How To Sell My Photos Online 2020?

How To Sell My Photos Online

Many people are asking How To Sell My Photos Online 2020? Can I sell photos on different websites? Whether you are taking photos and videos by your professional camera or a smartphone, as long as it is high-quality photos, you can start selling them online.

How To Sell My Photos Online 2020?

As a non-professional photographer myself, I am selling images and footage at Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Gettyimages, iStocks, Pond5(footage only), and Dreamstime too. Shutterstock tends to work better for me, I started 2 years ago, uploaded 534 total footage and images.

Among all the above, the highest images quality control guidelines would be Adobe, following by Shutterstock, then others. Meaning to say, Adobe has the strictest guideline to review your images.

I will be sharing Shutterstock info that I am more familiar with and uploaded the most. All other platforms share similar requirements.

1. Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a leading provider of high-quality royalty managed, photographs, images, vectors, illustrations, videos, and music. Services use by marketing, promotion, advertising, and personal use activities. Shutterstock is a well-known and heavily used by companies and media for commercial and editorial use.

To start selling images, you will need to create an account as a Shutterstock Contributor.

a. Image Requirement:

Shutterstock is very strict on stock submission. Please make sure the below criteria are met before you decided to upload. Image reviewers can reject your uploads once requirements are not met.

  1. Take clear and high-quality photos
  2. Take photos that people will use
  3. Quality Images and Videos
  • Image composition is important. Image subject should be clear, straight, and not off focus.
  • No cropping on the main subject.
  • Brightness and exposure are balance. Good lighting.
  • Not noisy, dust, pixelated, chromatic aberrations.
  • Videos are not shaky, stabilized, blur.

TIP 01: I use Adobe Lightroom to balance the image colors and brightness level. It seems to match Adobe better.

4. Before uploading, the image description should be accurate to your image. The editorial images title format must be followed. date, country, and description.

5. Adding in relevant or representative keywords that can help SEO. This is important for people to search and find your photos.

6. Model/Property Releases – Get approval and signature from private property and models to get permissions to sell their images, the release must be attached.

7. Images and videos that are taken at private events can be used for editorial use but require proof of credentials, to prove that you are authorized to shoot the event.

8. Normal public videos with humans can be used for editorial only without having a release. As long as it is being labeled properly of its date, location, and description.

9. All images must be at least 4MP (4 Megapixels) or larger.

10. Videos or Footages Duration and File Size – Clips should be between 5 and 60 seconds and no larger than 4GB.

11. File Format – All footage should be prepared as QuickTime .mov or .Mp4 files. A free program called MPEG Streamclip is available to convert all files to QuickTime .mov format. I am using Adobe Media Encoder.

b. Upload Your Images

Drag and drop your files function or Select multiple files that can be done on the Shutterstock website once you created an account as a Shutterstock Contributor. (.eps files or jpegs that are at least 4.0 megapixels)

TIP 02: To add metadata on all your stock images easily you can use this FREE software here: Xpiks. It sorts out keywords for you in batches.

c. Upload Your Footage Content

Step 1: Upload Your Files Through FTP
  • Launch FTP program
  • Connect to Use the same email address that you login and password as your contributor account.
  • Upload your clips to the FTP server
  • More Footage Formats, Read more.
Step 2: Name and Keyword Your Footage
  • After finish uploading footage
  • Login to Shutterstock Contributor website, check out your portfolio tab, submitted the footages page.
  • Key in description and keywords for each clip
  • You can import a CSV file for batch processing of your descriptions and keywords too.
Step 3: Submit and Wait for Review
  • Submit your footage for review.
  • Approved clips will appear on for customers to download.
  • To amend your footage description, keywords, and category, you can go into Catalog Manager.
How To Sell My Photos Online

TIP 03: Use Free FileZila FTP to upload.

2. Earnings

How To Sell My Photos Online
My most selling image up to 10 times. Total profit is $2.50

Starting on 1st June, 2020, your earnings for each license will be based on your level.

How To Sell My Photos Online
How To Sell My Photos Online
  • These new levels are based on the number of times your content is licensed rather than your lifetime earnings.
  • All contributors reset to level 1 for both images and videos every year on January 1st.
  • There are separate levels for images and for videos, and your payout raises through them independently based on your download count in each category.

Earnings before 1st June 2020

Initially, Shutterstock will pay you $0.25 cents per image downloaded from customers’ subscriptions. It can be raised to 33 cents, 36 cents, and 38 cents as you started to make $500, $3000, and $10,000 respectively. Lifetime offer.

For video, 30% commission will be payout on each video sold.

Shutterstock payment methods:

  • Payoneer
  • Paypal
  • Skrill

==+> Sign up as Shutterstock Contributor here
==+>Buy Shutterstock images and video here

3. Shutterstock Affiliate Program

Shutterstock has its affiliate program too. Making commission by promotion images, footages, and music. You can also refer your friend to sell stocks here, and you can make a little from there too.

Shutterstock New Customer Purchase – Image 20%
Shutterstock New Customer Purchase – Footage 20%
Referral Period – 30 days

=+>Join Shutterstock Affiliate Program here

At the same time, you can upload the same footage to other websites like POND5, Dreamstime, Gettyimages/iStocks, and Adobe. All of them have particular upload criteria that you would have to follow.

Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5
How To Sell My Photos Online

TIP 04: You can download this Sales Tracking App to track your daily sales here. Free to check on Shutterstock, Getty/iStock, and Dreamstime.

4. Shutterstock Earnings after 2 years

*Latest updated earnings on June 2020: $243.91

5. GettyImages / iStock Earnings after 2 years

How To Sell My Photos Online

6. Dreamstime Earnings after 2 years

How To Sell My Photos Online

7. Pond5 Earnings after 2 years

How To Sell My Photos Online

==+> Sign up as Shutterstock Contributor here
==+>Buy Shutterstock images and video here

8. Final Thoughts

I decided to share this post because there are many people ask this question: How do I sell my photos online? To be frank with you, I spent much time preparing the images and footage, after 2 years of uploading all the photos and videos I have, my total earnings are about $300.

My best selling subject is
1) Food for images – eg. egg tarts, dessert, chicken rice.
2) Skin texture animation for videos – Skin recovery
3) Flight videos – No branding shown

The returns are not as lucrative as I think, but these earnings are still considered passive income in the long run. The one-time effort, the stock is selling 24/7 for a lifetime.

A full-time photographer can make more, whereby they can take better photos every day and process them frequently enough to upload. Professional photographers might be able to make more. Whether to make it a fulltime career or a part-time online job, I hope you can decide better now after reading this post.

To create a contributor account start here Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Gettyimages, iStocks, Pond5, and Dreamstime.

What do you think about this How To Sell My Photos Online 2020? Do leave me some comments to share your experience here, so that more people can learn from it!

To know more on how I make a living doing affiliate marketing, you can check out this post, to learn a full package of Affiliate Marketing Business online you can check out the training here.

How To Make Money Affiliate Marketing?


  1. Hi Yongli,

    It’s good to know that you eventually made some earning on different photo stock sites, which is motivating to people who are interested to take shots. There are many ways to make passive income streams online, and you just showed us one possibility(I LOVE IT)

    I wonder what kind of photos you uploaded into the websites that bring you the most sales? Like a scenic photo? or pets? It will be nice if you could share examples for a guide.


    • Haha thanks, Matt, now that you ask, my most making photos are food photos, like egg tart, chicken rice, etc. My most making footages are Skin transformation animation video, food closeup videos, and in-flight, outer window shots. Thanks for LOVING it!

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