Guide: the best platforms to sell photos online

Sell Photo Online Sell Photos

Are you a professional or amateur photographer? You can monetize your work by selling photos through numerous image banks

The internet has created new possibilities for those who are passionate about photography. Whether you are full-time professional photographers or amateur photographers looking to monetize their passion, selling photos online can provide a great extra source of income – the infamous passive income.

There are numerous platforms through which you can sell your works for various editorial purposes. The platforms are image banks, i.e. marketplaces in which buyers (from small bloggers to large publishers or international advertising agencies) choose the most suitable photos for their communication.

In addition to these platforms, it is also possible to sell photos directly on your website.

The main platforms for selling photos online

Many of the platforms are in English only.

Once you have created an account, you need to look for the link for selling images (eg Sell your Photos or Become a Contributor).

Some platforms, in addition to photographic images, also allow the sale of videos and other digital art formats. Obviously, on the same platforms, it is also possible to buy photos and some also offer images that can be used for free with a Creative Commons license.

How do the prices of photos sold online work?

The price varies according to the size and use (web, print) as well as the type of right granted (exclusive or not).

The same photo can therefore have different prices on the same platform. In some cases, it is possible to establish a price directly but generally, it is the image banks that establish it.

Selling photos through your personal website

It is always possible to sell directly through your personal website, by activating an eCommerce. In this regard, there are various platforms and special plugins. In fact, a photographer in addition to having a showcase site can activate a catalogue, presenting his works to agree on the purchase, or e-commerce, allowing the automatic download after payment of the fee. Here are some of the main platforms.

If you need a professional website to sell your photos, you can contact me, I am happy to share my experience in this regard.

The main requirements for selling photos online

Not all photos can be sold, but it is necessary that they meet certain characteristics established by the various platforms. Here are some of the main ones:

  • It is essential to categorize your works well by inserting appropriate titles and tags that allow easy research. We must not exaggerate because the so-called keyword stuffing (already known to SEO experts), i.e. the addition of irrelevant words, is not allowed and can lead to the ban of the work or the entire account if repeated. It is the most boring part but also the most important: if a photo is not associated with the words that buyers are looking for, it will be difficult or impossible to find (and sell). The platforms provide examples of how to categorize and tag your work.
  • Photos are almost always evaluated by experts before publication.
  • Photos should generally be of high quality, large size, and high resolution (thus avoid excessive noise, excessive postproduction, bad cropping, refractions and other optical problems). It is also preferable that the photos contain EXIF data (metadata with details about the shot). It is possible to keep the EXIF data even after post-production but in some cases, they fail, for example when overlapping photos for HDR processing.
  • Some platforms prefer professional but not very creative or artistic images.
  • Avoid inserting watermarks (name or website of the author on the photo). Following approval and publication in the marketplace, platforms generally add watermarks directly to previews to prevent images from being saved and misused.
  • If individuals are present, written authorization is required. Platforms usually provide forms to fill out. In the absence of this authorization, in some cases, it is possible to sell photos with individuals or brands as long as they are taken in public places, but only for editorial use. Attention also to works of art (for example paintings, sculptures, etc.) especially if taken in museums or exhibitions, as they are normally protected by copyright.
  • Obviously, the photos must be the property of the author.
  • Some platforms require exclusivity, others do not, so it is possible to insert the same photo on various platforms.

Publish photos for free use under a Creative Commons license to make yourself known

It’s a great strategy for emerging photographers. For this purpose, there are two main platforms:

Sell prints of your photos in various formats and support

Apart from selling the rights to use your picture, you can also sell a high-quality print of your photos, framed or not, on paper, canvas and other material. Here some leading services:

  • ImageKind – Sale of photographic prints in various formats
  • Shutterfly by TinyPrints
  • Fotomoto – integrate a snipped directly on your website by adding some code

The list is not exhaustive, and the NFT world deserves a separate chapter, which concerns the sale of copyrights on digital works, verified through the blockchain. If you have any other suggestions about platforms for the sale of photographs, feel free to leave them in the comments and good luck for the sales of the works!

Content available also in Italiano

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