Where to sell photos online?

Sell photos online is probably easier than you think! There are many online sites you can sell your photos and most of them cost you nothing to get started. If you are thinking to make some extra bulks from your hobby to contribute to your next photography trip or new gear, it is worth to check out the sites listed below. However, if you are thinking to make a living from selling photo online, it will require a lot of hard works as well as ability to produce good quality photos. It is achievable but very challenging as it is a very competitive market now in terms of number of contributors selling photos and number of photos already available online.

Stock photo agency sites

These stock photo sites are the agents that host the photos for their contributors, i.e. the photographers or visual artists. They fulfill the needs of their customers such as advertisement companies, designers, publishers and any companies or individual who needs the photos for their creative assignments. Instead of hiring photographer and models to shoot a specific photo, these customers can choose from millions of stock photos that already available and usually at a lower cost. Stock photo sites can be categorized into right-managed stock (traditional stock photo) and royalty-free stock (micro stock)

Differences between Right-Managed and Royalty-Free

Rights-managed offers photo contents to be rented out through discussion of the specific fee for a particular use. It grants clients specific rights and the right to prevent others from using it.

The royalty-free model permits customers unlimited use, in which they only have to pay royalties for the first purchase. This significantly cuts down on the prices and allows much more freedom in using the content licensed.

Royalty free micro stock sites:

  • Shutterstock:
    • US site based in NY city
    • The leading micro stock sites hosting over 100 million stock photos and illustrations. Photographers need to get accepted as contributors through initial review.
    • Offer subscription as well as per image download
  • Istockphoto:
    • Canada stock photo site based in Calgary. Acquired by Getty Image in 2006
    • The first and well established micro stock photo site. It offers exclusive program for photographers to contribute exclusively to them, the return is higher royalty rate.
    • Offer subscription as well as per image download
  • Dreamtime
    • US microstock photo site based in Tennessee
    • Sell photo and get 25%-60% of every sale.
    • No subscription, only offer per image download now.
  • Fotolia
    • A microstock photo agency that is based inNew York
    • Offer both subscription and per image download
  • 123rf
    • A microstock photo site with HQ in Hong Kong
    • Offer both subscription and per image download

Right-managed macro stock sites:

  • Alamy
    • A right-managed stock site based in United Kingdom
      • Also offer royalty free model now
    • Royalty rate for photographer is very attractive at 50%
    • Photo quality requirement is generally higher than royalty free micro stock sites and the royalty per image use is usually much higher. However, sales/downloads are less frequent.
  • Getty Image
    • A right-managed stock site based in Seattle, USA.
    • Acquired Istockphoto in 2006, offer royalty free stock photos as well.

Print On Demand (POD) sites:

These sites allow photographers to sell prints through their printing and finishing. Photographers get paid the mark-up price for their photos whenever customers purchased the photo print, canvas print, and metal print or with other finishing like framing, etc.

  • Fine Art America
    • A leading site on fine art photo printing.
    • Photographer can start with free account which allows them to have 25 photos available for sale. Premium account cost US$30 a year and it allows unlimited number of photos submission plus many other cool features, including a personalized website.
  • Redbubble and Zazzle

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