The first step, obviously, is deciding where to sell your photography, which is determined by your style.
Stock photography also called microstock generally refers to images that are uploaded to an agency, so they can be added to a photo library for others to purchase. The photographer makes a commission per sale, anything between 25 cents and five dollars, or more depending on the agency.
One of the most common places for photographers to sell their images today is through microstock agencies. When choosing a microstock site, make sure to read all the fine print, and understand exactly what your rights are.
Best Sites To Sell Photos Online:
Fotolia - Fotolia has been a leader as a stock marketplace worldwide, and particularly in Europe, for the last 10 years. Now with 48 millions images and ever growing. Because you would like your images to be bought by as many clients as possible, it is best to provide an image with a good, even exposure. Do not let this restrain you from being creative and experimenting with exposure, lighting and colors. You can check if your image is well exposed by using the Histogram tool .
BigStockPhoto - As the photographer you'll make 50 cents to three dollars per download. There is an online test you need to pass before being accepted into their program. However, you can do it as many times as needed.
Crestock - To start selling with Crestock, simply sign up to their website, follow through the easy registration process… and you’re good to go! They’ll give you 30% royalty, so once the images have been approved by staff you may be able to start selling images within the week.
iStock - You need to be an iStock member before you can contribute your stock. But don't worry – joining only takes a minute and it doesn’t cost a thing. Upload three samples of your work along with your application. These are the files we'll be using to evaluate your suitability as a contributor, so you'll want to send your very best work.
Shutterstock - The payouts at Shutterstock work on a sliding scale, so the more images you have downloaded, the more you'll earn per image. The scale currently starts at $.25 per download so it will take a sizeable portfolio with stellar images before the bigger returns roll around.
SmugMug - If you’re looking to build a sleek, professional looking online showcase for your work that also facilitates selling your photos, check out SmugMug’s ‘Pro’ option which gives you a beautiful storefront and one-click shopping with ecommerce-optimised galleries. You can set your own pricing and you get to keep 85% of the markup. As well as selling digital downloads, you have the option of selling prints and greetings cards too.
PhotoShelter - If you like the idea of selling your work but want to retain complete control and pocket more of the profit, you could consider setting up a professional photography website with built-in ecommerce from PhotoShelter.
Stockxpert - This is one of the smaller websites on the list, but still offers a great reach for beginners – so would make a fantastic option for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the world of selling photos online.
123RF - With this site, their royalty structure is based on your contributor level, which is quite unique. It basically means, the more images you upload, the more you can earn – good news for anyone who plans to commit to this full-time. The amount you receive could rise from 30% up to 60% if you are particularly active on the site – so get started quickly and build up your reputation.
It’s a win win situation for all parties involved. Stock photography agencies get to keep a percentage of every photo sold on their website, photographers get the remaining percentage and users get the desired photo.