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5 Popular Stock Photography Websites to Sell Your Images

Stock images are pictures created by photographers and digital artists, which are then posted on dedicated stock websites for licensed use. The authors retain their copyright, but images can be downloaded, modified, and used by others for personal and comm...

Benzinga · 07/27/2022 14:37

Stock images are pictures created by photographers and digital artists, which are then posted on dedicated stock websites for licensed use. The authors retain their copyright, but images can be downloaded, modified, and used by others for personal and commercial purposes. Such visuals are approved, posted, and generally managed by image and photo stocks. 


Is it worth the effort to upload your photos to stock websites? Definitely, as it can help both beginner and professional photographers showcase their work and find new clients. Read on to learn the details on how image stocks can help boost your career.

What are the perks of selling stock photos and uploading free images to websites?

You can earn extra money

Stock pictures can be free and paid for users who download them, depending on the stock website. However, by contributing your visuals to a paid photobank, you will earn money each time a website user purchases your file. The payment can be a set amount or a percentage from the sale, depending on the royalty agreement. Royalty payments can be a nice source of passive income; however, it’s generally not enough to make a living unless you are a seasoned stock photographer. 

It’s a free place for self-promotion

Offering free images and stock photos can help you promote your name and work, and find new clients. Picture stocks provide the author’s name and their ownership of the work, so potential clients or admirers can find them on social media and subscribe. Also, some stock websites allow users to contact creators directly for future business deals. 


As you can see, you don’t need to set up a website and work hard to promote your visuals: image stocks provide you with everything, from a platform to a massive, loyal audience. Therefore, saving you a lot of time and allowing you to focus on the creation process more.

What do you need to start working with picture stocks?

#1 Find visual consistency

It could be a certain niche, a personal style, or the way you edit images. Such consistency can generate a stream of clients that come looking for your niche or style, and increase your personal brand’s recognition.

#2 Maintain high quality 

Even if you are a beginner, high resolution and superior image quality is a must. Best-selling stock photos should look the part and be scalable or big enough to use for different purposes, in online content and for print.

#3 Work on image editing 

Proper editing doesn’t simply make your photos more appealing; it also helps get rid of flaws that might affect the overall impression of your work. For example, there can be background objects that ruin the picture, noise, blurriness, dull colors, red eyes, and many other aspects. 

#4 Choose the right stock for you

Last but not least, choosing a proper platform ensures that you’ll work comfortably, knowing exactly how your photos will and won’t be used according to the license. You’ll also have an understanding of how and how much you’ll get paid for them. 


Top 5 image stocks to work with

  1. Depositphotos.com

Depositphotos is one of the largest stock content websites featuring free and paid royalty-free images. The marketplace provides visuals to some of the biggest international brands, such as Subaru, Warner Brothers, Tripadvisor, and many others. Depending on your contributor level, earnings can start from $0.25 per photo.


To become a Depositphotos contributor, you need to register, upload some of your best photos for brief examination, wait for approval, and begin uploading your work for sale. There are 5 contributor levels that depend on the number of photos you sell. The more sales you have, the higher your level will be. And with a higher contributor level, you’ll be able to get more profit due to the higher royalty payment.


Depositphotos offers two types of licenses: Standard and Extended. The first one allows photo usage for digital and printed material, but doesn’t allow selling products using the visuals. The number of prints a user can release is also limited to 500,000 copies. The Extended license poses no such limitations or restrictions.


  1. Photocase.com

Photocase encourages creators to work in their own style and upload photos that they personally consider eye-catching. However, the platform’s editor team admits that they accept only 10% of photos submitted, even if the files meet the requirements. 


For each upload, you’ll get 1 point, for each sale—2 points. These points affect your contributor level, and this level affects the royalty percentage you’ll get. 20% for the starting level called Leek and 50% for the top level called Carrot. You’ll also get access to a photography community that could help you in your professional growth.


On Photocase, users purchase credits to download royalty-free images. The Basic license allows using images indefinitely for different projects while crediting the photographer. If users don’t want to attribute the creator, they have to pay 30 credits. And if they want to use photos in merchandise and templates—100 credits.

  1. Dreamstime.com

The onboarding process on Dreamstime is as simple as it can be: you just register and start uploading your photos. The website’s team reserves the right to accept only high-quality images that meet aesthetic, commercial, and technical requirements. 


The creators get 25–50% of the Revenue Share for each photo sold. The share itself is calculated depending on the net amount for a specific transaction. As soon as you’ll collect $100 on balance and enter your payment details, you’ll be able to withdraw the money.


Dreamstime offers several licenses: Royalty-free, Extended, and Editorial. With Royalty-free, the user pays for the image once and can use it as many times as they want, without the ability to sell merchandise with the image. However, such sales are available under the Extended license, which comes in many forms: for web, print, and other usage types. Visuals purchased under the Editorial license can be used for illustrations in magazines, newspapers, and other editorial contexts.

  1. Alamy.com

Alamy is a great photo stock option for student creators. This website offers a special 100% Student deal that allows young talents to get 100% of their sales money for two years, even if they graduate university by then. As for the other creators, Alamy pays up to 50% of each sale made on the website.


The platform offers different types of licenses, depending on how a customer will be using images, whether for personal or commercial purposes. There’s also a royalty-free license that allows using images across multiple projects. Pricing depends on the size and type of image. Users can also discuss custom licensing to fit their specific needs. 


  1. Unsplash.com

Unlike previous image stocks, Unsplash doesn’t pay contributor royalties. However, it’s still worth considering this platform for promotion.


Being a free stock photo website, Unsplash is visited by many users worldwide, who can see contributor names and reach out to them for further cooperation. So, if you are a beginner creator who needs to build up an audience, this could be a great option for you.


The Unsplash license allows users to use photos for personal and commercial purposes. However, if a customer wants to sell a photo, they have to modify it significantly, e.g., make it a part of a collage. To start working with Unsplash, just register and upload photos that meet the platform’s requirements. 

To sum up

Selling photos on stock image websites can benefit photographers by helping them earn money and recognition, and find new clients. If you are a beginner, this could be a great option to start your career. If you are a professional, this could be your chance to attract a new audience. However, always collaborate with trustworthy image stocks to make sure you get paid for your work and achieve the desired results.