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The Ultimate Sell Your Pictures Longlist

Last updated on: 20th Feb 2021
Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the links on The Side Gig Longlist are affiliate links.
This means that if you click on that link and purchase an item I will get a commission, at no extra cost to you!

The ultimate sell your pictures longlist is all about selling photos, illustrations, and video footage online. I believe that this may be one of the best side hustles there is. And I hear you thinking: “But how do you sell your images and footage? I’m not a photographer!”.

Well, just keep reading, I’ll come to that in a minute, while I explain why I am so excited about this gig.

It is Fun

Serious. Creating (yes, it is a creative process) the perfect picture, illustration, or video is something almost all of us do all the time. 

We snapshot our friends, our travels, our family, the dog, our food, and of course ourselves all the time. I cannot believe that we are all doing this, without liking it.

But that doesn’t make us photographers, right?
Wrong. It does not make us trained, skilled, or experienced photographers. But we are engaged in the process and apparently, we do like it. That is a great place for one to start improving and learning what is needed.

For illustrators, this may even be more true. You don’t draw unless you like it (in general).

You Keep Improving

I like to learn. Not the theoretical, lecture version, but learning by doing.

When it comes to photography (please forgive me for not repeating illustrating, or capturing footage all the time) I know that a lot of you like this too. 

We try to recreate a picture we saw, we try to avoid cut-off heads, blinding backlights and maybe we even try to improve our composition once in a while.

Have you ever watched a video tutorial about photography? Googled the rule of thirds? Read an article about shutter speed?

You are on your way to becoming a better photographer!

You Can Start as an Amateur

There is no need to become a pro before you start. You don’t even need expensive equipment. I have seen teenagers blasting away pros with just a simple point-and-click camera.

I know that a lot of photo stock sites have a tight quality acceptance policy and that might prevent you from selling those awesome sellable images, but you can also set up your own shop.

You might even try print-on-demand services. Those sites are not included in the ultimate sell your pictures longlist, but I will include those in another list.

Stock Site Contributor

I started with stock photography long ago with some pretty simple pictures taken with a low-end camera and some illustrations.
All the income I generated with it was invested in better equipment, software (like Adobe products), and trips to nice photo locations until I stopped being active as a stock photo contributor because I wanted to explore other interesting opportunities.

Tips

So, if you do plan to sell your images and footage to photo stock sites then let me give you some tips:

  • Put your ego aside.
    You probably will get a lot of rejections and maybe some sites won’t accept your application (the first time).
  • Don’t argue, get better.
    Take the rejection reasons as something you need to work on. It doesn’t matter if they are wrong or right. You will always improve if you take those rejections as input to learn more about them.
  • Don’t photoshop too much.
    Spend more time on improving the shot.

It is Passive Income

I love how misleading the term passive income is. Stock photography is a nice example to make clear what is passive about it.

It is hard work! 

There, you have it. If you take this seriously you will spend more time than you can imagine on preparing and creating your shoot, retouching your images, uploading, describing, and tagging them.

The ‘passive’ comes after the hard work.
My pictures are still generating income, even though I stopped contributing years ago.

How Stock Sites work

Now, there are some awesome websites that offer high-quality material for free (we love to use Unsplash), but the majority of the images comes from a couple of huge websites where people can find the perfect picture and buy the rights to use them.

If they buy one of yours, you will get a percentage and the stock site will get a percentage.

The stock sites take care of the administration, the sales process, etcetera. 
How the money is split depends on the terms of the stock site. In general, exclusive contributors earn a higher percentage, but you are bound to a single platform.

Applying

How it works is easy and fairly the same at most sites:

  • Sign up as a contributor
  • upload a few images or footage for review
  • After becoming accepted you can upload the rest and tag them with keywords
  • As you sell your images and footage, the providing stock site will deduct their part from the sale
  • You will get paid, commonly via PayPal, Skrill, Bank, or Payoneer.

