sell photos online

Beginner’s Guide on How to Sell Photos on the Internet

When it comes to selling your photos online (or offline for that matter) it can seem like a daunting task, and if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together a basic guide to sell photos online, which offers avenues that you can take, from the best websites to post your photography, to how to make sure your work gets noticed.

The first step, obviously, is deciding where to sell your photography, which is determined by your style. If you’re more of a product photographer, microstock agencies are the best route for you. If you prefer fine art photography, sites like Red Bubble or Etsy might be better suited to your style.

Microstock Agencies

One of the most common places for photographers to sell photos online is through microstock agencies. When choosing a microstock site, make sure to read all the fine print, and understand exactly what your rights are, what their commission is, as well as reading the guidelines to make sure you adhere to their rules.

There are countless microstock agencies, but when getting started, it’s best to go with one of the better known and established agencies such as Fotolia, iStockPhoto, Shutterstock and DreamsTime. There’s no harm in placing the same images on each site, to see where your work does best.

When adding photos to a microstock site it’s good to always keep adding new work, in order to keep your portfolio updated and get you noticed.

Fotolia

We have already reviewed Fotolia, a popular microstock site, but we looked at it from the point of view of the buyer. If you’re a photographer and want to sell your photos on Fotolia, what you get paid depends entirely on your ranking on the site and the image’s exclusivity, among other factors. You could get paid anywhere from 20 to 63% for a single image download. Fotolia complicates things  a little bit for photographers due to its various subscription plans. If a user downloads the image via the subscription download option, you will receive 0.25 to 0.40 site credits, which you can cash out via Paypal or Moneybookers once you’ve earned a minimum of 50 credits.

Shutterstock

One of the best-known microstock agencies, Shutterstock is often at the top of photographers’ lists as far as earning are concerned, so if you’re going to choose just one agency, it should be Shutterstock. Shutterstock only pays anywhere from $0.25 to$2.85 per image, but the higher rates are limited to photographers with extremely high lifetime earnings. The potential for the volume of sales, however, makes up for that. That said, your images do go through a pretty stringent vetting process before your images are accepted. And certainly before you get to sell photos online.

DreamsTime

DreamsTime is a good place for beginners to start as its vetting process is probably the most lenient out of all the sites listed here. Photographers receive a commission which ranges from 30 to 60% of the price, while images sell for as low as $0.20 per image.

iStockPhoto

While you could potentially get the highest earning per image from iStockPhoto, the site’s vetting process is extremely stringent as well. Photos accepted by other microstock agencies could very easily be rejected by iStockPhoto. Photographers are paid a commission which ranges anywhere from 15 to 45% depending on various factors including exclusivity.

Read also: Insights into the Digital Photography Business

Creative sites

While photography sold on microstock sites doesn’t have to always have a corporate or product feel to it, the more artistic or fine art photography doesn’t have an audience. Most, if not all, fine art photographers are averse to use a royalty-free site, especially ones with low rates as it simply devalues their work. If the microstock model doesn’t appeal to you, there are more creative routes to take.

Like with microstock sites, you do need to keep your portfolio updated, but also be very selective. Showcase only your best work and make sure to tag your work well so it can be easily found by customers.

Etsy

Using a site like Etsy is a great way to sell prints to a ready and waiting audience. It does of course have its drawbacks. With microstock sites, you are selling nothing more than a digital file, and the site does all the work for you. With a site like Etsy, you have to go to the trouble of making prints, and mailing them, all of which automatically increases your price, and potentially makes it harder to sell. On the flip side, you have complete control over setting the price point, and you have complete control over how your art appears.

If you choose to sell prints on Etsy, offer more than one print size, and while there is an audience actively searching the site, you will definitely need to do a bit of self-promotion.

A listing on Etsy will cost you $0.20, while the site takes a 3.5% sales fee on each transaction.

SmugMug

A popular choice among many photographers, not only for selling photos, SmugMug gives you an impressive portfolio to showcase your work. One of the few photo sharing sites which doesn’t have a free account option, posting your work on SmugMug will set you back anywhere from $40 to $150 per year. There are three different account options on Smug Mug, Basic, Power and Pro. With the basic $40 account you get unlimited photo uploads and unlimited traffic, a choice of 50 themes for your portfolio, and the ability to sell your prints through the site, but without setting the price point yourself. The Power account, at $60 a year, gives you more customization features, while the $150 pro account gives you more flexibility as far as selling your work is concerned, with the ability to set the price, create custom coupons for promotions, and sell digital copies of the files as well.

