Where is a website where I sell downloads of my digital photos without creating my own website?

I know about several market places but they charge around 30% which I consider too high.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you consider a huge fee? If you are asking a market place to provide all the sales and logistics for selling your work, I would expect them to charge a pretty hefty fee. Using retail as an example, it's not atypical for less than half the cost of the finished product to go to the actual manufacturer. Sometimes it is as low as 30% or less. The marketplace is handling billing, file hosting, printing, much of the customer service, some amount of marketing of the market place in general, etc. All you are doing is posting photos that may or may not even ever be purchased. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I consider 30% as a huge fee... I don't want to loose so much money. most of the people that sell on market places also share links to their product there on Twitter, Facebook, etc. I am looking for place where I can sell my photos in a more profitable way (10% top). Do you know any? Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – john
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 16:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @John - outside of selling them yourself, good luck. Just the credit card transaction itself is typically 3 to 3.5% for card not present transactions, plus a 25 to 50 cent transaction fee. Then you have to add printing costs, which can be fairly significant. For all the work that an online vendor does, they are going to want (and deserve) far, FAR more than 10%. The only way you might find that is a hosting company that you can pay monthly to host your files and then tie to a printing company that will take care of printing and shipping at a decent rate. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ how does the question matt linked to not answer your question? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2013 at 16:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ First, ask yourself how many digital photos you have purchased from others. Many of us (me included) started with a 'build it and they will come attitude", thinking our photos would sell. The market is smaller than you think, and with stock image libraries, fees are tiny. Either sell seriously (website, licensing fees or big stock houses) or just enjoy your hobby. \$\endgroup\$
    – cmason
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 15:09

4 Answers 4


Please take this as gentle constructive criticism, since that's how it's being offered.

You don't want to invest in your business because you don't want to build or run your own web site. You don't want to pay someone else to do that for you, because you think they charge too much.

I do think you need to take a step back and do some research into the realities of the photography business, because your view seems a bit naive. There's no free lunch. Selling photos is a business. You have to invest in that business to get returns back out of it. There are literally tens of thousands of people out there with web sites wondering why nobody is buying their images. the web site is just the beginning of running a successful photography business. And having images is the easiest part of getting started.

Photoshelter has some new free publications that talk about the business and what to expect if you're going to dip your toe into it. You should check them out.

But if you think you're going to just stuff some pictures somehwere and sales will happen by magic, you're setting yourself up to fail. This business is tough and requires a lot of work. Taking professional-quality pictures merely gets you to the starting line. I'd slow down and figure out why things are the way they are out in the big world out there and why those folks are taking that 30% before you waste your time and energy doing things that won't work...


If you have not sold photos before, and therefore have little 'reputation', following or established photography business, I suggest you submit a few images to istockphoto.com. iStockphoto.com pays a royalty of 15% each time one of your images is 'purchased'. The returns are tiny, but the benefit to you is that it costs you nothing, and you will begin to learn what it takes to make commercial images (at least for stock photos).

To sell your images online, without building a website, I suggest the following as a place to start exploring:

Smugmug and Zenfolio are tools that provide you a place to exhibit your images, as well as sell them directly. Both allow digital download, but are more oriented toward prints. Neither require web skills, but better websites are possible if you have them. They are around $100 per year or more.

ExposureManager is a site that is designed more for selling images, oriented toward the business of photography. No web skills are required, but it is about $25 per month.

Newer sites are popping up all the time, including Stocksy and others designed more around the photographer than the buyer, with better rates.


Good answer by @cmason. A bit more clarification around Zenfolio and Smugmug (I used SM for the past few years and switched to ZF a few months ago):

  • To sell photos at a profit through zenfolio or smugmug, a higher tier is required, currently $120 at zenfolio and $150 at smugmug.
  • Zenfolio often runs promotions, such as the current 20% off promo in June, with code JUNE20.
  • Zenfolio charges 12% on prints through partner labs, 4% with self-fulfillment, and 8% on digital products. Smugmug charges 15% on both partner lab prints and digital downloads, and does not support self-fulfillment.
  • Zenfolio is easier to set up if you don't have web development skills. Smugmug can do more advanced things, but requires you to dive into CSS and other stuff that's better left for web programmers / designers.


I don't use this personally, but I hear good things about it and it looks like it fits your pricing needs as well.


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