If you want to sell photos online, it is important to find the most profitable websites based on popularity, the number of users, and the fees you need to pay. For it, some research will be required. Fortunately, there are many options, so the difficult part won’t be related to not finding any opportunities but rather trying to determine the most profitable one that fits your needs and situation.
With this in mind, stock photo agencies are the most popular alternatives. But you can also sell your photos directly to clients or as artwork on a few websites.
We would recommend betting on direct websites, so your earnings are direct and not based on how an agency works. Of course, you still need to work around the fees and rates you must pay. However, with the right settings and knowing how they operate, your earnings can be quite great.
Why Stock Photography Websites
Two reasons stock photography websites are important are:
- Because they buy your work from you. After you upload your photos, you can just sit back and see your profits increase.
- Stock photo agencies can help you sell photos online and also provide information about current trends. They give you suggestions and tips on which images are more likely to make you money.
These sites have a lot to offer, and the content keeps growing every minute. This means that your photos will be competing against millions of other images on the Internet but with chances to be sold easily.
However, a problem you may face while relying on these websites is the time it takes to edit and upload images.
When selling photos online, stock photo websites follow very strict guidelines. Many rules must be followed regarding the quality and information required for each image.
Also, the regulations and terms change based on the sites you use and sell your photos in. With that in mind, we have some websites to recommend you where you should be able to enjoy specific benefits:
- Few terms and conditions.
- Lower fees per sale in most of them.
- Opportunity to sell your photos easily.
With nothing more to say, these are the 15 websites we would recommend:
Alamy, a British stock photography website founded in 1999. It has more than 60 million videos and photos and is popular worldwide, not only locally.
The huge amount of content is partly due to the 50% royalty payment for each photograph it sells.
These commissions are high because you don’t have to guarantee exclusivity for the website. More stock websites set lower fees, but you have to ensure you won’t be selling your photos to anyone else or on another site.
Thus, this is more about making money on this site but also utilizing others or selling your photos without relying on it. In our opinion, it gives you a lot of freedom, and you don’t have to be tied to one place to sell them, which can lead to more earnings in the long term.
iStock image is Getty Images’ micro stock branch, which we are confident you have heard about before. This is a great place for stock photos to be sold if you’re just starting out, as it’s well-known.
Besides being your regular option to sell photos by uploading them, the site also offers popular forums and resources to help you sell photos online. If you are unsure where to start, it can be very helpful.
The 15% royalty payment per download is the starting price. However, it could go up to 45% depending on the popularity of your photos, and you only get 15% if a customer buys an image with their subscription credits.
If exclusivity is your thing, iStock Photo will offer you between 22 and 45%. This rate is subject to a 30-day notice period.
Overall, you will notice that websites for selling your photography will be high in fees, but it is due to how they and you bet on quantity. In other words, you sell thousands of copies of the same photo, so you are making money based on how many you sell and not only in one sale like with other digital content or regular stock.
Shutterstock houses over 184 million images and 91,000,000 videos. Since its inception in 2003, they have seen steady growth in their sales. Their website was downloaded by 172,000,000 people in 2017 and over 190 million in 2020.
Uploading your image to the marketplace can net you 30% off the price of the image. The payouts vary depending on the size and cost of your image. They can range from $0.25 to $28.
The best part is that you can keep the copyright while still selling the images elsewhere.
This is very similar to the first option since you can opt for different selling options and not be forced to choose only one.
Then, you can just list your photos all at once and bet for them to sell on more than one platform.
Like Shutterstock and iStock, this agency is a great place to start if you are looking to sell photos online. It is user-friendly and does not have as strict requirements as some of its competitors.
Dreamstime is different because you can create and curate galleries. This allows you to sell photos online with more control. This agency can be thought of more as a hosting website.
However, you cannot post just anything. To ensure that your submissions don’t violate site rules, the platform will still screen them. You can’t upload violent or copyrighted material. If you adhere to all guidelines, however, you can make money when your images go online.
Commissions start at 25% for an exclusive image. However, as you sell more photos, your commissions can rise to 45% or 49.5%, respectively.
BigStock offers all the micro-stock features that you would expect. It looks very similar to Shutterstock, Dreamstime, or iStock. Its credit system is what makes it unique.
Stock photos can be purchased with regular payments, and customers also get credits which they can use for purchasing more content on the site and give you more earnings.
This option allows diversity and more opportunities to make money without expecting people to use their money all the time.
