Sell stock photos and make money online in 2022


One of the best ways to start making money online is to monetize your hobbies. There are several people who have turned their passion into a full-time profession. Nowadays photographers are in high demand more than ever. Bloggers, graphic designers, marketers, publishers, and people from large, small, and medium-sized businesses buy and use photos regularly online. You can easily earn money or start a new career as a photographer if you know the right places to sell stock photos online. 

A key decision to make when attempting to make money from your photos is choosing where exactly to upload your content. In case you are wondering how to go about selling your stock photos online, read on.

How People can sell photos online

Let’s take a look at how to sell photos online through a direct and authentic channel.

Pick a niche

Picking the niche means targeting the right audience for your work. Some examples of photography niches are:


Photos of landscapes, flowers, and natural wonders used as wall art are covered in this category.


This includes portrait or candid shots of famous personalities such as showbiz celebrities, world leaders, business tycoons, etc.


Performing corporate photoshoots for the company’s internal/external use may also be a good idea.


Focusing your photography on amazing landmarks in your region may also be an idea worth exploring.

But if you’re not sure which specific area to concentrate on, do your research on trending niches. You can also use tools like Keywords Everywhere or SEMrush to get to know what customers are searching for. This way, you can identify photography fields enjoying the highest demand.

Create an eCommerce website 

Nowadays there are many ways to sell stock photos online, but creating your own website and setting it up as a storefront for your photos has long-term benefits. If you have your own website, you can grow as a professional photographer. You can flaunt your photography in your portfolio. There are plenty of eCommerce platforms like Shopify that allow you to build a custom website in minutes and access a range of sales features to improve your conversions.

How can you sell photos online?

The following steps summarize the process of selling stock photos online:

  1. Choose those photos you want to sell.
  2. Decide how to deliver your photos (e.g., digital files, physical prints, etc.)
  3. List your photos on your website.
  4. Set up back-end processes for inventory, payments, and orders.
  5. Promote your images. Manage and fulfill orders as they arrive.
Get your portfolio noticed

When your website is ready, focus on promoting your images. Some strategies you can apply are as follows:


Blogging is a great way to share your creativity to build interest in your images. You can tell people what went into capturing those candid moments or talk about your everyday life as a photographer. We recommend you to use keywords in your blog posts to help search engines understand that you run a photography website and present it to appropriate audiences. 

Social media marketing:

If you showcase your photography on social media, it can work wonders for your visibility. Here you will need to ensure that you’re in the right places or right channels to get good results. Pinterest and Instagram are great choices to showcase your images. Make sure to use shoppable tags so people know they’re available for purchase.

Best places to sell stock photos

Getty Images:

Getty Images was founded in 1995 and has since been one of the leading stock and editorial photography websites in the world. It is a parent company for iStockPhoto. If you start with this site, you have a chance of earning up to 20% in commission for exclusive image sales. Photos on this site sell for hundreds of dollars, so that percentage can make you quite some profit. 

Single images cost $ 499 to buy, but the type of license or subscription plan the customer buys determines how your slice is calculated. To become a Getty Images supplier, you should apply using a mobile app. Here are the steps to apply:

  • Download “Contributor by Getty Images” app for iPhone or Android
  • Upload 3-6 images
  • Wait for the images to get accepted

Getty Images editors decide whether to publish your work on either iStock or Getty Images, depending on where your content is more likely to generate purchases. When your content gets accepted on Getty Images, you can neither publish the same stuff on other stock sites nor license it yourself.

Shutter Stock:

Shutterstock is a platform that has been operating since 2003 and is now a primary source of income for many contributors who sell stock photos online. The site has over 200 million images, videos, and music tracks that are purchased by millions of customers. 

Shutterstock allows you to keep your photo copyrights protected, so it’s up to you to set the rights for your photos. Shutterstock also gives credit to the image’s owners, which protects your ownership and markets your brand. Payouts are based on your earnings over time and range from 20% to 30%. There is also an affiliate program where you can earn additional money if you refer new photographers or customers to Shutterstock. 

The commission for contributors to Shutterstock starts at 25% for an image sold. The key to earning more from Shutterstock is to contribute a large number of photos. Additionally, you can refer other photographers and make extra money each time they make a sale. 

Tips to Maximize Sales and Profit from Selling Photos Online

Some valuable tips to grow your online photography career is discussed here:

Improve the quality of pictures

To improve the quality of pictures, edit them using Photoshop or mobile apps like Snapseed, etc. Do remember to avoid over-filtering.

Add multiple keywords: 

If you use this strategy, it will help you rank your photos in search results. Think of terms related to your image and combine them with niche-specific keywords.

Focus on details: 

You should avoid using photos with visible brand logos. If your photo shows a person or a building, concerned parties must sign a model release form.


Selling photos online may not immediately make you rich, but it is a great way to earn passive income from what you have created. Whether you’ve been photographing for a long time or have just started out, you should start selling stock photos. It will help you get rewarded for your work and motivate you to do even better.

Want to learn the secrets to becoming the owner of a million-dollar business? Download our FREE guide from our E-books section.

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