If you want to sell photos with WordPress you will need to build your own stock photography website where you will keep all of the sales revenue.
Many people make a living of selling photographs online. Some like to sell them on third-party websites rather than making their own selling solution via, for example, WordPress website.
They think it is a lot of work and maintenance. And if you are a WordPress newb, then it really takes a little more work despite that WordPress is very easy to work with and user-friendly.
Third-party websites have some benefits as well as some drawbacks. Biggest advantage is that these websites have a large database of users who buy photographs.
The most significant disadvantage is that these websites take hefty commission when your photos sell.
Selling on your own website will have many benefits apart from the fact you don’t have to pay commission.
When it comes to selling photos or prints online, it usually isn’t enough to simply use a general shopping cart plugin.
Photographers or anybody selling images using WordPress website, usually require specific functionality which is unique to the field of photo selling.
Most shopping cart plugins don’t have things like gallery creation, watermarking, specific pricing for various photo variations and dimensions….
There many options out there such as Photocrati who offer a theme which will handle your photo eCommerce functionality. This solution can be rather restrictive in the sense that you are forced to install their theme and cannot use your existing one.
In that case you can use free or premium plugin specifically intended to sell photos online.
Photographers need a few specific things in order to sell their photos:
There are several ways to sell photos with WordPress.
You can sell photos with WordPress using theme specifically designed for that purpose, using free or premium WordPress plugin or using popular eCommerce solutions like EDD and WooCoomerce.
Selling photos is not hard using WordPress. There are in fact great photography themes for that purpose.
Whether you want something simple that allows your photographic work to take center stage, or you’d rather an array of dazzling features and layout options to match your images, the themes will allow you to build the right website for your project.
Here are just some themes which will allow you to sell media with WordPress.
Photography oriented themes are:
Stocky – A Stock Photography Marketplace Theme
Built on WordPress and with option to integrate with Easy Digital Downloads, Stocky allows you to sell your photos just as you would use any popular online marketplace.
Along with the free Easy Digital Downloads plugin, your site can run as a stand-alone e-commerce site.
You can allow anybody to upload their photos and sell through your site turning your site into a marketplace with all features.
Or you can just sell your own photos. Stocky is priced at 59$ and available to purchase on Themeforest.
Sell Photos is a WordPress theme from Graph Paper Press that helps you sell photos online with clean and responsive design.
Sell Photos adapts to different screen sizes so that your website will look great no matter if visitor is browsing site on iPhone, iPad or any other handheld device.
It integrates with Graph Paper Press free Sell Media plugin and all of its extensions.
Sell Photos Theme can be purchased via 3 pricing plans. Basic plan gives you access to all Graph Paper Press Themes including Sell Photos theme for 99$ for 1 year.
Professional plan grants access to all plugins and extensions (need it if you intend to use Sell Media plugin) in addition to themes for 149$ per year.
Forever pricing plan has no limits but costs one time fee of 399$.
Photocrati WordPress Theme
The Photocrati theme comes with over 60 built-in designs that can be used to change the appearance of your website.
This range of styles will ensure that your site stands out from the competition, even if they are using this same theme.
When it comes to displaying your photos, you can create multiple galleries, and choose from a range of thumbnail sizes and styles.
Theme comes with four lightbox gallery styles to choose from when presenting the full size versions of your photos.
The full feature list for Photocrati is very extensive and includes the ability to sell your photos online from your site, as well as customize almost every aspect of your site without editing any code.
Your initial payment gives you lifetime rights to use the Photocrati theme. You can cancel anytime and continue to use the theme forever.
Annual renewals provide ongoing access to updates and support. If you cancel, you’ll lose support and updates when your membership expires.
Price for Photocrati is 79$ (currently on sale and priced at 55$).
(I will not go into all theme features. Just those important for selling photos online)
There are various WordPress plugins available that will help you sell photos online using WordPress site or blog. Some plugins are free and some paid.
Some have more features while others are scarce in options and settings.
In most cases premium (paid) plugins for selling photos online using WordPress will have better features, more payment options (stripe, paypal etc.), various selling options (by size, resolution, quality), protection from image theft etc.
