How much can you earn from stock photography? 

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  • The commission you get when you sell stock photos is determined by a number of factors.
  • You will get a larger percentage depending on how many images you upload each year and sell.
  • A typical photographer earns 25- 35 cents each sale.
Stock Photo PlatformAverage Earnings per Image
Shutterstock$0.25 – $0.38 per download
Adobe Stock$0.33 – $3.30 per download
Getty ImagesVaries widely
iStock$0.21 – $3.16 per download
AlamyVaries widely
Dreamstime$0.34 – $2.48 per download
123RF$0.22 – $0.38 per download
The average earnings on mayor stock photo platforms

Stock photography is continually being influenced by numerous photo publications and photo organizations. You are absolutely guaranteed a “passive income” from your vacation images.

I began doing stock photos in early 2018. I put in a lot of time in the beginning, but I’ve already lost part of it. All of the images in this post are successful stock photographs that I have sold multiple times.

This essay will explain what stock photography is, how much money I made from it, and how you can get started. Tips and techniques for stock photography will be covered in the second half of this article: Which stock photographs are the most popular? Tips for your initial profits that have been tried and tested.

In short this is my income:

2018: approx. $4174

2019: approx. $10,937

2020: approx. $9139

2021: approximately $5854

In total, I am earning approximately $30,104 revenue from stock photos from 01.04.2018 to 31.12.2021. Starting in September 2018 I have put time into my blog and almost no more pictures uploaded. Since I had almost no expenses for stock photography, I was already able to finance my camera equipment.

Nonetheless, start earning a full income or becoming rich through stock photography is extremely difficult.

Is it possible to earn money by selling your photos online?

I’m not saying that making money from stock photographs is impossible.  Many photographers shoot only stock and earn a nice living from it; nevertheless, I’m beginning to question whether it’s a viable career path for someone just starting out in stock photography without any external help.

a surfer on the beach

Older contributors to stock agencies such as istockphoto get a larger percentage of revenues, and their images rank higher in search results owing to downloads. 

My purpose in writing this piece is to serve as a warning to other photographers interested in working in stock photography. You may make it large, but you’ll probably be able to earn more money shooting weddings or advertising.  My foray into stock photography was cut short before it even begun. 

Here are the best websites to sell your photos that made me money

First and foremost, you need to find the right platform to showcase and sell your photos. There are numerous stock photography websites available, each with its own unique features and user base.

Some of the top websites to consider are Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Stockphoto. These platforms attract a large number of buyers and offer various pricing options for photographers.

Take the time to research and compare different stock images sites to find the one that aligns with your goals and photography style. 

Start selling on stock photography sites 

Once you have chosen the site where you want to sell your photos, you can start the process by signing up as a contributor. This will require you to create an account, upload some sample images for review, and agree to the terms and conditions set by the platform.

It is important to carefully read the guidelines provided by the stock photography site to ensure that your images meet their quality standards and licensing requirements. 

Become a stock photo contributor 

By becoming a stock image contributor, you can upload your photos to the platform and make them available for purchase. It is essential to understand the licensing options offered by the site, as this will determine how your photos can be used and the price you can set for them.

Some platforms allow you to sell your images exclusively through their site, while others give you the flexibility to sell them elsewhere as well. 

What is the income potential from selling stock photos? 

  • Earn money based on the number of downloads 

One of the primary ways to earn money from selling stock photos is through the number of downloads your images receive. Most stock photography sites work on a commission-based system, where you earn a percentage of the sale price each time someone purchases your photo. The more popular and in-demand your images are, the more downloads you can expect, resulting in higher earnings. 

  • Make more money by selling exclusive images 

If you choose to sell your images exclusively on a particular platform, you may have the opportunity to earn higher royalties. Some stock photography sites offer higher commission rates for exclusive contributors as a way to incentivize photographers to provide unique and high-quality content to their platform. It’s important to carefully weigh the benefits of selling exclusively versus the potential for greater exposure by selling your images on multiple platforms. 

  • Set your own price for photos as prints 

In addition to digital downloads, some stock photography sites allow photographers to sell their images as prints. This can be an excellent opportunity to generate additional income, especially if you specialize in landscape or fine art photography. You can set your own price for these prints, taking into account the cost of printing, framing, and shipping. It’s important to consider the market demand and competition when determining the price for your prints. 

Which are the top stock photo sites to sell your images? 


Shutterstock is one of the leading stock photography sites with a vast customer base. It offers a user-friendly interface, excellent search functionality, and a wide range of pricing options for buyers. As a contributor, you can earn up to 30% of the sale price for your photos, depending on your level of contribution and exclusivity. 

Adobe Stock 

Adobe Stock is another popular platform that attracts both photographers and designers. As Adobe is a well-established brand in the creative industry, it has a large customer base, which can increase the potential for sales. The commission rates for contributors start at 20% and can go up to 60% for exclusive content. 


