Stock Photography

What Is Stock Photography?

Stock photography is simply photos taken “on spec”. This means the photographer takes pictures of various objects, people, or situations, and sells them after the pictures have been taken. They are not on a specific photography assignment, instead they are taking photos of subjects they’d like to take pictures of.

This type of photography is primarily used in printed advertisements, brochures, magazines, and websites, though there are many other ways it can be used.

Stock photos are licensed in several different ways. The two most popular are Rights Managed and Royalty Free Stock.

Rights Managed photography is the use of stock photos that are licensed for a specific, limited time and purpose. If an advertiser for instance, needed a stock photo for one specific ad campaign, they could license a photo for that specific use. And they’d be limited to using the photo only for that campaign. They’d also be charged based on the size of the ad campaign they intended to use the stock photo for.

If they wanted to use the same picture again, they’d have to pay another fee. And that fee might be different, if the campaign use and sizes are different. These recurring fees are called royalties, and with rights managed stock photography they can be quite hefty. Ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars for the limited use of one photograph.

Royalty free stock allows you to pay a license fee once, then use the photo multiple times. There are usually limitations on this form of stock photography, however the restrictions are not nearly as narrow as rights managed photography is. A designer or advertiser could license one photo for instance, and use it in hundreds of different ad campaigns, without incurring additional fees. In other words: No royalty fees need to be paid.

Generally royalty free stock photography can be licensed for as little as $50 up to several hundred dollars depending on the licensing source and rights given.

One of the most popular forms of stock photography for small and web based businesses, is royalty free micro stock photography. This is a variation on the royalty free model, but it’s referred to as “micro stock” because designers and advertisers pay just a dollar or two per image license.

This type of stock photography has become quite popular with website owners particularly, because it’s a very inexpensive way to get top quality photos for use on their websites. Quality stock photos can be licensed for as little as $1 in smaller, web friendly sizes. And prices go up to about $3 or $5 for larger, print quality photo sizes.

Since these photos are royalty free, designers can use them multiple times for that one time low cost. Be sure to check the licensing restrictions though. Royalty free does not automatically mean “public domain” or “copyright free”, and each micro stock photography site has their own particular use restrictions on the photos you license.

How to Make Money With This Stock Photography Business Plan

A stock photography business is a method to earn more money in the business of photography. Stock photographs are a collection of photos which are licensed for use in various purposes. These are used by people like book publishers, graphic artists, advertisers, etc to add creativity to their works. So due to the rising demand of such photos, selling stock photos have become a business by itself.

When you intend to start a stock photography business and sell stock photos to earn money, you must keep in mind certain things. Always choose and filter the photos you intend to keep in your list. In a stock photography business, more often quality is not as important as conveying the idea. People opt for stock photography, either when they do not have the time to go for a photo shoot or they are not able to acquire the required photo. So select and keep photos which are capable of conveying ideas across.

If you are selling your photos to a stock photo agency, you will have to comply with their terms and upload the photos in the specified formats and resolutions. Or if you are keeping the stock photos by your self, always go for a format and resolution which would suit the requirements of the clients.

Stock photography must not have any copyright or watermarks on it. These photos are intended for sale and reuse. So there is not point in putting a copyright mark on it. And if you are hosting your photos on a web site, be sure to use the apt keywords and tags so that search engines find you easily. You can refer the leading stock photo hosting web sites like ShutterStock, Fotolia, and so on for ideas on putting keywords and organizing the stock photos.

While, if you intend to sell your stock photos to a stock photo agency or web site that is also good. By doing so, you comply with the agency’s terms and either you will be paid a handsome amount for the pictures or each time somebody downloads your photograph, you get a percentage specified. This way, stock photos are means of generating income over and over again.

You can also take orders for producing stock photographs. The agencies will give you topics on which you need to take photos. This is a more effective way of selling stock photography. In the conventional method, the agency takes only selected photos out of the hundreds or thousands you submit. But when you capture photos based on the topic they give, the possibility that majority of the photos get selected is high.

Microstock is the latest form of a stock photography business and the photos are licensed for much lower fees. The sales of these kinds of photos are also on the increase. Microstock photos get sold in bulk and hence the photographer gets a fair enough amount with the sale. Though the amount per download is less compared to the common stock photos, the sale of Microstock is more. This ensures that the photographers get more money from selling Microstock photos.

