6 Best Places to Make Money by Selling Photos Online

Are you a photographer or graphic designer looking to make extra money by selling your work online? Well, there might be something in store for you here.

Photographers and graphic designers can sell their work on many platforms online. You might have heard about various stock photo websites that invite contributors to submit their work and earn legitimately.

However, the dilemma is to select the right platforms to display your photos for potential customers. Currently, the stock photo industry is saturated.

So, we decided to shortlist a few high-paying stock photo platforms that provide a fair share of benefits to their contributors.

The selection criteria comprised of two basic factors;

  • The platform must have a solid customer base.
  • And, the website must pay a decent amount to its contributors.

Let’s get started:

Getty Images

Getty Images is the most influential site for stock photos. It has been in the business for more than 25 years and includes more than 80 million photographs.

A screenshot of the Getty Images website

Since Getty Images rules the industry, the terms and conditions are complex. They only accept exclusive content. After signing up, you are required to submit six images. After that, the editorial team decides whether you belong to Getty Images or iStock (we will get to iStock later in this piece).

Being accepted on Getty Images is itself an honor. Many professional photographers chose Getty Images because of its high-profile clientele.

The company offers a 20% commission to the contributors. However, the photos sell for hundreds of dollars on Getty Images, so that 20% will get you a bigger paycheck than any other website.

Verdict: You can make some real money on Getty Images. However, it’s not for beginners. You must have a certain level of skill set to make it.


Shutterstock is a giant in the stock photo industry. It started in 2015 and has sold over 500 million images. With an enormous library of photos, videos and vectors, you will find an audience at Shutterstock for all sorts of niches.

A screenshot of the Shutterstock website

It is the go-to website for stock images for most people. If you have an account on Shutterstock, you are bound to make a sale since the company has a massive customer base.

It takes two days for a submission to be approved and go live for the website visitors. Also, Shutterstock doesn’t demand exclusive images, which means you can use them on other websites too.

Shutterstock has categorized its payout percentages. It pays according to the number of images sold in a year. The least is 15% commission for 100 photos per year, and the maximum percentage goes up to 40% for selling more than 25000 images.

The company has a referral program where you can earn up to $200 for bringing in new photographers. Also, you get a small amount on each sale of your invited artist.

Shutterstock has paid over 1 billion to its contributors

Verdict: The chances of selling on Shutterstock are higher, but the actual earning can be disheartening because of low payout percentages.


Alamy is an excellent platform for photographers. They have over 260 million content in various formats, including photos, videos, and vectors. They claim to pay $1 million each month to its contributors.

A screenshot of the Alamy website

Alamy has developed a dedicated user base of more than 110,000 buyers globally. It also has an app called Stockimo exclusively for iPhone photos.

The approval process is a bit tedious at Alamy. However, it is quicker than other websites. The ultimate criterion is quality. If your image is up to their standards, you won’t have a hard time earning on Alamy.

Alamy pays you a 50% commission if the image is exclusive to them. The percentage comes down to 40% for non-exclusive photos. The company has spent over 180 million dollars on photographers since its inception.

Verdict: Alamy offers excellent commission for both exclusive and non-exclusive content. However, the sale will take time since Alamy has limited website visitors.


iStock is owned by the famous Getty Images. The difference between the two is that iStock allows non-exclusive photos. The platform is very popular and has a large user base.

A screenshot of the iStock website

However, the company has different pay rules for exclusive and non-exclusive content providers. iStock pays 15% if the content is non-exclusive and 25% to 40% for exclusive submissions.

It is a tough choice because if you don’t choose exclusive content, the pay rate is pretty low. However, exclusivity means you cannot sell on other platforms.

Ideally, you should go for non-exclusive photos and develop your profile on multiple platforms rather than sticking to iStock only.

They have a quick process for approving content. However, iStock is particular about the submissions and tends to reject images based on minor flaws. So you better bring your A-game.

Verdict: iStock is no Getty Images, but the pay and user base are pretty decent.

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock is relatively new in the stock photo industry. However, it is making raging progress for displaying the finest photo library.

A screenshot of the Adobe Stock website

Since Adobe is associated with Lightroom and Photoshop, Adobe Stock has set the bar very high for accepting photos and images. Only a professional can get through their arduous content approval process.

The platform accepts non-exclusive content, which means you can sell on other avenues as well.

Adobe Stock gives you a straight-up 33% royalties for each sale. The commission percentage isn’t great, but it’s better than most.

Verdict: Getting approved on Adobe Stock is a privilege, but the website doesn’t offer a great payout.


500px is a promising new place for photographers. It is a community-based website created by photographers to display and sell their content.

A screenshot of the 500px website

The website boasts exclusive and non-exclusive photos and images. 500px showcases some of the extraordinary work of skilled photographers.

The pay is great too. For non-exclusive content, you will get a 30% commission. In comparison, exclusive content will give you 60% royalties.

Many famous photographers and companies are present on 500px. In fact, due to its reputation, the photos are sold for a hefty amount on this platform.

Verdict: 500px offers a great deal in both departments, i.e., quality and money.

Final Words

A profession’s worth is often gauged by how much one can earn. Fortunately, we live in the golden era of the digital age. The earning opportunities are unlimited. If you have a passion for photography, you can make money even if you are in some other business.

You simply need to know the right place to showcase your work, and that’s it. The money will start rolling in automatically.

The goal is to be part of the community that accepts premium photos and allows non-exclusive content with decent commission rates.

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