Fine Art America

To sell your photography on Fine Art America you can either sign up for a free account, or a pro account for $30 a year. Pro accounts get additional marketing features, such as creating and sending graphical newsletters, creating your own site, as well as other features like licensing your work on TV and earning a 10% commission on accessory related sales of your work. It is probably worthwhile to start with a free account and upgrade if you find that the features will add anything to your marketing and selling strategy. If you want to take care of the prints yourself, Fine Art America won’t take a commission, letting you retain the entire amount. If you want them to take care of the prints for you with their print on demand system, a free membership will allow you to sell up to 25 images, and mark up Fine Art America’s base price. Premium members can offer an unlimited number of images for sale.

Red Bubble

A sleekly designed site, Red Bubble offers a great way to showcase work you want to sell. You can sell your work as framed prints, or if you want, printed on clothing, and other products. Like Fine Art America, Red Bubble doesn’t charge a fee or take a commission, and instead they set the base price of the product, and let the artist set the price with their own mark up on the base price. Red Bubble has a strong community feel to it, so it helps to interact on the site to get yourself noticed.

A recent comparison of Red Bubble, Fine Art America and, a third option, ImageKind, shows that Fine Art America generates the most traffic and income.

Of course these aren’t the only options available to you. Sites like DeviantArt also allow photographers to sell prints through their site, and like Red Bubble, getting involved in the community always helps. That said, DeviantArt is an over-crowded site, and might not be the best option for someone with plans to go professional.

How to Get Noticed Online

Of course it isn’t enough to just put your work online, even on sites where the audience is coming straight to you. The first step to making sure that you get noticed on these sites is to use categorization. Make sure that you label your work with as many appropriate tags so that if someone is looking for your kinds of photos or subjects – they’re going to find them.

The next step is to promote, promote, promote. Put together a professional looking portfolio with your own domain. If you don’t have any web design experience, one of the easiest ways to put together a portfolio is using WordPress, and there is no limit to great looking free and premium themes. Couple that with an extremely easy-to-use back-end, and you can showcase your work, with your own personality. This makes it easy to sell photos online.

It should go without saying that social networks are an essential part of your self-promotion. Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can all be used to either drive traffic to your online store or website. With a Facebook page or a Google+ profile, you can even share a taste of your work directly on the site. This gathers and directs attention to your images, making it even easier to sell photos online, even if you’re new to this money making space.

It might surprise you, but making some of your work available under Creative Commons can go a long way.

Another way you can get yourself a bit of promotion is to use sites like PhotoJojo or PopPhoto, or even GeekSugar’s Cool Capture Group – look for sites where you can get a link back to your own portfolio to drive extra traffic to your work.

On your portfolio, make sure you let people know who you are, what kind of work you do, and most important of all, how to contact you. You never know what kind of commissioned work could come your way.

How to Get Noticed Offline

Promoting yourself in your own local community is another important vital step to driving traffic to your site. Always keep a set of personalized business cards on you. Get them printed up using a site like Moo where you can use your own images and design the card yourself, adding that essential bit of personality to set yourself apart and get yourself noticed. You can even design the card yourself at home, like Katie Sokoler’s DIY option featured on PhotoJojo.

Word of mouth promotion can also come about as a result of having your framed work on the walls of local establishments. Check out your local bookstores, coffee shops and restaurants and work out a way to get your work on their walls, as long as its accompanied by your contact information.

Depending on where you live, you can also contact local galleries and ask them if they accept unsolicited work. Keep your finger on the pulse of local events and fairs where you can showcase your work.

When selling prints locally, think about adding little touches that accompany your print – it will make you memorable and also serves as creative self promotion. Don’t just accompany your print with a business card. Just like you add your personality to your online portfolio, add your personality to the final product. Use creative and artistic packaging, which of course features your contact information.

To sell photos online and offline, don’t be afraid to get as creative as you possibly can – because that’s what’s going to make you stand out from the rest.

The process takes patience and perseverance, and requires a bit of thick skin to go with your talent, but working at it should yield positive results.

Read also: Insights into the Digital Photography Business

Do you have any tips on selling your photography? Let us know in the comments.