Here are some paid WordPress plugins for selling photos:
WordPress Photo Seller Plugin
Photo Seller is a popular shopping cart plugin that has been built specifically for selling downloadable photos online in addition to physical prints of your images.
The plugin gives you the ability to offer your photos in a range of sizes (the plugin will automatically deliver a re-sized version of the image to the customer after purchase).
Furthermore you can automatically watermark the photos in your gallery to discourage people from downloading them without paying.
You can enable the zoom option on photos so the customers can inspect the images closely before purchasing.
After purchase, your digital photographs will be automatically and securely delivered to your customers via encrypted download links.
Customers can instantly download the image files after payment. You can group/categorize your photo galleries into photo albums.
You can optionally enable the copy protection feature which will disable the ability to select text and right-click on your website’s front-end.
The photo seller plugin works completely independent of a theme. So you can use any theme you want for your site (free or premium).
The WP Photo Seller plugin has all the features you would ever need to present your photos online and sell digital downloads and physical prints of your work with WordPress.
However, it’s not a free plugin and will cost $68. But it is probably the best paid plugin for selling photos online using WordPress.
NextGEN Pro Ecommerce
This plugin allows you to sell photos with WordPress, without the extra features available in full e-commerce suites not specific to images.
It allows you to sell photo prints in addition to automated digital downloads. You can add custom licenses, specify your download sizes and much more.
It supports PayPal standard, PayPal Express and also Stripe integration so users can accept credit card payments.
You can create unlimited price lists, associate them with galleries or individual images, and sell prints and digital downloads.
You can specify as many different download sizes as you like (ie, sell low resolution of 600px for web use, or high-resolution images for print use).
Buyers get immediate access to their downloads after purchase, and you get funds in your PayPal or Stripe account.
Price is 99$ (currently on sale and priced 69$). Support is valid for one year and if you want to continue receiving support you will need to renew.
Plugin will work even after one year license expires.
If you are tight with budget or first want to try how your photos selling business will go, you can try one of free plugins WordPress repository offers in combination with free theme.
Free plugins for selling photos online mostly lack in number of features or charge for additional features via addons option.
But still for most people free versions have all they need. Here are best free WordPress plugins for selling photos online:
WP iSell Photo plugin
WP iSell Photo enhances the functionality of your existing WordPress photo gallery and turns it into an e-commerce photo gallery.
This plugin will make possible for you to sell your photos. However, it is not a substitute for a full-fledged e-commerce system.
Plugin is best suited for those photo bloggers whose main interest is sharing their photographic vision online and would like to provide, as a bonus, the ability for their visitors to purchase a copy of a photo as a way of donating to the site.
With WP iSell Photo, you use WordPress built-in image galleries and connect to PayPal in order to receive payment for your photos.
There is no watermarking option and you can’t have different prices for each of the photos. Also, you can’t include options for different sizes of prints.
Because the plugin uses the WordPress default image gallery, you can’t prevent someone from clicking the thumbnail image to access the full size picture and simply right clicking to save a copy without paying.
You can avoid this by only loading lower resolution photos into your gallery, and after receiving payment directing the user to the URL of the high-resolution image.
Sell Media is a WordPress plugin that allows you to sell, license and protect images, videos, audio files and PDF’s directly from your website.
Sell images that you upload into WordPress. Assign different license types (commercial, personal, etc), sell reprints of images…
This plugin comes with additional features in form of extensions. These extensions are essentially plugins that extend the functionality of the Sell Media plugin.
Extensions will allow you to:
CP image store with slideshow
CP Image Store with Slideshow is an online store for the sale of images, predefined pictures, clip art, drawings, vector images…
It allows selling image files via PayPal and selling various resolution versions of the image at tiered prices.
Store settings include display of a search box, filter by author, color scheme, image type and categories. You can set the number of columns in the image store.
This plugin makes possible to sell your images in different resolutions with price variation.
Premium features include:
Paid version will cost you 49.99$.
You can use any theme for this purpose but it is best to go with free WooCommerce theme as you will be using that free e-commerce plugin.
You can go with Storefront which is built to work beautifully with WooCommerce.
Of course you will need WooCommerce plugin. Popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress makes it possible for you to sell your photos to people near and far from you.
