Selling Your Photography – Sales Outlets

If you’ve been taking photos for a while now and are thinking of turning professional, trying to turn your hobby into a part time business, or just want to make a little extra cash to pay for the new lens you’ve been drooling over, there are many options for sales outlets. This article takes a look at just some of the possibilities.

Stock Photography Agencies

Stock agencies are libraries of images where someone who needs to use an image for a purpose such as a newspaper or magazine article can purchase a license to use the image. These days almost all stock agencies have online collections, where people can search the library, pay and download the image immediately.

The advantage of stock agencies is that they market your images for you. This can be a big plus in the online world, as you are able to show your photos through an established website without having to build one. Associating yourself with a reputable agency will also add to your credibility as a professional.

The downside of selling stock photography is that it is a numbers game. You will need a large collection of images to be able to earn an income. You will also pay commission to the agency for each image sold. This can range from 20% to 50%. Agencies also expect regular submissions to keep their libraries current. So you need to think of an agency as a business partner.

Your own website

Having your own website has the advantage over a stock agency website of being all about you. A website devoted to your own images rather than sharing with competing photographers has huge potential for gaining exposure and sales because of the size of the web. The downside of having your own website is that you need to put a lot of work into designing a website that shows off your work and can bring customers. This can be expensive and time consuming, and is better thought of as a long term strategy.


With the internet boom it is easy to forget old fashioned methods. Art fairs or markets are a great way to show your work to potential buyers. You also have the huge advantage of meeting customers face to face and being able to talk about your photos and answer questions. You also have the chance to sell yourself and gain peoples trust, which is half the battle of selling anything.

The downside of exhibiting your work this way is that it can be expensive to display. The costs of framing your prints, setting up a display and paying stall fees all add up. You also need to keep in mind that your potential customer base is much smaller than the global reach of the internet

So which method is best? The truth is there is no right or wrong answer to this as different methods will work for different photographers depending on where you live, the type of photography you do and the number of images you have. The best option would be to combine all of the above and get your work out there to as wide an audience as possible.

How To Make Money With Photography

There are many ways to make money online with photography, but a popular and fairly new way is through Micro Stock Photography websites.

Micro stock is simply photography that’s sold at deep discounts. Clients are able to license stock photos for just $1 or $2, and photographers earn money each time a client chooses one of their photos.

Micro stock is considered to be still in it’s infancy, and some people feel it’s wrong to sell photography at such low prices. Particularly since many professional photographers invest a lot of time and money on equipment, learning, and photo shoots.

For the beginning photographer though, micro stock photo agencies can be ideal places to start. Since entry requirements are not overly restrictive, many hobby photographers with inexpensive cameras have already started making a nice second income from their pictures.

How Does It Work?

The process of making money from your photography through micro stock agencies is fairly simple.

1. Research popular micro stock photography agencies online. There are quite a few of them, but you’ll want to start with just one or two until you get the hang of things.

2. Choose your absolute best pictures to submit. Some agencies require you to submit 10 pictures for review when you apply for an account with them, while others only require three the first time. Most don’t have minimum requirements though, and you can start by submitting just one.

3. Your pictures will be reviewed by humans, and accepted or rejected into the micro stock photography site. If they’re accepted, they’ll be available for clients to “buy”.

Technically they’re not fully buying your pictures though. They’re simply licensing the pictures for specific use. Usually micro stock photography is used in websites, though sometimes it’s used in advertisements, brochures and other marketing materials. The photographer always retains full copyrights to their photos though, and is normally able to sell the same photos over and over again to additional clients.

And this is the beauty of stock photography. Once you’ve taken a great picture and had it accepted into a stock photography portfolio, that one picture can continue earning you money month after month… sometimes year after year.

Most micro stock photography agencies pay $0.20 – $0.50 per picture license, or download. This may not seem like much, however a good photographer with several hundred pictures for sale could make a nice second income over time, because it all adds up!

There’s a lot more to the stock photography business, which we don’t have room to cover in just one article. You’ll find expanded details about making money with stock photos in the books noted below.