Get more stuff like this

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Related posts

Risks of doing Business and how to deal with them

Joseph Amponsah

Qualities to Look out for in Your Next Business Partner

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

25 Things to Consider Before You Start a Business in Africa

Joseph Amponsah

Six Smart Ways to Make Money with Your Website or Blog

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Create Side-Hustle Income by Teaching What You Already Know

Desmond Bonsu

10 Investment Opportunities in Ghana You Must Consider

V. Naa Takia

Profitable Businesses in Ghana that require Small Capital

Joseph Amponsah

Home Nursing Business ideas & Opportunities for Nurses

Joseph Amponsah

Amancio Ortega, Surpasses Bill Gates to Become The Richest Man in the World

Desmond Bonsu

Failing to Balance Studies and Entrepreneurship; a Real Life Experience from Kwame

Irvin Akueitteh Quartey

You can make Money Trading Commodity Futures and Forex Online

Joseph Amponsah

This is Why i Want to Slap my Boss

Nana Afoa Selorm

California high school makes $24 million from Snapchat IPO

Desmond Bonsu

6 Supply Businesses in Ghana that require Small Capital

Joseph Amponsah

How to Earn $1,000 a Month even when you’re unemployed

Desmond Bonsu

INSIGHT: Digital Photography Business in Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

The Three Super C’s : Anchors for Effective Customer Experience & Sales

Appiah-kubi Kwateng

Retail Pricing Strategies for Startups and Small Businesses

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Health is Money: Ladies, Breast Cancer Could Wipe Your Bank Accounts

Dulcinea Ay-gyeiwa

5 Advantages of the Sophisticated Customer to Any Organization

Appiah-kubi Kwateng

You’ll Be Shocked at How Much This Trotro Mate Makes in a Day

Nana Afoa Selorm

How Nigerian Billionaire Aliko Dangote Became Africa’s Richest Person

Desmond Bonsu

45 Ways to Make More Money Fast

Desmond Bonsu

5 Facts Explain the Good News About Africa

Desmond Bonsu

10 Easy Ways Students Can Make Money Fast

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

How to write a Business Plan for your Business or Startup

Joseph Amponsah

Top 20 Young Internet Entrepreneurs Who Are Making It BIG Online

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

21 Legit Ways To Make Money Online

Desmond Bonsu

How to Start Commodity Futures and Forex Trading Online

Joseph Amponsah

Want To Make Money In Africa? Start by Solving Any of These 5 Serious Problems

Desmond Bonsu

10 Dumb Money Mistakes People Make in Their 30s

Desmond Bonsu

Part-Time Jobs you can do during your National Service

Joseph Amponsah

How to make money in Ghana’s dumsor crisis

Joseph Amponsah

Africa has 23 Billionaires; United States has 540

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Who is a Businessman? An Often Misused Word.

Nana Afoa Selorm

Banks in Ghana: All about Energy Bank

Joseph Amponsah

These are the Fast Moving Goods to Import to Ghana for Big Profits

Joseph Amponsah

9 Things to do in Your 20s to Become a Millionaire by 30

Desmond Bonsu

US election: Dollar and stocks fall as Trump Wins

Desmond Bonsu

7 Benefits You Gain When You Register Your Business

Joseph Amponsah

Dangers of Changing Jobs often and how it affects your Career

Desmond Bonsu

How to Manage Your Business for a High Share Price

Rebecca Essilfie

The Need to Keep Financial Records of Your Business

Joseph Amponsah

Meet the Coconut Seller who Earns More than a Banker

Joseph Amponsah

How To Make Your Product Or Service The Number One Choice

Rebecca Essilfie

Make Your Creative Ideas Concrete and Relevant Enough to Earn Money

Nana Afoa Selorm

Ghanaian Shoppers are influenced by Packaging and Advertising

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

5 Ways to Make Money during Nana Akufo-Addo’s Presidency in Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

7 Goods you can Export to Earn Dollars Regularly

Joseph Amponsah

How These 10 Super Successful African Entrepreneurs Raised Money To Start Their Businesses

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Health is Money: Diseases that cost a fortune – Hypertension

Dulcinea Ay-gyeiwa

Basic Strategies to Turnaround Your Broke Business into Millions

Rebecca Essilfie

Your Website Speed is a Reflection of your Brand

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

The Most Engaging Banks on Facebook –Fidelity Bank Ghana tops all

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Steps to Starting a Small Business

Desmond Bonsu

If You Believe in Your Idea, Invest yourself in it

Joseph Amponsah

Uganda Solar Power Plant to Provide Electricity for 40,000 Homes and Businesses

Desmond Bonsu

Personality Branding and Success: Lessons from Bukom v Bastie Bout

Nana Kwame Nkrumah (MBA, Ch.FE)

Top 50 Import Export Business Ideas and Opportunities

Joseph Amponsah

Setting Up an Online Store to Make Money Online

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Making Money on the Internet (Part 1)

