Shutterstock - 10 FREE IMAGES

How to make money with Stock Photos

If you want to make more money, you might be tempted to get into stock photography, at least some of the time. Maybe you wanted to learn more about how to sell photos online and make money. Read on to find out how.

Earn passive income on stock photos!

One of the easiest ways to make money from your photos is to sell them on certain websites. When you put your photos on these sites, you would be surprised how many people actually buy!

These buyers are usually companies or people who need a specific image, and they mainly want to buy the right to use the image. So, when you upload a photo to sell online, you are actually selling the right to use it. As long as someone takes a fancy to the photos you upload, even if it is just a cup, it will bring you passive income.

Share Of Revenue from Different Stock Photos Website

According to different websites, the revenue share of contributors is different. The following 15 sites each provide different profit-sharing mechanisms for reference.

Site Stock type How commission is calculated Payment method
Shutterstock Photos, vector, videos, illustrations Earn a certain percentage of revenue based on the selling price of each authorized download, up to 40% of royalties Paypal, Payoneer, Skrill
Freepik Photo, vector, ICON Calculate contributor royalties based on total monthly downloads Paypal, Payoneer
Adobe stock Photos, vector, videos, audio, 3D modules Earn a certain percentage of revenue based on the selling price of each authorized download, up to a 33% royalty Paypal, Payoneer, Skrill
Getty Images Photos, vector, videos Get a certain percentage of revenue based on the selling price of each authorized download Paypal, Payoneer, Skrill
123RF Photos, vector, audio There are different calculation methods depending on the image download or point of sale, and the maximum royalty can be 60 Paypal, Payoneer, Skrill
Canva Images, Graphics, Audio Tracks, Videos Get 35% of every asset sold, price depends on which license the user chooses at checkout Paypal, Payoneer, Skrill
pngtree PNG images, background images, templates Earn up to $150 per thousand downloads Paypal,Payoneer
depositphotos Photos, vector, videos, audio Earn a certain percentage of revenue based on the selling price of each authorized download, up to 42% of royalties Paypal
POND5 Photos, vector, videos, audio, 3D modules, post-production special effects Earn a certain percentage of revenue based on the selling price of each authorized download, up to 60% of royalties Paypal, Payoneer, Skrill
PIXTA Photos, vector, videos Earn a certain percentage of revenue based on the selling price of each authorized download, up to 53% of royalties Paypal, Payoneer
Flaticon ICON Calculate contributor royalties based on total monthly downloads Paypal, Payoneer
vecteezy Photos, vector, videos Free Plan: Earn up to $10 per 1,000 downloads, Paid Plan: 50% split Paypal, Payoneer
envato Videos, sound effects, graphic materials, photos, WordPress, 3D materials, etc. 50% of net income from all subscriptions per month goes directly to the author of envato elements Paypal, Payoneer
Dreamstime Photos, vector, videos, audio According to the size of the stock, the amount of profit sharing varies, up to 60% of the royalties can be obtained Paypal, Payoneer, Skrill
illust AC vector Contributor royalties are calculated based on monthly downloads, earn $ 0.02 worth of credits for each download Paypal

It can be seen from the table that the payment methods of almost every site are Paypal and Payoneer, but Payoneer is recommended because the handling charge is cheaper.

Where Do You Get Inspiration From?

After all, it takes time and cost to create stock photos, and if you go in the wrong direction, you can end up with half the effort. Here are a few ways to explore creative inspiration for reference.


Article provided by Shutterstock describing the 15 most popular and searched stock photo types, such as landscape shots that inspire travel desires, work environments and office spaces, aerial shots, buildings, etc.


Pinterest is an indispensable source of creative inspiration for design creators. For web design, logo design or product marketing contextual needs, you can find a large number of stock photos on the site. In particular, Pinterest has a high conversion rate in shopping guides, so creators of vector graphics and hand-drawing arts use Pinterest as a channel to share their works.

Find a niche market

A niche market is a segment that has a need but has not yet been met. Just like the concept of e-commerce product selection, subdividing from the red ocean market to the blue ocean market, because the search volume in the red ocean market is large enough, and you can see if there are unmet needs for long-tail keywords. For example, the weight loss market itself is a big red sea, and the competition is fierce, but long-tail keywords can be sleep and weight loss, fitness and weight loss, etc. In addition, you can refer to various sales data or rankings to understand the market needs. For example, a corporate favourite is a photo of a professional entrepreneur shaking hands in what appears to be a deal. These types of photos are downloaded frequently, so it is common to see the same stock photos on different websites, and so you can provide more options for this type of theme.

After finding a profitable market, it is necessary to develop various situational photos, because people who like your photos have a certain chance to see similar photos to choose from or download them together. For example, the handshake photos can have different races to choose from, and the photos style can also have a variety of backgrounds to choose from.

Which Website Is the Best to Sell On?

Although there are quite a lot of stock photos websites, here are a few relatively large websites recommended. After all, the more users, the better for us.

Shutterstock is arguably the best stock photos site, and one of the easiest to get started with. The reason is that Shutterstock has an exceptionally large user base, and no matter what kind of photos you want to sell or how good or bad the quality is, there are likely to be people who want them. Many of the website images of major companies are purchased from here, so do not suspect that you may have seen some similar images. Another point is that Shutterstock’s mobile app is also very friendly. Not only can you take and upload photos directly with the mobile app, but also provide some information to tell you what type of photos are most searched recently. Uploading such photos can greatly increase exposure. As for how much you can earn from selling photos from Shutterstock? It depends on who downloaded your photos. If they are a monthly subscription, your income will be slightly less, otherwise it will be much higher. Of course, as you upload more and more photos to Shutterstock, your income will gradually increase.
Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock is also a good option. This is a stock photos site owned by Adobe, the famous Photoshop company. Because users who use Adobe’s various software are usually engaged in design-related work, the exposure opportunities of stock images here will be greatly improved. And in 2014, Adobe acquired Fotolia, another stock photos company, which means that when you upload photos to Adobe Stock, it will be synced to Fotolia, and the chance of exposure will be doubled directly. Adobe Stock will pay users 33% of the selling price of photos, but because it is a fixed rate, there is less room for growth in the later stage.
Getty Images
If you are confident in your photography skills and want to earn a higher income from your photos, Getty Images will be your best choice. Here you can upload any high-definition quality photos, but there is a troublesome thing that requires registration and authentication to start uploading. Once you have completed the registration process, the certification process can take up to 30 business days. If your photo is selected, you can get 15-45% profit, and if you are willing to sell photos only on Getty Images, you get a relatively higher percentage.

Final Words

Selling photos pays off in the long run, but it is definitely not a short-term endeavour. If you do not mind being patient, selling photos can be a fulfilling endeavour overall. Having said that, do not think of stock photography as a way to quit your day job. It can be a highly competitive industry, so it can take years to generate a steady income.