An Overview on Stock Photography

One way that photographers share their work with the world is through stock photography. The average person may wonder what exactly stock photography is. Stock photography is when photographs are shared with licensing attached.

Anyone can use it, but in order to do that, understanding of all the legal aspects is critical in order to avoid being sued.

Stock photography has been around for a long time. According to, H. Armstrong Roberts started the first agency for this type of photography in 1920, and the company is still going strong today under the name Robert Stock. For years, photography stock was composed of “outtakes (“seconds”) from commercial magazine assignments.”

But, in the eighties, it had become unique, and photographers began making photographs just for photo sharing. Today several online photography stock houses exist, but before being used, the legal terms and aspects must be completely understood in order to avoid being sued.

One type of stock photography is royalty-free. This does not mean that the photograph can be used for free. What royalty-free means is that in order to use a specific picture, a photo buyer pays a one time fee to use the picture many times for a multitude of purposes within certain guidelines. Usually a time limit does not exist as to when the image can be used.

However, a royalty-free image does have a limit on exactly how many times the photograph can be reproduced. All of these restrictions will depend exactly on the contract that is decided upon.

One thing to consider with stock photography regarding royalty-free is that exclusive rights are non-existent. If a publication wants to be unique from the others, than royalty-free images are not the way to go. The best bet for uniqueness is to have an photographer on staff.

Stock photography has another kind called rights-managed that is sometimes difficult to understand. Rights-managed photography stock is when an image is negotiated exclusively for a certain allotted time frame.

During this time frame, no one else will be able to use that particular image for any reason. How long that this will go on will depend on the contract negotiations that are made for the image.

Because of online photography sharing, it has become readily accessible for all to use. Some agencies allow for images to be used for free, and others are based on contracts for their photography gallery.

Photojournalism uses it regularly, but the in’s and outs of the business must be fully understood to take advantage of all of the images that are flooding the market.

Whether or not to use rights-managed or royalty-free images will depend on what can be negotiated within a contract, and the legalities can get sticky.

Before using stock photography, make sure that research is done in order to avoid any lawsuits that will ultimately take away from any profit of the images used.

Review of the 5 Best Stock Photography Sites to Sell Your Photos

The stock photo business has been around in one form or another since 1920. In fact that very first stock photography company, called RobertStock, is still in business. In the days before the internet, stock photos were primarily the outtakes or “seconds” from studio shoots. It wasn’t until the 1960s that stock photography became its own photography specialty and in the 1980s there was a surge of interest by individual and freelance photographers.

In the days since the internet and digital photography, the number of companies in the stock photo business has blossomed and the number of pictures has soared into the tens of millions.

Digital photography and the explosion of reasonably priced high end cameras have democratized stock photography but also changed the entire pricing structure. The days when photographers could make a living strictly from stock photography are pretty much over, except for a select few at the top agencies. There are a few people who manage to earn as much as $300 per day, but it takes a huge amount of effort. For the majority of photographers it’s a part-time income that covers some of the bills for their photography habit.

It should be noted that stock photography can be a pretty decent part-time income. Those who have been at it regularly for a number of years are reporting incomes of $20,000 to $30,000 a year. That kind of income doesn’t come easy, but it’s a way to pay for your camera gear.

When comparing stock photo agencies there are a number of factors to consider before deciding which ones to submit your images. There are two basic types of stock photography sites: Stock photography and microstock photography sites.

Stock photography sites are the old school type sites where photos are licensed for fees ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars. They are primarily the domain of truly professional photographers and the screening process for photographer acceptance can be both tedious and time consuming.

Microstock photography sites are the newer type sites on the block where both amateur and professionals mix and photo rights are sold for anywhere from $1 to $5. The idea is that lower license fees lead to more sales and more revenue for photographers.

Each type of site has different requirements for image submission and not all images are accepted. All sites screen images, but not all apply the same standards. Every site has different types of image licensing and determines price differently. They also have different requirements for photo releases.


Stock image galleries have three basic types of licenses: Rights Managed Exclusive, Rights Managed Non-Exclusive and Royalty Free, which includes several sub-classes of Royalty Free licenses, depending on the intended use.

Rights Managed Exclusive – A customer buys rights to use an image for a limited amount of time and no other company can use that image.

Rights Managed Non-Exclusive – A company buys time-limited rights to an image, but other companies are also free to license the same image. It’s a generally a bad idea for companies to use non-exclusive rights for advertising photos because competitors can license the same pictures.

