Best Stock Photography Sites 2020

How to Earn Money Shooting Photos

By Ken Faught

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The world of stock photography has been radically changing in the past several years, due to social media; for example the most popular platforms such as as  Instagram,  Facebook,  Youtube,  Twitter,  Tiktok, and all others which demand a lot of content. Add to the fact that Apple’s iPhone has become the world’s most-popular camera, and professional photography continues to change monthly and more people are shooting photos than ever.  Yes, people actually shoot quality photos from an iPhone and make money!

There is also the world of incredible & easy-to-use photo editing apps like LightroomSnapseedAffinity PhotoEnlight PhotoFox, and many more that allow users to modify photos and video in ways that only multi-million-dollar production companies and editing technicians could do just a few years ago.

In the first twenty years of the internet there were only a few major stock photography sites that catered mainly to advertising clients, but that too is changing. What follows is a guide to the best stock photography sites for freelance photographers. We want to show you how to make money selling your photographs, and we want you to know where the best places to sell pictures online.
Today, there are so many stock sites, and you will have to choose exactly where to upload and sell your content, and they all appear to have slightly different terms and conditions.

Best Places to Sell Your Photos in 2020 The Best Stock Photography Sites

Getty Images

This is one of the oldest stock photography sites and has been in business since 1995. It has more than 250 million pics in its gallery and they offer over 100 million royalty-free high-quality images. Getty sells small images for $150, medium images for $350 and larger files for $499. Getty keeps 80% of the sale and the photographer makes 20%. Even at that low percentage, this is still one of the best places to sell stock photography.

 

Depositphotos

This company has been selling stock photography since 2009 and they have over 100 million high-quality images that are royalty-free that make it attractive for search engines. They provide photos, vector art, backgrounds, illustrations, video and much more to buyers. Depositphotos pays between 34-43% royalties for each file sold.

 

iStock

This site pays between 15-45% depending on a variety of factors including exclusive and non-exclusive content. iStock is owned by Getty and is typically viewed as a lower cost alternative. Still, this site is very popular for stock photography sales online.

 

Dreamstime

This is one of the oldest stock photo agencies and is considered one of the best places for photographers to sell their work. They have several different commission levels that range from 25-50%, and it depends on whether or not the content is exclusive or non-exclusive. As you can imagine, exclusive images are more sought after, but they cannot be resold based on the terms and conditions of the contract.

 

Stocksy

This is one of the newest stock photography sites and focuses on high-end photography. They have a very tough screening process and the overwhelming majority of photographers get rejected. If you do get in, Stocksy offers 50% commission and sells small images for $15, medium for $30, large for $75 and extra-large for $125.

 

PicFair

This European-based agency is relatively different from the others. They let you set your own price for your photos and you keep 100% of the money. Picfair.com simply charges the buyer a 20% processing fee on top of your price. They offer editorial and personal agreements, commercial agreements and advertising agreements.

 

Westend61

This is a European-based agency out of Germany and has been around since 2003. The company directly sells in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and have other partner agencies around the world that revenue share. Commissions vary between 40-60% of the profits. They focus on high-quality photos for corporate, editorial and advertising customers.

 

Shutterstock

This is one of the world’s most-popular online stock photography service and offers over 275 million royalty-free images to users. The commission rate is 25% for an image, and the most-popular Shutterstock plan for buyers is a monthly subscription for only $169 for 350 images. This equates to less than $0.50 an image, so it’s definitely a volume play.

 

Cavan Images

This company is one of the smaller online brokers, but they offer 50% from each image sold, and prices range from $50-$500 per photo. They only allow exclusive content, so that can be discouraging, and sometimes it takes them a while to review and approve your submission, so just take note.

 

Offset

This is a high-end site owned by Shutterstock that really caters to the most-experienced photographers. This site is much like Stocksy where it’s difficult for them to approve your application. They charge $249 for a small image and $499 for high-resolution.

 

Pond5

Originally designed to help video producers distribute and license content, this company also offers music, sound effects, After Effects templates and 3D objects. They offer 50% commission and allows you to set your own prices. This is an easy place to sell your photos online for all skill levels.

 

Fotolia

This is a high-end agency owned by Adobe Stock and offers over 50 million royalty-free pictures, videos, and other design assets. They offer 33% royalty on photos and 35% commission on photos.

 

Creative Market

This is another site that allows photographers to set their own price and get 70% commission from each sale. They also have 5 million member buyers, so it has a fairly large audience, and it’s growing in popularity.

