Selling nature photography can be a profitable profession for beginner enthusiasts and professional photographers alike. But to truly succeed, it’s crucial to know not only where to sell your images, but how to sell them in a way that maximizes your earnings and control in a crowded digital market.

While there are several popular platforms for selling nature photography online, which we’ll explore in this article, many come with significant drawbacks. High commission fees eat into your profits, and complex copyright terms can limit your control over how your work is used.

That’s why we recommend a different approach: creating your own nature photography website with WordPress. By selling directly to buyers from your own site, you can avoid costly third-party fees, maintain full control over your image rights, and build a unique brand.

Best of all, with tools like FooGallery PRO Commerce that integrate smoothly with WooCommerce, setting up a professional photography website and ecommerce store is easier than you might think. You can beautifully showcase your work and sell digital prints directly through your galleries – no technical expertise needed.

There are a variety of platforms on which nature photographers can sell images, each with different advantages and disadvantages. Below, we explore some of your options. 

1. Stock Photography Websites

Stock photography websites are libraries of images available for use by the public. These could include photographs, designs, vector images, illustrations, or videos. Many stock photography sites will charge the users for image downloads, providing them with a license to use the image according to the terms of that license. 

Stock photography website Shutterstock

These stock agencies will generally give contributors a cut for each sale. The percentage might vary depending on the platform. Additionally, many of these websites offer different tiers based on the volume of images that you sell. 

The advantages of using a stock site to sell your images include:

  • Wide exposure: These platforms have a large, global audience, which can increase the likelihood of your photos being seen and purchased.
  • Passive income potential: They offer a way to earn passive income, as once photos are uploaded, they can be sold repeatedly.

However, there are several disadvantages:

  • High competition: Many photographers sell through these sites, making it hard to stand out.
  • Lower revenue per image: Payouts per image are often small, which means large volumes are necessary for substantial earnings.
  • Usage rights: You have limited control over how and where your images are used by buyers.

Some sites, however, allow users to download stock images for free. This means that nobody pays to download pictures from these platforms, so the photographer doesn’t make money. However, you might still want to add your work to these platforms to increase recognition in exchange for mandatory citations.

Popular Stock Photography Platforms

Most popular: Shutterstock, Burst by Shopify, Adobe Stock, iStock

Top free platforms: Pexels, PixaBay, Freepik, Stockvault, Picjumbo, Rawpixel, Unsplash 

2. Niche Photography Platforms

Niche photography websites are, in essence, stock photography sites in that they use the same methods of offering images and giving a cut to the photographer, although the percentage might vary depending on the platform. The main difference is that they are focused on one niche.

Minden Pictures

Pros include:

  • Targeted audience: By uploading your photos to websites that are specifically focused on nature photography, for example, you can attract enthusiasts and professionals interested in this genre.
  • Professional networking: They provide opportunities to connect with other professionals in the field, including potential buyers like publishers and advertisers.

Some of the cons are:

  • Narrower reach: You’ll see less traffic compared to general stock sites, which might result in fewer sales.
  • Stringent submission criteria: There are often higher standards for acceptance and may require exclusivity (so you can only sell via one platform).

Popular Niche Photography Platforms

The top platforms might change based on the niche, such as landscape photography or wildlife photography. However, some of the popular platforms for the following niches are:

3. Photography Sharing Sites


The main difference between stock photography sites and photo-sharing sites is that stock photo-sharing websites have pre-captured images and other visuals like illustrations and icons. Photo-sharing sites, on the other hand, offer real pictures because they allow all creators to upload the photos they have taken.

The revenue model of these websites is the same as that of stock photo websites. 

Advantages include:

  • Community engagement: Active communities provide feedback and foster growth and improvement in your photography.
  • Portfolio exposure: These platforms are great for building a following,showcasing your work in a more curated manner, and increasing your chances of getting discovered by clients or photo buyers.

Disadvantages are:

  • Lower sales potential: They are not primarily designed for sales, so potential revenue might be less consistent or significant.
  • Copyright issues: There is a greater risk of image theft or misuse by others.

Popular Photography Sharing Platforms

Flickr, 500px, Fotolog, and Shutterfly

4. Newspapers, Magazines, and Similar Publications

Various publications can pay a good price for original nature photos. To sell to such publications, photographers can apply individually to each one and get paid depending on the publication’s commission rules.

The benefits of this are:

  • Professional credibility: Being published boosts your reputation and can lead to more high-profile assignments.
  • Direct payment: Publications often pay directly for images, sometimes at higher rates, for exclusive or unique content.

There are downsides, though:

  • Competitive: There is much higher competition for a limited number of opportunities.
  • Irregular opportunities: Work might not be consistent unless you have established connections or a strong portfolio.

