Digital camera brought a new evolution in the field of photography. With the acceptable image quality and the other advantages of digital photography (particularly the time pressures of vital importance to daily newspapers) the majority of professional news photographers have begun capturing their images with digital cameras. With the use of digital camera it has become very easy to enter in the world of stock photography. Well it’s thrilling to find places online where you can sell hi-res images & earn money while sitting back.
Recently there has been a boom in the micropayment stock photography business. The concept for photographers is this: instead of selling one image at $80-$120 once, why not sell it for fifty cents 200 times? In the long-run, the profit margin can even be much larger than simply selling it at a larger, fixed price.
Why to sell on Microstock:
I have been signed up for about 3 months and received a fair number of downloads. I thought that I would share my though, tips and tricks with you. Over all I have found the experience a positive one though there are some points that I found less than positive. I am leaving the site for the reasons below
First off what I found to be good
1. Being on a stock photography website has improved my photography loads. By making sure that my shots that were used for stock were of a sufficient quality has improved the quality of my photos in general.
2. The feeling you get from selling your first image is amazing.
3. The approval process whilst being slow (it takes about a week) is always fair, and provide links to good on-line tutorials that can help you with the area that the photo was lacking in.
4. The articles and tutorials on the site are great
5. The forum on the site is very helpful and full of great people who are happy to help
6. There are 3rd party applications that make uploading images a lot simpler than using the site itself
7. The site layout and design is good and makes managing your photos simple and easy
Is Stock Photography for Me?
If you are trying to decide if stock photography is for you, maybe the following can help:
- Can you take well composed, clear, and clean photos?
You do not need to be a professional or one of the best, but a blurry snapshot of your dog or a shot of the family will not do. The nice thing about doing microstock is that you don't need to be a professional. It is a great way to get started and it is well within the reach of many photographers.
- Do you enjoy photography?
If you are only in it for the money, you are in for a huge challenge. To make a significant amount of money, you will need to put in many hours of work shooting pictures, processing pictures, preparing them for upload, and uploading them to stock sites. If you don't enjoy what you are doing, it will be reflected in your work and sales.
- Do you have the right equipment?
The easiest way to do stock photography is to use a digital camera. Preferably one with 4 or more megapixels. A digital camera allows you to take a lot of pictures and experiment without having to pay a lot of money for film and film processing. With a digital camera, you can go on a photo shoot and take several hundred pictures, experiment with exposure, angles, and composition, and not spend any money. If you are using a film camera, this might cost you several hundred dollars to do each time. This doesn't mean you can't use a film camera, it just means that each picture you take will cost you. You will also need to have a good enough scanner to scan your photos, which is an additional processing step. Whether you go digital or film, you will need software to process your photos. You can spend hundreds of dollars on software or find some free photo editing software, but you will need something and a knowledge of how to use it.
- Do you have the time?
Stock photography, regardless of whether you go with microstock or macrostock sites, take time, at least to begin with. After you get sore photos uploaded to the sites you want to work with, you can sit back and just make money, but over time, your sales might drop, adn if you want your sales to grow, you will want to continue to work at it. This doesn't mean you have to put in lots of hors if you don't want to, but it will take time and if you don't have it, doing stock photography will be difficult.
- Do you want to earn money selling your photos?
There are many good photographers that could easily sell their photos, but they really aren't interested in making money selling their photos. Their photos are for them and their friends and that is as far as they want to go. This is fine.
- Are you bothered by making only a few pennies a picture?
Some feel that selling your pictures for so little money is selling yourself way short. They also feel that photographers that are willing to do so are ripping themselves off and hurting photographers everywhere. Not to get into a philosophical debate about this, but if you feel this way, microstock sites might not be for you.
- Are you already an established photographer?
If you are already an established photographer, maybe with a Web site and a large portfolio, you might not want to go the microstock route. You might meet the requirements to sell on macrostock, as they are sometimes called, or traditional stock photography sites. These sites are much more restrictive on the photographers they accept, but they also pay a lot more for each picture sold. Instead of making a few cents for each photo sold, you can make several hundred dollars or more. Of course, you will still need to decide whether to go the high or low price route. Some photographers go both routes. They sell some photos on macrostock and some on microstock. Just be sure that the sites you align yourself with do not require you to be exclusive with them. Some of the macrostock sites do not require exclusivity, but they probhibit you selling any photos through microstock sites. Do your homework before you sign-up with anyone.
Ten Tips for Getting Started in Stock Photography
The following are 10 tips for becoming a stock photographer working with microstock sites.
