With social media on the rise, photography has become a booming business. Now anyone with a good, high-tech camera can become an extraordinary photographer and actually make a living from it. We are so advanced with technology; consumers are becoming aware they can use it to make money and do what they love. But can you make your photo earnings scale?
Can you sell the same photograph to multiple websites? Absolutely! If you own the picture, it is yours; you can either sell it to one company or multiple companies.
Some companies will buy your photograph, but in return, they own it, and it’s under their name. When selling your photos online, be sure to read the fine print because some companies may tell you that after you sell it to them, you won’t be able to sell to others.
How to Sell Your Pictures
The very first step is to take good quality photographs. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised to hear what the rate of photo rejections are. If they need to be edited, you should edit everything the way you want before selling your pictures. You will need to make sure the copy you sell is good for phones and laptops, as well as making sure they are okay to print large versions. You can do all of this in the proper editing program.
The next step will be selling your photos, either on a website or in actual stores. If you are a new photographer, it may be best to start online to build your presence.
Where to Sell Your Pictures
- Adobe Stock – This website is also known for its fantastic editing skills, but this website will also help you sell your photos. You will not earn 100% of the money the website sells them for. However, you could make between 20% – 60% depending on the picture. This percentage is higher than other sites so it can be suitable for beginners. You will not have to stick exclusively with adobe stock; you can sell in multiple places.
- Crestock – This may not be the most prominent way to make a lot of money. However, it could be a passive way to pair with Adobe Stock or another big name. The account itself is free, and once a team decides if your photo is the right fit, they will put it in their portfolio. You can add tags and descriptions. This website could be an excellent way to share your skills, collection, and gain attention from others.
- Shutterstock – This website is excellent for anyone looking to make as much money as possible. They have thousands of customers, meaning there is a lot of potential to make money. They have a reputable name and have been selling stock photos for over 15 years. You have all copyrights to your photos and can set the agreement the way you want it. They also give you credit for your photos; this spreads your portfolio and helps get your name out there. This also gives you the option to sell multiple places.
- Etsy – Not directly dedicated to pictures, but still an excellent opportunity for any artist, photographer, or not. You can sell copies for customers to print, or you can print your own copy on canvas and sell it. This is a great app to use on the phone or computer and gives you a lot of control over how much you sell and make. This also allows you to sell in multiple places because you completely own your work.
- Alamy – This website is lesser-known, and that can be a challenge. With fewer customers, it can be harder to make money with this website. It is more up and coming than the other more prominent names on the list. However, this website allows you to sell in as many places as you want. This could be an excellent way to grow your portfolio and gain the attention of customers.
- Farmers Markets – If you are printing your pictures on canvas and selling them, you could create a whole space at a farmer’s market and sell there. This gives you complete control; you will be able to sell for the price you want, get to know your community, and spread the skills that you have. This is a great way to sell your work. However, you will have to look at the rules of your community farmers market; there may be specific fees you have to pay in order to participate.
This list is a great place to start, but doing the proper research to figure out what suits your lifestyle and your photos are best. Check out this list for more places you can look: 11 Places to Sell Photos article.
Best Editing Software for Photos
Before you start selling your photos online, you will want to purchase or download an editing program. You will want to make sure the image is clear, the lighting is how you want it, and that it can be seen on multiple devices with the same quality.
If you are new to Photoshop, this can seem daunting. Still, there are a few editing programs that make it easy to do for a relatively budget-friendly price.
- Adobe Photoshop – Adobe has been in the photography world for a long time. It has one of the best names to go for when talking about editing and selling photographs. They are hard to beat; they have different versions for different needs and priced competitively compared to what else is on the market.
- Lightroom Classic – This one is a version of what Adobe has to offer, and one of the best to use for simple editing. Some of the processes maybe a little hard to use; however, there are many YouTube tutorials. This program allows you to organize and edit all your photos in one place.
- DxO PhotoLab – Photolab is excellent for a photographer who needs a simple and basic package. It does not offer all of the tools an Adobe program would offer; however, it is a good alternative compared to some other software.
- CyberLink PhotoDirector – This is easy to use the program, which is always updating with new tools to use. It is simple to figure out and use, but it does not give you access to all of the tools it may require to fully edit in the way you want.
When you learn the technical side of taking pictures, the less Photoshop you will need. However, these are great tools to enhance amazing photos. There are more versions you can choose from so be prepared to research more to find out which one best fits your needs.
Website Rules and Regulations
Each of the websites you are allowed to sell through has its own set of rules, they may be limited, but you could get into trouble for not following them. You must read the fine print before opening an account and selling your photos. They also have their own fees and percentages they take out of each sale you make.
Adobe Stock – This is one of the most well-known names, and their requirements are very little compared to other brands. You fully own your pictures; however, you need to be aware of all the requirements in order to keep selling with Adobe.
- You must be 18 in order to create an Adobe ID account, which you will need to sell photos.
- If you want to be successful, it is important to only submit photos that are of high quality that are also versatile.
- Submit the images with no watermarks or timestamps.
- Submit your photos with the best color, and at the most significant file size, your camera can produce.