Royalty Free – Royalty free licenses have become the default license type for most stock images. It allows the customer to purchase the image once and use it multiple times in different applications.

Editorial Use License – Images which feature logos, brands or recognizable products, events, and even some celebrities are licensed as editorial use photos, which means they can only be used as part of a news story and not in commercial advertising or applications.

Extended Licensing – Extended licensing and buyout licensing are for companies that want to purchase the rights to use images on products, logos or copyright use marks and use them, essentially, forever.


All stock photography sites insist on having commercial photo releases for every identifiable person in the image. Minors must have a release signed by a parent or guardian and witnessed. Some sites will accept any commercial photo release; most have their own specific release.

Selecting the best stock photography sites for the individual photographer will require a screening process to determine the best match between the photographer’s images, interests and skills. Also the split between the licensing agency and the photographer can make a big difference in earnings.

It might be enlightening to review specific sites, how they’re alike and different and how much average photographers make off each site, when that information is available. What follows are reviews of five different stock image sites.

1. Getty Images

Getty is one of the largest stock photography sites, located in Seattle, Washington. Getty has over 80 million images and illustrations and 50,000 hours of stock video footage and also owns microstock agency iStockPhoto. Getty is most famous for celebrity and media, sports, and photojournalist images.

The easiest way to get your photos into Getty is posting them on Yahoo’s Flickr, but they also have contracts with photographers of exceptional talent. Getty will accept a portfolio for review, but don’t expect the review to happen fast.

For Rights Managed pictures Getty charges between $500 and $600 for limited-time use. The photographer gets between 30 percent and 40 percent of those fees. For Non-Exclusive image rights, Getty charges an average of $250, of which photographers get about 20 percent.

The fees for Royalty Free images are based on the image size.

Like most stock image companies, Getty requires a commercial release for every identifiable person.

Lately Getty has fallen out of favor with many creative companies and photographers because of what they consider overly-aggressive pursuit of even incidental use of their images. Many creative agencies have cut back on using Getty images and switched to microstock agencies.

2. Shutterstock

Shutterstock offers their subscribers access to more than 10 million royalty-free images from 210,000 photographers, illustrators, and videographers around the world. Shutterstock is generally recognized as the king of the microstock market and consistently one of the better earners for photographers, although they do not offer exclusive arrangements with photographers.

Shutterstock works on a subscription model. For $249 a month customers can download up to 750 royalty free images per month. Their license supports use in web sites, magazines, newspapers and brochures, though not in trademarked items or logos.

For a subscription service, Shutterstock maintains very high standards of image quality. Each image goes through an “inspection queue” where it undergoes rigorous testing for quality. Lately photographers have been complaining about the acceptance rate at Shutterstock.

For every photo that’s downloaded, photographers get $0.25 to $0.30 cents. The compensation goes higher when they reach a certain level of downloads. The payout threshold for photographers is $100.

3. Jupiter Images

Jupiter has a commanding reputation for customer service and quality, offering rights managed and royalty free images. Jupiter offers multimedia subscriptions for $599 per month or a high-resolution subscription for $2,499 a month.

Jupiter Images offers a catalog collection that is colorful, bright and provocative. Their catalog also includes illustrations, clip art, and object photos as vector images.

License fees vary by the type of license and intended use, as do the payments for photographers. Jupiter, like Getty, does offer exclusive deals to certain select photographers.

Getting into Jupiter Images as a photographer can best be described as “don’t call us; we’ll call you” kind of arrangement. Jupiter or Getty are not the place to start for photographers trying to break into the stock photography business.

4. Fotolia

Fotolia is a relatively young but growing microstock agency that started out with a focus on the European market and worked its way into broader markets around the globe. They have struggled with web site performance in the past and have few exclusive contributors.

Fotolia currently boasts an inventory of over 2 million images and licenses their products through standard Royalty Free and Extended licenses.

Where Fotolia shines is through their pricing, which runs from $1 to $5 for their standard license and is unique in letting contributors set their own prices within certain parameters.

Fotolia is also generous with its split, giving photographers a minimum of 33 percent and half of any deals for exclusive images. Their payout threshold is also $50, about half of most other stock image sites.

If you’re just starting out in the stock photography business, Fotolia is definitely worth a look.

