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How to Sell Your Photos Online

Updated on January 23, 2016

Make money selling your pictures

You may think that in order to make decent money from your digital pictures you need to be a professional photographer. This is very far from the truth however. Ii is fairly easy even for amateur photographers with basic photographic equipment to earn money selling their pictures online. Probably the best way for this is through microstock photography sites.As the title implies, these sites sell stock photos mostly to graphic artists, newspapers, magazines and advertising companies, at very low prices, around $1 or $2. Every time somebody downloads a royalty free picture of yours through one of these sites and pays the requested price, you earn a percentage of this, usually around $0.20 to $0.50. The more pictures you sell and the more sites you use to upload your pictures, the more money you make. As your photography skills improve and your portfolio grows larger, so will your income grow.

Photo credit:

How to get started with stock photography

Visit these sites:



Big Stock Photo

123 Royalty Free


They are probably the best, and I am a registered contributor with all of them. Register with them. Some of them require that you upload a piece of identity before they accept your registration, read their submission guidelines and pass a simple test to see if you have understood them. They will then require that you upload an initial batch of 5-10 photos for evaluation. Once these photos are accepted, they will be available online for sale, you will be accepted as a contributor and you can do business with them.

Make sure that the initial batch of pictures you upload really includes your very best ones. They have to be really sharp, clear, well composed and saleable. You will probably have to edit your pictures before submitting them. Don't worry if some of your pictures are rejected. It is very common for one site to reject a picture while another readilly accepts it. Just keep uploading as often as you can.

When you upload your pictures, you will have to assign titles, categories and keywords to them. Although this can be a very boring task, especially if you upload a large number of pictures to several sites, it is very important for people to be able to find your photos and buy them.

That's it! You're done! Now you may take your camera , go out and shoot some more pictures, upload them and wait. Your first sale may be just around the corner, and although it will only amount to a few cents, uploading large numbers of good quality pictures to as many sites as possible may soon start to bring you a nice income.

Photo credit: Geoff

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Why stock photography?

What are the benefits of stock photography for amateur photographers?

First of all, you don't need any expensive equipment. A digital camera, (even a good point-and-shoot one), and a computer with an internet connection is all that you need to get started. Assuming that you are already pursuing digital photography as a hobby, you are practically ready to go!

Second, you don't need a large portfolio to get started. Most microstock agencies require that you upload an initial batch of 5 or 10 pictures for evaluation, before they accept you as a contributor. After that, you are free to upload as many or as few pictures you like, as often as you like.

Third, after your initial evaluation period, you can upload any number of pictures, whenever you feel like it. This is really something you can do as much or as little as you like. Just remember that the more pictures you upload, the more money you will make.

Photo Inspiration: Secrets Behind Stunning Images
Photo Inspiration: Secrets Behind Stunning Images

Helps you to improve your photography skills by providing behind-the-scenes information on hundreds of pictures shot by famous photographers


Free tip to save time

Get organized and save time with ProStockMaster

Uploading a large number of pictures to multiple sites and having to assign titles and choose categories and keywords and write descriptions for each one of them can be very time consuming and extremely boring. You can organize your uploads and save time by using Prostockmaster. This is a very handy free program which will let you assign titles, keywords, descriptions, metadata and much more to batches of photos, will upload them for you automatically to the microstock sites of your choice and will even keep track of their status for you. You can download it for free here


What kind of pictures sell best?

Another good thing about selling pictures to microstock photo agencies is that you don't have to look really far to find good subjects for your pictures. You can photograph almost anything: People, buildings, food, animals.... You already have hundreds of potential subjects for your stock photos in your house, garden, neighbourhood or home town. Visit the stock photo sites you have registered with and have a look at their best selling pictures. What do you see? This is the kind of picture you should look out for. Your pictures should not be just ordinary snapshots. They must convey a clear message in order to be saleable. They must also be perfectly sharp and focused to be accepted as stock. Apart from that, you can take pictures of almost anything, almost anywhwere.

Pictures of people usually sell very well. Business people, ordinary people in everyday activities like shopping, working, playing, expressing some sort of feeling or emotion. Something you should be aware of when photographing people is that you may need a model release. This is a form giving you the person's permission to use his or her picture as stock. You can download these forms from the microstock sites you are registered with and carry some with you at all times.

Photo credit: 123 RF stock photos

© 2011 Aquamarine18

What do you think of selling photos online?

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    • sara0129 profile image

      Shamim Rajabali 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Good to know. Thanks.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I am more of a writer but for those who's gift is photography this is definitely a great way to earn extra income. I like your advice to enter for sale as many photos as you can. It is like articles, the more you have out there earning for you, then the higher your income continues to rise.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      5 years ago

      I may start soon.

    • Shorebirdie profile image


      5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I tried selling some photos to stock agencies, but I have an older camera and they kept getting rejected for noise.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I really want to try taking your advice on board and get started with microstock! Thanks for all the info! :)

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      I've always wanted to try this

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I don't think it's easy.


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