- Use keywords to get traction with your photos; do not use big brand names or very detailed descriptions.
How do you get the money? Well, with each photograph or video you submit, if any customer buys them, you will get royalties on the photos. The price per download depends on the number of assets a customer buys. The money comes in the form of credits through Adobe; one credit equals one dollar.
The more you sell, the more money you will make; however, you will need a license and a plan that you can buy yearly to sell photos. After this, you are free to sell your photographs on as many platforms as you want in order to make the most money.
Crestock – This is a beautiful choice for an artist to use because not only do you make money from image sales, you also get money by being an affiliate.
- You will receive 25% commission from photo sales.
- 10% royalties from people you recruit who sell photos.
- You can earn money by the clicks through your personal link, as well as money from the members who sign up.
- There are no age restrictions for users and no signup fee.
- You retain all copyrights.
The membership is completely free to sign up for, and you can start promoting as soon as you sign up and get your membership ID. Before you receive any payout from this company, your account must reach $50. There are two payout methods; one is PayPal the other is Skrill. Your email must match your PayPal account if that is the option you choose.
Shutterstock – This option allows a lot of freedom for an artist selling products. The signup process is easy and quick to do, with no signup fee. As soon as your account is created and verified, you can immediately upload images on your profile.
- You will start earning 20% commission that will slowly increase as you receive more income.
- After the initial 20%, you will move up to 25%, then to 28%, and then to 30%, the more you make, the higher your percent will get.
- You can receive payment through Skrill, PayPal, or Payoneer.
- You can set a minimum payout through your account settings.
- There are technical requirements that must be met with the photo. Such formatting must be in JPEGs, and the color must be in sRGB in order to be accepted.
This is a great platform to choose if you are looking to build a beautiful portfolio, and want little restrictions in the beginning. It will allow you to see what images sell the best and see how to set up your collection. Shutterstock will enable you to sell multiple places as long as you completely own the copyright to the photo.
Etsy – Technically, this can be an app or a website and can connect you to a few million buyers in a matter of minutes. This website focuses not only on art and photographs but also to handmade goods as well as vintage items. If you are planning on selling your pictures as a poster or on canvas, this may be an excellent option for you.
- This site guarantees all privacy rights. Meaning no personal information gets shared between a buyer and seller; the website takes care of everything.
- Etsy is a very transparent brand and tells you exactly how much you pay, what the selling fees are.
- You must be 18 years old to sign up for this website. Anyone under 13 may not use Etsy at all.
- A user may choose from a free standard plan or a premium plan for $10 a month.
- There is a 5% selling fee for all sellers.
- Etsy is convenient, they will give you a postage stamp to print out directly from your website.
You set the prices when you create a profile for your item, and from that, Etsy will take 5% of the earnings once you sell the item. It can take a little bit longer to sell things, but you can also pay for ads that will not only help boost your profile but also help you sell through your prints quicker.
Alamy – This is an excellent website for anyone looking to use multiple platforms and pair up with a lesser-known brand. They have great rewards and minimal restrictions when using this site.
- You will receive 50% of direct sales that are exclusive to Alamy.
- You can earn 40% on purchases of images that are not exclusive to Alamy. This means you can sell your photos in multiple places as long they are yours, and you own the copyright.
- They will only pay you when your account reaches $50.
- Pictures from cellphones will usually be declined because of quality reasons.
- Images should be uploaded through JPEG format.
- All photos should be uploaded as 17mb uncompressed.
Alamy is the right starting place for people selling artists, it can help boost how much traffic you get. As well as a way for you to earn some extra income. The signup process is simple. However, each photo you upload will be examined by a team before it is allowed to be sold. This process is just to make sure the image is the best quality for customers to purchase.
Farmers Market – This a little more unconventional but can be a great way to get to know your neighborhood. Each farmer’s market may have their own qualifications that you need to do before setting up a tent or booth for selling your photographs.
You will want to look up the regulations of your local government or state of what you can and cannot sell and comply with those to sell at the markets. State’s rules will vary depending on where you live. You will have to agree to the rights and responsibilities as a vendor at the market.
Brief Copyright Overview
If you are the original creator of a piece, you are usually the one who owns the copyright. The copyright is the legal right to your form of art. This could give you the freedom to own, publish, or print a song, a picture, movies, or a performance. This copyright or ownership allows you to give others access or permission to use the piece.
A copyright gives you the right to make multiple copies of your work with it being protected. It gives you the power the distribute to numerous places, as well as the rights to display work in public. When you start selling through websites like these, you will want to make sure you read the fine print to make sure after posting you will still have your rights upheld.
Be sure to read all fine print on each website before uploading your images. I may have typed that out like 4 times — it's important! Also, make sure the quality is as each site wants it as well as formatting. You may not make a substantial income for the first few months. Still, with the proper work ethic, you may be able to earn a passive income over time, if you use multiple websites.
Owning the copyright is extremely important when selling your photography. Making sure you abide by all the rules of a website or market is also something you need to consider when selling photos. Abiding by the rules will help you grow as a business and in contribute to your personal earnings.