Dozens of sites help photographers earn money with stock photos. These sites usually pay only a few pennies per use, but they sell your stock photos hundreds of times, allowing you to pull in income for work you did years ago.

Where can you earn money with stock photos?

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock pays photographers 33% to 35% of the amount it collects for your photos. However, buyers access photos largely through discounted subscription plans that give them the ability to upload between three and several hundred images a month. That means that photographers who sell through the site are likely to earn between 33 cents and $3.30 on any individual sale. Adobe Stock does not limit your rights to sell your photos elsewhere. 


Shutterstock encourages photographers and videographers to upload their images in exchange for earning royalties when those images sell. The royalties range from a low of 10 cents per photo to a high of $120. However, high payments are for “enhanced” licenses that give the buyer the right to use your image often and forever. By and large, the site pays a lower royalty rate than Adobe Stock. It also sells photos via package plans that are likely to keep royalty rates low, except in unusual circumstances.

iStock/Getty Images

Owned by Getty Images, iStock is another major international stock photo site that shares your images with its sister companies. You apply to be a contributor by sending information about you and sample photos. Most applicants are accepted or rejected within 30 days. If accepted, you earn royalties ranging between 15-45%. The percentage depends on the number of photos you sell and whether you’re an “exclusive” or a “non-exclusive” contributor. If you’re invited to be an exclusive contributor, you get a bigger percentage of the sales price and your work is sold for premium prices. But you give up the right to sell photos — any photos, not just the ones uploaded to iStock/Getty — on other sites. That’s a huge concession.


Alamy pays higher royalty rates to its contributors. To be specific: You’d need to sell an astounding 25,000 images in a year to hit a 40% royalty rate with Shutterstock. But you only need to sell $251 worth of photos to hit that level with Alamy. The catch: The site is smaller and sells fewer photos. So, even though Alamy’s terms are better, you should still also list your photos with the big guys. Learn more about Alamy here. Or you can sign up for Alamy here.


Foap enlists photographers — amateur and professional — to submit smart-phone photos for potential purchase by brands that want to illustrate advertising campaigns. Most photos are purchased for $10.  Foap takes a 50% commission, so you get $5 from each sale. However, the site also offers “missions” where you can earn more. Mission photos are typically sold for $60 or more. Learn more about Foap here.

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