How to Sell Photographs to the Media

By Joe Turner ; Updated September 15, 2017
You will need to be able to spot a good photograph if you want to sell your images.

As a photographer, you will have many opportunities to capture a print-worthy image. It could be an interesting wildlife photograph that captures unusual animal behavior, or it could be a snap of your favorite celeb. You may choose to sell directly to a publication, join a stock photography website, or work with a press agency. With talent, an eye for a good picture, and by following a few simple steps, you could be lucky enough to have your photos published and get paid for it.

Read your target publications. It is important to gain an understanding of the types of images that your target publications use and what types of articles they print. For example, if you are targeting gossip magazines, then you might want to try to photograph a celebrity who has recently made the news. If you have already taken your images, then pay your local library a visit, and find magazines or newspapers that cover the topic you have photographed.

Once you have selected the publications you are interested in selling your photos to, visit the companies' websites and locate the photo submission guidelines of each. The majority of websites will have a link to this information in sections like "About Us," "Contact Us" or "Write for Us." However, the photo guidelines may not be on the website; if you are having trouble finding them, contact the publication through the "Contact Us" section and request a copy.

Review the photo submission guidelines before you submit your images. Most publications will request that you format photos in a certain way. This could mean changing the size, file size and image resolution of your image, before it can qualify to be published. Make the necessary changes before progressing. Take note of how the images should be sent—there may be an upload link on the site, or the publication may want them sent by email, in print, or on a disc.

Register with a stock photography website. Many media organizations acquire their images from stock photography websites. By joining such a site, your photos will be exposed to a wider range of publications, which could increase the amount of money you make.

Contact a press agency. If you are trying to make a living from selling your photographs, you might want to work with a press agency. In a similar way to stock photography sites, they will host your image for many different media publications to view. However, press agencies will take a cut of the money for hosting and selling your image, which can be as high as 40 percent.

About the Author

A professional journalist since 2008, Joe Turner has written for the Manchester Evening News and CityLife online, and is currently writing for alternative music website livethescene.com as well as Alternative Magazine Online. Turner is a journalism student at the University of Salford.