Photography can be a very expensive activity. This is especially true if you take your photography seriously. New equipment, advanced training, printing, everything costs money – rather serious money. As a result, most photographers have at least flirted with the idea of finding ways to make some money with their photography. You have to admit, it would be nice to find a way to at least partially offset the cost of your photography habit!
Enter the world of Stock Photography. Stock photography has always been an appealing option for photographers. The photographer places his or her selected images with a stock company that then licenses their use to end users. Newspapers, magazines, corporations, book publishers, calendar printers, etc……..they all turn to stock companies for images to support their stories or products. In the days of film photography it was really rather difficult to place your photos with a stock photography company. There were several large Stock Photo Houses that dominated the vast majority of the market. And it was really difficult to get your work accepted by these stock companies. In many ways it was a closed shop type of deal.
With the emergence of the digital age in photography this situation has changed in a big way. The large stock companies still exist but now they have to share the market with a growing number of smaller but very aggressive and competitive stock companies. A Google search for “stock photography companies” will produce a lengthy listing companies for the photographer to consider.
If you would like to make some money with your images you could do worse than consider placing images with a stock company. Some photographers make a full-time living with stock photography. But they are running a full-time stock photo business – they employ multiple photographers, shoot thusands of images specifically targeted toward the stock photo consumer, and devote full time staff to processing and submitting images. More photographers do stock photo work part-time, placing selected images with a stock company rather than doing all of their shooting with a stock photo goal.
Most photographers today have a rather large bunch of photos just sitting on their hard drives. I guarantee you, if the images just sit there they will not bring in any income. It does take some time and effort to select, edit, and process images for stock submission. But once they are placed with a company – well, then the images are working for you. Why not place some of your photos with a stock company and see how it turns out?
I should warn you, however, that stock photography is not an easy, get rich quick type of thing for the photographer. Most companies today are what are referred to as “micro stock”. They provide digital images to end users for relatively low fees, and only a portion is shared with the photographer. Each company has its own approach to photographer contracts and fees. Some pay more per image, some pay less. Some stock companies handle a wide variety of image content and others maintain a portfolio of images limited to a specific sector such as nature, business, travel, etc. Some companies have rather relaxed standards for the quality of images they accept and some have very demanding standards. (Be aware – no company will take just any old image – all companies have a review and selection process) I suggest you research and compare a variety of companies. Select the one that works best for you. I currently place my photos with iStockPhoto and have been very pleased with their results. You can access my iStock Portfolio (click here) if you would like.
What is your experience with Stock Photography? Watch for more articles about the financial aspects of photography in the future. For a related post (click here)
As always………Enjoy The Adventure!
Dr.B, The Photo Trekker