Popular Publications to Sell Photographs

National Geographic

National Geographic, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Vogue are the most popular magazines that pay for photographs. Most local magazines and newspapers are also willing to accept submissions in exchange for compensation. 

Pricing Considerations When Selling Your Nature Photography 

How to Price Your Nature Photography

Understanding your target audience and market is essential for setting competitive prices in the photography industry. Knowing who the potential buyers are can help nature or wildlife photographers tailor their pricing strategies to meet the expectations of their potential clients. 

There are several other factors that will influence the pricing of nature photography. The uniqueness and demand for specific types of images, such as unique landscapes or unusual wildlife photos, can significantly affect their value. Expenses and production costs (including equipment, travel, and printing) should be factored into the pricing. The medium of sale (digital or print) and the presentation format (for example, framed prints or digital downloads) further impact pricing. Plus, offering licensing for commercial use can open up new revenue streams and should be priced based on usage rights.

Once you’ve considered the above, there are two primary pricing models that you can use: cost-plus and value-based pricing. Cost-plus pricing involves calculating the total production cost and adding a markup to ensure a profit margin. This method ensures all costs are covered while guaranteeing profitability. However, value-based pricing sets prices based on the perceived worth of the photograph to the customer, considering factors like artistic merit and emotional impact. This approach can command higher prices if the work is seen as a piece of art rather than just an image.

Nature photo from Pixabay
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Using pricing tiers can cater to a broader audience, making nature and landscape photos accessible to both high-end and budget-conscious buyers. Offering different packages, such as basic digital downloads, standard prints, and premium framed prints, can attract a wider customer base. Additionally, promotional pricing tactics like seasonal discounts, limited-time offers, bundle deals, and loyalty rewards can help attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Selling Rights vs. Selling Licensing

Another important consideration is the distinction between selling full rights and various other types of licensing for photographers. For example, you could have royalty-free (where clients pay a one-time fee for unlimited use), rights-managed (which involves tailored licensing agreements with usage restrictions and potential recurring fees), or editorial licenses (which permit use in non-commercial contexts like news and blogs, typically with strict usage limitations). Each of these would have an impact on your revenue and control over image use. 

Exclusive licensing agreements give one client sole rights to use the image, which can mean higher fees due to the exclusivity. However, this limits the photographer’s ability to license the same image to other clients. Non-exclusive licenses allow the same image to be sold to multiple clients, which can mean increased reach but often at lower prices. Again, this impacts potential earnings and control over images.

To avoid misunderstandings and possible legal issues, contracts should specify the scope of use, duration, geographic limitations, and exclusivity clauses. Simple, well-defined agreements help protect the photographer’s interests and ensure clients understand their rights and restrictions. When setting up contracts, use plain language, define terms clearly, and outline consequences for breaches.

Photographers should consider their long-term business goals when deciding between selling rights and licensing. Selling full rights might be better for immediate income but at the cost of future revenue potential. Licensing offers more control and continuous income streams. 

The Better Option: Sell Your Nature Photography on Your Own Website 

While selling your photography via an online marketplace has some advantages, selling on your own website has the potential for a greater profit margin and brand control. Additionally, you’ll avoid the downsides of marketplace fees and commissions, allowing you to increase net revenue.

Photo product gallery built with FooGallery PRO Commerce

Having your own website also comes with the long-term benefit of creating an established personal brand in the market. Through consistent marketing, promotion on social media, and customer interactions, you can build a professional reputation and image. Plus you’ll have full control over how your work is presented and sold, including setting your own prices.

This control extends to customer analytics. By having your own website, you can collect customer data for marketing and sales strategy improvements. Online marketplaces do not often share these details with sellers, giving you a competitive edge. 

Elvis Omondi, who heads up customer support at FooPlugins, has this to say: “Opting to sell your nature photography directly on your own WordPress site instead of relying on external platforms offers a multitude of advantages. You gain control over branding, ensuring your images are presented exactly as intended. Enjoy unparalleled creative freedom, without third-party guidelines. Maximize profits, and foster deeper audience engagement. Ultimately, it’s not just about selling quality images – it’s about cultivating a sustainable, authentic photography business that thrives on your terms.”

FooGallery PRO Commerce: The Best WordPress Plugin for Custom Image Galleries

FooGallery PRO Commerce proves incredibly useful when selling pictures from your own WordPress website because it can help you set up a professional gallery with minimal effort.

The Best WordPress Gallery Plugin

FooGallery is an easy-to-use WordPress gallery plugin, with stunning gallery layouts and a focus on speed and SEO.

Let’s take a look at some of the top features included in this plugin. 

