How to Sell Your Photos Online

how to sell photos onlineWhether you’re a seasoned professional or talented aspiring photog, selling your photos and images online is a popular option for anyone wanting to create an ongoing revenue stream via their website or blog.

Showcasing your photography talent online is simple with one of the many well-designed image plugins available, as outlined in our popular post, Best Photo Gallery Plugins for WordPress. Creating an online portfolio to get your work seen is a great first step towards making selling your work – but if you want to take it to the next level, there are two key options to consider.

NextGEN Pro Plugin

In our gallery plugin wrap-up post, we mention NextGEN Gallery, which is currently one of the most widely used WordPress gallery plugins available. The development team at NextGEN has upped the ante for photographers sharing their work online, though, with the release of the latest version of their premium plugin, which includes ecommerce so you can sell your images directly to buyers.

The ecommerce feature was developed at the behest of many users of the free plugin, and NextGEN says the Pro ecommerce plugin’s object “is to simplify the process of selling your images without the bulk of other ecommerce features not directly related to this task”. Essentially, the pro plugin aims to make it easy to sell your photos without the need for other complicated ecommerce plugins or systems, and its key features include the ability to:

  • Manage multiple price lists
  • Connect 1 price list to a gallery
  • Override individual image price list choices
  • Disable individual images from being sold
  • Sell digital downloads of your images
  • Separate domestic and international shipping rates
  • Price shipping as a fixed amount of percentage
  • Accept PayPal standard, PayPal express (better) and Stripe for credit cards (no SSL required)
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If you use WordPress then check out NextGEN Pro for more information.

Stock Photo Platforms

Stock photography sites such as Shutterstock, Dreamstime, iStock and Fotolia are incredibly popular among photographers looking to earn revenue from their works. Like any online sales platform, there are pros and cons to selling your images via stock photography sites, and each site can differ significantly in terms of profile, ease of use, and compensation.

The key advantage of selling your work via a stock photography platform is of course the high profile of these sites, and the ability to reach millions of users who are already using them to purchase images. Conversely, the drawbacks include a significantly lower rate of compensation (as opposed to setting your own prices), and the difficulty associated with getting your images noticed among millions of other photos, especially when you’re a new contributor, since some of these platforms will rank your images depending on your past popularity and lifetime earnings.

Another difficulty associated with selling your images via some stock photo sites is getting your images past the vetting process. This is both a positive and a negative, since the vetting process is deigned to keep the overall quality of images offered high, meaning your work is only showcased alongside high quality images, should you be accepted.

For information about selling your photos via some of the more popular stock photography websites, check out the contributor information for Fotolia, iStock, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime.

What platform do you use to sell your photographs online? Share your secret weapon in the comments below.

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Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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