How To Sell Your Photos Online

How To Sell Your Photos Online

You need good photos if you want to sell them onlineIf, like me, you have hundreds or even thousands of photos on your hard drive you may be wondering how you can capitalize on them.  In this post I want to discuss the many options around selling your photos and in particular how to sell your photos online.

There are a number of ways of selling your photos; you can sell them through an art gallery, put them up in cafes, sell them at fairs etc. but all those methods take time and cost money as the photos need to printed, mounted and sometimes even framed.

A far easier and less risky approach is to sell your photos online.

Don’t expect to sell below par photos!

Sell Your Photos Online – a hassle-free process

There are a number of benefits to selling your photos online:

  • You have a world wide audience – for you this means you have a far greater reach way beyond your local situation with 24/7 exposure, yes you can sleep while your photos are viewed and purchased on the other side of the world
  • No major up-front expenses. If the customer wants a printed image of your photo he pays for it before it is printed resulting in no financial risk to you.
  • You set the prices online and never get to meet the customer. Once prices are set there is no bargaining and knocking down of your price – that sort of thing doesn’t happen online once again giving you maximum control over your image pricing.
  • You don’t deal with customers at all – with no customer service issues post sale you are free to carry on doing the things you love (like taking more photos for sale)
  • Payment is guaranteed and delivery is fast.  Depending on how you decide you want to sell your photos online payment is always fast and clean with funds cleared instantaneously either by the merchant you are using or through something like PayPal.  There are a number of options to suit.
  • You can put as many photos as you want up for sale.

To sell photos online you need unique shots

The downside to selling your photos online:

  • The competition is fierce and if your photos aren’t VERY good then chances are no-one is going to buy them.  You do need to take tack sharp photos that are well exposed, well composed and interesting.
  • If you don’t describe your photos correctly by using specific key-words and tags they will never be seen.  It takes a bit of search engine optimisation to have people find your photos even if they are on a huge photo site that is visited by hundreds of thousands of people a day.
  • It will probably take a while to get a following of people after your specific brand of photos.  Places like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets are a good place to get followers but it does take time and considerable activity.

Best Place To Sell Your Photos Online – with so many options research is essential

The best places to sell your photos online are the established photography stock companies such as Photostock, iStockPhotos, dreamstime, bigstockphoto, pexels, photos4you and pixabay amongst hundreds of others.

Photos that sell well online need to have an eye for composition

How to find the one that suits your needs best is the tricky part and you need to consider the following:

  • How popular are they?
  • What is their pricing structure?
  • How will working with one benefit you as well as them?
  • Do they have a good reputation and are they well established?
  • Have other photographers had a good experience/relationship with them?
  • How often do they pay out?
  • Are they reliable?
  • Do they specialise (no point in uploading photos of babies when the site specialises in motor vehicles)?

All these questions can be answered by doing some serious research and due diligence on the Internet.  Time consuming, yes but like everything else it will be time well spent and well worth the effort in the long run.

“Photography Jobs Online” – they’ve done the work for you

“Photography jobs online” is an organisation that has already done the research for you and can steer you in the right direction saving you weeks, or even months of confusing research.

I am pretty sure they have arrangements with the stock photo sites whereby they get some form of remuneration for bringing photographers on board.  But who cares if they get a small reward for the work they save you?

Choose from the highest paying online photography sites they have sourced and recommend (and yes you can submit to more than one at a time) and start submitting photos straight away.
Everything you need to know and do is at your fingertips for each of the recommended site – this is an enormous time saver.

Get paid from $2.00 per photo to up to $200 for high resolution photos.

Doesn’t sound like much?
Well let’s assume you have one photo that proves very popular and sells for $5.00 each time it is downloaded.
If it sells just 200 copies over the next 10 years thats $1000.00 for just that one photo which is right now earning zero sitting on your hard drive!
Now imagine having 500 photos that sell like that.

Sell your photos online with "Photography Jobs online" from any location in the world

And it doesn’t matter where you live – you can sell from anywhere in the world to other people in countries you may never visit.

In my opinion far too many great photos are sitting on hard drives and will never be seen by anyone other than FaceBook friends – seems an utter waste to me when you could be earning some money.

Create Your Own Photo Gallery

There are many successful photographers that have their own online gallery selling their photos exclusively.

Sell your photos online by creating your own gallery

However for this to succeed I would think you need to have cornered a niche, have a following for your style and have not be pressured for income.

The advantage to this method is you become very exclusive and can set your own prices at a fairly astronomical level if you so choose!

It can be time consuming if you are going to handle the processing of orders or it can cost in the form of assistants to handles sales, ordering, packaging and delivery for you.

Queensberry, one of the vendors here is New Zealand, allows photographers to create a gallery on their site which clients can then order directly off. They do all the work for you and get the benefit of printing and supplying the finished product.  I am sure with a bit of research you can find similar vendors in most parts of the world.

How Much Can You Make Selling Your Photos Online?

As you can see from the above there are so many ways to sell your photos online that giving a finite figure is impossible, all will depend on your method and the outlet you have selected plu of course the subject and quality of your images.

“Photography jobs online” that I touched on above claims to have helped photographers get paid out over $8,000,000.00. Sounds like an awful lot of money to me but I have no idea how many photographers have shared this little pot of gold.  I just know you can join me in earning some of it.

Even a small amount of $500.00 per month would be a great help and a nice little way to fund camera gear (or a holiday, new car etc.) don’t you think?

