Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Sell Photos Online

The current trend shows that people want photographers with various expertise levels that is shown in their work. Such demand extends from large companies to SMEs, bloggers, marketing agencies, publishers, and graphic designers, who continue purchasing a variety of images on the web.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just a photo hobbyist, there’s money in selling pictures over the internet. The article below is, therefore, a guiding step for how to sell photos online.

Starting Your Stock Photography Business: A Quick Guide

If venturing into the world of stock photography business is on your radar, consider these five crucial steps to set yourself up for success:

  • Craft a Business Plan: Begin by outlining a solid business plan to sell images online. Clearly define your costs, revenue goals, and overall strategy. A well-thought-out plan will serve as your roadmap.
  • Understand Your Costs: Be crystal clear about your expenses. Whether it’s equipment, software, or marketing, having a comprehensive understanding of your costs is key to managing your business effectively.
  • Invest in Quality Photography Gear: Equip yourself with reliable photography gear and hone your skills in capturing selling-worthy photos. Quality equipment, coupled with your expertise, will enhance the appeal of your offerings.
  • Establish Your Online Presence: Build a robust online presence by consistently producing and showcasing your stock photos. Utilize platforms that cater to stock photography to expand your reach and attract potential buyers.
  • Craft an Online Portfolio: Develop a professional online portfolio showcasing your best work. This portfolio will serve as a visual resume, giving potential clients a glimpse of your skills and the quality of your offerings.

How to Boost Your Earnings To Sell Photos Online?

Let’s discuss what it takes to successfully sell images online and explore ways to increase your earnings. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Quality Matters

You don’t have to be a seasoned pro, but your images must exude quality. This involves both technical aspects—such as high resolution and large file sizes, making them adaptable to various standard photo sizes—and artistic composition. 

The top-selling images possess real commercial value and showcase skillful shots. In today’s saturated market, filled with professionals and high-value digital photos, your work needs to stand out to stay competitive.

  • Choose the Right Gear

In the past, a good DSLR camera was a must for selling photography, but times have changed. Mobile photography, especially with high-end smartphone cameras capable of high-resolution shots, has gained popularity. 

However, be aware that stock photo libraries are flooded with technically perfect images captured by dedicated professionals. So, if you’re using your iPhone, make sure your shooting and editing skills are on par to compete with the pros.

  • Stay Connected with Visual Trends

Keeping up with visual trends is essential for stock photo contributors. Most stock photography websites provide lists of sought-after creative content to inspire contributors. However, it’s crucial to stay abreast of broader visual trends. 

While resources like our annual Photography Trends report can be valuable, staying informed about global events is equally important. Monitoring what’s selling well on other agencies can offer valuable insights, and our compilation of the most downloaded images can be a useful tool for that purpose.

  • Image Enhancement is Key

Post-processing is a must. All images should undergo editing to eliminate imperfections like noise and enhance their appeal through adjustments like color correction. Image editing isn’t just a finishing touch; it can significantly impact your sales. So, ensure your photos receive the attention they need to stand out and attract buyers.

Best Places to Sell Photos Online

Your Website

The top spot for selling photos online is your very own website. Why? Because:

  • You can set your prices without anyone taking a cut.
  • You have total control over how your photos are displayed.
  • You can establish your terms and conditions.

Even if you don’t have a website yet, creating one is a breeze. Just grab a creative domain name, secure reliable WordPress Hosting, use a drag-and-drop website builder, and you’re good to go. And with a great plugin to go with, like FooGallery, the possibilities to create the best gallery are as high as the sky. 


Shutterstock has been a go-to platform for buying and selling stock photos online for many years. With millions of images, videos, and music tracks available for purchase, it’s a widely popular choice. For photographers, selling photos on Shutterstock can be a lucrative venture. The platform acknowledges image owners, enabling them to safeguard their copyrights. You have the flexibility to set the rights on your photos and protect your ownership.

Once you join as a contributor, you start earning money every time someone purchases and downloads your photos. It’s a great way to turn your passion into a source of income.

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock stands as Adobe’s in-house stock imagery service, developed on the foundation of the old Fotolia agency. It has gained immense popularity among graphic designers and visual creatives, as highlighted in our Adobe Stock review for more insights. What makes it particularly appealing for both buyers and contributors is its seamless integration into Adobe Creative Cloud, easily accessible from within various applications.

With your Adobe ID, you gain free access to the contributor portal, where you can submit your initial pictures for approval to sell for commercial use. A notable advantage is that if you use photo editing software within the Creative Cloud platform, you can leverage their technology to not only edit your images but also sell your work on Adobe Stock.


Starting up in the world of selling images online presents a lucrative opportunity for photographers of all levels. A well-crafted business plan, understanding costs, investing in quality gear, and establishing a robust online presence are vital steps toward success. 

To boost earnings, prioritize image quality, choose the right gear, stay attuned to visual trends, and focus on image enhancement. Whether through a personal website or popular platforms like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, selling photos online offers a pathway to transform passion into a sustainable income stream.