If users buy photos online using credit, they get a certain amount. You earn 50 cents for a small image and $3 for a larger one. Your commission for every Bigstock partner sale is generally at 30%.
Your commission increases as your content are downloaded more online. Your photos can earn 25 cents per download if they are downloaded up to 199x. If your images are downloaded more than 50,000 times, you will get 38 cents, and the rates continue to increase based on size and more terms.
You’ll notice that uploading your money photos to microstock agencies is not very efficient unless you list them to several at once. Also, it can be time-consuming to create keyword photos for people to find in the stocks.
It can be even more frustrating when you have to attach a model release each time you create files.
CanStock Photo makes it easy to avoid this mess. You can attach releases to any batch of photos instantly using the SpeedSubmit system. Upload a text file containing all your photos so that you don’t need to add keywords manually.
This is a great way to make money faster by reducing the time spent preparing your photos.
Instant downloads (one-time purchases) earn you $1 for a small HTMLPEG file, and $2.5 if it’s extra-large. Credit downloads are 50 cents and $2.5, depending on some conditions.
Adobe Stock is another website for microstock photography. It has over 57 million images, and people often use it for very exclusive pictures.
Adobe purchased this site and integrated it into its creative cloud service in 2014. You can earn royalties of up to 46% or 20% since then.
This site’s best feature is that you get your royalties immediately. Others wait until you reach a certain financial threshold or after 30 calendar days.
This site is used by about five million buyers, which is quite a large market to sell to, considering they are more likely to spend hundreds on their photos.
This is the most well-known company on the list. It was established in 1995 and has grown to be one of the most prestigious stocks and editorial photography websites.
As we mentioned, iStock is Getty Image’s microstock photography division and a branch outside of the main platform.
The main difference between iStock and Getty Images is that you can sell high-end content through the latter, which is how many photographers tend to make thousands with this website.
A photo of iStock is not loyalty-free, so people pay a little bit for it. Getty Images licenses will require a Rights Managed License. This means that people don’t have to pay for the images themselves but only the right to use them on certain platforms, such as printing them or on websites.
It can be difficult to apply to Getty Images due to its exclusivity and how you cannot sell just random photos without any value. Most of the photos are from celebrities and very high quality, which raises the competition and you need to stand out with your skills.
To apply for the opportunity to sell on the website, you must submit six images to be eligible for the application. Getty will then decide if your material is suitable for iStock and Getty.
You can earn up to 20% in commission if you are accepted, and sometimes, it can be higher based on some terms.
Stocksy may not be the biggest stock photography website online, but it is certainly not the least. It is known for being one of the most artistic stock agencies online, and it is the website publishers love to visit when looking for new images.
This site is known for its high standards. It may take longer to locate your best images, but it is worth the quality and prices you can set. Hence, make sure they are appropriate for this page.
You must also have exclusivity for your work. This means you cannot sell them elsewhere and rather set the rights for those buying them on the website. It is worth it as you will receive between 50%-75% of the total purchase.
Due to its inception, the German stock photo agency isn’t as well-known as the others on this list. However, it offers quality comparable to Stocksy, but at a lower price.
Photocase images don’t look like stock photos. They feel more natural and authentic. This is a great option if you don’t want your images to be cluttered with low-quality work.
You will also have less competition because it is a small business, and not many opt for it.
Since it offers options for people who don’t want to be limited by stock photos but can’t afford Stocksy, it is a good option to make money with some exclusivity and without many requirements.
Photocase has an innovative payment system. Start with 20%, and you can earn 50% commission each time more people upload your photos.
To better understand the ways you can earn commissions, take a look at their points system.
Photocase is small, so don’t be discouraged. Regardless, the platform values its photographers, which is a departure from its competitors. You might make decent money if you give it a shot.
500px has been one of the most visited photography websites over the past few years. It fills the void left by Flickr as it lost millions of members. Today, it’s the best place online to find professional photos and at lower prices.
500px offers photo storage and a marketplace where people can purchase your work. It also has a photo view and a like area, which show you your image’s ranking and views.
This platform gives you detailed information about where the interactions are coming in. You can use all the statistics you see to help you sell your work and boost your chances to make this profitable.
Upload as many images you like as there are no limits.
You can choose from Free to Pro or Adobe. There are four membership plans available, and you should consider becoming a paid member to take full advantage of the platform’s features and lower commissions.
This website is among the easiest to use for graphic design editing. You can drag-and-drop to create Instagram Story animated posters. But what does it have to do with selling your photography?
