One of the best ways to start making extra money is to monetize your hobbies and passions. Not only do you get paid to do what you enjoy most, but, you are already skilled and might already have the necessary equipment.
Photography is no exception as not all of us have an eye for natural beauty or the equipment to take our own professional images, and, you can get make money by selling photos online.
Shutterstock is one of the largest photo libraries online. If you have spent any amount of time browsing the internet, you have probably seen an image credit mentioning Shutterstock. So far, Shutterstock has paid contributors over $500 million for selling their photos.
You can contribute the following photo formats to Shutterstock:
- HD Video
- 4k video
As internet bandwidth speeds continually increase, websites are looking to add motion-based images to their content. These next-generation images can enhance the reading experience, and, are another way to get paid beyond traditional, still photos.
You will earn at least 25 cents per photo purchased and will be paid more for your more popular photos. It’s possible to earn up to $28 per photo! Premium images that cost more to purchase will also net you a higher income.
SmugMug is a little different than your other stock photo marketplaces as it is subscription-based. You get to make a digital storefront to showcase your brand portfolio and your photos can be easily shared by email and social media. There are currently four different plans that give you access to different selling tools.
While SmugMug requires a monthly subscription, the profit potential is much higher as you get to keep 85% of the markup price!
This significantly higher than the highest payouts for almost every other website. Plus, this can be a good option as you can sell digital downloads and actual prints.
You also get a free 14-day trial to test drive it before you need to begin paying for your subscription. Every plan comes with unlimited cloud storage and unlimited photo uploads.
Right now you can get 15% off when you sign up with SmugMug.
Sell your photos, illustrations, and video footage on 123RF. You can earn between 30% and 60% for each download depending on how many purchases are made. The payout is even higher when larger resolutions are purchased by 123RF customers.
Your three payment options include being paid on PayPal, Skrill, or Payoneer. Like most other online photo sites, you must be at least 18 years of age to become a contributor.
Fotolia is one of the largest stock marketplaces that is popular with the European audience and is owned by Adobe. You can sell photos and videos on Fotolia and will earn at least 20% of the selling price for non-subscription sales and at least 33% for subscriptions.
For photos that sell on a regular basis, you also have the option to increase the price in addition to earning a larger royalty amount.
One advantage to sell on Fotolia is that you can get paid every 30 days, regardless of your account balance. Many of the other photo marketplaces require your commissions to be at least $50 before you can get paid. Until you build a large portfolio, it can be difficult to reach that payment threshold as a beginner.
5. Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock will list your photos and videos on the Creative Cloud platform using the Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other Adobe desktop apps. It’s possible to sell photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos.
To make the selling process easier, Adobe has an auto-keyword tool that can help you find relevant search terms to more likely connect with buyers.
You will earn a 33% commission on photos and vectors and 35% on videos. Once your account balance reaches $50, Adobe will send payment via PayPal or Skrill.
6. Can Stock Photo
Can Stock Photo lets you get started by submitting three photos and will often approve you the same day your application is submitted.
Two reasons to sell photos on Can Stock are their database is slightly cheaper for buyers than other stock photo marketplaces that can appeal to cost-conscious customers and your photos are also listed on Fotosearch. A single listing provides you the opportunity to reach two different audiences.
Earnings per photo and video will vary between $0.25 and $75.00! You can be paid electronically on PayPal after earning $50 or paper check when you make $100 in commissions. And, you can also earn $5 for every photographer you refer to sell on Can Stock Photo too.
7. Bigstock Photo
Bigstock Photo lets you sell your photos online and earn anywhere from 50 cents to $25 per photo and 30% of the commission for images purchased on a partner website. It’s possible to sell images for almost every image category. You can get started selling after completing the Bigstock Contributors Tutorial.
8. iStock by Getty Images
Another popular photo library is iStock by Getty Images. You can get paid to submit JPEG images and .MOV video files. Currently, iStock sells photos to over 1.5 million customers in 200 countries.
In addition to selling stock photos, HD Videos, and 4K videos, you can also sell infographics and illustrations. iStock has a base payout of 15% for photos and 20% for videos and illustrations. You can earn up to 45% for each sale as an exclusive contributor.
