I think it’s a question all struggling photographers have asked themselves at one point or another “Will I lend my photography for stock photography?”. It’s a reasonable question, because dipping your toes in to stock photography is not something a ‘creative, self respected photographer’ would do right? You’re basically asking yourself ‘will I sell my soul to the devil?’. Well, maybe you should think again, what if you could make a decent -and most importantly- passive monthly income stream? I guess that’d be the reason I’d do it, because if you’ve a good camera, why not shoot a few photographs for stock photography websites, upload & earn money while doing absolutely nothing but relax and fully focus on your creative or more fulfilling photography work? I think that sounds like a dream! So, let’s talk about stock photography.
First, do your research. What images are the top selling ones on the major stock photography websites? They are probably WAY different than the images you usually shoot. And they might be the ‘stupid’ ones. So would you go there, create ridiculous photos just to sell? This is something you should think of before joining these websites. I’d personally not. I’d say; don’t sell your entire soul for a couple of bucks.
Second step, sort out your photos and register on the stock photography websites. This is not easy: read their guidelines first and make sure you understand what they ask from you. They’re usually not looking for photos with models, unless you have all the rights. They’re also very harsh when it comes to making their selecting and it’s not easy to make it through.
Third step, if you do make it, make sure you give your photos the right tags. Do some research about stock photography and which search terms people (and businesses) use to look up the right photograph. These days, bloggers and web content creators start seeing the importance of using images with the right rights. Just download pictures from Google Images is more and more a big no no when it comes to finding the right image. So make sure you also create images that are very suitable for all sorts of bloggers.
So are you ready for the top stock photography websites to submit?
- Shutterstock – Probably the one you already know. They pay you a minimum of $0.25 per photo.
- SnapWire – This is actually the “anti” stock photography site. They pride themselves on accepting truly authentic photography and will accept high-quality photos, even those taken from your smartphone. They also pay more, between 50 and 70%!
- Fotolia – This site pays 33% royalty for images downloaded with a Fotolia subscription. Like many of these sites, they also have a contributor ranking program that allows you to earn higher commission with more sales.
- 123RF – Earn up to 60% commission.
- Dreamstime – Dreamstime will pay a minimum of $0.25 of each sale you make.
- CreStock – Easy website where you don’t have to apply or be accepted as a contributor. However, your uploaded images will be reviewed before being accepted. They pay between 20 and 40% royalty on single image licenses.
- BigStock – BigStock photo pays a flat $0.50 per image downloaded for purchases made using credits or 30% of the sale on partner sales.
So just check them all out, and let me know if you decide to dip in to stock photography, which website you picked!
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