The Internet has made it easier than ever for photographers all over the world to not only share but also make money from selling photos online.
Selling photos online is a great way to make money from the photos you take.
Photographers can sell photos, and printed products thereof from their own eCommerce store or sell stock photos online through the many stock photography sites.
Stock photo sites generally pay between $0.10 and $2.24 per stock image for subscription-based purchases. Non-members, on the other hand, non-members pay between $5.00 to $99.50 per image for on-demand purchases.
Selling photos online isn’t really a get rich quick, it’s more of a long-haul type of gig.
On average, you can expect to make $0.32 per digital copy sold of stock photos.
Based on this per unit sale, you can calculate how many photos you have to upload to earn your target monthly earnings.
If you’re looking to sell your photos for more money, I strongly suggest that you build your own website through WordPress, install a photo gallery or Woocommerce plugin, and learn how to drive traffic to your website. This gives you a better value for the work you put in as a digital photographer.
Instead of just selling stock images, you can sell prints on canvases, frames, and even on print-on-demand products such as t-shirts, mugs, etc.
On average, print-on-demand products sell for at least $25 per print.
How long does it take for me to sell my photos online?
The time it takes to get your work out there relies on the effort that you put into marketing and promoting yourself.
The length of time will also depend on how much energy you have invested in providing high-quality content for sale.
Unsurprisingly, the more work you invest in, the better chances of success that you’ll be able to accomplish.
With the appropriate amount of time and effort, you should be able to earn a decent income from selling photos online in as little as one year.
Instagram is one of the best places where you can post images of your photo.
You can put a link to where they can buy your photos, prints, or products thereof either on your own website, marketplaces, or stock photography websites.
With the millions of other stock photos online, you have to learn how to drive traffic to your offers, if you want to build a successful digital photography sales business.
You can also start a blog or launch a YouTube channel on topics related to your photography niche where you can establish yourself as a subject-matter expert, drive your own traffic, and sell your photos as images or prints.
Most photographers who are looking to sell photos online only target selling photos as stock photos but there’s more to photo sales than stock photos.
As an artist, you can make a lot of money selling photos online if you turn your photos into actual print products.
How much does it cost to Get Started?
Starting out without a camera is possible, you can start with your SmartPhone – Huawei P30 has a great camera that can get you started on your digital photography online sales hustle. If you already have a phone, you can get started with $0 capital.
If, on the other hand, you do have the budget, it’s a good idea to invest at least some basic equipment like a DSLR or Mirrorless cameras as well as other tools such as lighting kits, photo editing software (such as Photoshop), scanners or tripods, and monopods, among others depending on how this business model fits with what you’re looking to do.
If you’re expecting a specific amount of startup costs, I would say that you could start with a budget of around $500 for a decent starter digital camera.
Different Ways to Sell Photos Online
Sell Photos Online on Your Own Website, Blog or eCommerce Store
The best way to sell your photos online is by selling them on your own eCommerce store, and by making them available in two forms:
- digital photos and,
Alternatively, you can subscribe to Shopify for an out-of-the-box eCommerce store.
You can then upload your photo images as product listings.
Ideally, you should add titles, descriptions, tags (keywords), pricing info, etc., so potential customers will be able to find them easily when searching Google Images Search or other image search engines.
Sell photos online on the Etsy Marketplace
Etsy is the world’s leading online marketplace for artisans and creatives. A lot of crafters sell their hand-made products on Etsy.
You can imprint your photos on different types of physical goods and sell them off the Etsy Marketplace, or perhaps, you can sell them as digital downloads, or prints on canvasses.
Sell Photos Online on Stock Photography Websites
There’s stiff competition in the stock photography space but this is where most buyers of stock photos go whenever they need to grab some.
Best Places to Sell Stock Photos Online
Sell photos to Magazines
You can also sell your photos to magazines and newspapers. Magazines such as National Geographic, Oprah Magazine, US Weekly, Conde Nast Traveler, and others will gladly pay for a few of your pictures in order to illustrate stories over the course of an issue.
This type of photography focuses on capturing moments during breaking news stories and events; these images are often very powerful as they show how life goes on when tragedy strikes or what happens after something shocking has happened – for example, how children get back into school after being displaced due to natural disasters such as floods or fires.
What equipment do I need?
As mentioned above, you can always start with your smartphone if you’re starting off with not enough money to buy photography equipment but if you have some startup capital and you’re serious about shooting the best photos, you can perhaps invest in some of the basic equipment that may be necessary for your trade.
1. Digital Camera
A digital camera is the most basic, yet necessary tool for any photographer who’s serious about launching their photography business.