The Ultimate Sell Your Pictures Longlist:

  • Shutterstock
    This is legitI tried thisI like thisI made money with it

    Website: Shutterstock

    Shutterstock focuses on Royalty-Free content, mainly on subscription-based licensing. As they were among the first implementing subscriptions they have a very solid base and a huge amount of customers, downloading image after image.

    Customers pay a flat fee that will allow them to download (buy) a certain amount of images per month.More about Shutterstock here

  • Dreamstime
    This is legitI tried thisI like thisI made money with it

    Website: Dreamstime

    Dreamstime has been around the block for 20 years now. They have a lot of experience with stock photography from both the customer as the contributor perspective. At the moment they have over 30 million users, making them the worlds’ largest community for royalty-free photos and illustrations.More about Dreamstime here

  • 123RF
    This is legitI tried thisI like this

    Website: 123RF

    Since 2005 123RF has grown into a global company with quite a big amount of active users. They have over 110 million creative works (photos, vectors, footage, audio) 

    Your content will be available across 44 countries and with 5 million+ potential buyers, there is a fair chance that this will make you money.More about 123RF here

  • Adobe Stock
    This is legitI like this

    Website: Adobe Stock

    The name Adobe in Adobe Stock cannot be unfamiliar to you as they have decades of experience providing the world with all kinds of software for creating and editing multimedia. Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Lightroom, XD, you name it.

    The software is offered through cloud-based programs, and a lot of them integrate Adobe Stock to provide creatives with photos and video footage.More about Adobe Stock here

  • Alamy
    This is legitI tried this

    Website: Alamy

    With over 200 million stock images, vectors, videos, and even 360-degree panoramic images, Alamy is a stock photography platform that has a great attraction to both contributors as buyers.

    They keep it simple and hassle-free: no subscriptions, credits, or registration. If you like an image, just click-and-buy.More about Alamy here

  • Depositphotos

    Website: Depositphotos

    If you have never heard of Depositphotos you should really check their website. This is a nice gem with truly nice photos and footage.

    Depositphotos has been around since January 2009 and has grown a lot since then. You should take a look at their beautiful About Us page where they present their history in an impressive timeline.More about Depositphotos here

  • PICHA stock

    Website: PICHA stock

    PICHA stock specifically provides curated Afrocentric visuals in order to enable brands and businesses to tell richer stories that include modern Africans.

    They want to bring forward the voices, faces, and stories of modern Africa in the belief that original stories can change perceptions.

  • iStockPhoto
    This is legitI tried thisI like thisI made money with it

    Website: iStockPhoto

    As a division of Getty Images, iStock( short for iStockphoto) is one of the larger suppliers for stock photography and a great place to start if you are exploring stock photography as a side gig.

    You can sell both images as video footage. The latter will pay better, but both have great potential for passive income. After uploading your material it will remain there for years. More about iStockPhoto here

  • Canva
    I tried thisI like this

    Website: Canva

    There are a gazillion images that you can buy or download for free, but when it comes to that picture that you need for your blog…
    No problem, I hear you think, there are also hundreds of photo-editing applications available, so let’s get one.

    But when you start them and take a look at all the tools the user interface offers you, you feel the first signs of frustration, growing in the back of your mind.

    And then there was Canva!

    More about Canva here

  • Etsy
    This is legit

    Website: Etsy

    Etsy is a platform that is focused on selling handmade items and craft supplies. They do, however, also provide shop owners with the possibility to sell digital items.
    Therefore they offer a great opportunity to monetize your photos and illustrations by selling them as printables.More about Etsy here

  • miPic

    Website: miPic

    miPic is a platform that empowers you with print on demand product manufacturing. Basically, you sell your images as a printed product.

