Becoming A Profitable Digital/Online Photographer

Becoming A Profitable Digital/Online Photographer

11 min read

  • What must a photographer highly consider selling his services online?
  • What does it take to be a good photographer?
  • What are the most popular websites where you can sell photos?

We will deal with these questions as you read on.



Inasmuch as they embellish books and magazines in truly compelling ways, photographs enrich our memories in tear-inducing means. By taking pictures, precious moments are captured and framed in a frozen method forever.

It is estimated that all pictures taken for the past 150 years are surpassed by the number of pictures taken every 2 minutes all over the world today. This figure indicates that photography is indeed an unstoppable storm that will continue to expand for the next generations.

Photography is an art. And where art sprouts, people come and pay just to stare and behold. Due to the breakthroughs that technology is giving us, anyone can be a photographer anytime, anywhere. That anyone includes you, reader. You can take on the mantle of a photographer, and make it a full-time job if you choose to.

Why must a photographer consider selling photos online?

The following reasons should answer that question:

The increasing demand of illustrative content – Now more than ever, content that are rich on images and illustrations are highly and badly needed. Various internet content nowadays are synonymous to “graphical” and if a web article has no captivating images, it will most likely be ignored by readers, as well as search-engine algorithms. In short, such articles would only be good for nothing.

The migration of traditional publishing into the digital platform – The companies that publish real, physical newspapers, magazines, and books of all kinds are now hopping into publishing their materials online. To make the digital versions of their products highly attractive, they highly need digital photos to supplement their high journalism standards.

The affordability of digital photography equipment – Decades ago, a successful photographer needs to invest on expensive equipment and not to mention, a spacious-enough dark room where he can print and develop photos. Today however, such things are no longer needed – digital counterparts of such things are now making the studio way much smaller, and not to mention, a whole lot cheaper.

Those bits are for those who are already established within the photography gig. For the aspiring photographer, or for those who have doubts as to the relevance of job during this computerized era, the following thoughts are good points to ponder.

Timeless reasons why photography always matters

In case you have doubts as to the importance of photography, you may contemplate on these points:

It captures and shares emotions

As a visual art, photography has the power to frame an emotional outpouring and share it to people. When a moment is captured by the lens of a camera, the feelings that are triggered by it are attached to it too and will stay there for as long as the image retains its visibility.

It tells stories in an instant

Where words may fail to explain, photos may just give better comprehension. If people hear or read about something, they may get it, but they may not understand easily. But with supplemental photos, they make things a lot easier to grasp. Whenever you look at a picture, it motivates you to think about a lot of things, including a compelling story that could flow by telling what’s behind the capturing of that still image.

It gives us a better understanding of history

If added to the word of mouth stories handed down from generation to generation, photographs can indeed give us a much clearer understanding of the events of the past. In effect, we can have better insights about how our dear ancestors lived and thrived so that we, the inhabitants of this present modern world came into existence as well.

Truly, there’s no arguing about the importance of photography. If it is important, then perhaps we can make a livelihood out of it.

If you want to generate some income with photography through online means, you have to learn the basics of how to become a good photographer. Anyone who can hold a camera can just capture and shoot. But not too many people can do it in exceptional ways.

Most important skills of a great photographer

In a simple approach, a good photographer, would mean that he/she must be good at:

Utilizing light

Since it is the very medium that allows us to see, learning how to harness and use the projection of light is a craft that any photographer should master. The camera is a machine, and machines tend to just obey their masters. Unless you have proper knowledge of lighting backgrounds, you can never be a good photographer.

Angling and framing

You can just aim your camera at an object and then press a button so that a picture is taken. Unfortunately, though, professional photographers don’t just do that. In order to make stunning photographs, you need to learn how to use the right angles and framing techniques. Some photo subjects are simply beautiful by default, but their projections can be further enhanced if you know how to position them in appropriate angles.

Using photography equipment efficiently

A good warrior knows how to wield his weapons well. To become an excellent photographer, you need to be well-versed at using your equipment. Basically, the big three in photography is a camera, a tripod, and lighting equipment. In order for you to be exceptional at the art of taking photos, you need to be good at those.

Must-have characteristics of an aspiring photographer

In addition, to having the right equipment, you must also personify the traits of being:

Creative – Since photography is an artistic discipline, you need to unleash some creativity, and the river of artistry that flows from you must be an unstoppable one.