Below are the top-rated digital cameras rated by most photography websites:
Sony a7 III
Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II
2. Prime Lenses
A camera lens is an essential piece of equipment for any photographer and can be used to take pictures where everything is in focus from foreground to background or to create a shallow depth of field.
Canon EF-S 24mm
Sony FE 28mm
Canon EF 50mm
Canon EF-S 55mm
Nikon AF-S 85mm
3. Camera Bag
A camera bag is an often overlooked tool for photographers.
Your digital SLR should always be tucked inside a padded compartment that blocks out light from entering through any gaps in order to preserve battery life when not being used.
Lowepro ProTactic 450AW DSLR Camera Backpack
Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13 V2
Billingham Hadley Pro
MindShift Gear BackLight
A light meter is an instrument that measures how much light there is in a scene and how fast it’s changing, often by measuring how quickly the brightness of the subject matter changes over time.
It can be either hand-held or mounted on your camera so you don’t have to keep checking for what shutter speeds work best; these tell you how long the lens should stay open before capturing an image, which will depend largely on how bright or dark your subjects are – objects that aren’t very reflective (like most people) need more exposure than those with lots of colors because less reflects back into them from other surfaces like walls and floors.
Sekonic L-308X Flashmate
Gossen Digisix 2
Sekonic L-208 Twin Mate
Sekonic L-858D Speedmaster
A sturdy tripod can help to combat camera shake when you’re using slower shutter speeds, and it also ensures that your photos will be as sharp as possible – how many times have you taken a picture only to find out later that they were blurry because you tried holding the camera up with your arm?
Vanguard Alta Pro-Pack
Benro Rhino FRHN34CVX30
Vanguard Veo 263AB
Peak Design Travel Tripod
An external flash is an essential photography accessory for any professional or inexperienced photographer.
An external flash plugs into the camera’s hot-shoe and includes a manual exposure control.
It also provides photographers with more natural lighting. A flash with a larger number of bulbs (up to eight) will give you a wider beam spread, which is necessary for lighting objects in the foreground as well as in the background.
Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash
Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash
YONGNUO YN560 IV Wireless Flash Speedlite Master
Nikon SB 5000
It has an LCD screen which provides information on how much power you are using, how long it will last for, whether or not your flash head is tilted too high or low etc., so if this sort of information is important to you then this might be the flash for you.
Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash
Lighting is one of the most important considerations for photographers looking to wow viewers with their work. This is because how light bounces off objects and how it’s captured by your camera will directly affect how images come out.
Godox AD200Pro TTL Pocket Flash Kit
The Godox AD200Pro TTL Pocket Flash Kit comes with many of these features as well as a built-in radio transmitter that will allow you to control how bright your flashes are and how close they need to be from what is being photographed on location or in-studio settings. This kit also includes a stand, a battery, and one head.
Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Kit
Broncolor Siros L 800Ws 2-Light Outdoor Kit 2
Broncolor Siros L 800Ws Outdoor Kit is the perfect option for those who are looking to create high-quality images without having to worry about how bright it will be in comparison with how much power their flashes need.
Profoto B10 Off-Camera Flash Duo Kit
Memory cards are an investment that every digital photographer needs to think about when they are buying equipment. SDHC memory cards provide the latest in storage capacity and how fast you can write data onto them.
SDHC memory cards are a necessity for digital photographers that want to take advantage of how fast your DSLR can fire off pictures, how many frames per second it is capable of shooting.
Below are the best memory cards we’ve found for both starting and experienced photographers:
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II SDHC
Transcend Ultimate SDHC UHS-II
SanDisk Extreme PRO microSDXC UHS-I
Lexar Professional microSDXC UHS-I
Filters (UV, ND)
Camera filters are a photographer’s best friend because they can help get the perfect shot without any additional equipment.
Using a filter will allow you to take photos in extreme environments without having to sacrifice how the shadows look on your subject.
Types of Digital Camera Filters
- UV filters – helps to protect how sensitive your camera is to how much light is entering into the sensor.
- ND filters – are perfect for how bright your shots are to go with how much light may be entering the sensor.
- Circular Polarizers – these filters help filter how polarized light is by taking away some of the glare or reflections of how small details may appear.
- GND Filters – If you’re looking for how many shots you can take in extreme environments without sacrificing how shadows look on your subject, this is a great way to be able to do so.
- Graduated filters – these are well-suited for how a landscape changes over time and how they would like it if taken from a certain angle.
Best Digital Camera Filters
Filters (Hoya Pro-Mist)
K&F Concept UV Filter Ultra Slim
Sigma Camera Filters
Gobe UV Lens Filter
Photo Editing Software
As a professional photographer, you’re going to need powerful photo editing software because how good the photos look is just as important as how quickly they can be taken.