 

Alamy

This site claims to have the most-diverse stock photo collection with well over 200 million images, including 360-degree panoramic images. From a buyer standpoint they offer hassle-free, no subscriptions, no credits, no need to register, and pricing from $19.99. Alamy pays 50% off each image

 

Adobe Stock

This platform offers you the ability or reach what they claim is the world’s largest creative community. It allows you to upload and sell images, videos, vector files, or illustrations and this can also be done directly through Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Bridge CC and through the web. They pay 33% commission for photos and videos, and is considered to be one of the best places to sell photos.

 

Smug Mug 

This is a unique platform because you buy a subscription for them to host your photos and then you sell and keep all the money. Prices start at $55 for a Basic plan, $85 for their Power plan, $200 a year for their Portfolio plan and $360 for their Pro plan. This is good for shooting things like baseball games for team sports where you already have your customer and you just need to upload and transfer photos to them.

 

EyeEm

This is an app for selling photos which pays you a 50% commission. You always keep the copyright and they sell through a variety of outlets such as Getty.

 

Image Vortex

This site does not require exclusivity and you do retain all rights to your photography. You get to set the prices of all your pictures in the range of $20-$300. Photographers earn a 70% commission of the original sale price.

 

GL Stock

This stands for Graphics Leftover and they offer 40% commission on all sales along with multi-file uploading. They do not offer editorial images and they will not publish photos that contain copyrighted or trademarked content.

 

Dreamstime

This is a discount site that sells photos for $0.88-$22.50 each and they go for the bulk play. They pay 25% commission for non-exclusive photos and 60% for exclusive content.

500 PX

This is a popular online stock photo agency that pays up to 60% royalty and is ideal for travel photography, sports photography, landscape photography, adventure photography and much more.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is a community of professional digital photogaphers that pays 70% commission on all photography sales. They sell to professionals who need images for business use and prices vary on how much they charge for royalty-free usage.

Can Stock Photo

They pay only $5 for every 50, yes 50, photos they sell from your work. They claim that as an added bonus, each photographers work will automatically be represented on Fotosearch, one of the world’s largest stock photography agencies.

 

Fotosearch

This is one of the most-unique sites we have seen for stock artwork and pay varies wildly. It’s a low-end site, that doesn’t pay very well.

WP Modula

This actually stands for Word Press Modula and it allows you to become your own store and make 100% of the profit. The challenge is that you have to drive traffic to your own site. They claim it allows photographers, designers, creators and artists to build unique looking galleries with a drag-to-fit grid system. This also allows you to mix photos and videos and provides social media sharing.

123RF

This is a stock photo platform that provides a commission of 30-60 percent. It features millions of stock photos, vectors, video clips, music files for incredibly cheap prices. This is a volume play.

 

Dissolve

They pay a 50% commission and is focused on rights-managed photographers and bill themselves as offering premium stock photos. They claim to provide exceptional stock footage and photography and offer video clips from $29 and photos from $5

 

Images Bazaar

This site features the largest collection of Indian Images and videos. They offer 50% commission and claim to upload photos to 4-5 high-traffic sites instead of selling exclusive rights to one.

 

Note - There are also other services like Twenty20.comPhotoDune.comProShelter.com (which allows you to sell prints).

CHECK OUT A GALLERY OF SOME OF OUR STOCK PHOTO IMAGES

 

 

10 Tips to Accelerate Your Stock Photography Business

  1. Stock Photography Tip 1 – Get model releases early.

  2. Stock Photography Tip 2 – Spend quality time adding keywords for improved site search.

  3. Stock Photography Tip 3 – Load more photos, even ones you may not like. Someone else may love them.

  4. Stock Photography Tip 4 – Don’t use logos or brands in photos.

  5. Stock Photography Tip 5 – Be extremely creative to attract attention of buyers.

  6. Stock Photography Tip 6 – Sell what’s in demand.

  7. Stock Photography Tip 7 – Develop your own unique style.

  8. Stock Photography Tip 8 – Crop looser so editors have more options with your photos. This adds value.

  9. Stock Photography Tip 9 – Test your talents and dare to take risk with your creativity.

  10. Stock Photography Tip 10 – Shoot, shoot and shoot some more. You can’t sell what you don’t have.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

Q: How do I sell stock images?

A: The best way is through one of the online stock photography sites listed above. There are a lot to choose from.

Q: How much money can I make selling stock photography?

A: It all depends on how many images you have and the quality, but some photographers who focus on selling stock pics make well over $150,000 a year.

Q: What type of photographer makes the most money?

A: 

  1. Advertising Photography

  2. Fashion Photography

  3. Wedding Photography

  4. Portrait Photography

  5. Corporate Photography

  6. Food Photography

  7. Architecture Photography

  8.  Film Set Photography

Q: How do photographers get rich?

A: By perfecting their craft and finding high-end clients.