  • You have the ability to create a product gallery: FooGallery PRO Commerce offers a dedicated template to create product galleries, which is a perfect way to sell your pictures online. The main focus is to bring the pictures up front to mesmerize the viewers. This template also adds “add to cart” buttons and price information under each picture, making it easy for your customers to browse and purchase.
    This product gallery can also neatly categorize products and display product variations in the lightbox, should there be any.
  • Customize buttons: You can customize the “View Product,” “Add to Cart,” and “Select Now” buttons for variable products. You can specify button placement, display settings, and actions after clicking. Buttons can be added to both thumbnail views and lightboxes. Additionally, button settings can be overridden to meet specific needs for individual product items.
add to cart button settings
  • The ability to add sale ribbons: Sale ribbons can highlight a selection of your pictures. You can apply the same ribbon to several images or create unique ribbons for each image. By using the WooCommerce integration, you can automate the ribbons in your gallery.
  • Protection for images: FooGallery PRO Commerce protects images with watermarks and right-click protection.
    • Right-click protection can be enabled under the “Protection” tab of the “Gallery Settings” and prevents right-clicking on full-size images to protect them from being easily copied or saved.
    • Watermarking can also be enabled under the “Protection” tab of the “Gallery Settings” and applies a watermark pattern on the pictures when they are opened in high-quality on full screen to prevent stealing via screenshots. 
Watermarked image in FooGallery lightbox

Best Practices for Selling Nature Photography on Your Website

When using your own WordPress website to sell your images, there are a number of ways to improve the experience and thereby boost performance and increase conversions. 

Optimize your website

  • Website Performance: This can be significantly improved with fast page load speeds and mobile responsiveness. FooGallery caters to this with features like built-in lazy loading and responsive layouts for all gallery templates and the lightbox. Users can enjoy faster load times, whether using a PC or mobile device.
  • SEO: Improving your SEO can help increase visibility and search engine rankings, but how do you cater to this with gallery images? It is good practice to use targeted keywords in image titles, captions, and alt text. FooGallery also integrates with popular SEO plugins to ensure gallery images are included in the image sitemap.
  • User Experience (UX): Having a clean and navigable website layout with strategic use of FooGallery’s gallery templates can enhance the browsing experience. With features like filtering, search, and paging, users can navigate larger galleries to find exactly what they’re looking for. This is particularly valid for ecommerce, where you want to remove any possible frustrations for customers. 

The Best WordPress Gallery Plugin

FooGallery is an easy-to-use WordPress gallery plugin, with stunning gallery layouts and a focus on speed and SEO.

Protect your work

  • Copyright: Copyright laws grant photographers ownership of their work from the moment it is created, protecting their rights to reproduce, distribute, and display their images. This gives photographers the right to control the use of their photographs and seek compensation for unauthorized use. FooGallery supports these protections by providing tools that help photographers manage and display their images securely, as discussed below.
  • Watermarks: Watermarking can be used to protect your images from digital theft, but if done incorrectly, it can detract from your image. FooGallery’s watermarking feature allows for a subtle design, ensuring it does not overpower the photograph. 
  • Image Theft Prevention: FooGallery’s features, like right-click protection and password protection, can help to prevent unauthorized downloads and use. 

Streamlining the Sales Process

  • WooCommerce Integration: FooGallery PRO Commerce integrates with WooCommerce, simplifying the sales process. Using this feature, you can create product galleries using your WooCommerce products and sell these directly from your gallery with a “Buy Now” button
  • Sales Analytics: Since FooGallery PRO Commerce works in integration with WooCommerce, website owners can benefit from the sales analytics features of WooCommerce as well.
  • Customer Experience: Using the WooCommerce integration with FooGallery PRO Commerce, you can create a smooth path to purchase with features like easy navigation to purchase pages and a simple checkout process.

The Best WordPress Gallery Plugin

FooGallery is an easy-to-use WordPress gallery plugin, with stunning gallery layouts and a focus on speed and SEO.

Sell Your Nature Photography with FooPlugins 

We’ve looked at various ways in which you can make extra money by selling your nature photos. Many photographers will choose to use the more conventional platforms to sell photos online, such as stock photo sites or magazines. However, these present several problems including a glutted market, third-party commissions, and ownership rights.

Launching a personal website on WordPress is a better way to grow your photography business for many reasons. An online store ensures that you maintain control over aesthetic design, branding, and prices, giving you a greater opportunity to increase profits. 

For WordPress websites, FooGallery PRO Commerce is a great option for directly selling photos in galleries through WooCommerce integration and customizing the sales experience for users. Do you want to take control of your nature photography business? Get started with FooGallery PRO Commerce now.