5. Dreamstime

Dreamstime is one of the top microstock agencies and work hard to maintain their position in the industry. It is particularly attractive to photographers as their commission is 50 percent, one of the highest in the market and certainly in the top tier of microstock agencies.

While Dreamstime started as a royalty free CD store in 2000, it became community enabled in 2004. Despite slower sales early on, it has preserved the loyalty of their contributors with high commission rates.

Dreamstime is currently boasting an inventory of 1.5 million images and specializes in Royalty Free image sales, but also offers Extended licenses and buyout licensing. Prices range from $0.75 to $6.00.

Commissions for photographers run in the range of 50 percent to 80 percent with a $100 payout threshold.


Anyone interested in starting in stock photography, will have better luck and more income starting with microstock agencies. After building up a catalog of 1,000 to 2,000 images, the income for popular shots can start to add up over time.

How To Earn Money From Your Photos – A Brief Guide To Online Stock Photography Business

Got a digital camera? Now you can earn money selling your pictures on the Internet! If you have a good eye and if you are a creative person you can generate very nice monthly income by selling your pictures on stock photography web sites. Personally, I am receiving checks and PayPal transfers for few hundreds bucks every month. You can do it too. At least, it pays you back for all that nice and expensive photographic gear you have purchased last year .

I truly love online stock photography Internet phenomenon, since it is the first in the world and probably the only business model which allows amateur photographers like you and me to earn some money from they lovely hobby. In fact, if you are a talented photographer and you shoot hundreds of pictures every month you can earn a very significant part of your living shooting high quality pictures for stock photography agencies.

There are many stock photography sites that will be happy to sell your photos and share with you the received revenues. iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, Fotolia, BigStockPhoto and CanStockPhoto are just few stock sites to name. All stock sites allow you to register for free as their submitting photographer and start upload your work to their banks. However, be aware that many sites will ask you to provide detailed personal information such as a scan of you picture ID / passport and will ask you to sign and fax them a signed copy of their ‘submitter agreement’. I completely understand them in their effort to limit the image fraud on the Internet and to protect both their buyers and their submitters image copyright owners from the fraudulent behavior.

In addition to proper submitters authentication, many stock photo sites will ask you to pass a professional online test, which should verify that you have all the required photographic skills and that you understand rules of the game on stock photography market. Do not be afraid of that test. If you know the difference between shutter speed and the aperture and can explain what is DOF you will pass it for sure. And the basic stock photography rules are quite simple:

1) Do not submit images that include any copyrighted material Avoid company logos, trademarks, third-party images and brands.

2) Provide a model release for any recognizable person in your image Each site has its own standard model release form that you have to fill in and send along with each image containing a recognizable person. I suggest you to download and print model releases for all the sites you have selected to submit your images and always keep these releases handle. When you shoot a person, do not forget signing her on one or more model releases! Note, that most sites will also ask you for the copy of model’s ID and for the witness signature. Some sites will request to send them a copy witness ID too. Keep all this in your mind when you prepare a stock shooting session

3) Editorial content Some stock photo agencies, e.g. ShutterStock has a separate section / category for editorial images. Different rules set apply for editorial content. Editorial content can be used only in news and therefore these images do not require model releases and can include any copyrighted material. So, if you have shoot carnival in Brazil do not throw out all your pictures because you do not have model releases for all these people. You still can submit your images as editorial content at some stock photography sites. However, be aware that there are not too much buyers for this type of content and the submitters’ competition is tight.

4) Use appropriate lighting and composition This is common sense, but I will mention it anyway. Your images compete for the buyers attention with images created by highly qualified talented professional photographers which shoot for years, own nice equipment and definitely know how and when use it. You must think creatively in terms of lighting and composition, otherwise your images will never sell.

For instance, if until now you have relied on your built-in flash as a proper source for indoor lighting it is a time to change your mind. Go to the stock sites and take a look how other photographers use light in their work. You will probably need to switch to some more professional sources of lighting for your indoor photography. Again – be creative and you will win the war for the buyers’ attention!

5) Images format must be JPG, typically from 2 megapixels and with max file size of 8-10 MB

6) Properly prepare your images before uploading them to stock photo sites First of all it means digital editing. There are many software applications that can help you to edit your image, starting from the industry leading Adobe Photoshop tool, the newest and much cheaper than Photoshop Adobe Lightroom and ending up with Google’s Picassa, which is available free of charge. However, making your image look gorgeous is yet not the final destination for a properly prepared stock photograph.