Q: What are the types of photography?

A:

  1. Landscape Photography

  2. Wildlife Photo

  3. Aerial Photography

  4. Fashion Photography

  5. Advertising Photography

  6. Drone Photography

  7. Sports/Action PhotographY

  8. Wedding Photography

  9. Event Photograph

  10. Porn Photography

Q: Do photographers pay models or do models pay photographers?

A: That depends on a number of factors. Sometimes a model and photographer will collaborate to build portfolios. Sometimes photographers will hire models for specific advertising photos. Sometimes models hire photographers if they have a specific product they want to shoot. It all comes down to who needs what services and the economics of the project.

Q: Can I earn money from photography?

A: Absolutely!

Q: How do beginner photographers make money?

A: Typically, by selling stock photos and shooting weddings for friends and family and through places like Craigslist.com

Q: What’s trending in photography?

A:

  1. Macro Photography

  2. HDR Photography

  3. FPV Photography

  4. 360 Panorama Photography

  5. Retro-style Photography

  6. Drone Photography

  7. Selfie Photography

  8. Travel blog photography

Q: How to take good product photography

A: 

  1. Use a tripod for consistency           

  2. Pay attention to depth-of-field

  3. Play with a variety of angles

  4. Try both natural and artificial light

  5. Add bounce light and fill cards

  6. Experiment with photography studio lights

  7. Use an off-camera flash

Q: Is it hard to become a photography?

A: Like any competitive industry, it’s important to be good at your craft and be able to market your images.

Q: How do I start photography?

A: By reading stories on the internet about how to shoot better photos. There are also all sorts of videos on youtube.com.

 

Q: What companies hire freelance photographers?

  1.             Upwork.com

  2.             Fiverr.com   

  3.             Freelancer.com

  4.             Freelanced.com

  5.             Genuinejobs.com

  6.             Gigbucks.com

  7.             Guru.com

  8.             GoLance.com

  9.             OnSite

  10.             PeoplePerHour.com

  11.             Solidgigs.com

  12.             StudentFreelance.com

  13.             Workhoppers.com

  14.             YunoJuno.com

 

Q: Where to look for freelance photography jobs?

A: Here are some general job boards.

  1.             CareerBuilder.com

  2.             Craigslist.com

  3.             Glassdoor.com

  4.             Indeed.com

  5.             Job.com

  6.             Monster.com

  7.             SimplyHired.com

  8.             Ladders.com

  9.             TheMuse.com

  10.             Us.gobs.com

  11.             ZipRecruiter.com

 

Q: How long does it take to learn photography?

A: You never stop learning, but you can get good enough to make money in a matter of months.

Q: Is a photographer a good job?

A: Yes.

Q: What camera settings should I use for product photography?

A: Typically, one that will give you the best depth-of-field like f22 or f32 for lens aperture.

Q: What are the best brands of camera?

A:Werecommend Canon, Sony, Nikon, Leica, Mamiya, Hasselblad, Minolta and Olympus, but you can get great results with cameras made by Kodak, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma, Ricoh and Polaroid.

Q: How can I earn money fast?

A: Wedding photography is one of the quickest ways to make money as a photographer.

Q: Where are the best places to hire models for photography online?

A: 

  1.           OneModelPlace.com

  2.             ModelMayhem.com

  3.             Upwork.com

  4.             Bookmodels.com

Q: How do you copyright your photos?

A: Go to copyright.com

Q: Does a watermark count as a copyright?

A: No

Q: What is microstock photography?

A: Here is Wikipedia’s definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microstock_photography

Q: Is Shutterstock owned by Getty?

A: No, they are competitors

Q: What are the best photo editing apps for iPhone?

A: 

  1.             Snapseed

  2.             Affinity Photo

  3.             VSCO

  4.             Pixelmator

  5.             Raw Power

  6.             Hypersperktiv

  7.             Adobe Lightroom CC

  8.             Enlight Photofox

  9.             Filterstorm Neue

  10.             Adobe Photoshop Express

  11.             Afterlight 2

  12.             TouchRetouch

  13.             Instagram

  14.             Mextures

  15.             Lens Distortions

  16.             Superimpose X

 

Q: What are the best photo editing software programs?

A:

  1.             Adobe LightRoom CC

  2.             Adobe PhotoShop

  3.             Affinity Photo

  4.             DXO Photolab

 

Q: Is it better to edit photos on a PC of Mac?

A: It’s best to use an Apple iMac or MacBook Pro.

 

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Hi! We are Ken Faught & Vanessa Doleshal. We love adventure travel, photography & share our journey with YOU! Our goal is help you plan that perfect trip & keep inspiring you to take the next one. 

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