Canva offers many free graphics and photos. They also offer other services such as stock photography.
As a result, it is a web-based stock photography agency that makes it simple to purchase photos whenever someone needs them and uses the platform to search while designing. Drag and drop photos are all that is required.
To remove the watermark, users simply need to pay for them or use their premium service to access it. When your photo is used, you get a commission.
Canva’s simplicity allows you to make a lot of money with it. Many people don’t use stock agencies but still, buy photos from Canva regularly as it is easier and tends to be more affordable for them.
They have millions of users and are constantly expanding. The website allows you to submit and publish your stock photos. They also ask contributors to shoot custom projects.
Adobe owns this website and integrates it with many other programs. These include Photoshop and InDesign. This means that the company purchases its photos and designs made with these programs.
It allows you to earn between 20% and 46% on each photograph sold and offers commissions that are proportional to your rank.
Adobe Stock allows you to earn credits that you can use for cash. Each photograph can earn between 1 and 30 credits, and each credit is worth $1.40.
This one is a great option for photographers who want to concentrate on commercial work.
There are three types of licenses that you can use to sell your photos: Full, Social, Web. And these images can be sold to clients at prices of $20, $50, and $250.
On each image that you sell through the website, you get a 50% Commission. This is a very high rate considering most stock agencies only pay 20-30%.
To help you get noticed in the industry, you can also join EyeEm Magazine. You might land a few big clients by submitting your work to it.
In case it isn’t clear, you get to sell your commercial photos and specific work based on the site’s style and what people offer in it. However, this is more of a professional option and comes with more benefits than usual in terms of earnings.
Etsy has the largest marketplace for handmade products on the Internet, which is why we know it seems odd to suggest it for photos. However, you can either sell physical prints or digital files for photography as well since there is even a category for it.
Many of these products are unique and will not be made again, so you can sell them at very good prices as long as you guarantee quality and exclusivity later.
Etsy has more than 30 million users and is a great place to reach more buyers and expand your business in the short and long term.
You can set the price for your images and even create a page that showcases your photos best.
Etsy retains 20 cents for each product that you upload, as well as 3.5% from the sale price.
This is a great site for photographers with an entrepreneurial outlook. You can choose the price you want to charge for your photos, and you can keep quite high commissions for it.
The website also helps you to sell your photos and provides assistance in editing and other aspects. However, you will need to purchase a Pro subscription.
The cost starts at $12.50 per month, and no, it is not free to help you sell your photos.
The good part about the platform is that you can usually make more money based on quantity, but also, the quality and commissions get better the more you sell.
Instaproofs can be used as an online photo shopfront. Their name reflects the ease with which you can upload images to your Instagram account.
You can set the size of the prints and the price tags. You can create 15 galleries using the free account. The gallery storage space is 3GB. As for the rates, the site takes a 12% commission from sales if you are not a paid member.
If you feel it is worth it, you may also be able to subscribe for $10 per month. This allows you to sell images without any commissions, which is great if your photos are popular since you get to pay nothing for the profits you’re having.
This website is a great resource for event photography.
Snapped4u can be described as an online gallery. Upload your event photos to the website. Then, your clients can choose the photos that they like and pay you as every other site. However, the beauty of this one is its simplicity.
Your clients don’t even need to log in to view your photos. You can also give them a password to access the gallery if you wish it to remain private and not allow them to share it with every single person they know.
When doing this, it’s easy enough to feel like you are selling postcards in a souvenir shop with more exclusivity and higher prices you set.
To sell here, a $10 registration charge will be required. There are no fees for posting, and Snapped4u gets a 50c cut on photos below $5 and a 10% on anything above that price.
The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Business
All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?
The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).
Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:
The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.
Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”
You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.
The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.
The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.
Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.
To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.
By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.
An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor
You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.
HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.
They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.
If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.
HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.
Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services. They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).
Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?
They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.
However, you need to remember two facts:
- Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
- They don’t generate “natural” leads.
Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.
Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.
What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.
When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.
What Is Local SEO?
Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.
What does this mean?
Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.
To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.
If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.
Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.
“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.
Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.
Can My Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?
If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.
Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.
Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.
How Powerful Are Organic Leads from Google?
For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.
This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.
I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.
However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.
On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.
You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.
What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?
Here it goes: you can work from home.
The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.
We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high. Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.
You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.
Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.
So, let’s summarize this:
- You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
- You can bet on passive income.
- There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
- You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.
How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?
Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.
Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?
You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.
You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.