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A Guide to Using Stock Photo Websites
Tips and advice on how to sell stock photos
Photographs are everywhere, and they very often get there these days through stock photo websites! A huge proportion of images for advertising, news, magazines and more are sourced from stock photography websites.
Originally the preserve of pro photographers, the industry has evolved to include great opportunities for amateur snappers too. Businesses and individuals are ever more reliant for their creative projects on cheap photos from stock websites.
So get involved and start taking advantage of this fun money making opportunity!
Give yourself a big headstart selling stock photos by learning from a seasoned pro!
How does stock photography work?
The idea behind stock photography is for anyone, individuals or businesses, to easily get hold of good quality, cheap photos without needing to pay for the services of a photographer.
Stock photo websites provide universally accessible online databases where people can search through millions of pictures to find one that suits their purposes.
In the early days this was a system that served pro photographers only, as a means for streamlining the existing industry.
Getty Images and Corbis are the big players, and they continue to offer the best stock photo services for professionals, whose work is sold on a Rights Managed basis.
Basically, the the stock website functions as an agent, selling licenses for the use of images on behalf of photographers, and specifying an appropriate price which they in turn take a share of.
But what about the stock photography that most amateurs are interested in?
Well, over the years other stock agencies have developed, working on a slightly different model and accepting submissions from all comers - hobbyists and keen amateur photographers alike. These are known as microstock photo agencies
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Originally microstock agencies were pretty free and easy about the quality of work they accepted. But as competion and demand grew, they came to allow only pictures of a decent technical quality.
Unlike Getty Images and Corbis, these websites sell your photos on a Royalty-Free basis. In other words, people only pay a one time fee and you don't get any royalties for its continued use.
Doesn't that sound like a bad deal? Far from it - microstock photography websites like Bigstock Photo and Dreamstime are popular. Really popular! It's a numbers game.
Upload lots of your shots (and all digital photographers have lots of shots!) to several websites and the cumulative effect becomes quite exciting.
What are the best microstock photography websites to sell and buy stock photos from?
Surf the web, upload your work to as many sites as possible. New ones are appearing all of the time, and the more outlets you have the more money you will make.
Some stock photo websites give you a more favourable cut of the profits than others, so look into this before diving in.
From the point of view of both sellers and buyers, the following sites all offer large databases of quality images, fair distribution of profits, high volumes of visitors and sales, easy, intuitive site navigation and cheap royalty-free photos:
Although you should absolutely check out other stock photo websites, these all have a good reputation and I have personally been delighted with them both when buying stock photos and selling.
Tips on how to sell stock photography
So you've lined up a stock photography website or two and you're eager to make those first submissions! How can you be sure that your efforts will soon translate into cash?
First up, everyone has images rejected to begin with. Don't be disheartened when this happens, it will help you develop a better idea of what is required.
It's well worth reading the guidelines on stock photo websites for some basic do's and don'ts, plus information on the key technical requirements. But by itself that's nowhere near enough to speed up the learning curve, so...
"How to Sell Stock Photos" is an ebook by Nick Stubbs, one of themost successful stock photographers in the world.
It is the best resource that exists for anyone looking to make money through stock photo websites.
Read my review and find out how it will help you build a stable, monthly online income.
A brief introduction to some key areas to bear in mind when selling your work on stock photo websites.
These 12 points are a handy overview of some crucial factors when selling stock photos.
Finally, a quick article for those of you on the lookout for cheap/free photos...
Ever used a free stock photography site? If you're interested in finding images, rather than selling them, it's often worth a quick scout around a few good free stock photo websites as a first step.
Here is my thorough guide to the best free sites that I tend to use, with info on what pictures to expect, how to use them and what you are entitled to use them for.
So you'd love to sell your photos... but can't really spare the time / don't know where to start!
How can Redbubble help you?
So that's it, a quick intro to stock photo websites. You'll have more success after a little familiarising period as you get the hang of a few websites, and learn how to sell stock photography most effectively.
Good luck, hope you make lots of money!
Have Your Say and Share Your Photos
What have been your experiences with stock photo websites? Share your stories, ideas and opinions!
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