Did you know you could make money online selling pictures online?


Nowadays you see everyone is taking pictures.With the costs of dslr cameras coming down, and the improvement of the quality of the cameras on smartphones means anyone can take a good quality picture.

But if you are getting great feedback about your pictures, or you are a student doing a photography course, then it might be worth trying to make money.

There are a number of ways to sell your pictures online

Some require a lot of experience with photography, and/or a large portfolio of pictures. For example, selling your pictures to a merchandise company for t-shirts, cups, etc. There is also an opportunity to put your pictures on a gallery website, where you can sell your pictures and also make money from selling advertising space on the website.

If you are starting out, there is another option and that is to take advantage of stock photography websites.

How it works? You upload a number of pictures and await approval. If they are accepted, or at least some of them are, and someone wants to use the picture. You get a % of the sales value from the stock photography website.

There are loads of different websites to sell your pictures this way. I have included the links to four popular websites below:

It is free to register with these sites. I highly recommend you do some research on their terms of use to ensure you fully understand the rules and guidelines around what you can submit. Also understanding the ownership and copyright policies within them.

How much will I make, selling the pictures?

It Depends…

Payment for pictures may not be much individually. Having said that, if your batch is what people are looking for, the money can soon stack up.  The larger they want it, will mean more.  If one of your pictures is more popular than others, that one may start giving more back.

Another way to make more money is to give your pictures exclusively to one of the sites. If you are accepted onto their exclusive programme, they will give you a better rate.

For example, iStock Photo pay upto 3 times the commission to their exclusive photographers. Which also means you get more per download of your pictures.

By having your photos accepted onto the site/s, you could continue earning for years to come, from your pictures.

You might not be able to give up the day job, but as long as the pictures are what is wanted, you can earn money without working particularly hard at it.

These sites usually have a minimum amount before they will deposit your commission into your account. (Check each site for details). But sites usually work with PayPal, bank accounts or cheques, depending on your needs.

What Pictures will Sell?

Be mindful, you may need to live with the fact there will be some rejection in this business.  The stock photography website companies will know what type of pictures will sell well, and if yours do not fit the bill, they will be rejected.

The key is to keep them simple. People are looking for photos they can easily republish.  They are looking for a photo to use on marketing publications, or more than likely websites. Images on white backgrounds work too, it makes it easier for them to photoshop the image onto what they want to.

Pictures of cats, dogs work great too.

Research what is on the stock photo websites, and how you could capture similar. You want yours to be unique, so better not to copy exactly.

How can I get mine noticed?

There is a lot of competition, so getting your pictures will Longleat House, Longleattake a bit of work, but they are things you can do.

  • Research the stock photography websites for ideas on what is being offered, as well as finding the right one for you.
  • Learn from rejections, they usually give you a reason for the rejection, which gives you a way to improve going forward.
  • Try not to upload a lot of similar looking images
  • Getting the right keyword on images, to help get it higher up the search.
  • Use social media, or if you have you’re own website to promote your portfolio
  • Touch up your photo to make it look right
  • Depending on what you are trying to achieve, use PhotoShop to remove the background of certain images.
  • The stock photography website will have a forum, get involved. It will help you with ideas. Be sure to contribute to the forum, its a 2 way street.
  • If you find the right website for you, go exclusive.
  • Make some of your pictures ‘free download’. This will invite people into your portfolio, so they may go straight to you in the future, and pick some of your paid pictures.

I’m not that great at Photography??

Affordable Photography Courses are available online. Everyone has to start somewhere. I actually did a friends wedding, due to their photographer letting them down. That led to me doing wedding photography. So don’t be afraid to try experimenting, and you can use a course to validate your pictures prior to trying the stock photograph website.

Any thoughts, or comments please leave them below.


  1. Hi John
    Thanks for the this, I have been looking for information on this. Great insight for someone like me starting out. All the best and thank you.


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