- Good pictures sell.; bad ones do not
Most photographers can be better. Take time to improve your skills. Read books. Try new things. Think like a designer and decide what to shoot based on what a designer might want. Think in terms of a clear subject and concepts. Abstract pictures have a hard time selling.
- It's a numbers game
Assuming you can take sharp, well composed, clean pictures, the more pictures you have on a site, the more money you will make. Keep working at building your portfolio. You don't have to do something every week, or even month, but keep at it as much as you can afford the time to do so. As you keep building your portfolio, you will make more and more money.
- Don't let rejection stop you
Just because one site turns down your picture does not mean another one will. Don't take picture rejection personally. Find out why a picture was rejected, learn from it if it makes sense, and move on. Also, realize that a perfectly good picture will be rejected by one site and sell like crazy on another site. It is hard to tell what a site wants. If they say no to one of your pictures, think of it as a mismatch between you and them, not as a reflection of your skills. Also, remember that in some cases, it really will not make sense why a photo is not accepted. It will seem almost arbitrary. Don't give up; keep at it; get better; and keep going.
- Upload to multiple sites
Unless you are going the exclusive route, find several good sites and upload to all of them. It doesn't require that much more work and will dramatically increase your sales for a minimal increase in work. It's part of the numbers game. If you have a portfolio of 100 pictures, then posting on 5 sites effectively means you have a portfolio of 500 pictures. It is a great way to grow your portfolio easily. There is one catch, if a site really can't sell your pictures, it is often not worth the effort, even the small amount of additional effort, to maintain a portfolio on that site. Do a bit of research and you will get a good idea of what sites are hot and which ones are not.
- Use IPTC to add keywords, descriptions, and titles to your pictures
By adding information about your picture through IPTC, the information stays with your picture, and when you upload your pictures, the stock photo site can automatically extract that information from the picture. This will save you countless hours of effort, especially as you upload to multiple sites. The IPTC tagging also makes for a convenient place to store photo descriptions and keywords. What better place to store information about a picture than inside the picture, and it is great that microstock sites can extract this information from your picture. If your photo editing software does not support IPTC tagging, it is worth considering getting a new one that does.
- Keywords are key
Take the time to do the best job you can keywording your pictures. The keywords are how a potential buyer finds your pictures. The best keyword in the world will not make you a cent if you do not keyword it so the person that might want your picture can find it. It is not fun, but it is worth the effort. When keywording, look at synonyms you can use. One way to get ideas on keywords for your photo is to look at the keywords others have thought of for a similar topic pictures.
- Edit your photos
Very few photos do not need some processing work after you take them. Take the time to learn a tool that will help you fine tune and really bring your photos to life. A good photo editing tool can be expensive, but might be worth the investment if it helps you sell more pictures. You can use a mid-level or basic tool and still get a lot of benefit. Also, take the time to learn the tool you use and understand what it can use.
- Continue to improve your skills as a photographer
We can always learn more about taking great pictures, so take the time to learn and improve the quality of your pictures. Being a great photographer also takes a lot of practice, so get out and take some pictures. Read books. Study the works of others. Consider taking a photography course. An inexpensive way to learn is to join photography forums, contribute, post pictures, and learn from the feedback of others.
- Shoot your turf
Not everyone can travel every week or month to exotic places, but you have access to things right around you that others do not, so look within your neighborhood, city, or where you spend your time and see what interesting things you can find to photograph. Some places have mountains, other places have oceans. Some places have tall buildings, other have farmlands. Some places have snow, other places have fog. Each area is unique and has its own special attributes. Take a look at your world and see what it has to offer you.
- Know your business
Just like any business, you need to know your business. You need to know what others are doing. Keep current on what is happening in stock photography. Things change, new stock sites appear, some go away, some take off. You want to be aware of what is happening so you can be better prepared to make the right choices for yourself. Join forums, or at very least, occasionally browse through them and see what the hot topics are. It is great when people of similar interest can learn from each other. Go to the stock sites and see what is selling. Most sites list the top selling pictures or list the ones they are looking for. Visit these sites and learn what is wanted.
Where To Sell Images:
Side page contains the links to some Microstock Websites through which you can sell your stock photos. These links take you directly to their homepages where you will find what each site has to offer and the different requirements that you need to meet before you begin uploading.
Submitting to many sites is a good move. You will find as you begin to submit to different sites, some images will be accepted on one site, but not on another one. You may have a number one seller on one site, but the next site rejects it for what ever reason. There is no way of knowing this, and it is just part of how the stock business goes.
To handle the rejections you need to keep an open mind to what may be wrong with the image and try to correct the problem the next time. Be open to learning and improving, and best of all, develop a thick skin, because some of these sites are tough!