Passionate – The best artistic outputs are born out of passion. Unless you are truly passionate about the act of capturing images, you will never be proficient with it.

Teachable – The best craftsmen and artists are those that have an unending desire to learn. If you wish to reach the expert level of photography, seek the mentorship of those who came before you, and benefit from the vast knowledge that they can impart.

Persistent — The act or practicing is a no-brainer. Of course, you need to take out your camera and practice, practice, practice. Shoot inside the house, outside the house, within the neighborhood, and outside the neighborhood. Over the course of time, you will just find out that you are getting better at your newfound hobby to the point that it’s just second, if not first nature.

When you’re confident already with your skills, the next part, of course, is figuring out how and where you can make some revenue out of it.

Too whom can you offer your photography services on the web?

News websites – The goal of most of the site owners that run them is to make their news pieces as authentic and as reliable as possible. You as an aspiring, or seasoned photographer should exploit this. Whenever big, newsworthy events happen, you have to make it a habit to capture images on such places and sell them to news organizations and businesses accessible to you.

Online publishers – As mentioned above, many publishing companies nowadays are putting their products online. The scope that you can cover and exploit in this endeavor is really endless. You can take pictures of anything those publishers demand from you, and sell those photos in a reasonable price.

Online content creators – Some publishers and writers create content on their own, while others commission writers and content creators to make material for them so they can publish those pieces on their websites. Many writers, bloggers, ebook makers, and a whole bunch of content makers that can’t almost be categorized anymore actually demand photos for their creations.

Since most of them focus on writing and research, they often hire photographers to obtain the graphical content that they need so they can embellish their creations with it.

Should you consider trekking into the above-mentioned path, it would require some time and a high-level of negotiation skills since you will be directly pitching your services to people within the corporate world.

There is an easier path tough. One of the most available options might be selling your photos online. The good thing about pictures is that they are just made in seconds yet, you can sell them up to $100 dollars or more for each!



25 websites where you can sell pictures and earn money

Listed below are the best online portals where you can sell your pictures. Check them out and see for yourself that there is indeed a serious livelihood that you can make out of photography.

1. 123RF – They have a large collection of vector graphics, icons, fonts, video, and audio files, in addition to the 90 million photos in their image library. They allow photographers from various places all over the world to sell their work on the platform in a manner that’s royalty-free from $1 to $3 each.

2. 500px – Facilitating direct connections between photographers and clients, it is a platform for photographers to gain global exposure, enhance their skills, and earn money through licensing and partnership opportunities. Their page has an algorithm that displays content generated by new users. This means that even novice contributors can attain earnings that could be on the level of the more advanced ones.

3. Adobe Stock – As a subsidiary of a company that leads in multimedia and creativity software products, it houses pictures and images screened and evaluated by experts. Integrated into Adobe Apps, it utilizes the usage of a smart tagging method which makes it easier for you to compile your albums. This photo-selling portal offers a royalty of 35% for vector art and 33% for photos. When your earnings reach $25, you can then take it as a payout.

5. Alamy – Founded by James West and Mike Fischer in 1999, it is a British company that houses 125 million still images on its archives. If you sell your photos on this site, you’ll get a 50% commission. What’s so nice in Alamy is you’re also allowed to sell your photos somewhere else, although you’ll only get 40% commission.

6. Can Stock Photo – Claiming to have 40,000 photographers and artists worldwide, this site provides 21 million images to various costumers. They receive around 25,000 submissions every day from contributors that are prompted to submit at least 3 pictures. Once accepted, only then can they begin uploading photos regularly. You can gain up to 50% royalty and only if your earnings reach $50.

7. Crestock – Centered around the idea of providing a digital area for photographers where they can showcase themselves, this portal is perhaps the best site where you can build your portfolio. By setting up an account here, you can present galleries of your creative work here and attract clients.

8. Dreamstime – Founded in 2000, this online photo company has over 18 million registered members. Many of these are contributors which gave them 64 million images. Licenses price range from $0.20 to more than $1000, of which the contributor receives a percentage.

9. Etsy – Within this site, you can create your own digital photo studio where you can publish your images and sell them. Due to its services which include sending and shipping print images to your clients, they take around 3% per image that you sell and 5% for transaction fee.

