The dream of every person, and surely yours too, must be to be able to live from those things that you enjoy the most. Living from those things that, without a doubt, you would do for free and, if you are reading this, it is very likely that photography is one of those things for you.

It is also very likely that, within your computer, you have a large number of excellent quality photos that have never seen the light of day, beyond some social network, and that could be generating income, if you took the time to assemble your catalog on-line.

Today I am going to tell you how to sell photos on the internet with this photographic discipline known as stock photography (and earn money).

What am I exaggerated? It is not necessary to be an internationally renowned photographer for other people, companies or agencies to be interested in your photos and want to pay you for them.

Nor is it necessary that you have a huge catalog full of photos and, much less, too much time available to be able to dedicate to this new venture.

All you need to start is 10 minutes of your time to understand how to do it quickly and easily.

I eat? Reading the article that I have prepared for you.

Surely you are already a professional photographer, you just need to realize it!

  1. How does the sale of photos online work?
  2. Where do I put them for sale?
  3. Can you really make money?
  4. What photographs are the most sold?
  5. What images are sales agencies NOT looking for?
  6. What do I need to start selling my photos?
  7. Tips for selling photos online
  8. How does money get into your pocket by selling photos on the internet?
  9. What happens to the photos when you sell them on the internet? Are they still mine?
  10. Where do the photos sold on the internet end up?


Selling photographs over the Internet is actually a fairly simple process: it does not require technical knowledge in the computer area to put together your online catalog and start selling your photographs.

The most complicated thing is to have a profitable portfolio, in fact, it can be more difficult than you imagine.

But do not worry because, throughout the entire article, you will discover the keys to make it as simple and profitable as possible.


Basically, the sale of photographs over the Internet to which I will refer throughout the entire article is the so-called "microstock" or through image banks (stock photography).

Why will we focus on this mode of online sales?

Because once you set up your catalogue, all you have to do is wait for the hundreds of people, companies and agencies that visit those catalogs every day to become interested in your photographs and want to buy them.

A few years ago, when a company or agency needed a certain photograph to place in a campaign or presentation, they had to hire a photographer to produce it or pay a fortune to specialized companies to search their catalogs for a photograph that met their requirements. requirements.

At present, thanks to the large number of microstock agencies that have emerged in recent years, it is possible for a photographer like you to sell one of his photographs to a large company for their brochures, their website or why not, your advertising campaigns.

I eat?

You register, put together your catalog and these agencies, which act as intermediaries, sell the photos directly to those interested in acquiring them.

Simple as that.

Of course, do not expect to become a millionaire overnight, nothing like that.

The business does not lie in selling a few photographs at a very high price, but rather the opposite: selling many of your photographs at a very low price (and in many of the agencies) and thus achieve, make a difference.

“It is easier to sell 500 photos for one euro each, than a photo for 500 euros”

Woman counting dollar bills from selling pictures
The success of your photos depends on your creativity


As I mentioned before, every day new sites appear offering themselves as intermediaries to sell your photos on the internet.

This does not mean that you should upload your catalog on every page it appears, since that would take a lot of time, but it would be good to select 4 or 5 agencies with which you can work comfortably, at least initially.

Next, I have prepared a list of the best microstock agencies and a summary of their characteristics :


Adobe Stock Logo

Adobe almost needs no introduction, right?

Your requirements: images in JPEG format, sRGB color space, minimum image resolution of 4 MP and maximum of 100 MP (megapixels), maximum file size of 45 MB (megabytes), no watermarks, no time stamps, no magnification file resolution; send the maximum file size that the camera can produce.

They offer 33% of the profits and you start charging from $25 of sale.

More information here.


logo Getyyimages

One of the leading stock photography banks, with more than 1.5 million customers in 200 countries.

You download their application (Contributor by Getty Images) to upload a sample between 3 and 6 photos and they can choose you (or not) to collaborate with Getty Images or with Istock (also from the same company).

All the answers to your questions are here.


shutterstock logo

Another of the main stock photography banks to sell. You can read here their requirementswhen sending the images. As a curiosity, they give you cluesof the content that they recommend uploading according to what period.


Dreamtime logo

Image requirements are 1GB maximum file size in JPEG/RGB, with best compression quality and at least 3 mpx resolution.