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

How to Start a Real Estate Business in Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

Save First Before You Consume if You Want To Be Rich

Joseph Amponsah

How to Make Money This Christmas and Other Festive Seasons

Joseph Amponsah

List of Profitable Business Ideas To Venture in Ghana

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

9 Ideas to Make a Side Income While Growing Your Business

Desmond Bonsu

Thousands Lose Jobs as Cheaper Foreign Textiles Flood Ghana’s Textile Industry

Rebecca Essilfie

Marketing Evolution: From Traditional to Digital

Eric Ampah

Obstacles in Africa That Force Multinational Businesses to Leave the Continent

Joseph Amponsah

10 Businesses You Can do After 5pm

Joseph Amponsah

Is the CEO a Thinker or a Doer?

Joseph Amponsah

Trading Forex and Commodity Futures online isn’t as Obscure as You Think

Joseph Amponsah

5 Simple Ways to Make Money In Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

10 Most Meaningful Things You Can Do With Your First Salary

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Most Common Reasons Why People Change Jobs

V. Naa Takia

3 Essential Skills You Need to Grow Your Business in Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

6 Types of Businesses You Can Start With Almost No Cash

Desmond Bonsu

How to Transform a Terrible Idea into a Money-making Venture

Nana Afoa Selorm

Here’s How to Make Money on Your Own: Self-employment Strategy

Nana Afoa Selorm

Lessons from the Top 10 Richest in Africa

Joseph Amponsah

4 Steps to Starting an Online Business

Desmond Bonsu

The 4 Top Business Investments Right Now

Rebecca Essilfie

7 Creative Ways Regular People Made $1 Million

Desmond Bonsu

Are People Selling by the Road Making Money at All?

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Should you Buy New Car or a Used-Car for Trotro and Taxi Business?

Joseph Amponsah

Ghana to Fix Business Barriers with Business Regulation Strategy

Rebecca Essilfie

How Does The US Election Affect The US Dollar?

Desmond Bonsu

Time-Tracking Softwares Will Make You More Productive

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

9 Profitable Businesses to invest in

Joseph Amponsah

How to Price your Products to Attract Customers

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Do’s and Don’ts For a Business Startup

Rebecca Essilfie

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note7 Smartphone

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

How Aliko Dangote Became the Richest African

Desmond Bonsu

How to Avoid Bank Charges on Your Bank Accounts

Joseph Amponsah

Uganda Launches $19m Solar Power Plant; the Largest in East Africa

Desmond Bonsu

10 Easy Ways to Get Jobs Online and Make Money from Home

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

200+ Business Ideas for the Ghanaian Market

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

94 Creative Ways to Save Money Fast

Desmond Bonsu

The Business Plan: How to Write a Good Executive Summary

Joseph Amponsah

10 Secrets for Success From 5 Self-made Billionaires

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Family and Friends Are the Best to Raise Capital from for Your Business Start-Up

Joseph Amponsah

Insurance Brokers in Ghana and Their Addresses

Desmond Bonsu

10 Part-Time Businesses you can Start in Ghana Today

Joseph Amponsah

101 Ways to Make an Extra $500 a Month While Keeping Your Full-Time Job

Desmond Bonsu

50 Ways to Make $1,000,000 and Become a Millionaire Fast

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Infographic:- The Most Profitable Businesses in Ghana that Require Small Capital

Joseph Amponsah

7 Essentials Skills You Need to Build a Million Dollar Business in Ghana and Everywhere

Joseph Amponsah

Selecting a Money-Making Business for Self-Employment

Desmond Bonsu

What Makes A Great Business Man or Woman?

Rebecca Essilfie

TOP 10 PROFITABLE BUSINESS IN GHANA YOU CAN START WITH A SMALL CAPITAL

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

7 Simple Steps to Becoming Self-Employed and Rich

Desmond Bonsu

10 Ways to Find Investors For Your Startup

Desmond Bonsu

Three Alternative Solutions to Firing Workers

Nana Afoa Selorm

Family and Business: 5 ways family impacts your business positively.

Joseph Amponsah

The Top 100 Highest-Paid Celebrities of 2016 – Forbes

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

How to Start a Business Online

Desmond Bonsu

Families Bleed Businesses and Threaten Growth & Survival

Joseph Amponsah

8 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching To Investors

Desmond Bonsu

The Co-Founder of Gilt on What Her First Job at Ebay Taught Her About Running a Company

Desmond Bonsu

Story: The Man Who Created A Brilliant Product But Was Afraid to Share

Rebecca Essilfie

A First Time Salary Worker Shares How She Spent Her First Salary and Managed to Save 50%

Dulcinea Ay-gyeiwa

Do You Need an Insurance Broker?