Corel AfterShot Pro
The Corel Photo Editing Software has been heralded as one of the most powerful yet easy-to-learn software options available.
It has how many functions and tools like Photoshop, but for how much cheaper; this is a great option for those who are looking to have professional editing capabilities without how much money is being spent on a more expensive program.
One of the most important pieces of software for photographers in Photoshop. With it, one can easily crop, enhance, add text, resize files, etc., without any hassle.
It’s worth noting that while there are many different versions available on today’s market (i.e., CS) some may not suit your needs as well as another: if you work in high-resolution images then Lightroom might make more sense and people who take pictures with their phones will benefit from Adobe Elements, instead.
Gimp Photo Editor
A free photo editing software that’s perfect for photographers who would like to edit pictures they take but don’t have the budget to buy photo-editing software. You can download Gimp here.
Reflector/Diffuser Panels, also known as “soft light panels”, are a great way to soften the quality and remove shadows from portraits or product shots.
They work just like reflectors, but at a much smaller scale. You can take them anywhere and they provide instant softening of your photos with no other equipment required.
Lastolite LL LR3607 30-Inch TriGrip 2 Stop Diffuser
Lastolite’s 30-inch TriGrip 2 Stop Diffuser on a strong, sturdy base. The diffuser attachment can be elevated and tilted to get the desired effect while adding an even softer touch with less light output.
With this model, you also have the option of two diffusion levels.
Step 1 is designed for controlling the amount of light entering the reflector, step 2 makes it easier to use with larger sources such as billboards or walls, so there’s no need for bulky scrims or swing arm attachments.
Phottix Collapsible Diffuser 12x17cm (PH86538)
Lastolite LR3696 TriFlip 8 in 1 30-Inch Grip Reflector Kit
The Lastolite 30″ TriFlip 8 in 1 Grip Reflector Kit is the perfect on-the-go studio lighting solution.
Grab your camera, tripod, and one of the three white/silver reversible diffusers for an instant photoshoot.
The included LED lamp makes it easy to focus light where you need it most: behind or under a subject’s face, over distant objects, etc.
Godox Collapsible 5-in-1 Reflector Disc
The Collapsible 5-in-1 Reflector Disc from Godox provides convenience and versatility for photographers to use in the studio or on location.
Included is a reversible slipcover with surfaces that are gold, silver, white, and black. The 24″ disc folds down to 1/3 of its open size when closed and this makes it easy
A camera shutter is another item that may not be necessary but has many benefits. If you’re using an SLR then you’ll want one because it prevents your fingers from getting into the picture and making unwanted marks.
Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Control
Take hands-off pictures at your leisure with the Canon RC-6 WiFi remote control that attaches to the camera’s tripod connector.
Make programmed shots even easier by setting up time and interval shots and then watch or go do something else while your equipment does all the work for you.
Hahnel Remote Shutter Release Pro HRF 280 for Fujifilm
A Hahnel Remote Shutter Release Pro is a package consisting of two separate components:
- An infrared transmitter, the RC-28 IR, and an Infrared Receiver, the RC-12 IR.
- The infrared receiver receives commands from the transmitter through RF signals, then sets off a receiver signal which initiates the shutter.
Panasonic Remote Control for Lumix S Series DMW-RS2E
This Panasonic Remote Control is designed to work with the Panasonic Lumix S Series cameras, which include the DMC-SZ7, DMC-TS30, and more. It’s also compatible with all past camera models as well.
Hahnel HRN 280 Pro Remote Shutter Release with 2m Extension Cable for Nikon DSLR
This is a remote shutter release for your camera, allowing you to take pictures from a distance. It features autofocus, bulb function & continuous shooting functions.
The Hahnel HRN 280 Pro Remote Shutter Release with 2m Extension Cable for Nikon DSLR is supplied with interchangeable camera connectors for multiple DSLRs of one brand. The textured anti-slip material provides a secure grip and gives additional durability. This remote shutter release reduces camera shake and enables you to capture sharper images. It has the ability to reduce vibration when using slow shutter speeds or
Lens Cleaner Kit and Brush Set or Lens Pen
Lens cleaner kit and brush set or Lens pen for quick wiping off any smudges on the lens surface.
These are great because they also work to remove fingerprints and dust from your camera screen as well! 🙂 The LensPen is a must-have in my opinion just because it’s easy to use and you can use it with any type of device: phone, tablet, laptop – anything that has a touchscreen!)
Zeiss Lens Cleaning Wipes
ZEISS Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes (600 Count) are soft, pre-moistened lens wipes that effectively clean and remove fingerprints and smudges from your lenses.
