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How To Sell Pictures for Money: 4 Best Options

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Selling pictures for money can be a great way to turn your passion for photography into a lucrative business.

However, finding the right platform can be a little tough to do, especially with so many platforms and marketplaces to choose from.

Many people struggle to decide on where to sell their pictures—especially since there’s the risk of having someone steal or copy their art without permission.

So, how to sell pictures for money? Whether it’s an online marketplace, stock photography website, or your website, here are the best tips and tricks to sell pictures for a profit.

Why You Should Consider Selling Pictures for Money?

You can turn your passion for photography into a profitable business if you decide to sell pictures.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur, it’s a solid side hustle. You can even turn it into a full-time job or decide to work as a freelance photographer at some point.

You should consider it because of the following:

  • It gives you flexibility: One of the main benefits of selling your photos is the flexibility it offers in terms of where you work, when you work, and how you price your work.
  • Ability to reach a large audience: You can use the merits of the internet to expand your target audience and reach huge numbers of people. The more people are exposed to your art, the more likely you are to sell.
  • Increasing your income: Naturally, one of the biggest advantages that encourage you to sell photos is to increase your income. Once you figure out what to capture, who to sell it to, and where to do so, you’ll be able to make some good money.

Problems With Selling Pictures for Money

Of course, there are some challenges to selling pictures for money. What are those and how to prepare for them?

Let’s delve deeper into it:

  • Copyright Infringement: It’s crucial to ensure that the pictures you’re selling are your original work, or that you have obtained the necessary permissions to sell them.
  • Low Market Demand: Not all types of pictures sell well, and there may be times when there is simply not enough demand for your pictures.
  • Competition: The online market for selling pictures is highly competitive, with thousands of professional photographers vying for the attention of buyers. It’s wise to price your photos appropriately as well. So, make sure to research what similar photos are selling for and how in demand they would be.

What You’ll Need to Sell Pictures for Money

Before you can start to sell your pictures for money, there are a few things that you’ll need to get started.

These include camera equipment, editing software, and legal knowledge. Let’s take a look at each of them.

  • A High Quality Camera: Ideally, you’ll want a DSLR camera or a mirrorless one. While professional cameras are quite expensive, you can still get some DSLR cameras under $1,000 if you look through the best cameras for amateur photography.
  • Camera Lenses: You’ll need a variety of lenses to capture different types of images, such as wide-angle lenses for landscapes and telephoto lenses for portraits.
  • Camera Accessories: These include a camera bag, extra batteries, memory cards, and—possibly—a tripod.
  • Editing Software: Pick from free programs like GIMP or professional-grade software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. While you can go pretty far with GIMP, you’ll need the advanced features that only high-end software such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom offers you.

Where to Sell Pictures for Money

Now, let’s check out the places where you can sell photos to earn money.

1. Shutterstock

A screenshot of the shutter stock homepage

Shutterstock is among the most popular stock photo sites—if not the most popular one.

There’s hardly ever any stock photo you’ll need that you won’t find on there. Its diversity allows for room to accept more photos, and that’s why you can easily sell stock photos there.

  • Fees/Commission: $0.10 per sale. The minimum payout threshold is $35.
  • Payment Method: Shutterstock currently offers Payoneer, PayPal, and Skrill as payment methods.

2. iStock

A screenshot of the istock homepage

iStock is a competitor of Shutterstock, and a noteworthy one. It ranks lower than Shutterstock but higher than Getty Images when it comes to stock photo sites.

  • Fees/Commission: You begin as non-exclusive with 15% royalties for each photo you sell. Then, you can become exclusive and receive up to 25% or even 40% of each sale.
  • Payment Method: You can receive your money every month through checks, PayPal, MoneyBookers, or direct deposit.

3. Getty Images

A screenshot of the getty images homepage

Although Getty Images has iStock’s acquisition, they’re both up and running. It’s a good idea to upload your photos on multiple websites as selling stuff online, especially stock photos, can be difficult.

  • Fees/Commission: You get 20% of each picture you sell.
  • Payment Method: You can receive your money every month through checks, PayPal, MoneyBookers, or direct deposit. 

4. Fine Art America

A homepage of the fineartamerica screenshot

Fine Art America is a print-on-demand website and not a stock photos one, so it’s a little different. You can upload your photos and sell them as prints, canvases, and other products.

A free account allows you to upload up to 25 photos. However, a paid one allows you to upload unlimited photos, create and send graphical emails, create your website, or sell through a pre-existing one.

  • Fees/Commission: Paid subscription costs $30 per year.
  • Payment Method: PayPal or checks (U.S.A. exclusive).

5. Instagram

A screenshot of the instagram homepage

Daniel Arnold is a professional photographer, known for making $15,000 in one day by selling his photos on Instagram.

While this is an exceptional case, it shows there’s potential to make a substantial income from selling pictures.

Instagram or other social media platforms are a good idea if you’re selling photos for a business.

