How to Sell Photo Files without Microstock Sites

selling pictures online

You have an eye for photography and a drive to succeed; is it possible to turn these attributes into a steady stream of revenue? Resorting to a microstock site might seem like the fastest and least expensive way to get your images on the market, but there are some drawbacks associated with these huge clearinghouse sites for photo sales. Before you sign away your rights for the privilege of competing with hundreds or even thousands of photographers around the world with a similar niche, explore the idea of starting your very own web store. It’s easier and less expensive than you might think, and the benefits are enormous.

Why You Might Not Want to Sell Photo Products on a Microstock Site

There are a number of conveniences associated with microstock sites, particularly when it comes to efficiency and hands-off management. You’re able to upload your photos and collect your earnings, with no up-front investments of cash and minimal investments of time.

Unfortunately, you’ll pay for these convenience features. When buyers search for images which meet their needs, there may be dozens of other photographers with similar images they must sift through before they even see your work. Assuming potential customers don’t settle for other images before they even see yours, you may only collect pennies from each sale. Your brand is difficult to market in such settings, and you’ll struggle to establish the brand identity you need to truly set yourself apart from the competition.

Because the market is crowded on these sites, there’s a good chance your submitted photos won’t even be accepted. No matter the quality of your images, if there are too many others in your category, your submissions may be rejected. Of course, you can avoid these pitfalls by starting your own web store, but isn’t it difficult and expensive?

Starting a Photo Sales Business is Cheaper Than You Think

You can easily spend thousands of dollars on payment processing solutions which require you to assume all the liability, custom websites which require endless maintenance, and prepaid marketing. You’ll also have the burden of manually charging all credit cards, monitoring sales alerts and attempting the impossible task of fulfilling all orders within seconds of transaction completion. Or, you can combine the convenience and ease of managed sales with the independence of your own web store.

Quality eCommerce platform service providers like are designed for the smaller online merchant, giving you access to everything you need for a successful launch. Your payments are processed through reliable and trusted systems, like PayPal and Google Wallet. Your files are hosted securely, and file delivery automation eliminates the possibility of a missed order. You’re even able to gain access to valuable marketing tools, like affiliate networks, which take all the risk out of promoting your brand. You don’t even need an expensive website; you can turn anything from a free blog site to an inexpensive template site into your sales portal in moments, with simple cut-and-paste HTML linking. Don’t let your photos languish unnoticed in a crowded microstock market; sell photo files on your own terms!

Find us at