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The Internet and camera technology has now made it easier than ever to sell images online for fun and profit. You can sell images online in a many ways and in this article I’ll show you how to sell images online through stock agencies.

I’ve also created tutorial and videos on other ways to sell images online and you can find them on this website.

 

How to Sell Images Online through Stock Agencies

Stock photography can be used in a variety of ways. You shoot on “spec” when you sell images online through stock agencies, meaning you do not work on an assignment when they take the stock pictures. Instead, you take pictures of subjects and concepts you choose. This is one of the reasons I like to sell images online because you I take and sell images online that you like to take.

Although, when you sell stock photography online you need to keep demand and supply in mind so you shoot in a market where there are demand and not lethal competition. Many photographers who try to sell images online make the mistake to work with markets that has no demand. Before you start to sell images online, make sure there’s a demand for the images.

Sell images online through stock agencies is a rewarding hobby or profession because stock photography is commonly used by graphic designers to create advertisements, websites, brochures and other creative for their company’s promotions. There are many other uses as well though, like for instance in magazines and articles so there is a huge market to sell images online through stock agencies. So when you sell images online there’s a good chance you can find them in a publication, website or ad.

Different types of stock photography:

Royalty Free Stock Photography

Royalty free means that a stock photo can be paid for once, but used multiple times. There are usually limitations however, depending on where and how you sell images online so you need to understand the law when you sell images online.

It’s very important for buyers to know that “Royalty Free” means they’ll pay no royalties on usage of the stock photos. This phrase does not mean the photos are now fully owned and copyrighted by the buyers and it does not mean the photos can be distributed freely by the buyer either.

When you sell images online with royalty free license the images are still owned – and fully copyrighted by you. When when you sell images online with royalty free license, you only sell the license to use those photos. The buyer only buy the license to use your royalty free images that you sell online.

Sell Images Online Through Microstock Agencies

This is a relatively new part of the stock photography industry, and most often (but now always) when you sell images online through Microstock agencies you sell the pictures with a royalty free license. The main difference however, is that when you sell images online through Micro Stock Photography sites, clients can license images for as little as one or two dollars or even less. When you sell images online through with a traditional royalty free license, you can get $60, $90 and even hundreds or thousands of dollars after the agency has taken their commission.

Here’s a summary of common generic “rules” when you sell images online with Mircrostock agencies:

  • The buyer pay a one-time fee to use the image multiple times for multiple purposes
  • There is no time limit on when the buyer can use an image when you sell images online through Microstock agencies
  • You can’t sell exclusive rights of a Royalty-free image when you sell images online through Microstock agencies
  • A Royalty-free image often has some limit for how many times the buyer can reproduce it (for instance 200,000 magazines). The buyer is then required to pay a small fee per magazine for additional prints
  • The value of the license is typically determined by the resolution of the image and through which microstock agency you sell your images online

As always when you sell images online you need to read the terms and conditions for each stock agency, the summary above is not true in all cases.

Rights Managed (RM) Stock Photography

Rights Managed stock photography tends to be of higher quality than Royalty Free images, so the competition might be harder requirements when you post and sell photos online with a Rights Managed license.

You should know that when you sell images online with a rights managed license, the use of the image is more controlled compared to when you sell images online with a Royalty Free license. When you sell images online with a Rights Managed license, you only allow a limited number of buyers to use the picture at any given time.

The fee you get when you sell images online with a rights managed license depends on many factors.

Important Factors When You Sell Your Photos For Free

  • Usage: The usage of the picture is important when you sell images online (e.g commercial , corporate, or editorial).
  • Duration: Duration of use is an important factor (e.g. 1 month, 6 months, 1 Year, 2 Years etc.)
  • Print Run: Print run is an important factor for the fee when you sell images online (e.g. up to 50,000, 750,000 etc.)
  • Territory: The territory is an important factor (e.g.; USA, Europe, France, Japan, worldwide etc.)
  • Size: The image size is an important factor for the fee when you sell images online. This is true also for Royalty Free images (1/4 page, 1/2 page, full page, or double page spread etc.)
  • Industry: (e.g financial services, computer engineering, telecommunication etc.)
  • Exclusivity: (exclusive or non exclusive license)

Wikipedia list factors that influence the price when you sell images online.

So there you have it, now you know how to sell your images online through stock agencies. Really, there’s nothing stopping you to sell images online if you just take action. Like I mentioned in the beginning, there’s never been easier to sell images online than it is today so take action and start to sell images online right now.

