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Guide to Selling Photos Online – 7 Useful Tips

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If you’re curious about the possibility of making money from your photographs, rest assured that it’s indeed feasible. Selling photos online can serve as a lucrative side gig, particularly if you have a solid grasp of photography techniques.

You have two primary avenues for selling photos online for beginners – having a dedicated platform like Shutterstock or establishing your own eCommerce website. Whichever path you choose, there are certain technical aspects you’ll need to familiarize yourself with. Both options come with their unique challenges and benefits, so it’s essential to strategize accordingly.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss about everything you need to know about selling photos and provide you with interesting insights to market your photography online effectively. Here are expert tips on selling images online: 

1. Sell Photos that Really “Sell”

Selling photos online presents a budget-friendly business opportunity that you can embark on with minimal resources. Here are some photography categories that you should consider targeting to sell photos online:

  • Modern Aging: With older individuals maintaining active lifestyles, workplaces, sports, and tech-savviness, they play a significant role in society and possess substantial purchasing power. Brands and companies seek images that reflect this demographic to enhance relatability across generations.
  • Mental Awareness: Given the recent emphasis on mental well-being and inner peace, the demand for content that facilitates relaxation and stress management has surged. Various platforms are actively promoting awareness about mental health, and this extends to the realm of stock photography.
  • Nature: The enduring love for nature has consistently driven one of the top trends in stock photography. Recent times have heightened our appreciation for outdoor experiences and the tranquility they offer.
  • Wanderlust: Post-pandemic, the desire to travel has resurged, making stock images focused on wanderlust a popular trend. Travel photographers are sharing captivating content as they embark on an increasing number of adventures.

2. Ensure you comply with the law

Make sure you possess the necessary rights to sell the photos you plan to upload. When photographing people or private property, be mindful of any model and property release requirements.

Here are some key laws in the US:

  • Photography on public property is generally permissible within reasonable community standards.
  • Tourist attractions can usually be photographed, unless explicitly prohibited by law.
  • Property owners can restrict photography on their premises but typically cannot prevent photography by individuals outside the property boundaries.
  • Photography at publicly accessible private properties, like shopping malls, is usually allowed unless signs indicate otherwise. The property owner or agent can ask photographers to stop or leave if necessary.

Copyright gives you, as the creator of the photo, exclusive rights to control how it is used and distributed. However, it’s important to note that once you upload your photos to an online platform, you may be required to grant certain usage rights to buyers. There are various licensing models used in the photography industry, each offering different levels of usage rights and pricing structures. The two most common types are:

1. Royalty-Free: This licensing model allows buyers to use the photo multiple times for a one-time fee. While it offers a broader market reach and potential for more sales, the fees are generally lower.

2. Rights-Managed: With this licensing model, the price for using a photo is determined based on factors such as usage type, duration, and geographic region. This model allows for more control over the pricing and usage of your photos, but it may limit the number of potential buyers.

4. Creating Your WordPress Website and Integrating the Right Plugin

Before diving into building your WordPress website, it’s crucial to understand that there exist two types of WordPress software: WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

For your online store, opt for WordPress.org, also recognized as self-hosted WordPress. This version offers a broader range of features and greater flexibility. Notably, you can leverage any WordPress gallery plugin, including the versatile FooGallery, specially designed for facilitating online product sales. Some of its key features include:

  • Video Support
  • Multi-Level Filtering
  • Dynamic Galleries
  • Lightbox Integration

5. Edit Before You Present…Always!

Never share photos straight from the camera. Always make necessary edits before sharing them online. Adjust brightness, shadows, and black points, and apply the best Photoshop filters for that extra touch. Additionally, ensure there are no unnecessary objects cluttering your shot. If there are, remove them through image editing.

Here are some of the best editing tools to consider:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro (Paid)
  • Final Cut Pro X (Paid)
  • Lightworks (Free)
  • GIMP (Free)

6. Select the ideal Stock Photography Site

Explore the best platforms for selling your photos online. While numerous options exist for selling photographs on the internet, we’ve listed the most preferred and well-known sites below:

  • Getty Images
  • Alamy
  • Shutterstock
  • SmugMug Pro
  • Adobe Stock

Even if you choose to sell your photos on the sites mentioned above, it’s crucial to back them up and keep copies of your photographs regularly.

7. Promote Your Work

Don’t solely depend on the platform’s traffic. Share your photos on social media, your personal website or blog, and within photography communities. Establishing a robust online presence can draw in potential buyers.


Now you know how to sell photos online, and how Venturing into the photo-selling business might offer a great opportunity. Whether you’re considering an online store for your photo prints, dedicated landing pages for your photography services, or an eCommerce website for digital photo assets, Instamojo offers a hassle-free starting point.

Sign up for an account without any cost. You’ll gain access to a comprehensive dashboard that enables you to set up online stores, create landing pages, and generate payment links seamlessly.

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