How to Sell Photos Online and Make Money

If you love photography and have a huge collection of quality photos that you think people would pay for, there are a lot of renowned websites that can help you turn those clicks into hard cash. For professional photographers, it can become a great way of passive income and for newbies with a bit of photography skill, it can be an easy way to start making some money on the side. The platforms we chose (listed below) have high royalty rates and more popularity – each can help in providing a photography enthusiast an additional income stream. Let’s get started.

How to Sell Photos Online and Make Money 2

Types of photos that sell best

If you are a photographer and also have a keen interest in graphic designing, you can sell custom artwork – they are always in demand. The top 10 contributors to Shutterstock including Rvector, Aha-Soft, antishock, and Toluk sell two main categories – icons (for websites, fliers, mobile apps, operating systems etc.) and abstract backgrounds (desktop wallpapers, posters etc.)

Here are the major categories that sell best and are always in demand:

  • Seasonal trends: Trends that are currently in the news. For instance, world cup, cricket matches – pictures related to cricket, teams, or players would be highly in demand. Weather-related events such as lunar eclipse also come under this category.
  • Popular searches: Nature, animals, cars, bikes, and season-specific photos are fairly popular all-year round.
  • Popular categories: There are two major categories when it comes to stock photos; custom artwork (including illustrations, cartoons, vectors, manipulated pictures, Infographics etc.) and real-life photography (Portraits, landscapes, etc.)
  • Creative trends: Creative trends including cryptocurrency, sci-fi, fantasy, and holographic is increasing in popularity with time.

If you follow the above list and make your photos according to it, you can become a real winner in this field. All it takes to earn money by selling photos is creativity and having an eye for photography.

Here are the top 10 websites to sell your photos on

1. Alamy

The reason for putting Alamy on the top of our list is its high royalty payment on each photo sold, which is a whopping 50%. They have over 60 million photos and videos for sale on their website. Also, they don’t require exclusivity from photographers, which means you can sell the same photo elsewhere without any issue. Before signing up with them, make sure you have at least 3 to 4 high-quality photos that you can show them for inspection (it’s a necessity).

2. Shutterstock

According to the company, they have more than 500 million paid downloads to date and about 5 photos are sold per second – massive, right? Shutterstock has paid about $350 million to its contributors – you can be the next one to get paid too. Depending on the size of your image, you can get an average of up to 30% of the sale price of the photo sold (probably the payout will be between $0.25 and $28 per sale).

3. iStock

iStock doesn’t pay much of a royalty rate in the start (only 15% per download) but it can gradually increase (up to 45%) if you keep on providing high-quality photos that also have high popularity rate. You can sell the same photos elsewhere too but you won’t get a high rate for those non-exclusive ones. On the other side, if you are willing to sell them exclusively on iStock, they will give you much higher royalties (22-45%). You can also end the exclusivity contract with them after completion of a 30-day notice to the company.

4. Getty Images

Getty images being one of the high-end stock photography sites have top-notch standards that are predictably higher than many other photo sites. Most brands and publishers who want professional quality and hard-to-find exclusive photos take help of Getty Images. Their royalty rate starts at 20%.

5. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock has a vast and huge variety of stock photos. The amazing thing about them is that when you list your stock photos for sale here, they also get posted on Fotolia (owned by Adobe). For your every photo that gets sold through Adobe Stock, you will get 33% commission.

6. PhotoShelter

PhotoShelter gives you the independence to make those sales through your own site (if you have one). Basically, it is a photo-oriented e-commerce platform that can be integrated into your existing website easily. It is a full-fledged package with social media integrations, cloud storage for your photos, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The benefit of this platform is that all the work will be done with the help of its integration while you will retain full control over how your photos are displayed. However, if you don’t have a website and neither want to make one, you should explore other options.

7. Fotolia

Fotolia, owned by Adobe, has over 4 million buyers. They offer royalty rates between 20% and 46%. The best thing about them is that they deposit the royalties immediately as your photo is sold. Whereas other sites make payments every 30 days.

8. PhotoMoolah

PhotoMoolah, unlike other photography sites, is a contest-based photography platform. You can submit relevant photos to different contests and if your photo is picked as one of the winners, you will get paid for it. For instance, if a contest requires content “Kids playing in a playground”, you should submit relevant photos and if it gets selected, you will receive a cash prize (normally ranges from $100 to $200 depending on the contest).  It is a great chance for newbies to flourish their skills because this site isn’t much popular, meaning there will be less competition.

9. Stocksy

Stocksy is a renowned mid-range stock photography platform that has relatively high acceptance standards than most other sites. They require exclusivity, which means you cannot post your pics elsewhere for selling – and for that, they pay out generous 50% to 75% royalty rates.

10. EyeEm

EyeEm’s focus is on commercial industries, they have more advertising stock photography as compared to other types. If you are interested in making your place in commercial photography space, this one’s a perfect platform. They offer a 50% commission.


If you think you don’t have the right camera and equipment to click the best photos or get registered with the above-mentioned stock photography websites, you need to change your perspective because most sites including Shutterstock require images of at least 4MP (the higher the better) that every latest smartphone is capable of. You can start your career in this with a decent camera and gradually improve your gear as you grow. All it takes to lead in this field is creativity and an eye for photography.