Most of us have heard the adage that seeing is believing. And, in today’s social media world, seeing has become virtual or online.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A business that does not invest in building a solid online presence cannot survive for long. And, one of the essential components of social media marketing is photographs. It is the images that first draw the attention of users and potential customers. In industries like real estate, fashion, and FMCG, it is the images that sell. Apart from corporations, individual bloggers are also in search of high-quality pictures. Thus photography is a skill that the world requires. At the same time, smartphones have made clicking a pic a simple job. One needs to update skills and take high-end pictures, breathtaking landscapes, macro photos with pin-sharp shots, etc. As a photographer, it is advisable to have a side hustle and start selling photographs online. Below we list out the various ways to sell photos across digital platforms.   

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
  1. Adobe Stock

It is one of the best sites to sell photographs. Many freelance photographers contribute to the site. Therefore, one has to choose the best work for uploading to the site. People mostly use high-quality photo editing software such as Lightroom or Luminar AI before uploading to the site. Apart from posting well-lit, good-quality images, it is essential to give apt titles with keywords. Though selling the first image can be difficult. Once the photos get recognition, it is a continuous process. The starting pay is 0.33$ per photo sold, and for videos, it is around 70$. Creating a contributor account does not cost you anything. At the same time, spammed photos can lead to suspension from the portal.

  1. 500px

It is one of the best online sites for beginners to sell their photos online. One can create a profile and maintain all the work in a gallery. Along with photos, one can also create a directory and post articles, videos, and presets. One can upload seven pics per week. Their algorithm ensures that the latest photos appear for the users. Thus, everybody gets fair visibility on the portal. One has the option of giving exclusive licensing to 500px or go for non-exclusive licensing. The former implies that the photos are available for use only through the 500px website. Non-exclusive licensing allows you to upload the creative to other stock sites too. One gets to earn around 30-60 percent commission per item sold.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
  1. Shutterstock

It is the site that sells most of the online photos and thus has millions of customers across the globe. Shutterstock gives you options where you can connect with brands and create custom photos. At times, one gets to work with the company team. You can select the project of your choice depending on your interests and timelines. Also, the site provides a list of hot topics every month based on customer requests and market demands. The contributors get access to tutorials from experts and Shutterstock editorials with the latest updates in the field. Now one can also upload high-quality video clips. The commission that you receive depends on the number of downloads. It ranges from 15 to 40 percent.

Image by Günther Schneider from Pixabay
  1. Alamy 

It is among the oldest stock sites present today. Thus, the website has a diverse range of photos, videos, and vectors. As the company works directly with media agencies, one can also contribute live news images. The best part is photographers get the highest commission too. It gives 50% for photographs with an exclusive license and 40% for non-exclusive ones. Students can get 100% money for selling their work for two years. Their rate of content acceptance is also higher compared to other online sites.

Image by Daniel Friesenecker from Pixabay
  1. Canva

Unlike other sites for selling photographs, Canva is a graphic designing platform. It offers an easy way for users to create their promotional and official requirements like posters, presentations, business cards, Instagram posts, menus, collages, etc. It has a large customer base as it is easy to use, and one need not have technical skills. One can sell photos, graphics, stickers, and videos on this platform. The site gives a royalty rate of 35% for each download.

Final Thoughts:

There are many online platforms available today for selling photographs. A few of them not included in the list above are Getty Images, Picfair, SmugMug, etc. One can also utilize e-commerce platforms such as Etsy. These many options can be overwhelming. One has to choose the platform based on their interests, niche skills, and experience. For example, Etsy is best for selling photo prints, whereas Canva is suitable for design templates. 

Many of the sites allow you to create a portfolio. Once you gain experience and sufficient traction, it is advisable to create a dedicated website for selling photos and other creatives. It gives the freedom of deciding the prices and choosing the projects that you wish to display. But it requires regular updates and consistency. Also, making the first few bucks may not be easy. One needs to be passionate and have the urge to learn continually.