Think about buyers. Buyers still have to find your image among all the similar pictures in the web image database provided by a stock agency. It means you have to user proper descriptive keywords to index your imagery before uploading it to a stock photo site. All the stock photo agencies allow you to upload images and add keywords through their web sites. However, imagine yourself adding the same keyword to each one of your images at every stock site you have decided to work with. It easily multiples the amount of time you are going to spend preparing your images to be sold. Such multiplication of image preparation steps makes all the preparations process completely ineffective.

Fortunately, there is a nice alternative to re-inserting the keywords at each stock photo site – put them directly into your JPG file. Modern JPG implementations support so called IPTC protocol. This protocol is used by multiple applications to insert and edit image metadata, including keywords, captures (titles) and descriptions. Some heavy-duty expensive graphical applications, like Photoshop, support this format, allowing you to add keywords and titles to your images. However, since IPTC editing is not a core business for such graphical editing software, typically its IPTC modifications interface is quite limited and ugly.

Editing of IPTC data and selection of proper descriptive keywords can take significant amount of time, especially if English is not exactly your mother tongue or if you just prefer to shoot images rather than index them. Obviously, it would be nice to automate this process. I looked for some help on the Internet but did not find too much choice here. At the moment I can point out only one dedicated stock photography management tool that provides significant aid for a stock photographer, helping her with semi-automated images keywording, proper image preparation and simultaneous images upload to multiple leading stock photography agencies. The tool is called ProStockMaster and it is available for free download from the product web site: ProstockmasterThe free version is limited to 5 image uploads daily which certainly could be enough for many beginning stock photo submitters. I am using this tool for a while and I found it to be a very useful stock photography workflow management application saving me many hours of dirty work on my computer.

7) Prices and payments – what income you can expect Most stock photography agencies implement pay-per-download business model, giving their submitters some payment each time their image is downloaded (purchased) by a buyer. This is a micro-payment model and the prices you get paid start as low as $0.20. However, if you were successful to create a highly demanded image you can easy hit few hundreds downloads a month, so your earning arithmetic can be $0.2 x 300 = $60 monthly, just for a single image.

Of course, the rule of the thumb says the more images you have online in each and every stock photography agency, the more images you sell monthly and the higher income you will get. Typically, stock agencies send you a check or a PayPal transfer at the end of every month. However, this is true only if you have earned more than a certain amount of cash, typically $50 – $100. If your earnings still did not reach this pre-defined amount you will be paid at the end of the month when your income reaches that payment barrier.

Well, that’s all folks! Just take your digital camera and go for a shooting session. Oh, – wait, wait a second. First, open your web browser and look what other people submit to stock photography agencies. Note the most popular images and read related web articles where agencies suggest their submitters on what they would accept and what is highly demanded by their buyers. Let me also give you a few personal tips, my $0.02 for your stock photography success. Please no close-up flowers, no landscapes, no buildings and snapshots. It is hard to get this stuff accepted by a stock photography agency. Shoot for business, trying to materialize business terms, e.g. ‘success’, ‘failure’, ‘funding’ and ‘partnership’ and be always creative in your work.
Good luck and happy shooting!

Stock Photography Earnings – From Little Acorns to a Great Residual Income

As with most things in our lives, we all need to start somewhere and starting out shooting stock photography, whether full or part time, is no exception. It is still a growing industry and many people are realising there is money to be made for both amateurs and pros.

Photographers are turning to stock photography in order to inject a little extra cash into their business during slow times and many are even going at it “hammer and tong” in order to pursue stock photography as a full time career.

However, starting out can be daunting as you work hard to get accepted, upload your first few images and then wait for the first few sales to come in. That can be the hard part but persistence always pays off.

Taking your camera with you anywhere and everywhere you go is a good start as on the odd occasion, you will come across a situation or opportunity that pays dividends. Secondly, there are two ways to attack stock photography:

All guns blazing shooting just about everything in sight like a bad Schwarzenegger movie or you can take the slow and steady route. The second usually results in a business with longevity and good, regular sales.

Regular sales, even at the smaller amounts that microstock pay out for each sale can add up to quite a healthy income over time.

What can you take away from this?

Well, firstly, on occasion you just stumble across a bunch of images that happen to catch the buyers’ eyes and they are off and selling like hotcakes. They appear as recent additions to the stock photography site and then the sales begin.


