Photographers have a wide range of options when it comes to making money from their photos. Stock photography is one of the most popular and lucrative options, as it allows photographers to sell their images to a wide range of clients for a variety of purposes.
If you're a photographer looking to make some extra cash (or even generate a full-time income), selling stock photos is a great option. In this article, we'll give you an overview of what stock photography is, how it works, and how you can get started.
What is stock photography?
Stock photography is simply photographs that are sold for general use, rather than being commissioned for specific use. This means that anyone can buy and use these photos, provided they adhere to the terms set out by the photographer or stock agency.
There are two main types of stock photography: rights-managed and royalty-free. Rights-managed photos are sold on a case-by-case basis, with the buyer paying for the specific use they have in mind. Royalty-free photos, on the other hand, can be bought and used multiple times, without having to pay the photographer each time.
There are also macrostock and microstock photos, and you should know what is the difference. "Macrostock photography" is another term for "traditional stock photography". These types of agencies sell high-priced images that are exclusive to the client. The agency will license the individual images to the customer and royalties go towards the photographer. On average, these macrostock images cost $30-$3000 a year.
In contrast, microctock sells images at a fraction of the price (20¢ to $10), and without royalties. Photographers get paid per image download, typically monthly. These are non-exclusive images, which means that the customer does not have exclusive use of the photograph.
What are the benefits of selling stock photos? Well, selling stock photos is a great way to make money from your photography hobby (or even turn it into a full-time job). It's a relatively passive income stream, which means you can continue to sell your photos even when you're not actively taking new ones. And, because stock agencies typically take a commission of around 30%, you can still make a good profit even if your photos sell for less than you originally charged.
How to make money with stock photos?
Although some stock photographers do quite well for themselves, many more make very little money. The scene has changed a lot in the 15 years or so and microstock has been an option. It's more difficult to make a living off photography now than it was in the early days. Back then, there were fewer images competing for attention, and photographers could command higher prices. But now the market is saturated with photos, and supply exceeds demand.
Every day there are 1 million photos that are uploaded to the internet. Out of those million, only 10% will be seen by anyone and only 1% will be sold as stock. Of the 1% that is sold as stock, only a small fraction will be used for commercial purposes. The vast majority of photos that are uploaded to the internet will never be seen or used by anyone.
To make money with stock photos, you need to have a clear understanding of what buyers are looking for, and ensure that your photos meet their needs. You also need to be proactive in marketing your photos and making sure they are easy to find.
When it comes to taking photos that sell, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:
- Shoot what sells
This may seem obvious, but it's worth mentioning. If you want to make money from your photos, you need to shoot images that people are actually willing to buy. This means doing your research and finding out what types of photos are in demand.
- Quality is key
It's important to remember that stock agencies are selling images to professional businesses, which will be using them for commercial purposes. This means that they need to be high quality, both in terms of technical aspects (like composition and lighting) and aesthetics (like emotion and storytelling).
- Be unique
With so many photos on the market, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But if you want to make money from your photography, it's important to be unique. This means finding your own style and vision and shooting photos that nobody else is taking.
- Stay up to date
The stock photography market is constantly changing, and new trends are always emerging. To make money from your photos, you need to stay up to date with the latest trends and shoot images that are in demand.
- Think outside the box
Finally, it's important to think outside the box when it comes to stock photography. There are always new opportunities emerging, so don't be afraid to try something new. For example, you could create a photo series or shoot images for a specific niche market.
Selling stock photos is a great way to make money from your photography hobby (or even turn it into a full-time job). It's a relatively passive income stream, which means you can continue to sell your photos even when you're not actively taking new ones. And, because stock agencies typically take a commission of around 30%, you can still make a good profit even if your photos sell for less than you originally charged.
Are stock photos worth it 2022?
If you know your way around a camera and can shoot high-quality photos, this is a chance to make some extra money. The stock photo industry has changed in recent years, so it's important to be aware of the different methods and possibilities for selling photos in 2022.
How much money can you make from stock images?
If you took 100 pictures per month, it would take approximately five years to reach Rotenberg's 6000-image goal (which he claims is the bare minimum). However, if you improve the value of your images by using models with model releases or cater more towards a specific niche, you could reduce that time frame to just under three years. There are photographers who have managed to make $200-$300 through their photography within two years.
Moreover, if you took amazing photos that went viral, you could make a significant amount of money in a shorter time frame. For example, the now-famous photo of the "Dippin' Dots" ice cream guy went viral and was sold to multiple news outlets for a total of $500.
While it's possible to make good money from stock photography, it's important to keep your expectations realistic. It's unlikely that you'll become a millionaire overnight, but if you're persistent and produce high-quality images, you can definitely make a decent income from selling your photos.
So, if you're looking for a way to make money from your photography, selling stock photos is a great option. Just be sure to do your research, produce high-quality images, and market your photos effectively. With a little effort, you can start earning money from your stock photography in no time.
Where can you sell?
Another issue is that some of the major stock agencies have high standards, and it can be difficult to get your photos accepted. If you're just starting out, it might be a good idea to try selling your photos on a smaller site first. This way, you can build up your portfolio and get a feel for the market before submitting your photos to the big guys.
There are a number of different stock photography sites that you can sell on, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some sites are better for selling traditional stock photos, while others are more suited for selling more creative or niche images.
Some of the most popular stock photography sites include:
- Shutterstock: One of the largest stock agencies in the world, with over 200 million images and videos available for sale.
- Stock: Another large stock agency owned by Getty Images, with over 100 million images and videos available.
- 123RF: A mid-sized stock agency with over 60 million images and videos available.
- Alamy: One of the largest stock agencies in the world, with over 100 million images and videos available.
- Dreamstime: A mid-sized stock agency with over 60 million images and videos available.
As you can see, there are a number of different options available when it comes to selling your photos online. So, if you're looking to make money from your photography, be sure to check out some of these stock photography sites.
If you're a photographer, selling stock photos is a great way to make money from your work. Just be sure to do your research, produce high-quality images, and market your photos effectively. With a little effort, you can start earning money from your stock photography in no time.