Another subscription-based marketplace that allows you to create your own website is PhotoShelter. They will host your own domain name and allow you to sell photos and videos online and also integrate with WordPress and the various social media platforms. You also get to keep up to 92% of the selling price.
Several reasons to consider PhotoShelter is their editing tools, the ability to optimize your images and videos for search engines, and flexible digital and print delivery options. PhotoShelter also offers a 14-day free trial.
Alamy has over 105 million images, vectors, and videos for sale and claims to have the most diverse online portfolio. They also have a pretty good commission payout as professionals keep 50% of each sale and students earn 100% commission.
Both payouts are remarkable as most sites pay the contributor a commission of 30% or less on most images for non-exclusive listings.
In addition to the lucrative commissions, Alamy partners with several media agencies that allow you to sell live news images. If you happen to be where breaking news happens, you get to be paid for your visual eyewitness account.
It’s free to join Alamy and you can get paid for every $50 earned in commissions.
Dreamstime lets you sell photos, illustrations, videos, and even audio clips. The base commission for non-exclusive photos is 25%.
For exclusive photos, you will earn 60% per download and also get paid 20 cents for each accepted upload allowing you to make money before you even make your first sale!
As an added incentive, Dreamstime also offers photography and design contests that allow you to win prizes for your work. To make uploading photos easy, you can also use the Apple and Android apps to upload photos on the fly.
PhotoMoolah is another alternative photo marketplace to consider. Instead of listing your photos to be sold, you enter themed contests. If you win the contest, you get paid! Some contests award prizes to the top finishers.
Different contests are being opened every day for photos and videos. Some contests ask for your best images for a certain people group, city or panorama, or brand name. You can truly get paid for taking photos capturing moments from every corner of life.
13. Fine Art America
As the largest online art marketplace, Fine Art America lets you sell prints and photos in a variety of media formats:
- Digital Stock Photos
- Greeting Cards
- Phone Cases
- Home Decor
- Lifestyle Products
You get to set your own prices and has 14 print-on-demand fulfillment centers in five countries. In addition to selling on Fine Art America, your listings can also be posted on your own website, Facebook, Shopify, and the 150+ Fine Art America retails stores located across the U.S. and Canada.
It’s free to sell on Fine Art America and you can also subscribe to their premium plan if you want to create your own store on their network.
Snapped4U is an exclusive database for event photography and portrait photography. This isn’t the marketplace for travel, landscape, still-life, and stock photos. In addition to creating a regular event gallery, you can also create a fundraising gallery where a portion of each sale will be donated to a charitable cause.
There are also very low payment thresholds on Snapped4U as they only keep 50 cents of each photo sold that costs less than $5 and 10% for images that cost more than $5. You can also get paid after earning $20 and can get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month!
Pexels is an up-and-community stock photo site that specializes in free photo and video downloads licensed under the Creative Commons Zero label. For free downloads, the customer has the option to make a donation to the contributor. Premium photos are also sold on Pexels from Shutterstock.
As payment isn’t guaranteed, this might not be your first choice for uploading your photos and videos, but, it can be great exposure to bloggers and professional websites that desire paid media that is more relevant to their content.
Instaproofs is another e-commerce website that lets you create your own digital storefront where customers can shop your galleries and order digital downloads or print-on-demand prints mailed directly to their mailbox from a fulfillment center.
You can begin selling on Instaproofs for free and keep 88% of the sales price. If you plan on selling at least 10,000 photos, they offer monthly plans with zero 0% commission fees. Regardless of which plan you choose, you will get paid through Stripe.
MorePhotos has helped photographers sell their prints online for the past 18 years. You can sell digital photos and also lab-fulfilled or self-fulfilled prints. If you also are a musician, MorePhotos lets you sell royalty-free music as well.
You can host a website on MorePhotos or use their software on your own self-hosted domain. Their monthly subscription plans will waive the monthly PayPal Pro fee of $30 and you can keep anywhere from 90% to 100% of every sale made.
