Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock, etc. The names of these stock photo websites may be familiar because you see the title in numerous photo descriptions around the internet.  Whenever you see the latest print advertisement, there is a high chance that the photo came from a stock photo website such those mentioned above. The wide reach of these websites shows the potential your photos can have when they are hosted on stock photo websites.

Selling your images as stock photos is a good way to earn extra money with your work. Regardless of your professional level, there will be stock photo websites that may host your photos that customers can purchase. Getting your photos hosted isn’t just about sending a photo, you also need to make sure your photos abide by the requirements of the stock photo website.

Here are a few details to observe before attempting to sell your photos to a stock photography site.

You Must Follow The Image Requirements of The Website

Each stock photo website will have its own respective rules when it comes to its image requirements. Sites such as Shutterstock require images to have a minimum size of 4 Megapixels set to the highest quality setting for your image to be acceptable. The maximum file size you can upload photos using a web browser is 50 MB for photos, while Getty Images lets you upload images as large a 3GB in JPEG format!

Following the required file types and sizes will make it easier for your images to be approved by the stock photo website. Each site will have their own rules regarding the dimensions and file sizes of an image, so planning ahead and abiding by their requirements would alleviate the concern the company may have regarding your image quality. This way you won’t have to re upload and re-size your images time and time again.

Build Your Reputation By Concentrating On A Specific Genre For Your Photos

Choosing a specific audience for your photos can help provide a steady stream of income. You can turn a one-time buyer into a repeat customer by creating photos that the customer wants.

For example, if you want to cater to restaurants & bars, focusing on a food and beverage images will help build your credibility as a photographer so buyers in stock photo websites will look for you. Building up your portfolio of quality food photos will help you establish a reputation for creating great photos that companies will look for.

Let’s say that one company loved your drink photos so much that other companies would ask for your photos via the stock photo website as well. You can have more people regularly buy your photos by concentrating on a specific audience.

Use Clone Stamp to Remove Corporate Logos

A photo with logos visible


A photo with the logos removed


Photographers can’t use corporate logos in stock photography because the corporation can ask for a portion of the profit made every time the photo is sold.

Selling a photo with a corporate logo to a stock photo website means you are making money off that company’s logo. Thus, stock sites require you to take photos without any corporate logos to avoid getting sued by the corporation who owns the logo. This also applies for registered works of art, and real estate/property.

You can avoid the headache of a potential lawsuit by editing and retouching your photos to make them generic, (like you see on most tv shows where known brands have stickers or something blocking the products logos). You can take care of this by using the clone stamp or healing tools in Adobe Photoshop.

The clone stamp function lets you select a portion of an image and cover over an imperfection of the photo. In your case, you want to find a blank portion of the photo that matches the space occupied by the logo.

If you really want to include the corporate logo into your photos, you will have to seek permission from the appropriate sources and get a release form to go along with it.

Have a Photo Release Signed by People or Property Owners in Your Picture

Where to find the photo release form on Shutterstock


Getting a subject’s consent is important when getting your photos hosted on a stock photo website. You need to get the person’s consent so they understand the possible consequences of having their image used in advertising. Photographers can get the person’s permission with the help of a photo release form.

[Related Reading: Model Release Form Template]

A photo release form is used to seek permission from a person or object that was photographed. Depending on the kind of photograph you want to sell, you will have to seek a photo release from your subject. There are two types of photo release forms: Model Release and  Property Release.

  • Model Release: You seek the permission of a person or a group of people in a picture.
  • Property Release: You seek permission from the owner of a property or object in a picture to sell photos of the place or object you shot including the corporate logos and trademarks.

The person will know that their image will be used in photos that the stock photo website feels is appropriate. Besides, asking for the person’s consent to upload their photos is a form of good manners as well as professional. When the person understands that their image will be used in advertisements, they will not be shocked to see their faces slapped on a giant billboard in the city.

A model release form for Adobe Stock


When you upload a photo to be reviewed by the stock photo website, there is a release form on their website freeing the stock photo company from any responsibility if anything happens to the person in the photo because the photo was used in advertising.

Appealing to Stock Photo Websites

The tips mentioned above are just a few of the many tips you can use to make your photo the chosen one among the many submissions that a stock photo receives every day.

  • Each stock photo website has its own set of requirements and following each website’s requirements will make it easier for buyers to purchase your photo through the stock photo website.
  • Using a clone stamp will help you avoid getting in trouble with big corporations and their intellectual property.
  • Requesting Photo Releases isn’t just good manners. Photographers and subjects will both be aware of how the images will be used.
  • Concentrating on a specific topic will help build your reputation as an expert on the topic and bring you more repeat customers than one-time buyers.

Getting your photos hosted is not just about making the photo look good. The elements in the photo should be processed and checked with permission from everyone involved. Going through the proper processing will give you a higher chance of getting your photos hosted in stock photo websites, and subsequently, getting more sales!

Guest Post Written by Rebecca Van Ommen of Paper Boat Creative

*Images shared with permission from Rebecca Van Ommen.