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Where to publish your photos

by | Business

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission.

A number of platforms are available to photographers that allow them to share their work with the world. The question is, where to publish your photos? This article will help you find the best platforms on the internet that will help you grow as a photographer by simply publishing your photos on their platforms.

Why you should publish your photos to stock photography websites

  • Extra income: There are several platforms on the internet that pay photographers for publishing photos on their sites. The amount one earns usually depends on the quality of their photos, subject range, popularity and a number of other factors. So, if you want to make extra income as a photographer, publishing photos online is one of the ways to achieve that.
  • Exposure: Putting your work out there is an important part of building your profile as a photographer. Most of these platforms allow photographers to set up a profile that other people can check out if they find interest in their work. At the end of the day, this can significantly increase your visibility online.
  • Community: Publishing photos may also lead you to a bigger community of other photographers. A supportive photography community can help you grow your career since there is a lot of free knowledge shared amongst members.
  • Meet potential clients: Several photographers have met their clients via the internet. Some of these clients may include magazines, cosmetic brands and others. Putting your photos on display can lead to your breakthrough as a photographer.

Where to publish your photos

Free platforms

Why publish on free stock photography websites?

  • To get more exposure
  • Build your online photography profile
  • Get paying clients that have bigger projects


1. Unsplash: Owned by Getty Images, Unsplash allows photographers to share photos in various categories, including current events, 3D renders, wallpapers, nature, and many other categories.

2. Pexels: One of the most popular platforms for publishing free photos and videos. Pexels gives users the option to donate to creators through PayPal. It allows creators to share their Instagram handles for users to follow them if they want to see more of their work.

3. Burst: This is a photo publishing platform that allows creators to share photos in several categories, including fashion, animals, food, nature, and a lot more. Burst is run by Shopify as a value-added service for users looking to set up an online store.

Paying platforms

Why publish on paid stock photography websites?

·  Earn extra income

·  Build a real photography business on the internet

·  Get bigger clients


1. iStock: This is the most popular photo publishing site with millions of monthly visitors. It is also owned by Getty images and has over 160,000 contributors globally.

2. Alamy: A privately owned British stock photography agency that has been around since 1999. It allows creators to publish and sell images, vectors, and videos.

3. Shutterstock: This is a creative platform that photographers can use to share photos, vectors, and illustrations. The platform has over 100,000 contributors globally that you can be part of.

Licensing Basics

Creative Commons

It’s important to know the different Creative Commons (CC) and licensing conditions. This will help you specify what users are allowed to do with your work. The four common licensing conditions you may need to know about include;

  • Attributions: Users must specify the source of the photos, explain changes made and also link the original work.
  • Non-commercial: Users are allowed to use and adapt your photos for free, but not for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike: Requires users to distribute any modified works with the same licence.
  • No Derivatives: Users are allowed to copy, distribute, perform, or display photos, but they need permission from the creator before making any changes to them.

Paid Licences

When you publish your photos to a paid stock photography platform, it is absolutely essential that you understand the types of licences available to you. The licence you select for your work will determine your income and how your work is made use of in the real world.

  • Royalty Free (RF): This is the cheapest licensing method for your work. It is important to note that these are not FREE IMAGES. The user purchases a once-off licence to use your image and can use your image multiple times, in different formats, forever. Think of it as a ‘pay once, use forever’ licence. The Royalty Free licence is ideal for budget-conscious buyers. 
  • Extended: These are an extension of the Royalty Free licence model. Even though the RF licence is quite flexible, there are limits usually set on the reproduction volume and on use with resale products. An Extended licence allows the buyer or publisher to request extensions on the terms of the RF licence. This may be to allow them to reproduce the image beyond the set volume or use it on projects that are outside of the original terms. In terms of cost, Extended licences are pricier than standard RF, but useful when extra rights are needed and an RM licence (see below) is too tedious to set up.
  • Rights Managed (RM): Ranging up to thousands of dollars, the rights managed licence allows creators and publishers to control the way and extent to which their photos are used. What this means is that terms of use include time period, geographic location and reproduction. The terms of use can be negotiated on a cas-by-case basis between the owner and buyer. Additionally, a Rights Managed licence allows for exclusive usage rights, where the licence can be granted to a single person or entity for a limited period. As a result, the Rights Managed licence is ideal for agencies and brands who require exclusivity in their marketing and communications.


If you want to publish your photography work on the web, you have several options to choose from. All the six platforms we have shared are among the popular and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Even so, check out each of them to figure out the one with the best terms, licencing and rates that favour you as a photographer.

That’s it from us this week. Be sure to follow our social channels on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube, and sign up to our newsletter, where we send a periodic round-up of articles and sneak in updates exclusively for our subscribers.

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