Professional photographers might also enjoy N-Vu. As a seller, you can create galleries for any even you photograph and sell digital photos or prints. They also have a cool app called Room-Vu that allows shoppers to visualize a print hanging in a room in their house. Depending which N-Vu subscription plan you choose, you will keep 88% to 100% of each sale.
Zenfolio lets you create an online store to sell photos and videos online. If you can produce and ship your own prints, they even have a plan that lets you sell physical products to buyers.
Professional photographers will also enjoy the ability to sell photos on Adobe Lightroom and also School & Sports Photographer packages.
Another e-commerce platform is Shopify that lets you create an online store to sell your photos and videos or even engage in retail arbitrage. You can choose from pre-made store templates or create your own website from scratch.
Shopify will also list your media on the Oberlo platform that will dropship and physical products you might sell in addition to immediately delivering your digital sales.
21. Sell on Your Own Website
To keep 100% of the profit for each image sold, sell on your own website hosted by Bluehost.
To allow your buyers to instantly download every item purchased, use a plugin like Easy Digital Downloads that integrates with several e-commerce platforms, payment gateways like PayPal, and email programs to make it easy to promote your products and successfully complete transactions.
Etsy is another leading online marketplace known for handmade crafts and other collectibles.
Photos can be digitally downloaded or sold as prints that are physically shipped to the buyer. You will need to pay a listing fee for each item, but, this can be a great marketplace to reach an established audience that isn’t necessarily looking to buy stock photos.
23. Deposit Photos
Deposit Photos lets you sell stock photos, videos, illustrations, and backgrounds. It’s free to sign up and can begin selling after you pass their exam.
Your royalty payments are based on how many photos you sell each month and it can range from 34% of the selling price for entry-level sellers and up to 42% for the most successful photographers.
Clashot is a free mobile app that allows you to take photos with your mobile device and sell them on Deposit Photos. While you can be a direct contributor to Deposit Photos, it can be more lucrative to sell via Clashot as the average royalty is 44% per sale. Remember that Deposit Photos payout peaks at 42%.
Selling on Clashot is also a good option as cell phone camera technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Sometimes, it can be better to use a mobile device because they are less bulky than a traditional camera that can potentially get damaged in high-impact activities.
Foap is another app where you snap photos of anything to sell online or accept missions and take related photos with your smartphone. Each photo sells for $10 and you earn $5 for each photo sold.
If you accept a mission and your photo is accepted, you can get paid up to $100 or $200 as these contests are sponsored by large Fortune 500 companies looking for top-notch candid shots to use in their upcoming marketing campaigns.
Some mission examples include beach scenes and trick-or-treating. New missions are constantly being added and since you only need an Apple or Android device to get started, you can literally take a picture without carrying any bulky equipment.
Photerloo doesn’t sell photos online, but, it’s an app that makes it easy to upload your photos to several websites, stock marketplaces, and social media with a single mouse click. And, this app is free to use!
PaidPictures will pay you for each assignment by working with companies that need photographs from a specific geographic area. For example, a client might want pictures of Central Park in New York and will hire you if you live in New York City. You get paid via PayPal for each picture taken.
You might not be able to generate recurring income with PaidPictures, but, it can be a great way to land one-time assignments and potentially connect with clients for recurring gigs.
28. Get Paid to Take Selfies
Submit Pics For Cash will pay you $1 to $5 to take selfies.
You can take photos of yourself around the house, going out on the town, or taking a vacation and get paid for taking each selfie taken from different angles at the same location. Just make sure no photos include a picture of anybody else.
In addition to getting paid for your photos, you can also get paid for selfie videos.
Your selfies will be used for ad agencies, magazines, publishers, and media companies. If you are okay with letting your selfies be used for commercial purposes, this can be a fun and fairly lucrative income stream.
CafePress will be a better option if you have graphic design skills to sell your customized photos on physical products like t-shirts, clothing, handbags, coffee mugs, and stationery. When a product sells, you get to keep a portion of each sale.
Whether you are a freelance or professional photographer, many sites make it possible to get paid to sell your photos online. Some sites allow you to use a smartphone while others might require professional equipment. And, you have the option of selling on a marketplace and creating your own online brand to maximize your income potential.
Have you sold your photography online before? Please let me know in the comments below!