Keeping up on the new sites and apps for photographers could be a full time job in itself. New sites are being created every day and old sites are going out of style and not worth posting to anymore. Here is a list of the top sites to consider posting your photos to in 2017.
I have broken the list up into six high level categories to group similar sites together.
In 2017, social networks have become part of most photographers daily routine. It is hard to get noticed without a presence on at least one of these networks if you aren’t already a world famous photographer.
With its start as the premier mobile phone social photo app with filters that made it easy for anyone to process photos in interesting ways quickly, it has grown to the #1 site for photographers. Facebook still has more users but Instagram is more photo centric and a recent review of the top photographers on social media revealed that even though Facebook has more users, photographers get as many followers on Instagram. Also, Instagram hasn’t been fully monetized with advertising yet so it is still possible (although getting harder and harder) to build a following without paid ads.
Main advantage - Massive number of users and can still grow a following without paid ads.
Usage may be slowing with the younger generation but it is still the largest social network. However, as Facebook continues to monetize the platform, it has become more difficult to build and reach followers without paying for ads. If you are starting out with social media and don’t have a budget for advertising then it may be easier to grow a following on other sites.
Main advantage - Largest social network with great tools to build a following if you have a budget to buy ads.
Twitter is a better place for discussing photography trends, than posting photos. You will find that photos are posted to support the accompanying tweet rather than as a main focus of conversation. It is still worthwhile for photographers to post photos but you will need to do more than post photos to get a large following on this platform.
Main advantage - Best for joining the public conversation about photography related topics.
Nearly half of Tumblr users are 16-24 years old, and you can tell when you use the platform. Some photographers have found real success and huge followings on the platform for certain types of photos.
Main advantage - Reach a large younger audience who love to reblog things they like.
Pinterest allows you to pin photos and articles into collections or boards. The main demographic of the site is female and photos of food, DIY projects, fashion, and travel destinations can get added to “Dream boards”, “Bucket Lists”, and “To Try Out” boards and very quickly drive traffic back to your blog or website. Photos will do well on this site that focus on items that can be added to visual boards.
Main advantage - Reaching a large audience of females and drying traffic back to your blog or portfolio site.
A couple of years ago, G+ would have been near the top of the list for photographers. When Google plus was first released, photographers were the first to jump on board and loved the full sized images and photo related features. However, G+ never caught on with the general public and photographers began to focus their social media efforts on sites with more users like Instagram.
Main advantage - Being owned by Google, many believe participating in G+ helps with SEO.
Niche Photography Social Networks
The majority of the users on these platforms are photographers so when you are followed it will typically be a professional or advanced amateur photographer. On these sites you will find much higher quality images and more advanced conversations about techniques and the art of photography.
500px started as a site that had a unique scoring algorithm that allowed the best photos each day to become popular and get a large number of views. Now they have expanded and could also be listed in the portfolio sites and Microstock sites section as well. In 2017, it is growing increasingly difficult to get a photo on the top popular page without a large following or extensive use of bots to grow your following.
Main advantage - Viewing inspiring photos from other photographers and a growing sales from the sale of uploaded images as Microstock.
Flickr was once a great photography community but a number of mistakes and lack of growth after being purchased by Yahoo has left their growth flat while sites like 500px has been slowly pulling users away with better features and upgrade. There was a time when agencies and advertisers scoured flickr to find unique photos to buy licences and it was a great place to redirect them back to your website to sell photo licences, however those days have passed and Flickr has become more of a place to store your photos online then a way to get traffic back to your site or blog.
Main advantage - Ability to upload 1TB of images and an online tool that help manage them.
Like 500px, EyeEm has been slowly transitioning from its origin as a mobile social network like Instagram to a microstock site like Shutterstock. Indications are they want to me more of a Microstock site than a social network but right now they are a bit of both.
Main advantage - Mobile photography social site where you can make a couple extra bucks from Microstock
The best description I have for 1x.com is a “Fine art photography site for Europeans”. It isn’t solely for Europeans it does seem to be much more popular in Europe than North America. A main feature is beautifully curated lists of fine art photos.
Main advantage - Finding inspiring photos and exposure for fine art photography.
Portfolio sites are designed for photographers to create their own photography websites. While social networks are great for increasing your following, your own website allows you more control over the design and pages. Typically you want only one website and will have your social networks profiles link back to these sites for more information or purchase items.
These portfolio sites allow more marketing tools and customization than what you will get on social networks. Many also allow selling licences or distributing photos to clients. These are typically targeting professionals and advanced amateurs who are making money off of photography and normally come at a monthly cost to get the benefits of the full version. Each has its own set of features that are too numerous to list but these are the top portfolio sites photographers are using in 2017.
Microstock sites have a primary purpose of selling licences to your photos, either via a subscription or a one time fee. They are called “Microstock” because they sell for a fraction of the price stock photos were sold for previously. However, the industry has spoken and Microstock prices have become the typical price for many types of photos (good luck selling a photo of two people in suits shaking hands for more than $10 in 2017). All the stock sites are similar in that you upload your photos and they will sell licences then give you a percentage of the sales. This percentage is often quite small but it can add up as these sites have many clients who are constantly purchasing photos. In 2017 these are the most popular sites with stock photographers in order of popularity.
- Adobe Stock
Photo Contest Sites
Photography contests are nothing new but a couple of years ago sites started to pop up that focused on these contests. These sites have a social aspect but the main draw is to submit your photos to contests to win prizes and recognitions.
This is my favorite contest site, maybe because I have actually won a contest on it, but mostly because of great engagement from the community and a really well designed site. There is a free version but to get access to all the contests you need to upgrade to a pro account.
Main advantage - Submitting photos to different themed contests.
The unique feature of Pixoto is you need to vote on a number of others photos before you can upload your photo. This ensures that all photos get a chance to be considered for the contests and prizes rather than only photographers who have a large following. It is a great concept but the site hasn’t been updated in years and it seems to be fading out, rather than growing.
Main advantage - Each photo gets a quality score that is based on user votes, not number of followers.
Here are a couple of other sites that are useful depending on the type of photography you shoot.
Imagebrief is a stock site with a couple of twists. The first twist is if you want to sell your photos as general Microstock you have to pay them yearly fee to sell them. I haven’t tried the paid accounts but it seems sketchy because if they were getting lots of sales why not just take a cut of the sales like all other sites do.
However, the other twist is that companies submit briefs of images they are looking for and photographers can upload photos that match the brief. The brief typically have a rate higher than Microstock prices. It is free to upload photos to briefs but the site takes a large cut of the final sale.
Main advantage - Ability to submit to briefs with larger prices than typically stock sites.
Fine Art America (FAA)
FAA is a print on demand site, which means, you can upload your photos and they will sell prints to those photos. When someone buys a print, FAA handles everything including the printing and shipping to the purchaser and just sends you a payment that you can set when uploading the image. There are a lot of sites like this out there but I have photos on many of them and have found that FAA is the only one that has a large enough number of buyers to get consistent sales.
Main advantage - Selling your photos as prints and allows you to set how much profit you make per sale.
In 2017 there are increasingly more sites to upload your photos than most photographers have time for. This is why we created Photerloo. Photerloo allows you to upload once and have your photos posted to multiple sites with no extra work, we don’t support all the ones on the list yet but a good number of them, signup for a free account to try it out.
Did I miss one of your favorite sites, add it to the comments and let me know why you love it.