Depending on the amount of sale you can receive between 25-50% profit.

You can collect from $100. More information here.


123RF Logo

More than five million buyers are a good reason to consider this stock photography agency when selling your photos.

You receive between 30% – 60% commission for each license sold. More questions here.


logo depositphotos

You register, upload a content for examination and if it is approved you can upload your photos.

All content you upload will be screened.

Image requirements are: JPEG/JPG format with RGB color; minimum resolution of 3.8 MP (2400 x 1600 pixels), photos cannot be larger than 50 megabytes.

Here you have more informationWhat are you interested in knowing?


Here are a few others where you can sell your photos as a stock photography service:

  • CanStockPhoto
  • Bigstock
  • SmugMug
  • Alamy
  • Snapped4U

Before you decide to sign up with any of them, take your time to get a better idea of how each site works, what the requirements are, how much you pay for your photos, etc.

In this way, you will have enough information to subscribe only to those sites that generate the most trust, that give your work a more professional framework, and that can bring you the greatest benefits without taking up a large amount of your free time.


In addition to these agencies, there is also the possibility of selling your photos from your own website or blog.

You can do this in a very easy way, which does not require technical knowledge.

We tell you how to do it, step by step, with our tutorial on creating web pages for photographers .


Although it is true that it is unlikely that you will become a millionaire selling photographs through this medium, although one never knows, the probability of generating a few extra euros every month is quite high.

This type of selling has had real benefits in recent years.

Some photographers have even stopped their activities to dedicate themselves exclusively to the sale of microstock images.

Now, no one gives anything for nothing.

Remember that you have to invest time and effort to sell your photos.

Do not think that in five minutes you will solve the ballot ?

In any case, the benefits that you will be able to obtain by selling your work online are not only monetary: as your photos become successful, your reputation as a photographer will also do so.

This may be the gateway to the world of professionalism, through the small door.

Photo by photo, sale by sale, every day more and more people will be able to appreciate your work and, why not, buy it.

The key to success in selling photos online or stock photography: your ability to capture what type of photographs are most in demand and publish them so that they sell themselves.

How to achieve it? Keep reading and you will understand.


As I just told you, magic does not happen alone.

It is not enough to upload a hundred photos to the internet and sit back and wait for the euros to flow into your pockets.

Making your portfolio profitable is a bit more complicated.

A good photograph is not enough for someone to want to buy it, it must be original and functional to what people, companies and agencies demand and that is: "neutral" photographs.

What do I want to tell you with this?

Photographs that do not have a very charged message printed, colors that are lighter than dark, etc.

Here is a small list of the most demanded themes that will serve as a guide when assembling your catalogue:

  1. People: photographs of people in action or working, doing a trade or in groups and families can generate a good income.
  2. Babies: Baby photos are not only cute and cute, they are also very profitable. Make sure that your catalog does not lack some good shots of these special little ones.
  3. Music: it will be impossible for you to capture music out there in a photograph, but if you put your imagination to work, you will be able to capture a lot of situations where music is manifested: headphones, dances, concerts , etc.
  4. Tattoos: more and more people are encouraged to get tattooed and more and more are the agencies that demand this type of photography. Don't miss out on the opportunity.
  5. Flowers: One of the most searched words in Microstock agencies is “flower”. Try to make your flower photographs stand out and not be just a few more among the crowd if you want to stand out.
  6. Backgrounds and Textures: these types of photographs are very popular as they can be used as backgrounds for campaigns, presentations, advertisements, etc.
  7. Professionals: all kinds of business, industry, health, medicine and technology photographs are highly required, whether they are general or more specific.
  8. Sustainability: all kinds of nature photographs that allude to sustainability, recycling and that revolve around the concept of "green life" and sustainable development have had spectacular success in recent years.
  9. Events: photographs of places, parties and Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc., can also generate a good flow of sales.
  10. Food: Whether it is processed foods or raw materials, there is a great demand for all those photographs that portray food and meals .
make money selling stock photos
typical commercial image

Surely you are wondering: How does this guy know what people demand?

And the answer is “research”.

One of the keys to succeed in selling photos through microstock agencies is to find out, research and find what types of photos are the most sold.