If you can just produce 3 images that sell every day which make you even the lowest amount of around 38c a day each, that totals $1.14 a day or $416 per year…for just 3 images and 20 minutes of your time.

You may think “Is this worth it?” but now let’s scale this up a bit…what about shooting and uploading 10 images that sell every day, and we are only talking regular sales at one agency here, not the 5 or 6 that most people recommend.

Even at the lower sales value of a subscription purchase (and not taking into account the higher paying, larger-Dollar extended licenses), that comes to $1387 (GBP920) per year on your “bottom line” earnings for 10 good photos selling every day on just one of the stock agencies.

Note: They do need to be good images to sell everyday but really, this isn’t that difficult to do once you know how. Even if out of 20 excellent stock photos uploaded, only one “takes off”, most photographers would be happy. That means if you upload 200, you have your 10 hot sellers. Multiply that by 5 websites and that is over GBP4,600 ($6,900) per annum on your bottom line earnings.

In general, it is safe to follow the 80/20 rule…80% of your income will come from 20% of your work.

Now think about this…

In whatever job you do now, how much was your last annual pay increase? 3%, 4% or more? The average salary in the United Kingdom is around GBP24,000 so a 4% pay raise for the year would be around GBP960.

So, a year of hard slog, being nice to your boss, doing everything that is expected and asked of you for just under GBP1000 raise. OR, what if you could take 10 very good photos and upload them to just one agency for pretty much the same earnings…?

You see, when some people think about microstock and the low earnings per sale, they don’t see the bigger picture, and some even talk of “rip off” or “selling out” or even “devaluing photography”.

When I was in “normal” employment way back when, I always worked hard hoping for some sort of recognition, possible promotion and maybe a good raise but no matter how much extra effort I put in, I always seemed to get paid the same amount every month until that annual pay raise came around, if at all.

Now imagine taking the time to take and upload 10 great, hot-selling images each month.

That little bit of extra effort doesn’t just add instant revenue to your income when they sell once, it also creates a small, regular income that equates to a much larger amount when you scale it up over the year, and the beauty of that is that once the images are taken, keyworded and uploaded to all the agencies, it is “job done”.

No more work is required of them, they now just earn and earn and the income grows and you add more great images to your portfolio.

How much effort from you would it take to start creating more images that sell regularly? Would you be motivated at all by this ability to constantly add more and more revenue to your annual “wage”?

Imagine if at the end of every month you had (in theory) increased your annual salary by around GBP500 to GBP1000 by creating ten stunning images…this is exponential, like the “snowball effect”…how hard would you want to work then? The trouble is you don’t “see” that pay raise as it happens quite slowly and is not immediately obvious.

Not like your instant pay raise at work anyway, and this is what many people fail to see, from little acorns…

Stock Photography Earnings and Compound Interest

Now think about this for a moment. Right now, you may have no earnings from stock. You may not have started yet so you are not missing much. Now let’s say you start shooting stock photography in your spare time and start to create a great portfolio with photos that start to sell regularly.

As those photos mature, their value increases…that is one good point about getting into stock photography sooner rather than later. The other point is that because you never had this extra money before, what would happen if you were to pay these stock photography earnings directly into a high interest bank account each month and not touch them at all for say 20 years?

(Assuming the stock photography industry keeps going that is but I have already done this for more than a quarter of that time and it has shown no signs of letting up).

Compound interest is fascinating…let’s look at an example of what could happen:

You start with $0…nothing.

Let’s then be a little pessimistic and say you just earn $500 a month from here on in, which is most achievable when uploading to multiple stock agencies (plus let’s also say that you don’t add to your portfolio and the earnings value stays the same).

So you are now paying your $500 stock photo earnings into a bank account every month for the next 20 years, and the let’s say that the interest rate over that period averages at 3%…you would end up with nearly $165,000 at the end of it!

This is money that you didn’t have before so it wouldn’t be missed every month and once the initial work is done, you need not think about it again.

I personally only have about 1100 images online with only 4 of the main stock agencies (many people are building portfolios with 4, 5 or 6000 photos or illustrations and more).

By using an online “compound interest calculator”, if I stopped using my own stock photography earnings to pay our mortgage over in Spain (which I have done for a number of years now) and I used this method of saving, in 22 years when I reach retirement age, I would have at least half a million Dollars in savings just from my stock photography earnings as long as things go on as they are.

