Stock Photography and Selling Photos Online for Beginners

Everyone has a camera these days, whether it’s on your phone, a simple point and shoot or something a bit more advanced.  Being a technological advanced culture, we are constantly taking photos of everything.  However, did you know that there is a market out there for your photographs?  By submitting them to stock photography websites, you can actually get paid for them.  You don’t have to be a professional photographer and it’s something you can always do in your free time.  It’s a great way to be earning some extra income every month.  Now you won’t get rich off this method and it does take time to build up your portfolio, but with patience and a little motivation, you could be earning a substantial amount of extra money every month. Selling Photos Online for Beginners 

I have a composed a list below with a few details of each platform that I like to use, making it easier for beginners to start selling their photos online.  I recommend that you use a few different websites because it will better your chances and earn you more money in the long run.

istock logo

I have had the most success and made the most money with iStockphoto, since I have started pursuing stock photography.  They do have an application process where you submit three samples of your artwork for istockphotoapproval to become a contributor and it’s not hard to get accepted.  After acceptance, you can then start uploading the photos that you have chosen to sell.  Once the photos are uploaded you will have to add titles, descriptions, keywords, categories and release forms (if needed), for every photo that is uploaded.  The one thing I believe that is the most time consuming about this whole process is adding the keywords.  Once you have chosen which keywords to use for that particular photo, iStockphoto will then break those keywords down into more defined keywords and you will have to select the best options for your photo.

What I also like about using iStockphoto is that they offer a free third party program where you can do most of the work offline and then once you connect back to the internet, all you have to do is add your keywords and upload your photos.

 
Stock Photos from 123RF

I have sold the most quantity of photos while using 123RF, but the payout hasn’t been the biggest.  Like iStockphoto, they do have an application process where you will have to 123rfsubmit 10 photos to be accepted as a contributor.  Again, upon acceptance you can start uploading as many photos as you wish, adding titles, descriptions and keywords as you go.  The whole process goes a lot faster than iStockphoto and even faster if you are using the same keywords as before.

They also offer a free app for your phone, tablet, etc., where you can check your sales, update your portfolio, submit newly composed photos and also participate in special contests that can earn you even more income if you win.

Stock Photos & Images

Dreamstime is one of the easiest websites to become a contributor because they do not require an application approval process.  All you have to do is create an account and you can start submitting your photos for approval.  Once those photos start coming back as approved, they are automatically archived into your portfolio and made available for sale to their customer clientele.  I’ve been told dreamstimethat they offer one of the biggest payout methods when it comes to stock photography, but I am fairly new with this one and only time will tell.  A few things I really like about Dreamstime is once a photo sells, the price of the photo goes up and you make more money every time the photo is purchased.  I also like the fact, that you can actually sell the copyrights to a photo for an amount that you set, which can come out to be a great deal of money if a buyer is interested.

Like 123RF, they too offer a free app that can be downloaded for your phone, tablet, etc., and gives you the option to be connected with your portfolio whenever you are on the go.


These three are only what I have been using at the moment but there are multiple websites out there you can try.  Here are a few other websites you might want to look into, but of course there are many others out there you can try: Shutterstock, Fotolia, Alamy, Photoshelter, Photomoolah, Smugmug, and CanStockPhoto.

Once you have picked out which stock photography websites you want to become a contributor to, check out my post “Tips and Tricks for Stock Photography” for further details on how to get the best start into the world of stock photography.

If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences with stock photography, I encourage you to please leave a comment below.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase from the website, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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