Mike Adomako

Untrue Myths About What Makes A Successful Entrepreneur

Rebecca Essilfie

Banks In Ghana: Barclays Bank Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

Start a Roadside Business Today and You’ll be Amazed at the Profits

Joseph Amponsah

Top 5 Innovative Business Opportunities for Teachers

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

What Being a Mom Has Taught Me About Running a Business

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Full-time Jobs are Launch Pads for Building Your Own Successful Business

Joseph Amponsah

With $70,000, would you obtain an MBA or Start a Business?

Joseph Amponsah

100 Low Cost Business Ideas

Desmond Bonsu

Health is Money – Diseases that cost a fortune

Dulcinea Ay-gyeiwa

100 Business Ideas You Can Start with $100 or Less

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Sponsored Data: The Way Forward for Digital Inclusion in Ghana?

Esther Nyaadie

10 Simple Ways to Make Money Fast

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Weird Businesses that Actually Make Millions

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

9 Most Common Mistakes Startups Make

Joseph Amponsah

Why You Should Become Self-Employed

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Only 15% of Africans Earn More Than $5,000 Per Annum

Joseph Amponsah

10 Low Cost Businesses You Can Do in Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

Why Successful Businessmen Are Seen as Greedy?

Rebecca Essilfie

The Top 10 Best Paying Jobs in Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

Mistakes Job Seekers Make with their Social Media Profiles

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Profitable Businesses in Ghana that Require Small Capital

Joseph Amponsah

How to Get Your Branding Noticed

Desmond Bonsu

30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa 2016

Desmond Bonsu

University Campuses are Good Spots for Business – not Learning Alone

Joseph Amponsah

10 Life Lessons That Will Help You Run Your Own Business Successfully

Rebecca Essilfie

Unemployment is an Opportunity to Make Money Successfully

Joseph Amponsah

10 Reasons Why Your Start-Up Is Failing (and it’s not about money)

V. Naa Takia

A Simple 6-Step Process to Starting a Small Business

Desmond Bonsu

4 Tips to Become a Good Boss

Nana Afoa Selorm

Franchising is a Better Way to Start a Business or Expand an Existing Business

Joseph Amponsah

What being Career-Oriented says about a Woman

Nana Afoa Selorm

5 Simple Ways to Make Money In Ghana

Joseph Amponsah

Who is Really Responsible for the Collapse of Banks in Ghana?

Joseph Amponsah

Low-cost Production is Paramount to Building Successful Business in Africa

Joseph Amponsah

How to Invest and Make Your First GHc100,000 in Ghana

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Amazon Prime Video is going global next month to take on Netflix

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

The Power of Mass Market Products to Make You Rich

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

105 Service Businesses to Start Today

Desmond Bonsu

Student Enterprises on Campus are Valuable Learning Opportunities.

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Must you own a Business to become Rich?

Joseph Amponsah

10 Part-Time Businesses you can Start in Ghana Today

Joseph Amponsah

Challenges And Prospects In Running A Small Business In Ghana

Rebecca Essilfie

These 5 Drawbacks Could be The Reasons Why You Are Not Hired

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Airtel Ghana Registers An Impressive 61% Of Customer Base On Airtel Data And Internet Services – The Highest In The Telecom Industry

Kwabena Okyire Appianing

Meet the New ‘World’s Richest Woman,’ a 64-Year-Old Expert on Greek Gods Who Shuns the Spotlight

Desmond Bonsu

Ghana among top 50 countries globally with highest taxes in the mobile sector

Derrick Atakorah Yeboah

How To Start An Internet Business In 3 Easy Steps (And What Holds You Back)

Desmond Bonsu

Why Entrepreneurs Are Flocking to Create a Cannabusiness

Desmond Bonsu

Successfully Raising Capital for Your Business Start-up

Joseph Amponsah

10 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

Joseph Amponsah

Luxury is for those who Spend Money

Nana Afoa Selorm

25 Part-Time Business Ideas

Desmond Bonsu

2 comments

Insight into the Digital Photography Business - Top Business Journal December 25, 2016 at 9:32 am

[…] Read: Beginners’ Guide on How to Sell Photos Online […]

Reply
9 Ideas to Make a Side Income While Growing Your Business March 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm

[…] See also: Beginner’s guide on how to sell photos on the internet […]

Reply

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.