How To Sell Stock Photos Online And Make An Income With It

How To Sell Stock Photos Online And Make An Income With It

Stock photography brings up sterile generally uninteresting, not real looking pictures in my head, but they might be a good fit for advertisement. If you feel the same way then this post here is for you. Because stock sites have changed and are actually a nice income stream not only for professionals. Also for everybody else that has a camera and likes to take pictures with it, but only if you know how to sell stock photos online. Because it is not quite as easy as you might think 🙂

So let’s get started.

How To Sell Stock Photos Online

What Is A Stock Image

For everybody that doesn’t know what I’m talking about, Stock photo sites are a site where people like bloggers, marketers, and basically everybody who needs pictures for publication can buy them. Where are these pictures coming from? You! If you feel like loading some of your pictures you already have up to a stock site you can (not must) make quite a bit of money. But if you got a clue of what is in demand or and which keywords to use you definitely will make some money.

Why I Love To Sell Stock Photos Online

Because I can go take pictures of things load them up and they will be sold over and over again without me doing anything for that.

What Buyers Actually Want

Stock photos in the past always looked like the one below lifeless and somehow surreal. Now that is not really what buyers want anymore.


Not really authentic

This is one of the biggest points I for me. What I mean by that is a perfectly posed picture with a perfect looking model in it. Most people think that is what everybody wants, that marked is way too saturated and not really interesting for anybody who likes to take pictures out of passion. I don’t have one picture in my stock photos that look like that. Also, Shutterstock says the same thing. They say our buyers want clean and high-quality pictures, but the people and activities that happen in those pictures should look relaxed and real. Like a real situation.



How To Find Out What Is In Demand

Knowing what people want at the moment is key to sell thousands of pictures. At the same time, there is no short answer to this question but I will show you how I do it 🙂

Watch Social Media Trends

You can go on Google Trends or Buzzsumo to get a quick understanding what is trending at the moment or go to youtube and have a look what kind of trend is in the trending tab.

Don’t Want To Do Trending Stuff?

That’s alright too. My girlfriend, for example, loves to take pictures of our dog and she made quite a lot of money with just that. Of course, it wasn’t just one picture she took a lot like 60 or 80. 

How To Sell Stock Photos Online

Take More That One Shot Of The Situation

The reason for that is pretty simple. Imagen you have uploaded a picture of a laughing girl sitting in the sunset. A buyer comes along and really like you picture the only problem is he was looking for a girl with closed eyes and a relaxed face, in the sunset. So if you just shoot multiple pictures with multiple impressions you could sell to all the potential costumers. 

laughing look.
Smelling the flower look.

At The Calendar

Have a look at upcoming social events like Christmas or Easter. Because around those times, the demand for new topic related pictures goes up into the sky. 🙂

Create A Feelings

For example when you take a photo of a mountain climber. Most pictures will say well that is a mountain climber. But you can also take the pictures that way that say mountain climber, danger, adventure, freedom and so on. 

Pattern And Textures.

Pictures with a pattern in it like a picture of leaves or wood or a wall. They might not look very interesting to you, but these are the pictures I sell the most for some reason.

Negative Space

If you don’t know what negative space is, have a look here. Negative space can come in very handy for buyers that want to add some text to the picture later. So that can be a selling point for a potential buyer. What I like to do is shoot with negative space and load up a cropped and not cropped version to leave all the options open for buyers.

Enough space to put in some words.

Don’t Overthink It.

Think long and you will think wrong. All these tips from above will absolutely help you to be more successful with selling them. However, some of my most successful pictures were pictures I wasn’t really sure if I should even upload them because they had no value for me.

Another Example

Shutterstock describes in the blog of them how they had a customer that specializes in wastewater treatment and was buying tons of pictures from sewer sludge. Who would have thought of that?

The point I want to make is that topics like business or nature and what not are popular, at the same time there is also a lot of competition. So when you like to take pictures of model trains or fishes go ahead. As Gary Vee says there is a market for everything and at some point, somebody will buy your pictures.

Upload to Multiple Sites

It is not like that if you upload a picture to Shutterstock you are not allowed to upload it anywhere else. It is always yours and it will always stay yours. So in order to maximize your selling load them up to every site possible.


This is a program that I use and that enables you to upload to all the stock photo sites at once plus it even sorts all the keywords out for you. To download it Click Here. 🙂  It’s free. 🙂

Three Things You Have To Keep In Mind


I don’t know why, but some people like to put huge trademarks on their pictures. Don’t do that you won’t be able to sell anything or would you buy a picture that is an advertisement for somebody else? 🙂 I mean I don’t understand the purpose of those trademarks anyway but that is another story 🙂

Photos With People

When you have people in a shot that a recognizable you got to have a release form for that. That tells the stock site that the model is ok with being in this picture. I think that after a certain amount of people this isn’t a problem any longer, but I’m not quite sure where this limit is because I don’t do that many people shots for stock sites. 

Don’t Get Discouraged

I know when I started with stock photography I was rejected twice if I remember right and I didn’t sell anything in my first month. Who knows why the month after that I already made 50€ until I made 50€ a day and so on. What I want to say is. DON’T get discouraged as always in life keep doing what you like to do and you will be successful in the end. 🙂

That’s already It with my how to sell stock photos online post. I hope you got all the information you needed from it and now start to make at least side money with it. If you have Any kind of question or opinion about this topic please let me know in the comments. I will get back to you as fast as I can.


Cheers Aaron.

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