Stock photography – Sell your photos or designs

Do you like to take photos or make designs? If so then you could start making money with your images by selling them on photo library websites that sell stock photography.

First I’ll explain a few terms:
Stock photography – refers to collections of photos that are available for use to designers and individuals for a fee.
Microstock – is a form of stock photography, where the image usage fee is small.
Photo library – A company that sells stock photography.

Selling stock photography to is a great way to earn money online by doing something you love. And with a little bit of effort you can start earning money. Depending on how much time and effort you put in and how large you make your portfolio will make the difference between a bit of extra pocket money or enough money for stock photos to be your only source of income.

How it works: Once registered you upload an image to a photo library’s website and they approve it, then add it to their site. They have thousands if not millions of visits each month by designers, marketing people or anyone else for that matter, looking to buy images to use in their next project, whether it would be a new website, magazine article, blog post, brochure…

If someone decides to use one of your images they pay the photo library and are then able to download and use the image. And this is where you get your money. You get a percentage of what the customer pays for the image. Your cut varies on each websites but it’s usually about 20%-40% of the sale or a fixed rate per download. There are various ways to receive payment, including Paypal. Payment is usually once your account balance reaches a certain limits, between $50 – $100.

The quality of photograph or design they are looking for is higher than the average snapshot but not an unreachable standard. The content of the photo is important, it is stock photography you are creating not artistic photography, which means you should supply images that people can use for projects. To get an idea what a site is looking for, just type any object or search term in their search box to see the resulting images.

Stock Photography Sites: Here’s a list of the top seven Photo library sites which do microstock photos, with a little description of each site. The great thing about these sites is they are free to register and free to submit images. So there is no financial outlay, only your time.

iStockphoto – The original Microstock website, these guys are the leaders in Stock photography and can generate good sales and income of your images. Their standards are high but reach the standards and you will reap the rewards. Fairly long approval time on each image submission. Minimum payout $100.

Shutterstock – With over 10 millions images, it’s one of the largest subscription based stock photography sites but with lots of traffic a good income source. Fast approval of images. tougher than average registration, so make sure you have 10 good images to supply.

Dreamstime – They accept quite a lot of images and a great place to start, with one of the easiest registrations to get started. Minimum payout $100.


DepositPhotos – A fast growing website with fast acceptance. Minimum payout $50.

Fotolia – This one also has high approval rates and submissions are reviewed and added fairly fast.

BigStock – Another good place to create a portfolio and generate more income. A sister company of shutterstock and credit based rather than subscription based.

Graphic Leftovers Logo

Graphic Leftovers – Fairly new to the game, they have a growing library. With an easy registration and one of the highest % royalties rates, this is a great one to include as a starter of selling images. Although they don’t accept photos with people in.

123rf – Finally rounding of the top 7 is 123rf With less traffic than the others it’s #7 but with quick approval of images and high pass rate it’s worth adding your photos to this site, for any extra income.


CanStockPhoto – Average earning but worth having your images on, also supply Fotosearch for extra revenue earnings. Minimum payout $50.


You can submit to one, some or all of the above listed. There are many other stock sites out there, these are just the top 9 that I use.

The great thing is, once the images are uploaded you don’t have to do anything else, it is a purely passive form of income. The faster you make your portfolio grow the faster your income will increase.