If you have a passion for photography, you might have considered selling your photos online. It’s a great way to make money while doing what you love, and if you’re diligent, you may even be able to turn your photography into a career. Many people want to buy professional photos, whether to hang prints as artwork or to use on their websites. There are many routes you can take to earn money online and each has its advantages. Keep reading to learn how to sell photos online!

How to Sell Photos Online | Complete Guide

Art Prints vs. Stock Photography

Most photos sold online are either art prints are stock photos. Art prints are high-quality prints that people can frame and put on the walls of their homes or businesses. There are many online platforms where users can buy prints of all sizes. Some platforms will also sell prints on canvas, glass, or other unique materials. Art prints can have all manner of subjects including landscapes, animals, humans, still life, and more.

how to sell drone photos online

Stock photos are usually for online use and can also be used in print for ads. They can cover almost any subject, much like art prints. However, stock prints differ because they’re often less about art and more about showing some part of real life, such as people working in an office or someone training a dog.

If you want to sell stock photos, you may want to start by researching the type of photos that are selling. You can also consider which types of websites are popular and shoot photos accordingly. Think about shooting a series of photos that could be used together on a website, such as different shots of students at school.

What to Consider Before Selling Your Photos Online

While you may have some great photos you’re ready to sell, there are a few things you should consider before selling. The most important by far is the quality and specificity of your work. Without a clear focus and plan, you can easily get taken advantage of or mislead.

Type of Photography

stock photographyConsider your genre of photography. Would your prints look better hanging on someone’s wall? Or do you do more stock photography? Both types of photos can sell, you just want to make sure you’re listing in the right place. If you want to maximize your profits, you may consider creating different styles of photos for different platforms. Here are a few types to consider:

  • People — kids, adults, and everyone in between from every country and culture!
  • People working — These images are very popular with businesses. Folks working on laptops, writing, speaking at a meeting, etc. Just don’t make them so generic they become a meme.
  • Food — Various types of delicious foods even empty unwashed plates.
  • Tools — Gears, hammers, nuts, bolts, and screws can convey a lot of things for potential buyers.
  • Cities — Cityscapes, buildings, people commuting.
  • Nature — This is a no-brainer that never gets old to shoot or sell.
  • Travel — Shots from around the world are always in high demand.

Commission Rates

Now that you’ve selected the specific niche you want to target, how much are you going to charge for your images? What you make will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Platform
  • Frequency of submissions
  • Quality level

As a beginner, you may have to start small and work your way up before you begin to see any significant income. You’ll also want to make sure you’re uploading new photos frequently. Certain sites like Pexels and Unsplash offer artists a great platform to start off with stock photography. While they don’t offer compensation, it’s a great way to gauge which of your images do well or gain exposure.  Your rate will also be dependent on how consistent you are, both in terms of quality and quantity.

Site Popularity

adobe stock photoNot all selling platforms are created equal. A site may welcome your work and even offer a good commission, but you won’t stand to make much money if they don’t get enough traffic. You have to find a site that’s popular enough, yet isn’t so oversaturated that you can’t stand out.


Before submitting your photos to a platform, you need to carefully read through their Terms of Service to understand how their ownership policy works. Some platforms retain all rights to anything you sell with them. If you’re just doing standard stock photos, ownership may not be as much of an issue for you. However, if your work is more artistic, you may want to keep ownership.

travel stock photosIf your goal is to make it as a professional photographer, you need to get your name out there. Some platforms will credit you for your work, while others don’t. If you just want to make money and don’t care about building a name for yourself, then it’s not a big deal. However, if you want to eventually move off platforms, then you want a site that’ll give you credit for your work. Ideally, you’ll get on a platform that’ll link to your website or social media.

The Importance of Diversification

If you want your photography business to thrive, you should diversify your income. Even if you find a platform where you’re doing really well, you still want to find multiple ways to make money. For example, you may be selling art prints on one site and stock photography on some others. By setting up several different steady incomes streams, you can eventually have a dependable income.

Where to Sell Photos Online

The largest buying base of stock photos are bloggers and small to medium-sized website business owners. There are a plethora of options out there, but here are some of our favorite places to sell your photos online:

The best place to sell photos online is through your personal website. You’ll be able to retain 100% of your profits and can have complete control over how everything is sold. However, it can be difficult to make sales on your website if your name isn’t out there yet. You may need to spend some time building up your name or learning how to optimize your website for search engines if you’re new to professional photography.

Conclusion | How to Sell Photos Online

If you have a talent and passion for photography, there’s money to be made online. While there’s a lot of competition, there’s always a need for fresh new photos, especially since more and more people are creating websites. By consistently putting photos up for sale and diversifying your income streams you can make yourself a great side hustle or even career out of your photography.