These cleaning wipes are formulated with a gentle formula that does not scratch or leave streaks on your lenses while also being safe for use on anti-reflective coatings. The ZEISS Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes can be
The Lenspen NLP-1 W Elite Cleaning Pen for Lens is a revolutionary, patent-pending cleaning pen that cleans all lenses safely and effectively.
The new invisible carbon cleaning compound will not scratch or damage lenses. The unique self-replenishing tip ensures that the lens cleaner will never dry up or spill. This product is ideal for use with sunglasses, reading glasses, cameras, binoculars, and other optical devices.
Visible Dust Magic Cleaner Cloth
VisibleDust Magic Cleaner is a high-quality, ultra-fine 0.1 denier microfiber cleaning cloth that absorbs dirt, grease, and moisture more effectively than natural chamois leather.
It leaves a spot-free finish without abrasions. Magic Cleaner is perfect for cleaning camera optics such as lenses and viewfinders. VisibleDust recommends using Magic Cleaner in conjunction with LensClean for a comprehensive optical surface cleaning. Available in large size (25 x 30 cm) or medium size (15 x 20 cm).
Giottos Rocket Air Blower
Giottos CL1310 Retracting 2 Position Goats Hair Brush is an excellent addition to anyone’s gear bag.
This brush, 3.5 x .5 x 1″, fits neatly in any pocket and can be a lifesaver for getting dirt and other light contaminants off your optics.
The Giottos Rocket-Air Blower is made from natural and environmentally-friendly rubber. The super air stream blows off dust particles, even those attracted by static electricity. Giotto’s patented and unique rocket base design allows the Rocket-Air to
Does Selling Photos Online Work?
Yes. Selling photos online is a feasible business model, and you can actually make money with it!
There are many benefits of selling your digital images for profit on the web: You might even be able to earn a full-time living from your photography sales but I would suggest that you don’t depend only on stock photo sales.
Instead, be more creative and sell print products out of your photo images. You can make more money by making your photos available in print form than just selling stock photos.
What Type of Photos Sells Best Online?
You can sell all sorts of photos online but there are some that work better than others.
People love to see how animals live in the wild, so lots of travel photos and nature pictures also rank very well for a lot of people online.
The process starts with looking for compelling subjects to photograph. You can take a look at what is trending on social media or browse through different blogs. Once you find something interesting, it pays off to research how best to capture the image as this will inform how much it sells for later on down the line too (in terms of sale price and how many images you can sell from the shoot).
To give you some ideas, here’s a list of best selling photography genres:
Wild Animal Photos
Photos of Waterfalls
Photos of Beaches
Photos of Horses
Photos of Famous Buildings
Bodies of Water
Photos of National Parks
Monuments, or Memorials
Bees and Insects
Sunsets and Sunrises
Cats and Dogs
Airplanes and Helicopters
Minerals, Gems, and Crystals
Photos of Fruits
Cars and Super Cars
Lifestyle Photos of People
Phew… that was a long one! Now to summarize it…
There are many ways to make money by selling photos online.
The best way to make serious money from selling photos is by turning them into actual products that people can actually display or use in real life.
Sure, you can make some money selling stock photography but in most instances, stock photographers are either doing this as a side gig or simply to earn change money.
The real money is in selling digital photos for advertising use, prints such as newspapers and magazines.
You can also build a photography sales business by selling these photos on your own website or Etsy, which you can make available as prints on various items, like shirts, and other print-on-demand items. Alternatively, you can also make your photos available as framed photography which buyers can hang on their walls, or display on their desks.
Making money by selling photos online is far from get-rich-quick. If you’re looking to make quick bucks, you’ll only get discouraged as it will take time before you could actually see some decent enough amount of profits, especially if you’re only selling stock photos.
Relying on a marketplaces’ traffic isn’t a good idea too since you’re competing with millions of stock photographs.
The best way that you can become successful is by building your personal brand as a subject matter expert. In saying this, you have to be willing to write or talk in front of a camera.
As a passionate photographer, you should have a long-term plan in regard to your online photography sales business.
You will need to make each of your creations into various mediums, both print and digital.
As you may know, digital photography sales, don’t equate to a lot of dollars, so turning this digital asset into actual physical goods demands a higher perceived value, hence – price.
If you plan to sell photos online for a living, I would suggest that you hold onto your current job as it may take at least 2-years before you can actually make a living from your photo sales.
As you’ve seen in this article, digital copies of photos are usually both at a net average price of around $0.32, which means that you have to sell a lot of stock photos to earn a decent amount of money.
Reason enough why I suggest focusing on selling photos for advertising and print purposes as well as making your photos available as physical products through print on demand services such as Printify, and Printful