8 Sites Where You Can Sell Stock Images
Whether you’re a professional
photographer or just take snaps for fun, selling stock photos can be an
excellent side-venture. Stock photos are images or videos that a photographer has
made available for licencing. This means that anyone, from advertisers to
magazine journalists, can licence the use of your image. Having said that, you
will usually maintain the rights to the photo.
There are a couple of ways of advertising your images for licencing. You could set up your own photography website and sell from there. This way, you would take 100% of the revenue. However, unless you already have a significant client-base, it’s going to be very difficult to make much money.
Your other option is to sign up to an online stock photo marketplace. On these platforms, you’ll upload your images and have them made available to millions of potential buyers from across the world.
Here is our list of the 8 best places to sell stock photos online. Bear in mind, you don’t have to choose one. Unless they demand exclusivity, you can upload the same image to as many sites as you like.
The Good: Massive web traffic, generous commission for sellers, established reputation
The Bad: Nothing! It’s our number one choice
Seller’s Cut: 50%
Alamy is a behemoth of the stock photo industry. Boasting huge traffic and the biggest collection of stock images in the world, it’s an obvious choice. To have your images approved by Alamy, you’ll need to upload quality photos. This means using a DSLR or mirrorless camera and having images of at least six megapixels. Once you have a large portfolio uploaded, there is the potential to earn some serious money. Artists take 50% of the sale price of each image and some photographers regularly make £90 ($120) from the sale of a single photo.
The Good: Great reputation, huge
The Bad: Low seller’s cut for beginners
Seller’s Cut: 15 – 45%
In 2006, Gettyimages bought iStockphoto for $50million, thereby bringing to giants of the industry together. Since then, the platform has devised a match-winning formula. Once again, quality is of the utmost importance. To become a licenced artist, you need to submit work samples and have them approved. However, once your portfolio is established, you’ll be able to sell your wares on a site with an outstanding reputation. Artists take between 15 – 45% of the sale price. As a rule, the more you upload, the greater your cut will be for each sale.
The Good: Great reputation, no
The Bad: Low seller’s cut
Seller’s Cut: 20 – 46%
Like the previous candidate, this platform is the product of a merger which took place in 2014. With a visual creative clientele, quality is paramount. Unlike other platforms, Adobe Stock/Fotolia don’t impose a financial threshold. On some other sites, you will only be able to access the money you’ve earned once you’ve passed an earnings threshold. Adobe allow you to access your funds immediately. Expect to earn from 20 – 46% of each sale. 20% is a low starting threshold but with four million regular users, you shouldn’t suffer from a shortage of buyers.
The Good: High ceiling for
The Bad: Not aimed at beginners
Seller’s Cut: 10 – 33%
Shutterstock is another potentially lucrative market for prolific photographers, attracting millions of visitors a year. However, it can be quite hard to make money on the site if you’re just starting out. This is because Shutterstock’s pricing system is based largely on how much you have uploaded and how good a reputation you have on the site. Having said that, once established on the platform, there is the potential to make more than £100 on a single download. Shutterstock’s commission system is quite punitive. Expect to take a maximum 33% of the sale price and often far less.
The Good: Good reputation, potential for growth
The Bad: Unreliable traffic, $100 earnings threshold
Seller’s Cut: 25 – 50%
Dreamtime burst onto the scene in 2004
and, in recent years, has begun challenging some of the more established sites.
Moreover, while artists initially only take 25% of the sale price, this can
rise to 50%. However, users have had mixed experiences. Some say they attract far
fewer buyers than on sites such as iStock and Alamy. Moreover, you will only be
able to access your funds once you’ve surpassed a $100 earnings threshold.
The Good: Excellent interface,
generous sales cut, rewards artist loyalty
The Bad: Slow traffic
Seller’s Cut: 30 – 60%
123RF are less well-known than
some of the aforementioned platforms but it’s nevertheless one to seriously
consider. With a slick interface and simple upload process, 123RF is a pleasure
to use. Newbees will take 30% of any sale. However, 123RF actively incentivizes
prolific uploading. If an artist begins to sell regularly, 123RF will often
give sellers up to 60% of the sale price. While traffic may not be as high on
this platform, 123RF is growing rapidly.
The Good: Unrivalled seller’s cut, smartphone images accepted
The Bad: They own the image rights
Seller’s Cut: 50 – 75%
Stocksy is another platform on the rise. With Stocksy, sellers will take a very generous 50 – 75% of the sale price. Moreover, unlike other platforms, Stocksy are happy to accept smartphone photography. This means you can snap photos when you’re out and immediately upload them online. As passive money-making goes, it doesn’t get much better than that. There is a small catch. Any image uploaded to Stocksy must be exclusive. This means that images uploaded to Stocksy cannot be sold anywhere else.
The Good: Great for building up your brand
The Bad: Cannot sell stock photos through the site
Seller’s Cut: Not ApplicablePhotoShelter isn’t a stock photo platform as such. Aptly named, PhotoShelter protects and promotes photographers by providing a platform which integrates with your personal photography website. It allows social media integrations and you can advertise your portfolio in a way which is unique to you. One of the biggest criticisms of stock photo websites is that they exploit artists’ talent without doing enough to promote the artists themselves. In contrast, PhotoShelter is there to help you develop your personal brand. A great supplement to the tried-and-tested platforms.