You see, 20 years will pass in your life regardless of what you or I think about all this and all being well, and assuming you actually do this, you could have a very handy lump sum at the end of those 20 years after having only worked hard for a fraction of that time! It is also an income you can pass down to your kids!

So, if you have already got “just” 10 images online that sell regularly and you think it is a waste of time or are unhappy making just GBP920 a year from your efforts in stock photography OR you have yet to start…

Scale up these figures over one year or twenty years and decide whether you want to continue what you started but now make a real go of it, or if you are someone who has yet to start, do you want to get stuck right in and start shooting high quality photos and start to put that money away for your future?

Because as far as I can tell, this industry is still growing and I wish I had started this 20 years ago…there is no going back!


The stock photography earnings figures given in this article are based solely on, and taken from elements of my own personal earnings and sales figures from stock photography over the past 5 years. I now receive multiple sales from multiple photos from multiple stock sites. The figures given may not reflect the same income for others as each person’s work is varied and different…you may even (and I hope you do) earn a lot more!

Basic Guide to Stock Photography Online Selling

The advent of the Internet as well as the improvements and advancements in digital photography equipment has given a lot of photographers a great opportunity to make money by selling stock photos online. This article introduces you to selling stock and royalty-free photographs using a stock photography website like.

What are royalty-free photos and photos?

Before you can sell stock and royalty-free photographs online, it is important to understand the difference between these two. Royalty-free photographs are print or digital images sold for only a one-time fee. These photos and images are exempted from royalties or outstanding commission-like earnings in the future.

Stock photos on the other hand are those images licensed for commercial use by newspapers, advertising agencies, graphic artists, magazines, and website and graphic designers, among others. The photographer retains the ownership of the stock photos.

What type of photographs can be sold online?

Stock photos may fall into different categories such as image of house items, people, or animals. Moreover, stock photography comes in different popular genres, including medical, travel, sports, and nature stock photography among others. Many stock photographers opt to find a certain niche, specializing in a specific type of digital photo or image.

Stock photographs may include computer generated images and stock illustrations that have already been modified using image and photo editing software, such as Photoshop. Stock photography websites like 2k Stock Photo also sell stock video, stock audio and royalty-free stock illustrations.

How does a stock photography website work?

To become a contributor, a stock photographer must apply to a stock photography website. Once the application is approved, the photographer may now upload photos in different sizes. Some websites have preset price depending the size of the photo to be uploaded, while there are also sites that allow photographers to have their own price.

The payment structure or policy may vary depending on the stock photography website. For instance, some sites pay 25 cents for each photo download and once the earnings reached $500, the payment per photograph download is increased to 30 cents. This is now a common payment structure or policy on stock photography websites that boast of cheap prices. Consequently, these stock photo websites have a large customer base.

However, there are photography websites that pay on a percentage basis. For instance, some sites pay 20% of the download fee, with a 40% fee settlement in case a digital photograph is exclusively sold through that website.

As you can see, the more photos you contribute to stock photography websites, the more money you earn. In essence, selling stock photographs online is really a great way to earn money, wherever you are and whenever you want while still enjoying something you love – photography!

How To Make Money Online By Selling Stock Photography

Who wouldn’t want to make extra cash these days? If you have the passion for photography burning in you, a career in photography would be a great idea! This can be a lucrative service business for many people. There are a lot of digital cameras in the market to choose from that can suit your type. But that was not what I wanted to talk about today…

First, let’s talk business

Starting a photography home service business can be profitable if you’re passionate about photography and if you know how to market your photos. There are many businesses who need photos that are significant to their projects but do not have much time to take these pictures due to their hectic schedules. They choose to buy stock photos rather than hiring a professional photographer, not only to save money but time as well because these photos are ready to use.

What is stock photography?

Stock photography refers to a collection of high quality images that are used for creative and business purposes. Stock photos are not photographed for a specific client or use but depict a more general concept. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved in stock photography. The buyers get the desired photo, the stock photography agencies get a percentage of every photo sold on their website, and the photographer gets the remaining percentage.

What do I need to start selling stock photography?

You need a high-quality digital SLR camera and lenses. There are a lot of cameras in the market with great features but you need a bigger budget for DSLRs. They are ideal but are expensive. Fortunately, when you’re in a tight budget, there are some stock photo agencies that will accept micro-stock photos from digital cameras of at least two to three pixels.

