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How to monetise your photos online

January 07, 2013 11:49 IST

Here are some popular stock photography websites, which enable shutterbugs to leverage the internet for marketing and selling their work.

Canvera Vivyo

For photographers and photo enthusiasts selling pictures online or having an independent profile online has limited options. They either can work with stock photography agencies, where they get paid a certain percentage of the pictures sold.

The other option is to create a website, which if done independently, is a long-drawn process. Other than getting a website designed, one needs to work with a web-hosting company or get all this done by a web-hosting company.

There is also a third way. Canvera, the online photography company, has recently launched, an e-commerce and social platform for photographers.

It enables photographers to leverage the internet for marketing and selling their work and to enable them to collaborate with their clients through an online-hosted solution.

According to Peeyush Rai, co-founder and CTO of, it will take about 10-15 minutes for a photographer to create his/her own website.

"Such websites are very common in the US and other markets, but so far not available in India. Our aim is to let photographers create a website without getting into the technicalities," he added.

There are three steps to create a website. First, you can start with a free sign up, which makes you create a uniform resource locator (URL).

Vivyo also creates themes for photographers. Second, photographers are allowed to select themes. Each theme has a homepage, slideshows, gallery view, etc.

Third step is uploading of images and videos. And you are good to go. You can also collaborate with your client for proofing and design.

The e-commerce feature with the website comes with a built-in payment gateway and allows photographers to monetise their photos via printed and electronic products.

Your websites also have search engine optimisation tools and Google analytics integrated. Moreover, the fulfilment part of your contract with the client, which means printing, delivery, etc., will be done by Canvera.

The website is still under closed beta stage and has over 200 live sites. Rai said the closed beta version would allow them to understand the requirements of photographers. The website will be under open beta phase from April-May period. And by the end of this year it will be live.

"In India over 95 per cent of photographers do not have their own websites. We have also built-in features of e-commerce and social collaboration in to the website. Moreover, we are creating a secure area where photographers and clients can work in a secure environment," said


The website works on a yearly subscription model. There are three plans and pricing:

Basic plan: Creating a website with social media integration. Storage capacity is 10GB.

Cost: Rs 6,000

Pro: Website integrated with secure password and protected galleries. Storage capacity is 25 GB.

Cost: Rs 9,000

Plus: Website integrated with secure password protected galleries along with e-commerce with your own pricing. Storage capacity is 50 GB.

Cost: Rs 12,500

We checked with several freelance photographers and found while there are many such websites in the US and Europe, there are no such players in India. Here is some information about some popular stock photography websites available for photographers to monetise online.

Before we start, remember that these websites, including Vivyo, do not accept pictures taken by mobile phone.


Dinodia photo, started in 1987, is perhaps the first and oldest such website in India. The website was launched in 1996.

The library consists of historical photographs from 1870 onwards, paintings, illustrations, black and white images and contemporary colour images. The total archive is over four million images online.

The website has a library of 15 million pictures from various parts of the world. And the number of photographers that work through this website is over 10,000.

Any photographer can showcase their work on Dinodia. The pictures are still selected by its founder Jagdish Agarwal.

"We were the first to start something like this 20 years back. We started with 25 photographers, and today have 10,000 photographers," said Agarwal.

Dinodia follows a royalty based payment. The ratio is 50:50. That means the photographer gets 50 per cent of the value of the picture sold and the other half is retained by Dinodia.


Shutterstock is an international website, which also allows photographs from Indian photographers. It claims to serve customers in 150 countries, and has 200 million paid downloads.

The website accepts pictures in JPG format that have a resolution of at least 4 megapixels. They also accept videos and vector illustrations.

Video footage should be between five and 60 seconds long and accept vector illustrations in EPS files (maximum 15 MB) or JPG (minimum 4 megapixels).

The payment and other details are available on the website. A photographer can earn $0.25 to $28 per download.

Istock Photo

One of the biggest players in stock photography segment is iStockphoto. It pays contributors a base royalty rate of 15 per cent for each file downloaded and up to 45 per cent for exclusive contributors.

But, to become an exclusive photographer or illustrator, one must have 250 downloads and a minimum 50 per cent approval rating or 500 downloads.

Shivani Shinde in Mumbai
Related News: Dinodia, CTO of, Vivyo, India, JPG