Sell Stock Photos for Money

Do you enjoy photography but aren't sure how to make money from your masterpieces? Selling your proprietary digital photos (also known as stock photos) can be a smart way to collect supplemental income. The key is to become familiar with some of these stock photo agencies. Once you get to know their websites and apps, the process becomes much more easy to list your custom digital photo inventory on your favorite stock photo marketplace. The process shouldn't waste a lot of your time, and the upside is doing this can make some decent money from some high quality pictures that you have taken through the years. Here are some key tips to begin the process of selling your digital photo inventory online.

1) The first step is to identify a digital stock photo website willing to accept your digital photos for sale in their marketplace. Here are some stock photo websites for your consideration ...

123RF Contributors

The website stands for 123 Royalty Free. This is a classic example of a stock photo site where you can participate as a photographer and contribute to their stock collection for profit. Here is the opportunity. Earnings are between 30% to 60% on commissions from each item sold. They boast 5,000,000 buyers in their marketplace. Payments are executed automatically during the second half of the month after you have reached a $50 accrual of commissions by end of the previous month. Be sure to set up your payment preferences to get paid. It is not required to exclusively use, therefore you can still sell your photographs and videos elsewhere as well.


Dreamstime is another large stock photo marketplace that you should consider participating in as a content contributor via photos, videos or audio files. They claim to contain over 149M files and over 32M customers. Here are some of the rules for as a contributor. The content must be your own personal content and you must be the owner of the copyright for it. Do not post offensive content. For example photos of naked people, controlled substances, people in obscene situations, or racially charged photos may get you in hot water. It is required to obtain a model release for any and all recognizable people in your image or video content. Some examples might be corporate logos, cartoon characters, or movie characters can require special legal attention. It is the same for famous car brands or notable soda companies for example.


Shutterstock claims to have paid out over one billion to their contributors over the last 15 years which is a stunning and impressive amount. features advanced tools to assist photographers in uploading their content to the marketplace. Some of the features of these tools include suggested keyword tags for photos and videos, multi-select capabilities for bulk edits, status tracking tools, and a catalog manager to organize your uploaded content in a more streamlined fashion. Shutterstock has an app on Android and iPhone for assisting with content uploading. claims to possess over 350,000,000 images already in their collection.


Big Stock establishes basically a merit system for first time contributors. There is a self defined limit of 10 images that a new contributor can upload at one time into the review queue. When your Approval Rate shows positive increases, you are awarded additional bandwidth to upload more images than just 10. However, if your approval rate drops, then restrictions will be placed on you reducing the amount of images you can contribute. That may sound a bit intimidating, but once you get skilled at uploading, this process should really work to your advantage. Big Stock offers a contributor tutorial to make the process easier for content uploading for beginners.

Deposit Photos contains a library of 188,000,000 files to choose from. This stock photo site has partnerships with Warner Brothers, Forbes, Subaru and Tripadvisor, so you know they are a major competitor in the photography space. DepositPhotos encourages amateur photographers, professional photographers, videographers, graphic designers, and illustrators to participate in their contributor program. Their website provides tools to gain market insights about your uploaded images and videos to best reach the targeted end user. also runs contests quite often, so that may be of interest to you. They have apps that can be found in both the Android and iPhone marketplace.

Explore the Options

We encourage you to test out these different photo marketplaces for yourself to see which one suits your style. Some may be harder than others to get content approved. Others may have a particular Android or iPhone app that you prefer. Review the tools they provide, test some uploads for yourself, and see if you can gain traction and profits for your work before going all in on one particular platform.

Prepare the Gameplan

Honestly critique your available stock inventory that you bring to the table to sell. Identify your best work in terms of appeal, resolution, clarity and quality. Think about the customer that you want to attract. Are you extremely skilled at nature photos? Perhaps sports action shots are your thing. Find your niche that sells and work that niche to become a valuable and established contributor. Use tags and any other metadata abundantly and liberally. Most customers will probably find you via search, so be sure to take advantage of using many tags that your target customer will be searching for.

Swiftly React to the Data

The art of the sale on stock photo websites can require patience. Pay attention to the dashboards and statistics in the websites / apps that you have uploaded content to. Identify if your work is getting eyeballs on it. Are you getting views on your work? Are you getting clicks? You may need to adjust your niche or your tags accordingly. It is our hope for you that you are getting views, clicks, sales and profits on all uploaded digital items!

Repeat the Process

Once you have found a winning marketplace, remember there are others. You want to wash, rinse, and repeat this success on several of the photography platforms if you can. If you are winning on 123RF, see if you can replicate that success onto Dreamstime and so on. Most of these websites do not demand exclusivity, so duplicate your work on multiple platforms for multiple reach once you have the momentum going your way.


Sell Stock Photos for Money

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