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Making money selling images online is a dream many of is share but what are is best place to sell images online?

Read on, I’ve compiled a list of the best places to sell images online and they are categorized based on the type of images you want to sell online.

Best Place To Sell Images Online

Evergreen type of photos with a longer shelf life is suitable to sell through stock agencies. We have both “traditional” stock agencies and Microstock agencies and there are thousands of them.

Traditional Stock Agencies

Many traditional stock agencies have rigorous requirements on quality and how many images you need to submit in your first submission and this is daunting for many beginners. For many successful photographers it’s the best place to sell images online.

Getty Images

Best Place To Sell Images Online Getty Images

Best Place To Sell Images Online - Getty Images

Getty Images is probably the most prestigious of all the stock agencies and they are picky when they approve new photographers to join. Still, it’s by any means impossible to join Getty Images and a list like this of the best places to sell images online would not be complete if I didn’t include them here.

The benefit with Getty Images is that many photo editors see them as the place to go if they need high quality images and they charge premium prices so you get a healthy commission for every sale.

 Alamy

Alamy is perhaps the best place to sell images online  – especially for less experienced photographers. Alamy is not as prestigious but they are good to and it’s so much easier to get approved as a contributor.

Alamy pay quite high commissions and also premium prices, at least if you compare with Microstock agencies so you can get a lot of money for each sale through Alamy.

Microstock Agencies

Microstock agencies is another obvious place in a list of best place to sell images online. Some of the agencies are a little picky when they approve images but it’s much easier to become a contributor compared to for instance Getty Images. Microstock agencies is a great place to sell images online for beginners.

 iStockPhoto

Best Place To Sell Images Online iStock

Sell Images Online iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto is the biggest Microstock agency and a great place to sell images online. They are known to be picky and it’s easy to get caught in their quality control but that’s a good thing because the photo buyers know iStockPhoto have high quality images and they like to go there.

Before you submit, remember to carefully read the submission guidelines and make sure you follow them to the point. They have a limit for how many images you can upload per week.

One of the things i dislike with iSTockPhoto is the very low commission they pay for non exclusive members and I don’t recommend you agree to exclusive rights to your images. Instead I rather take the low commission and promote my images at other places as well.

Fotolia

Fotolia is also a polular site, especially in Europe, and must be on a list of the “best places to sell images online” because they are potentially a big income earner. They are less picky on image quality compared to iStockPhoto and have no upload limit.

Fotolias uploading and approval system for images can be a bit cumbersome at times.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is the worlds biggest subscription type Microstock agency in the world and as such it’s one of the best places to sell images online.

They are mostly suitable for beginners because it’s easy to get some sales (downloads) but you earn very little commission per download. Shutterstock is typically not a high income earner by professional/experienced stock photographers.

Citizen side / Newsworthy Images

Newsworthy images are often not suitable to sell at stock agencies because the shelf life is often short. Instead you need to quickly get newsworthy images out for sale  because it might be too late tomorrow.

In some cases though can an image be both newsworthy and later become evergreen.

Demotix

Another Great Place To Sell Images Online Is Demotix

Another Great Place To Sell Images Online Is Demotix

The best place to sell images online that are newsworthy is Demotix and I’m very excited about the opportunities they provide. Demotix also has a pertnership with Corbis who is a well known high quality stock agency so your images might also appear for sale at Corbis as well.

Just remember not to wait, you need to act immediately if you have a newsworthy image to share.

Best Place To Sell Images Online: Fine Art Photography

Stock agencies are mostly not the best place to sell images online but there are options also for fine art photographers.

Imagekind

Imagekind allows you to promote your fine art images and illustrations on their website and they take care of the framing and printing for you. They have a base price they charge and you add the markup you require. Imagekind take 100% of the base price and you get 100% of the markup.

Say for example the base price is $50 and you want 50% markup then the print sells for $50 x 1.5 = $75 and you get the markup which is $25. This is only for the print, you get a different commission for the framing which depends on the program you selected.

They have free and paid programs you can join.

So there you have it, a list of the best places to sell images online. Now it’s up to you, what is the best place to sell images online for you?

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Ways to Sell Images Online

November 13, 2011

Stock Photo of Man in White Suit One of the best ways to earn a passive income and having great fun is to sell images online so if you are looking for a way to earn money from your hobby then I’m sure that sell images online is on your shortlist. It used to be […]

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