    So they take the uploading, tagging, and reviewing part we see with a lot of stock photo sites and combine it with print-on-demand on a wide range of awesome products.More about miPic here

  • Foap

    Website: Foap

    Although the basic principles of selling photos and footage through Foap are the same as with other, classic, stock photography agencies, there are a few remarkable differences. For one thing, you work with the free app to upload your material straight to Foap. More about Foap here

  • Vecteezy

    Website: Vecteezy

    Vecteezy accepts photos, vectors, and videos. To apply you will need to upload some samples of your work, which of course, will be reviewed by them.

  • Snapwire

    Website: Snapwire

    Snapwire is more of a social platform that connects photographers with brands and businesses all around the world. Next to uploading photos to build up a portfolio, you build up points through submitting to challenges. If you have enough points you may be invited to commissioned assignments.

  • Yay Images

    Website: Yay Images

    Yay Images has a community of over 12.500 designers and artists. They have over 11 million images and vectors available.
    those numbers should tell you that they have experience and they are liked by contributors.

    They pay a 50% commission per sale, which is very nice compared to other stock photography marketplaces.  

  • Ingimage

    Website: Ingimage

    Ingimage is part of the Ingram group. They have their headquarters in London but have offices in Amsterdam and New York too.

    To become a contributor you will have to apply on the contributor page of the Ingram Group portal.

  • SignElements

    Website: SignElements

    Imagine your images ending up on a sign, wouldn’t that be awesome? SignElements specializes in stock content for sign makers.
    They are is part of the Ingram group. 

    To become a contributor you will have to apply on the contributor page of the Ingram Group portal.

  • Pond5

    Website: Pond5

    Technically, video footage is just a bunch of pics in a sequence. This category will not be complete without Pond5. The world’s largest collection of royalty-free stock video. 
    However, they also offer: stock images, 3d objects, music tracks, sound effect, and much, much more

  • Can Stock Photo

    Website: Can Stock Photo

    Founded in 2004, Can Stock Photo is one of the oldest microstock photography agencies. Even after all this time, they are doing great with almost 20,000 images added every day.

    They offer instant downloads, credit-based, and subscription-based plans for their images and footage
    As they say themselves: Can Stock Photo was founded on the basis of offering a fair-trade alternative by paying contributors fairly and treating them with mutual respect.

  • VectorState

    Website: VectorState

    Not a photographer? Not a problem! If you are more into creating sharp, slick, stunning, and awesome illustrations then VectorState is a great place to contribute.
    VectorState is part of the Ingram group.

    To become a contributor you will have to apply on the contributor page of the Ingram Group portal.

  • ImageVortex

    Website: ImageVortex

    ImageVortex has a very high and competitive payout (commission) for their photographers. Add that to the fact that you can set your own price per photo and then tell me this isn’t interesting.

    ImageVortex lets you choose to receive your payment via PayPal, cheque, or a wire transfer to your bank account.

  • PicFair

    Website: PicFair

    Would you rather sell your own photos? Then PicFair provides you the means to set up your own shop, without you having to worry about licensing, shipping, etcetera.
    As the name suggests, they think fair pricing for photographers is important, You will get 100% of what you price your pics for. 

  • agefotostock

    Website: agefotostock

    agefotostock is an independent photo agency that has 110+ million stock images, over 500k video’s, and more than 3 million vector illustrations online.
    Their contributor page has all the information you need

  • Scoopshot

    Website: Scoopshot

    Scoopshot lets you submit images and footage straight from your phone with their mobile app (free) which will then become available in their store.

    You will get a notification as your image is bought, also through the app.

    Scoopshot has another business model through its in-image advertising network. If your picture is used, you will share in the advertising revenue.

  • MostPhotos

    Website: MostPhotos

    With love from Stockholm. MostPhotos loves images and scenes from the real life. You can turn your environment, friends, and family into money! (Please make sure you have their consent of course) 

  • Creative Market

    Website: Creative Market

    Creative Market lets you set up your own shop for selling -digital- creatives. 
    You can sell your images, but also illustrations, 3D objects, or even templates and designs.