For example, you can post feet pictures or hand pictures if you’re marketing for hand and foot jewelry booths or websites.

  • Fees/Commission: None, you can post on Instagram for free. However, promoting your content to get more views and traffic comes with a price—though it’s not a necessity.
  • Payment Method: If somebody wants to buy your photos from Instagram, you can settle on a form of digital payment. The most convenient options would be PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, or Escrow.com.

How To Sell Pictures for Money: Step-By-Step Instructions

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sell pictures for money.

The shortest way to describe the process is that you’ll start with building a portfolio of high-quality photos. Then, you’ll learn copyright laws and how to protect your work from theft.

Finally, you’ll find the right platform to sell your pictures on.

Step 1: Prepare Your Tools

Before setting out on this journey, make sure that you have your photography tools ready. These include a high-resolution camera—preferably DSLR and photo editing tools.

Step 2: Build a Portfolio

Take plenty of pictures and start building a profile that showcases your photography skills. Make sure to boast what you excel at, whether it’s videos or stills, portraits or landscapes, etc…

Find out your best suit by capturing as many photos as you can and then decide which direction you’ll be pursuing.

Step 3: Choose Your Platform

There are plenty of channels to sell photos. You can opt for a stock photo website, social media platforms, or print-on-demand websites like Fine Art America.

Each platform has its strategies and best practices. If you decide to opt for all options, you’ll have to put in a lot of time and dedication for your photos to sell.

Step 4: Protect Your Photos from Theft

Make sure you’re well-read when it comes to copyright laws to ensure that you protect your art from theft.

It’s easy for someone to grab your photos and sell them for a higher profit. That’s why you need to beware of predators and safeguard your art.

Things to Consider When Selling Pictures for Money

Here are a few important lessons to keep in mind as well:

  • It takes time: Selling pictures isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time and effort to build a portfolio, market your work, and establish a customer base to sell photos.
  • The fierce competition of existing stock websites: If you’ll opt to sell stock photos on stock photo sites, you have to keep in mind that it’s a relatively saturated market. That’s why your photos have to be unique and of high quality to stand out.
  • The need for marketing for social platforms: Opting for social media platforms reduces the pressure of competition and removes any fees or rates. However, you’ll have to advertise your content to draw in more traffic and increase the probability of selling.

What Pictures Should I Sell?

It’s essential to do your due diligence when deciding what photos to sell. Yet, some common types are always in demand.

For starters, photos sell especially well when they’re stock photos of landscapes, people and lifestyle, or food and drink.

1. Stock Photos

Everyone uses stock photos, so they never run out of demand. These photos can be of anything, from everyday objects to specific niches such as healthcare, education, and technology.

According to Shutterstock, the most popular categories for stock photos include landscapes, workspaces and work environments, and candid moments of family and friends.

2. Nature and Landscapes

Nature and landscape photos are popular, especially among travel companies and tourism boards. These photos can be of national parks, beaches, mountains, or other natural scenery.

Make sure to capture such pictures in high resolution and with good composition to make them stand out.

3. Food and Drink

Food and drink photos are another common types that people ask for. They’re found on social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.

They range from homemade meals to restaurant dishes and cocktails. Typically, you’ll find people looking for pictures of coffee, desserts, and healthy eating.

4. People and Lifestyle

Finally, photos of people and their lifestyle could include families spending time together or individuals doing some activity together.

The most important part about this kind of photography is to make it genuine and candid for buyers to find them relatable and appealing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Money Can I Make Selling Pictures?

The quality and uniqueness of your photos, the demand for your subject matter, and the platform you choose to sell on are just a few factors that can impact your earnings.

A ballpark figure for earnings you get when you sell stock photos would range from $0.25 to $0.45 per image.

However, this can still vary according to the platform. Some websites offer a flat rate for each photo you sell, while others offer a percentage of the sale price.

What Kind of Photos Sell Best?

Stock photos are always in demand. Everyone uses them for various purposes, including businesses, websites, and individuals.

If you want to maximize the possibility of buyers coming to you, try to capture popular stock pictures in high demand. Your best bets are landscapes, candids at work or home, and photos of drinks and food.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

The possibilities for selling pictures to make money online are endless. So, let’s take a look at a few other examples.

  • How to Sell Feet Pics: Foot pictures are popular and have a massive market. If you’re looking to find out more about how you can sell feet pictures online, check that tutorial out.
  • How to Sell NFT Art: NFT is all the new hype. It’s worth considering jumping on this bandwagon as digital assets are becoming evermore valuable.
  • How to Sell Art Online: You don’t have to stop at selling photos. You can opt for other art like paintings, sculptures, etc…

Wrapping Up

Overall, selling pictures for money can be a rewarding and profitable business venture for those passionate about photography and willing to spend time and effort to build a successful online presence.

Let us know in the comments what sparked your interest to sell pictures. And if you found this article helpful, don’t forget to share it with others.

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