What You Waiting For?  Dig out those photos and get selling online

Photos sell online as art for people's homesThere are thousands of people who want photos but are unable to take good ones – help them out.

They range from people who want art for their homes, images for products, photos for websites, bloggers, advertising agencies etc.

Before posting this article I just read it again and have decided that I have barely scratched the surface – there truly are unlimited ways o sell your photos online.  Maybe I’ll come back and beef it up a bit or do a couple of more detailed posts about individual methods.

Be great if you could leave me comments and let me know what you want me to write about – please (saves me writing what no one is interested in).

But for now I want to get this out to you and hopefully get your feedback.

14 thoughts on “How To Sell Your Photos Online”

  1. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    I knew that there were sites that offer to sell your photographs online for a good price, but did not know all those details – that is so good to know.
    I am no “photographer” per say, but I do get some really cool shots every now and then, might try and sell those like you say…what am I waiting for =)
    cheers!

    • Hi Chardonay (what a pretty name)
      Great to hear you do take photos. The more you practice the better you become so keep that camera handy one just never knows what pops up.
      Yes do put your photos on the market as you have nothing to lose.
      All the best
      Lawrence

  2. Thank you for these great tips on how to sell your photos on line. I really liked your tip about the benefits of selling to a world wide audience. I also like the one about having no major up-front expenses, which can be a HUGE problem for people just starting out.
    I also like that you can set your own fixed prices and that you don’t have to haggle about the price of your labour.
    I had not heard of Queensberrry and their services before. Thanks for letting me know. I was just wondering is this your favourite service to use or do you use others and how do you ensure that your “style” of photograph is not duplicated across different services?

    • Hi Glenys,
      Thanks for your comments. The demand for photos for websites is unrelenting so there is almost always a market for new stock.
      I’m not worried about duplicating my style across different servers as not everyone goes to just one provider. “The more exposure the better” I say.
      Set prices are great but one has to be careful not to price to a point where people don’t buy. There is always someone who is prepared to do a cheaper job – but as we know cheaper is seldom better and more likely will be an expensive option in the long run.
      I’ve sold photos to people in over 40 countries – some of which I never even new existed.
      I’ve never used Queensberry other than for printing and products and they are world renowned for great products and services at a high price bracket – well worth it though.
      Thanks once again for your comments.
      lawrence
      PS Get your photos out there and make some pocket money! 😉

  3. If the photos displayed in this blog are among the ones you have in your archive, you wont have a hard time selling them…other ways you can also make money from your photo is by creating a digital product with your photos. it could be a software where you have over 2 – 3 thousand stock photos for the buyer to choose from….i can think of a whole lot more but this reply would be too long…great blog warren

    • Hey Warren
      Thanks for the compliments on my photos – of course you only see the best unless I am showing a bad technique in which case I show the bad result.
      Have to agree with you about the number of ways we can sell our photos online. It is endless and limited only by our imaginataion.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting
      Lawrence

  4. Oh wow! What a lovely article. I thoroughly enjoyed it and you certainly got me thinking. That is a cool way to make some ‘passive income’. And of course, the result of doing something you love – taking photos!
    I especially loved the breakdown and the income possibility of even selling a $5 photo – nice.
    I appreciate your tips and suggestions. Thanks for sharing.
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle.
      Thanks for the comment – I love the enthusiastic tone of your message.
      I’m busy uploading 15 new photos today that I think are unique and should do well. I love doing work today that will start paying later and continue to do so without ongoing input.
      Definitely give it a go.

      Cheers
      Lawrence

  5. I have always loved photographs to help me view the world, places maybe I’d never get to visit.
    I am from a performing arts background and understand the value of good photography.
    While I personally will not benefit from your information, I can see how this article is valuable to photographers.

    • Hi Dianne. I think you hit the nail on the head – photos do certainly allow us to visit places we may never go to and it is wonderful just to be able to transport ourselves there in our mind. I also find photos of foreign lands motivational in terms of wanting to visit.
      I think a lot of people value good photos but the world has changed and sadly very few of us print photos these days.
      Great to know that you can see the value in my blog – that sort of comment is always appreciated.
      So what’s the big secret – are you a singer, actor, dancer? Go on tell us. 🙂
      Sincerely
      lawrence

  6. Incredible photos! The one of the Zebra reminds me of my daughter Kara’s painting of the Zebra. We are looking at selling her paintings. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you very much Tara.
      I am sure your daughter’s painting is way better. All I have to do is press a shutter but painting? Now there’s a talent.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Lawrence

  7. I love this post, How to Sell Your Photos Online, my daughter loves taking pictures and I had heard you can sell photos online but did not know where. I didn’t know that these places were right in front of me.
    I think I may have her start at Photography Jobs Online, since this is entirely all new to us. Thank you so much for this post, it has been an eye-opener. Hopefully, it is a money-maker as well!
    One question, is there an age specification to selling photos online? Do you have to be 18 years or older? I will be waiting for your answer, thanks.

    • Hi Shwana.
      I don’t know of any age restrictions in terms of who can submit photos. I do know that most of the sites (certainly the ones I recommend) do restrict photos and do not allow photos that are considered “Adult content”.
      Here’s wishing your daughter every success – just remind her not to watch the kettle boiling but to simply continue submitting photos on a regular basis. The more photos she has on the market the more likely she is to make a success of it.
      Have a great week.
      Lawrence

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