Photography has become an interest of so many people nowadays. People with their smartphones could easily take pictures with proper exposure, ISO, shutter speed, white balance… Moreover, sell photos online has also become an essential demand for many people. Tons of images are uploaded to online stocks every day. Among those pictures, how can you distinguish yours from others? How can you make customers want your artworks but not others? How to sell your photos online?

Let’s jump into the detail to answers these questions!

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There’s a guy who earns 15,000$ a day for selling his own photos. His idea is very simple: print out any pictures requested by his friends and sell it to whoever requested with 150$ each. His business started when he posted this status:

“Hello, I just turned 34 this second. For one day only I am selling 4×6 prints of whatever you want from my Instagram archive for $150 each. I swear I will never sell anything this cheap again. If you’re interested, send a screenshot of the photo(s) of your choice to [email protected] (one d) and I will send a PayPal invoice, followed by a signed print. Easy peasy. Happy my birthday. I love you”

Daniel Arnold’s Instagram

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Of course, life is not a dream and you cannot hope for money to fall from the sky. This guy – Daniel Arnold, is an influencer on Instagram with over 20,000 followers at that point (the figure for that is now 10 times higher). Besides, his idea was unique.

You might learn more about his story on Forbes.

As you can see, Earning money from selling photos online is not impossible. The problem is how. With the step-by-step guide below, we guarantee that you will find your own ways to sell your images sooner or later.


Find a

There a lot of people employed as professional photographers. The photography online market these days is also crowded with tons of images uploaded every day for selling. They might have pictures that are better quality than yours (higher resolution, taken by extremely expensive cameras….). We might do not win the battle of picture quality but win the war of selling our photos by choosing our unique style.

Choosing Photography

There’s a bunch of style in photography out there, you will want to know and try them for yourself. At this point, high-quality equipment is NOT a must. You can try taking photos with your smartphone to see if which style is the one for you. In other words, the less advanced equipment you’ve got, the more time you have to invest in your intuition and the easier for you to understand your own style.Below are examples of photography styles and famous photographers who succeeded in their unique styles.

  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Macro
  • Underwater
  • Architecture
  • Conceptual
  • Abstract
  • Dance
  • Event
  • Photojournalism
  • Street photography

Famous photographers

Andreas Gursky is a famous German photographer, who also is a professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. He is known for his large-format architecture and landscape color photographs. Andreas often using a high point of view in most of his photos. He is the author of the highest price paid for a single photograph at auction, which is 4.3$ million. You might have a feeling like me about his photos, right when we look at the picture, we can tell that it’s Andreas’s because of his unique style. Be unique! 

Morgan Norman, whose artworks are often moody and dark is a perfect example for those who interested in portrait photography style. You will want to narrow your interest down. If you like portraits, do you want your photos to be bright, cute, or moody, dark? If you like architecture, do you prefer modern or ancient ones?… Be specific!

Improve of Photos

Photography techniques

In recent years, photography has become more and more popular. Everyone has there owned smartphones which have automated functions to help those who are not familiar with photography techniques. But your style and technique will differentiate you from the rest. Mastering photography takes patience, especially when you’re not studying in the field or have no mentor. For beginners, you might struggle with tons of material online to teach yourself, and still, you don’t know what you should do to improve your skills, to take perfect photos as you wish, and to earn money from your images. Photography has a lot of problems to deal with, we cannot put them all on the table here, but in general here are aspects that you have to master:

Learn to take photos in Manual mode:

  • Camera Modes
  • Understanding Exposure
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO
  • Exposure Triangle
  • Camera Light Meter
  • Camera Histogram
  • Manual and Auto Focus
  • Picture Styles
  • White Balance and Color Temperature

Components of a perfect photo:

  • Rule of Thirds
  • Perspective and Angle
  • Choosing a Background
  • Positioning a Subject
  • Creative Depth of Field
  • Thinking about Colors

>> Read photography tips to improve your photo’s quality

You may also want to know about Editing Images and Photoshop.

Our recommendation: for beginners, a completely suitable way for you to master photography is by taking online courses. The online courses like this one is a thorough one that teaches you to understand and practice all the aspects above. You will be able to understand how cameras work, how to shoot in manual mode, you also have a chance to follow the professional photographers on their photo-adventures and see how they shoot photo themselves… Everything you need to master photography is included. All you have to do is open your laptop, and the photography world will be right in front of you! This is the perfect way for beginners with a low budget as well as people who interest in photography but don’t have time to take offline classes.