WooCommerce has only few payment options integrated. If you need more than PayPal you will need to buy payment gateway extension like Stripe, Authorize.net, SagePay… which cost at least 79$ per year.
Also, to efficiently sell photos with all necessary features you will need WooCommerce Photography extension.
WooCommerce Photography is a addon for WooCommerce designed to assist professional photographers with the day-to-day management and sale of their images.
From the uploading and setup of photographs to the sale and customer purchase experience.
Price for this extension is $79 for single site license. A license entitles you to 1 year of updates and support from the date of purchase.
Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) was built specifically for the purpose of selling digital files that can be downloaded from your WordPress website, making it a perfect choice for your needs.
It is one of the most popular ecommerce tools for anyone who wants to sell digital products via their WordPress website.
Whether you want to build a fully functioning ecommerce store selling digital downloads, or simply add the ability to offer digital products to your blog, Easy Digital Downloads provides an easy to use solution.
The core plugin is free, and contains more than enough functionality to allow you to sell your own items online with ease.
If you have more advanced requirements there is a huge library of add-ons available for EDD which allow you to do even more with your store.
If you are interested in the idea of letting other photographers sell their photos on your store alongside yours, then consider buying special marketplace bundle of add-ons which contains all the features you need to create a fully functioning online marketplace.
By using a free plugin and theme you can quickly start selling your photos online and begin accepting payments via PayPal.
For more advanced features, like right-click protection, additional watermark features, front end searching, reporting, more payment gateways, ability to sell different sizes and resolutions….plugins like EDD and WordPress Photo Seller or Photocrati theme can help you build even better looking and feature rich online photo stores.
And now over to you dear readers. If you have better solutions on how to sell photos with WordPress using free or premium plugin or theme please leave a comment below.
If I made any mistake feel free to correct me!
Hello, my name is Matija but everybody calls me Kasa. I started this site to earn lots of money so that I never have to work again. Just lay down on a beach, drinking cocktails day after day while hot, beautiful chicks fight for my attention.Ok, now seriously. I love making websites, especially in WordPress. Hope reading content on this site you will find helpful tips, tutorials, comparisons, and product reviews for your business.
I’m building a site for a photographer and she needs to be able to sell prints. I’ve been at a loss as to what kind of plugin to use. Thank you very much for your break down of different options and the comparison charts. I now feel well informed and can move forward in making a decision.
I am always glad to see my posts helped someone. That is main reason I write them.
Let me know if you have any questions!
great topic Kasa, thanks!
I am looking for some great plugin for WP or WP theme which will be great for selling … – digital photo, prints, prints with frame … … … – and which show interior + different photo sizes like example
( for different site, not for http://www.iLoveFoto.cz )
You can check at comparison tables found in post and by looking at features each option provides decide what suits you best.
Will that be free or paid option. WordPress theme or WordPress plugin or maybe even theme + plugin.
I cant know what you really need.
For more insight into theme option, you can check post where I have compared Photocrati and Sell Photos theme.
Awesome article! For those who want to sell photos, this article might make things easier!
Yes, I hope people searching easiest way to sell their photos will find this post useful.
A very nice post showing how to sell photos in easy to understand way. Thanks for this.
Thanks for kind words. I try to do my best!
Hi Kasa, Great comparison review for someone like me, looking to start out into the world of WordPress as a photography display and selling site.
There’s a new kid on the block in the form of Envira which seems pretty cool. But it’s still fairly new and requires a bunch of additional plugins to be fully useable whilst others have it all in one.
In the end, I leaned more towards using NextGenPro because it has the option to add a lightroom plugin (Envira has a plugin with the gold license). A lightroom plugin was important for me because I needed to streamline the whole end-to-end process for speed. So I can work with my photos in Lightroom and simply click “publish” to have them updated or sent to my WordPress galleries. This saves a LOT of time and means you have pretty slick workflow!
Thank you Cyrus for your valuable information from different angle and perspective.
I do agree with Kasa, thanks! Thank you very much for your break down of different options and the comparison charts. I am always glad to see my posts helped someone.I hope people searching easiest way to sell their photos will find this post useful. Thanks a lot for sharing this content to us.
Glad I was of help.
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