Stockphoto, previously known as iStock, is a well-known stock photography site that offers a diverse range of images for buyers. As a contributor, you can earn between 15% and 45% of the sale price depending on your exclusivity status and the number of downloads you receive. 

How much money can you make selling photos online per month? 

Income varies based on the number of downloads 

The amount of money you can make selling images online per month can vary significantly based on several factors. Your earnings will primarily depend on the number of downloads your images receive and the commission rate set by the stock photography site. If you consistently upload high-quality and in-demand images, you have the potential to earn a substantial amount of money. 

Determine your earnings potential as a stock photographer 

Evaluating your earnings potential as a stock photographer requires an understanding of the market demand for your niche and the level of competition. It is important to research the types of images that are in demand and align your portfolio accordingly. Additionally, building a strong online presence through social media and promoting your work can help attract more buyers and increase your income. 

Ways to make more money from stock photography 

There are several strategies you can employ to make more money from selling stock photos. One approach is to diversify your portfolio by capturing images in different categories and styles. This can increase your chances of appealing to a broader audience and generating more sales. Additionally, staying updated with the latest trends in the industry and producing relevant and unique content can help you stand out from the competition and attract more buyers. 

Specialize as a photographer to get higher commissions 

In the ever-evolving world of stock photography, finding a way to stand out and boost your income can be quite the challenge. However, through my personal journey, I’ve discovered that specialization and leveraging orders from a photo network can be the keys to unlocking greater success and revenue. 

Networks for stock photographers 

When you apply to a photo Network this means you get orders from photo agencies and other professionals that need photos to use. This is a big advantage because it means you know that your photo will sell! In my own experience this was a way easier and more efficient way to engage in the stock photo market. 

Today, I’m excited to share some insights based on my own experiences to help you make more money with your stock photos. 

The Power of Specialization and how to make more selling stock photos 

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1. Identify Your Niche: Finding a niche was one of the first things I learnt. Instead of attempting to cover every topic under the sun, I choose to concentrate in one area of photography. This strategy not only established me as an authority in that field, but also enabled me to build a consistent and identifiable portfolio. 

2. Create a Strong Portfolio: Specialization assisted me in creating a strong and unified portfolio. Buyers often want collections of photographs that meet their requirements, and a concentrated portfolio may be a significant selling feature. 

3. Investigate Sub-Niche: Within your selected niche, don’t be scared to investigate sub-niches. If you like landscape photography, for example, try specializing on certain sorts of landscapes such as deserts, mountains, or seaside vistas. This might help your work appeal to a wider audience. 

4. Consistency is Key: Consistency in style and subject matter is vital. When potential buyers see a consistent theme throughout your work, it builds trust and increases the likelihood of them choosing your photos. 

Leveraging Photo Network Orders 

5. Join a Photo Network: If you’re not already part of a photo network, it’s time to consider joining one. These platforms connect photographers with clients and can provide a steady stream of orders. 

6. Active Participation: Once you’re on a photo network, be active! Respond promptly to inquiries and orders. Good communication can lead to repeat business and long-term client relationships. 

7. Tailored Services: Don’t hesitate to offer tailored services based on your niche. For example, if you specialize in architectural photography, you could provide services for clients looking for specific architectural shots. 

8. Portfolio Optimization: Keep your portfolio on the network up to date and ensure that it showcases your specialization. Clients often use the network’s search features to find photographers with the expertise they need. 

Building a Reputation 

9. Quality Over Quantity: I learned that quality should always trump quantity. It’s better to have a smaller portfolio of exceptional images than a vast collection of mediocre ones. 

10. Consistent Quality: Maintaining a consistent level of quality is crucial. If you’ve built a reputation for delivering excellent work, clients are more likely to come back and recommend you to others. 

11. Collaborate and Network: Actively engage with your network, both online and offline. Collaborate with fellow photographers and attend industry events to build connections. These connections can lead to new opportunities and orders. 

What are the advantages of selling stock photos online? 

  • Flexible working hours and locations 

One of the significant advantages of selling stock photos online is the flexibility it offers. You have the freedom to work on your own schedule and from any location. Whether you prefer to shoot during the day or night, indoors or outdoors, you have the flexibility to create and upload images at your convenience. 

  • Opportunity to earn passive income 

Once you upload your photos to a stock photography site, they become available for purchase indefinitely. This means that you have the potential to earn passive income from your images while you focus on other photography projects or even while you sleep. As your portfolio grows, so does your earning potential. 

  • Multiple streams of income from stock agencies 

By selling your photos on multiple stock photography sites, you can create multiple streams of income. Each platform has its own customer base, and by diversifying your presence, you increase the likelihood of reaching a wider audience and generating more sales. This can be an effective strategy to maximize your earning potential. 

So, if you have a passion for photography and want to monetize your skills, selling photos online can be a lucrative endeavor. By finding the right stock photography websites, optimizing your portfolio, and staying consistent in uploading high-quality content, you can build a successful income stream from selling your photos online. Start exploring the various platforms available and embark on your journey as a stock photographer today!