Maybe you were hoping to be able to do something with the hundreds of unused photos lurking about on various hard drives. Or maybe the idea of having someone else sell your photos was appealing. Not impossible, the way some blogs and long time stock photographers would make it sound, but not quite a walk in the park either at least for most people. Well, arguments can be made for both. Can you make real money off of stock photography? Can you just upload all your photos that are just taking up space on your hard drives and make money?
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Read on to find out how. Stock Photography What is It? Getty Images is one of the most longstanding traditional macrostock companies.
Stock photography is simply a term for generic imagery that buyers use for the visual content in everything from news stories, blogs and websites, to design materials for ads or promotional materials. For example, if I needed a high-quality image of a happy family eating dinner together, hiring a photographer to find all of the models and put together the food, props, and lighting would be quite expensive.
It would be far easier and cheaper to find one on a stock photography site and pay anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars. Types of Stock Photography There are three types of stock photography, but most people focus on macrostock and microstock. The photographer then gets royalties. The photographers get get no royalties, but get paid per image download instead — usually at the end of each month. Companies such as ShutterstockiStockDepositphotos, and Dreamstime are all well-established microstock agencies.
Can you Make Money with Stock Photography? While there are plenty of stock photographers who make a decent living, there are easily as many more who do not. Things have changed dramatically in the 15 or more years microstock has been available. In the early days, it used to be much easier to earn enough income to live off. Shutterstock alone now has over million images with over 1 million more added every week. This means that to succeed, contributors have to work harder and smarter than they did say, 15 years ago when microstock was just starting.
How Much can you Earn as a Stock Photographer? Making money with stock photography is definitely possible. Image: My Stock Photo Want the numbers? On his blog mystockphoto. How long does it take to upload 6, high-quality non-similar images? Well, if you work full time and have a family, images a month will probably be a bit much.
With focus, you could probably manage images a month. Fifty is certainly quite doable. In general though, expect a long haul before you can get up to a substantial income. Image: Raw Pixel The truth is, many would-be contributors quit within the first six months. Often this is due to image quality, but not always.
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Add to the fact that it really takes dedication to upload images per month, all correctly keyworded — especially if you do it by hand as I did when I first started. Also, creating unique content in any overly saturated market takes a lot of creativity.
Like anything else, stock photography is a business, and in this business you need to produce original content that buyers are looking for, not just your typical stock photo cliche shots.
If you have a knack for that or are willing to study the trends and learn to create it, then you have a good chance at succeeding with a lot of hard work, of course.
Not deterred yet? Then read on! The first and foremost thing to keep in mind to be successful in the stock photography world is that you need to be willing to shoot stock photography. Far from it, in fact. To truly be successful in this business, you need to know your target, take aim, and fire. In other words, you need to operate as a business. Producing marketable stock images means researching the markets and current trends.
The highest earning microstock photographers plan their shoots carefully, often using models and props or traveling specifically to places or events that they know will be in high demand. They pay attention to the forums and how to make money by uploading pictures on the Internet sites requests for new photos.
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Here are a few tips on keywording for stock photography for beginners: Make your keywords as descriptive as possible. Thankfully there are some great keywording tools out there that make this process easier. Always Keep the End user in Mind To sell your photos you need to have something end users want. Bloggers, marketing agencies, businesses, or magazines, the end users determine what sells — literally. What are they looking for? This can be just about everything and anything, but some things are in higher demand than others.
Businesses are often needing images that illustrate the concepts of teamwork and collaboration. People creating websites or advertisements often need images with a lot of negative empty space where they can put text… and so on. This translates into three key questions: Who is going to want to buy this?
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What will they use it for? How are they going to use it? Upload Regularly Uploading regularly is important for a number of reasons. First of all, the more photos you have out there, the better your chances of making a sale. Second, it keeps your images up front and center in the search results of most platforms. So what about this promise of passive income? Well, it does exist. For others, not so much.
Stock Photography What to Shoot? What should you start with? That ways to make money on internet sites said, there still are a number of things they have in common, and these tend to go in trends.
Fortunately, figuring out the current and future trends is a big business on the net, and just about any of the big image sites cover them in their blog. For example, according to Canvathe trends of include minimalist composition, pastel colours, powerful women, and cultural diversity. Stock Photo Secrets predicts that trends will include vibrant colour, personal technology, social causes, and hyper still-life… and so on.
AlamyShutterstockand most others give monthly updates of the photos end users are looking for. Does this mean you need to shoot these topics? Not at all. Unfortunately, these very common subjects are, well, common. The more individual and specific you can be, the easier it is to really hone your craft.
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It just tends to be easier to sell well if you narrow down your focus and really work at excelling there. That being said, there are some areas that sell better than others.
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Lifestyle Images featuring people usually require model releases. Well-done lifestyle images are always in demand. This falls right into the lifestyle category. That can be a bit of a hassle, but the payoff can be well worth it.
Nature and Landscapes You may have an easier time selling your landscape photography if it has a person in it. This genre is oh-so-popular with photographers but oh-so-challenging to make any money with.
You basically have to be absolutely fantastic to make it in this niche. Business and Industry Stock Photos that may appear boring to you may actually be in high demand for businesses. The business and industry including technology niche tends to sell well across the board.
People in meetings, using their computers, employees working together, all of these are continually in demand. This is also an easy topic to find a niche in. I read a story about one stock photographer having a top selling photo that she snapped while technicians were installing solar panels on her roof. Travel Photography One of the benefits of always how to make money by uploading pictures on the Internet a camera while on holiday. I have friends who plan their trips based on stock photography requests — they travel to a variety of unusual places… and make money doing so.
Alternately you can travel in your home town or bioregion and cover it from different angles. Many stock photographers have made great sales from this strategy. Current News Photos of protests are always in high demand with news agencies.
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One area that almost always sells well is holiday photos. The trick here is to think well ahead — often six months ahead — and then begin uploading a couple of months before the holiday. Stock photographers who focus on this niche will generally shoot Thanksgiving-themed images early in the year and then have them for sale by summer. Which Microstock Photography Site is the Best? These days there are literally dozens of microstock agencies, but only a few will really be worth your time.
Other ones to consider are Depositphotos and Dreamstime. It serves small and large clients alike, from individual bloggers to large companies. I even worked for a photography software company who regularly used Shutterstock for its imagery needs.
But being one of the more low-cost options has its drawbacks to photographers. In fact, many long-time stock photographers claim that Shutterstock is still their best seller. Alamy Alamyis one of my favorite stock photo sites. They also have a much better submission platform than iStock. And while they have pretty stringent image submission standards, I appreciate this.
Maybe because my images always pass?! That and the high commission rate were the things that brought me to them originally. Not only that, Adobe software users can buy photos directly through any Adobe platform as well. Boo, hiss! They have an aggressive marketing team and seem to be just about everywhere. The folks I know who contribute to them seem to do moderately well. One thing that can be frustrating about how they operate, though, is their royalty tier structure. The pay difference between the two?
It goes down for images sold via subscriptions at.