    You can set your own price, you don’t have to go exclusive and, as it is your own shop, there is no per-product approval. Just go live with it instantly

  • Zoonar

    Website: Zoonar

    This German Microstock agency offers an extensive amount of self-control over prices, licences and the passing on of pictures to their contributors. They also let you link your own website to pictures loaded onto the Zoonar platform!

  • Fotomoto

    Website: Fotomoto

    Fotomoto by itself is not a website but a widget that you can use on your own website. It lets you add print-on-demand e-commerce functionality.

    I just found out about Fotomoto and this brief post probably doesn’t do it justice, but I wanted to share it anyway. Make sure to come back here, and check for an update as soon as I have checked Fotomoto myself.

  • 500px

    Website: 500px

    If you need another example of a hobby that became big business then 500px is an excellent one. Evgeny Tchebotarev started it while finishing his business degree and now this Canada based company has millions of users.

    I could browse their pages for hours and hours. They have the most gorgeous images! Please check it yourself, even if you’re not a photographer.

  • Zoonar

    Website: Zoonar

    Zoonar is a Germany-based picture agency that sells licenses for works that are uploaded by photographers, graphic artists, and illustrators. This includes photos, illustrations, vector graphics, or 3d animations.
    The earned commission (license fee) is shared with the contributor, or author, as they call it

  • Crestock

    Website: Crestock

    Crestock, founded in 2005, is one of the veterans when it comes to selling stock images. They do not accept editorial images, so make sure that you have model or property releases of the people or objects in your photos.

    The registration is simple and common to most stock sites. Register with your email address, upload your images, tag them, and await acceptance.

  • Bigstock

    Website: Bigstock

    Bigstock is a credits-based international microstock photography website that has over 105 million images from talented photographers and illustrators all over the world.

    The signup process for contributors is straight forward. Just follow the steps they describe on their signup page.

  • Stocksy

    Website: Stocksy

    This Canadian stock photography and video platform was founded in 2013 focuses on useful and authentic material. 
    Seeing your pictures presented on their beautiful website alone may even be an incentive in itself.

    The registration and uploading process should be familiar by now. Register with your email address, upload your best 10 images, and await acceptance as a contributor.

  • Smugmug

    Website: Smugmug

    Smugmug lets you create an online portfolio with just a few clicks. They provide you with all you need to control access to your portfolio, safe storage for your images, and-so-fort.
    They facilitate you in setting up shop from your portfolio. 

    This, however, is not a free plan, but they offer so many great features for photographers that want to focus on their photos, not managing the tech.

  • Getty Images

    Website: Getty Images

    A list of sites where you can sell your photos, illustrations, and footage can not be complete without Getty Images. 
    To join you need to download their app, contribute sample images, and after acceptance, you can start uploading.

    The best thing: you will be selling on both Getty Images as on iStock!

  • EyeEm

    Website: EyeEm

    At first glance, EyeEm is more of a social network for photographers. However, they have millions of images for sale, so why not yours?
    With the EyeEm Missions, photographers are challenged by both EyeEm, and by brands. Sometimes there is a cash reward, sometimes you get visibility on the brands’ platform.

  • Scopio

    Website: Scopio

    Launched in 2016, Scopio is a fairly new player on the stock photography market. Still, their image marketplace has over 200K pictures and they are of great quality.

    They love to support rising photographers across the world and make sure that their authentic images are available for creatives to power their storytelling. 

Wrapping it up

So here it is, the ultimate sell your pictures longlist. I only have a few left that I can add to it. How about you? Do you know other websites where one can sell photos, illustrations, or footage? Let me know!

It does not take much to start monetizing your images and footage. Some of these sites will even let you upload and sell straight from your phone.

Personally, I like the idea of having my photos hanging on the wall of someone’s living room. I know that some of my photos were used for album covers and children’s books. Besides earning money, having your images used, is a reward by itself.

What’s Next?

So, did you like ‘the ultimate sell your pictures longlist’? Was it useful to you?
Let me know or share this post. 

Thanks for reading! You are awesome!

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