10. EyeEm – Known as a partner of Alamy and Getty, it is a global photography community. With its EyeEm mobile app, photographers of any level of expertise can share, interact, and learn more about photography. Their site declares that contributors can earn up to 50% on commissions.

11. Foap – With emphasis on both photo and video, you can join this online platform that encourages you to profit on your photography hobby. They guarantee real results as they help you grow on your skills and your passion for photography. They believe that there is no substitute for authentic brand imagery. That’s why they stray from taking ‘generic-looking’ photos.

12. Fotomoto – This one has a rather unique approach, it presents itself as an app widget on your phone or computer where you can conduct and monitor your photo-selling endeavors. You can install this great tool as a plugin to your own site, which makes image-selling easier and more manageable.

13. Freedigitalphotos – Although anyone can download images on this site for free, a member photographer in this site can gain exposures and referrals whenever his work gets downloaded. Also, you could get paid with up to 70% on commission everytime your photos gets downloaded.

14. Getty Images – It has established itself as a supplier of editorial photography, video, music, and stock images for web businesses particularly in advertising and graphic design. They offer around 20% commission on the content you upload to them.

15. iStock Photo – Founded by Bruce Livingstone in 2000, it only started gaining revenue a year after and has become unstoppable ever since. Depending on various factors, photographers who contribute to the site may gain around 15% to 40% on commissions.

16. Photodune – For those who wants to gain some popularity as a photographer, this site might just be the right pick. One of the coolest things on this site is its “photographer of the week” – a very brilliant way of getting featured to other photographers as well as prospective clients. The site claims to provide photos of every category imaginable.

17. Photoshelter – With a network of 80,000 members, they promise to push the careers of any photographer who joins them regardless of the status in where they are. They believe that providing visuals is the best way to communicate With a fee that doesn’t exceed $45 per month, you can set your prices for your photos

18. Pixieset – It has a tagline that goes “your 24/7 print store.” This gets established along with its goal which is to cater to the needs of the modern photographer. They have a network of 30,000 photographers worldwide which were responsible for their 500 million photo library.

19. Shutterstock – It is named as such because it is a site that houses stocks of music, photography, and footages. They claim to have a library of 200 million royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, and vector graphics. You can only become a contributor if one in your ten photos are accepted. Although your payout may vary greatly from image to image, Shutterstock has the policy of retaining the rights to the owners of the pictures.

20. Smugmug – The company caters to the selling of digital and print media for both amateur and professional photographers. With it, they provide image-hosting and image-sharing services. Photographers and graphics artists can sell their outputs at the site and set prices for themselves.

21. Snapped4u – This site encourages those who focus on “event photography.” By signing up to it, you can easily create galleries where you can show your best work to clients. With a fee of $10 upon registration, you will be ushered into a wide avenue of photo-selling opportunities. Photos to sell within the site are priced at around $20 each.

22. Stocksy – It is an online community that’s categorized as a “cooperative.” In order to be a member, you need to submit a portfolio using their Call to Artists webpage. This is their way of curating content for authentic photos. Accepted members could receive royalties on these standard license sales: 50% for a standard license, and 75% on extended license.

23. Tourphotos – Here, you can get attached to their network as one who employs photographers, or as a novice photographer yourself. You can integrate your own website, or you can create your personally crafted galleries to showcase your photography skills. Joining them requires no payment, though they do take 19% of your total sales if you are already an established seller.

24. Twenty20 – Originally named as Instacanvas, this site is notably connected as a partner of Instagram. As it gained popularity, it got rebranded as a company that focuses on social media advertising. ABC news commented on their images as one of the best in “healthy lifestyles, modern workplaces and scenes from everyday life.”

25. Zenfolio – Their categories include weddings events, portraiture, and family themes. The company was started by a group of people who has deep passion for photography and web technical backgrounds which solidified their claim as one of easiest platforms where photographers can sell their work. Within their site, you are in full control of your photo-selling efforts as you can set your own prices.



Of course, these aren’t the only sites where you can sell pictures. Many of them are just lurking around the corners of cyberspace, waiting for the moment in which you will upload and sell your artworks.

Grab that camera and start shooting, a photo-selling career is already packaged for pickup!

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