 >> Click here to read our review about the online courses


Although a master can take beautiful photos with an entry-level camera. But having an advanced, high-end camera would be a huge advantage. Let’s have a quick comparison:

  • Taken by my Smartphone
    June 22nd, 2013
  • Taken by my DSLR
    June 22nd, 2013

You can spot the difference right away! My photos quality has significantly changed since I’ve got a DSLR camera. That’s the power of a high-quality camera. You might learn more about different types of camera, their pros, and cons, how to choose the camera that fit you the best here.


Online Stocks

Although it’s getting harder to sell your photos online these days because of the increasing number of competitors. The truth is, companies, organizations, or individuals will always need stock photography for their own purposes. Some people earn up to 6 figures a year by selling photos on online websites. We have already made a step-by-step guide to upload and sell your photos on the most popular stock online here – Which you should take a look after having high quality and unique pictures.

You can easily find that there are many kinds of online marketplace for people to upload their pictures, vectors, 2D-3D graphics and videos for sale – those are stock photo websites. There are many websites like that these days, including old ones and newly created ones. Choosing a suitable stock is essential for novices who want to sell their photos online. Here are some famous brands:

  • Depositphotos
  • Shutterstock
  • Dreamstime
  • Adobe stock

>>>Click to read our reviews

In general, signing up for these websites are similar. For the sake of this example, we’ve chosen the most suitable one for beginners – Depositphotos. Below is the detailed step-by-step instruction.

Selling photos on Depositphoto

The very first point that you need to notice is about images/ videos quality. Including:

  • Photos must be in JPEG/JPG format with an RGB color space;
  • Minimum resolution is 3.8 MP (2400 x 1600 pixels);
  • Photos may not be larger than 50 megabytes.

Photographers of any level can sign up on Depositphotos and start making money. But first, you need to pass an examination to get the account and the possibility to submit photos.

How to become a contributor?

  • Click ‘Sell Stock Photos’ for more information on terms and benefits of contributors.
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  • then sign up a account
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  • After registering, click ‘Become a contributor’ one more time to begin the examination process. You must first upload 5 samples of your best work to be evaluated.
  • Besides, you need to upload documentation to confirm your identity. it’s can be driver’s license, passport, etc. in JPEG/JPG format
  • You need to wait for a few days for the result. You will receive royalties up to 42% from being a contributor of this website. 

 What is the examination?

  • If you want to sell your photos online, you should meet Depositphoto’s criteria for selling. Thus, an examination allows checking whether your quality of images and style meet their requirements.
  • Once you pass the examination you will get an account. Then, you can upload any photos that you want, their related information, and submit your work to check for approval.
  • If you pass the checking process, your photos will be available on the stock


To pass the examination easier, you should upload photos which show your strong personality, or photos that related to a very specific topic (eg, a festival in your country), or high demand categories:

  • Family and Children. Customers have a high demand for photos of children in different life situations: games, studying, daily activities, etc.
  • Sports, Healthy Life,... everything related to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Food, Drinks, and Travel are popular. Agencies and magazines often buy photos of different touristic places.
  • Especially: Sales, seasonal events, holidays are the most popular searched keywords, as many clients would buy these kinds of images for their advertisements.

Your own website

You could build your own e-commerce site and sell your photographs yourself. This is not recommended for beginners because you have to be well prepared for such things as:

  • Get a domain and hosting
  • Purchase plugins for your content system
  • Have payment processor gateways for processing credit cards, etc.

>> Learn more detail on how to create your own website to sell photos.


What should a photographer do to create top-selling photos online?

Firstly, you should always try to catch trends early as well as be prepared for seasonal trends. For example, to sell photos on Halloween, you should go take photos months before October, maybe in August or sooner. Then, start to upload your photos in early October when clients start to prepare for Halloween and look for the photos.

How long until you start to make money from sell photos online?

It depends on your images quality, experiences you have through time. What we could recommend is how you upload your images. Instead of uploading all of your photos at once, you should divide them into smaller batches. Uploading every 50 images every week for a whole month will allow them to stay in the Newest category all the time, which increases your chance of selling your photos.

Now, get your camera and go shooting!
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Truc Doan

Truc Doan

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