Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stock Photography: How To Sell Your Photos

I feel like yesterday's post may have been a little disappointing. To anyone that started reading with great hope and then had their dreams come crashing down when they added up the total for all of the equipment I suggested, don't give up. Here is a beacon of hope! It is completely possible to support your equipment buying habit with selling your photos. The answer is stock photography.

Nearly all the ad images you see on the internet, magazines, any sort of print media come from stock. Why? It's more affordable for companies and ad agencies to use stock then hire a photographer for every image they need. Anything can be a stock image, landscapes, people (especially people), food, etc. It just has to be marketable. Before you ask, your dog is rarely going to be a marketable subject matter. That is unless your target audience is a dog food company!

To shoot stock you'll need to do a few things:
  1. Come up with a concept for a photo that people will be willing to buy (ie think in terms of who will buy your image and what they might need).
  2. Shoot that image and every possible variation of it. Make sure it's sharp, well exposed and high resolution.
  3. Submit it to stock agencies keeping in mind that rejection rates are high.
  4. Wait, probably a long time, and hope for the best.
  5. Repeat thousands of times over! I'm not kidding, you'll need a lot of winning images if you plan to retire early and live off of royalties. The key to making money here is simply to have a lot of different photos that are specifically targeted to a particular audience. The more images you have the better rate of return you'll get.  

I've done some research and here are some sites that will help you decide if stock photography is right for you and how to break into the market. Happy research!

Selling Stock Photography
How to Sell Stock Photos
Micro Stock: How to Sell your Photos
Microstock Forum

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