The other key is to consult the list of words most searched for by clients in sales agencies.

These are, according to some agencies:

  1. Flowers
  2. People (from families, presenting a trade or performing an action)
  3. Holidays like Christmas, Halloween… (Christmas, Halloween…)
  4. Backgrounds
  5. Business
  6. Technology
  7. Medicine (Medical)
  8. Vectors
  9. Travel
  10. Nature
  11. Tattoos
  12. Music
  13. Women (Woman)
  14. Babies (Baby)


  1. All those images that do not meet the minimum requirements to publish on them: size, resolution, etc.
  2. All those that do not have the explicit permissions in the contracts of the models and people who can appear in them.
  3. The photographs where logos and trademarks appear, beyond the fact that they meet all the publication requirements.
  4. Photographs that are too artistic and, therefore, break the principle of neutrality that is sought in this type of agency.
  5. Those photographs that are completely useless for commercial purposes. Save personal photos for scrapbooks.
  6. All those photographs with confusing messages and that cannot be used for commercial purposes.
stock photography
Perfect photography, except for one detail: the brand.


The first thing you need to start selling your photographs on the internet is: desire and time.

You win, because without them any attempt will be frustrated before it begins.

Time because to do things right and earn money, you need to dedicate time to taking the photos, collecting the permits, editing them, uploading them, etc.

Once you have made enough desire and enough time, the second thing you should do is register with those agencies that you consider most appropriate for you.

Doing so will not require more steps than any registration for any page you can find on the net, but have your scanned ID handy as some pages request it.

I also recommend that you sign up for Paypal, so that you gain time and have a safe and fast place so that they can transfer the money for the sale of your photographs to you.

Once registered, all you have to do is select the best and most commercial ones (in JPG format) of all the photographs you have on your computer so that you can send them for review or, so that you can begin to love your online catalogue.

Remember that not all resolutions are accepted, although with any camera that takes pictures above 4 megapixels you won't have any problems.

Once registered as a photographer, most agencies will give you some advice, and will enable you the option to upload your photos.

At this point, all that remains is to be patient until the money begins to appear.

Remember that it is a slow process, and what costs the most is to achieve the first sales, which can take a long time.

But once done, everything will be easier.

Do not give up! You already have the work done, let it germinate.

How to make money selling photos
Be patient, little by little you will notice the results


These tips will help you sell your photos online more efficiently:

