Going Pro – How to Make Money Selling Your Pictures

Have you ever wondered whether anyone would pay for the pictures you’ve taken? Perhaps you’ve thought about working as a professional photographer, but weren’t sure your creations are good enough. Or maybe you have a few good pics and just want to know how to turn them into a little money. How do people sell their pictures anyway?

With low-cost technology, it is easy to create professional-quality images with a little practice. Here is some advice on how to market them.

A picture is worth a thousand words – if it’s a good picture

You can market your work through your own website just like you might market blog pieces. Templates specifically designed for marketing photography are available, but you might be able to do it through your personal website with a little adjustment. Before you invest in a photo booth website template, check out whether one of the free templates through an online service like Wix will do it.

PhotoShelter is a photography-oriented e-commerce platform that can be integrated into your website or other social media. It comes with cloud storage, a decent search engine optimization and an intuitive interface. You retain full control of your photos and display your work exclusively. And you get to keep all of the sale price.

If you don’t have a website and don’t want to set up and maintain one yourself, consider some of the websites that will pay you royalties to sell your photos for you.


Alamy offers more than 60 million photos and videos for sale and does it with minimal hassle to the buyer or seller. They pay 50 percent for royalties on each image sold and don’t restrict you from selling through other venues. They don’t market your photos for you and there are literally millions of other pics to compete for attention, but their online customer base is huge – literally in the millions as well.


This site has been around for a long time and is well-known, which means it is the first place many of your potential customers will look. They let you keep the rights and pay up to 30 percent of the price, depending on size. How much is that per sale? Think between 25 cents and $30.

iStock Photo

If you have a lot of photos to sell, consider iStock Photo. They only pay 15 percent initially, but it goes up to 45 percent as your work becomes more popular. If you contract with them for exclusive sales, your royalty rates are 22 to 45 percent. You can cancel the contract with a 30-day notice.


Adobe’s Fotolia is an attractive option with a four million customer base. The royalties are decent at 20 to 46 percent and they deposit your money immediately rather than waiting until the end of the month or until you reach some arbitrary threshold in sales. Because it is integrated with Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and In Design software packages, customers can access your photos from within those applications.

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