page, and a comprehensive gallery. You may add other pages that you think are necessary.

Sell print-on-demand products on your photo website

A brilliant and simple way to make money from your photos is to sell print-on-demand products, such as books, bags, shirts, keyrings, and much more. The best thing about print-on-demand products is that you don’t need any storage space for your products, but instead, you make them when someone buys them.

Sell Your Photos on Social Media

Sell Your Photos on social media to make money online

You have a big chance of making some serious money if you have a strong online following on social media, as well as talent for photography.

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.

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 dictionaries like Upwork and Fiverr, selling your photography as a service usually includes locally networking with people. To sell your photography as a service, attend networking events where event organizers and entrepreneurs go since these people will definitely need a professional photographer for future events.

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.

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.


Whenever 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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