  1. get organized. Although selling online will not require time, preparing the catalog, retouching the photos and everything necessary to make them ready to sell will.
  2. Be original. As you may have noticed, you are not the only person who wants to sell their photos through microstock agencies. If you manage to make your work original, your photos will stand out more than the others, which will end up increasing your income. You will have to push your creativity to the limit and keep your eyes wide open to avoid doing what everyone else does.
  3. Fulfill your obligations. Although photographs with people sell better, you must be very careful and have all their image permissions. Failure to comply with legal requirements will not only prevent you from publishing with an agency, but it can also get you in trouble. Take a look at the following article: “ Detailed Guide: How to Protect Your Photos on the Internet? Rights, Licenses and Contracts ”. In any case, you can ask your friends to model for you and have them sign a small contract for the transfer of image rights. But remember, it is very important that you have written authorization from anyone who appears in the photos you want to sell.
  4. Maximize quality. Having a good camera is not an exclusive requirement since the vast majority of the pages are not very demanding in terms of the resolution of the photographs. But keep in mind that the quality of these is not given by the megapixels but by their sharpness. Take 10 minutes to read the following article in order to maximize the quality of your photos .
  5. Go ahead and edit. It is not about making major touch-ups, but the basic adjustments to improve your photography and to eliminate certain details that can devalue your image. This will not only require time but also knowledge of how to do it. You don't have to be an expert, but knowing how to do it correctly can give you a plus over your competitors. For example, if you have a great shot but a logo got in the way, feel free to remove it using any editing program.
  6. Expose correctly. The quality of the photographs is not only given by their composition or the sharpness of their protagonists. The most successful photos are those where visual quality is a whole. This is where making a correct measurement and exposure of them will be key. The better exposure, less editing!
  7. Use keywords. The search engines within the pages of each of the microstock agencies use search engines that locate each of the photographs based on keywords or "tags" that you must choose carefully. The success of your sales will depend on it. It is essential that you assign keywords that best represent the photographs. Pay attention to the most searched words that I mentioned earlier. It can be a good start.
  8. Post your best photos. Try to be objective and only publish those photos that are really remarkable. I know it is very difficult, so you can ask a friend, acquaintance or relative to tell you which ones caused the greatest impact.
  9. Do not get frustrated. Many of the stock agencies reserve the right to “admit” photographs and photographers. Do not take it personally if one of them rejects you, take it as an excellent opportunity to better understand what they are looking for and how you can satisfy their demands. After all, the important thing is to learn and if you can earn some extra money later, even better.
  10. Never stop learning. Photography is an area in which change is constant: trends, fashions, appearances, etc. change. The fact that the technique does not vary (in principle) does not mean that you should not be in a constant learning process. Take advantage of the internet to find inspiration and stay up to date.
  11. Study the market. When choosing an agency to publish your photos, try to see what kind of photos are the best sellers and most successful and popular. Try to impregnate yourself with its essence so that you can also transmit it in your photographs. Be careful, I am not telling you to copy them, I am saying that you try to figure out what makes them so special.
  12. Don't post to just one agency. Although many will try to tempt you by increasing profit margins or commissions if you only work with them, there are hundreds of pages where you can publish your work. If you do, you will reach a higher number of consumers. If you do a search on the internet, you will find some programs that can make your job easier: you prepare the catalog in it and it is in charge of publishing it in all the agencies that you indicate.
  13. Be patient. Selling photos and making money requires a process, it is not uploading them and starting to make a profit. You have to plant the seed and little by little it will grow.
  14. Don't stop uploading photos. It's not worth planting the seed, you have to water it, keep uploading photos regularly, the more photos, the more possibilities. Also, practice and experience will improve your images and your chances of selling them.
sale of photographs
It is in your hand to receive more profits


The process is really very simple, so much so that it can be summarized in a simple flow like the one I leave you below:

internet photo sale flow chart
Sales flow of the photos

When your catalog is published, the agencies will offer your photographs on their web portals so that any possible interested party can easily buy them.

Once purchased, the money will be deposited in your PayPal account so that you can later transfer it to your bank account.

So easy, that simple.


Although it may be that with the sale of a photograph you are giving up some of your rights, you will in no way cease to be the author of the same, this means that you will only give up the rights to use that image for a publication (depending on the rights and conditions of each agency).

Under no circumstances will the photos cease to belong to you, you can continue to use them, sell them or stop doing so whenever you want.

Copyright is not transferable, you can rest assured.

Your photos will always be yours
Your photos will always be yours

If you have any doubts regarding what your rights are and what your obligations are, I recommend that you read the following article: “ Detailed Guide: How to Protect Your Photos on the Internet? Rights, Licenses and Contracts ”.


A photograph is like a child, one creates it with all love and pride and hopes for the best for it.

But where do all the photos we sell go? They'll be fine?

Knowing that you are selling a lot of photographs and having no idea of their final whereabouts may cause you some frustration or sadness that will not be compensated by the income you can obtain from them, although it will surely help a little ?

The vast majority of photographs sold through microstock agencies are for presentations, web pages and publications, whether commercial or editorial: magazines, manuals, posters, newspapers, brochures, etc.

Knowing your whereabouts will only be possible through:

  • Google image search engine: if you enter google and go to the images section, you can upload your photo and the search engine will track all those sites where it has been published. If you search a little, you can find his whereabouts.
  • TinEye:Like Google Image, this service will allow you to track all those images on the web. The great thing about this tool is that, unlike google, it can identify if the image has been cropped.
  • In the agency itself: some sales agencies allow their clients to share the final designs and photographs where they have used photos purchased on said sites. If one of your photos has been used, you will be notified where and by whom.
Little by little you will see how your bank account begins to grow
Little by little you will see how your bank account begins to grow

What are you waiting for to launch yourself to earn extra money with your photographs? Dare to publish your photos and get your reward.

If you already have some experience when it comes to selling photos online, we invite you to share it in the comments, surely one of our readers will thank you.

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