A Guide to Selling Stock Photos Online

If you have decided to read this article you are probably looking for an advice on how to sell your photos online. It is possible that you already have some experience and would like to learn more about stock photography or you are a beginner and need some basic or general information to start with.

Web Design Stock Photo on Shutterstock

No matter whether you are an amateur, semi or pro, at some stage most photographers get an idea of selling their work. In order to be successful and receive any financial benefit you need to learn how to do it and be aware of some very important issues, basic rules and details necessary to help you in selling your photos.

You probably have thousands of pictures sitting on our computers' hard drives and doing nothing else but taking up all that precious disk space. Especially today, when all these cameras (whether professional DSLR or point-and-shot ones) have millions of pixels packed in their sensors, one image can take up from several to a couple of hundreds megabytes. So why not try to upload these images to one or more stock photography agencies where your images would probably earn some extra money for you? Let's say one dollar per each image submitted during a year. Now multiply it per 2-3 hundreds (or even thousands) of photos you might have? What would you say, is it worth trying? This may seem to a very general rule but it should give you a rough idea of what it is about, taking into consideration that some of your images can become stock photos, sell more than once and for much more than $1.

Before you start your stock photography journey

Before you start, you need to learn in detail how it works, what stock photography agencies are out there, what expectations they have, what technical requirements you must meet in terms of image size, dimensions, rules for uploading and review process. You need to know what images sell best, what subjects you should avoid and what kinds of pictures are sought for. You should analyze many stock photos to see what quality and aesthetic level you well be required to meet to become stock photo. Visit stock photography websites, check their categories to see which ones would suit your photographic style and see photos of other contributors, especially of those who succeeded in stock photography business.

At this stage you most likely have an idea of what you want to achieve but if not, I am sure the following pages should highlight the most important issues of what to do, what to avoid, where to go and how to start selling your photos to the biggest stock photography agencies.

Stock Photo Adviser provides comprehensive information on our recommended stock photo websites that you might want to check, but keep in mind that one agency may offer reasonable compensation to one stock photographer, while it might not be the best place for you. It will depend on your style and favourite subjects, number of images you have in your portfolio to initially upload, number of stock photos you can produce on regular basis, as well as quality of your photographic work. Also, check our stock photo agencies summary where you will find details of individual agencies, reviews and links to their websites. There are many stock photography agencies and marketplaces you will find but we present only the ones we have some experience with. We do our best to keep updating the site and the list once we prove that individual sites are worth to mention and be recommended to potential photographers or buyers. Information we provide should be taken as a guideline only to give you an idea on what stock photography players are out there and what you can expect from them. Then, you make a choice yourself and probably after a while you will know exactly which way you want to go and what agency is best for you.

By reading our stock photography guides, articles and agency reviews you should learn:
- what stock photos sell best;
- what stock photo sites you should submit your work to;
- how to apply to become a contributor and how to pass any required tests;
- how to prepare your photos for uploading;
- what you should pay particular attention to (picture size, quality, sharpness, noise and any other important factors);
- pros and cons of becoming an exclusive contributor;
- what is the purpose of giving away your images;
- what is referral (affiliate) program;
- how you can benefit from taking part in partner programs.


Like this article?

Share it with your friends

divider

What to do now?

Read our guide on how to start selling your photos online.
Check our reviews of the best stock photo websites.
Learn how to become a contributor of a stock photography agency.