You will also need some kind of software for making adjustments to your stock photos. You need it to remove imperfections in your photos and to adjust the colors and contrasts in your photos. The well-known software used for editing is Adobe Photoshop. There are a lot of tutorials you can search that will help you improve your editing skills.

What are the guidelines in stock photography?

There are strict guidelines you need to follow when taking pictures for a stock photography business. In order for your photos to be considered stock photo quality, they need to be modest, properly taken, skilfully exposed and with high resolution.

These photos must be what your customers are looking for. You must be able to have an in-depth understanding of the markets and how and what to shoot. You must also know what images are regularly required but in short supply.

You need your photos to be of its highest quality. You need to make certain that there are no visible noises or grains in your stock photos. They need to be clear of smudges, and unnecessary background items.Where can I sell my stock photos?

There are a lot of stock photography agencies where your photos can be sold. These websites have guidelines on what you should acquire in order to make a successful photo submission.

Types of Stock Photography

Many businesses use stock photography for their marketing and advertising needs. Whether it’s web, print or broadcast, licensed stock photography can be used to forward your business objectives by giving you high-quality images and graphic elements that will make your finished project look professional. There are two main categories of stock photography: rights managed and royalty free.

Rights managed photography licenses are negotiated upon a number of criteria, which includes the duration of use, how it will be used, image size and quality and exclusivity. These licenses are generally more expensive than royalty free licenses, but allow for broader usage. Typically, rights managed stock photographs can be used by your company exclusively, meaning that other companies or agencies will be able to use the same image for the duration of your license.

Royalty free licenses allow for mass use of photographs for a set fee. This means a photographer can license an image to be used multiple times. Some of these images are licensed to be used thousands of times, meaning you can print or distribute thousands of copies of your marketing or advertising materials with the same photograph. Higher usages of an image may require an additional payment. Royalty free stock photography licenses are not exclusive, so any other company or firm may use the same image in their materials at the same time.

There are restrictions for stock photography licenses, both royalty free and rights managed. These restrictions will ensure that the photographs and images are not used in an illegal or defamatory way. The use of stock photography images in resale products, such as shirts, mugs, hats and other for-sale merchandise is not allowed.

Furthermore, any stock photograph that contains a person or people will require a model release. The release states that the model or models used in the photograph have given the photographer permission to sell their likeness. Any stock image that will be used for commercial purposes must have the appropriate model release.

Stock photography that is classified as editorial is not to be used in commercial applications. These images can be used for educational or for news reporting purposes. The most common uses of editorial stock photography are found in newspapers, magazines and textbooks.

There are many places for you to obtain stock photographs and images. You can buy photographs directly from the photographer or have them licensed to you through stock image firms. These firms contain huge libraries of images and exclusive photo collections. You can choose between higher quality firms, or microstock firms that are cheaper.

Microstock firms offer stock photography through the Internet and contain images that are usually taken by amateurs. The images may not be as good as the more expensive, larger firms. However, they may be worth a look if you have a strict budget to which you need to adhere. Small businesses usually use microstock firms for licensed photography.

Digital Stock Photography

The term “digital photographs” means photographs that can be viewed on a computer screen, mobile phones and Palmtops. Digital photographs have changed the way stock photographs are sold and distributed. Digital photographs are captured using a digital camera that is synchronized to a computer. Varieties of special effects are applied to digitally the formatted image. These photographs can be copied to CD’s, printed on paper, sent by e-mail or downloaded from a web site. Photographers submit these images to stock photo agencies or represent themselves by launching their own website. Digital Stock Photographs can be obtained directly from websites, stock photo agencies or directly from stock photographers. Digital stock photographs are widely used by advertisers, television commercials, web designers, calendars and greeting cards companies.

Digital stock photography is filed under different categories, so that photographs can be searched easily according to different categories. Digital stock photographs are most often of nature scenes, celebrities or wildlife, but the categories are virtually endless and the list is growing all the time. A customer can receive photographs by electronic delivery, thus reducing the delivery cost and time.

Some stock photography is free of copyrights, which means nobody owns the rights. Therefore, this kind of stock photography can be utilized for free by anyone for any purpose. They are not as in demand, though, as copyrighted works. Digital stock photography added new dimensions to stock photographs in the way that they are captured, displayed, marketed sold and distributed. The demand for digital photography is great and the future is bright.

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