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How to Sell your Digital Photography at Stock Photo Sites

Orange-Arches-02-Web With today’s advances in digital photography and communications, many of our hobbies can be quickly and easily be turned into business ideas that can make money. And as a digital photographer you’re right on track to take advantage of this. Here are some ideas on how to start out doing just that.

Today’s digital cameras allow us to capture a wide variety of photographs in a wide variety of formats. For example, you may remember going to a carnival and having your photo taken in an “old timey” setting, and getting the photo in the old looking style called, “sepia.” Today, many digital cameras allow you to create that same effect right in the camera when you take the picture or later when you digitally edit the photo.

Well, stock photography is one of the quickest ways to “break into” the online digital photography market. Many people sell photos to others who need pictures for websites, newsletters, magazines and e-zines and other media. Look at the internet today. Often, many photos look the same. But your photos may add a new sparkle and style to what is usually available. It costs almost nothing to experiment, and hey, you never know, you just might sell something.

Some quick background. People who need images for various reasons can buy or rent images, license them, from Stock Photo Sites. The license can be perpetual or just for one use – with differing costs for either situation. There are even some sites that make photos available to use at no charge, users just have to give the photographer credit and a link back to the site – that’s how new photographers can get known.

Generally, you can make more money with some sort of an ongoing license rather than just selling the image outright (which is called a, “buyout.) With a buyout, the purchaser gets to use the image forever, and you cannot sell it to anyone else… whereas with a short term agreement, the first user uses the image, and you can still license it to another user for their project. Though you get a lot of money for a buyout, you may very well get more retaining the rights to the image yourself and making it available for repeated use – and repeated income.

Woman-SweepingStart by researching current stock photography sites, for instance, like iStock. Find one that suits your needs, is easy-to-navigate and easy to do business with for customers. Create an account and begin, “testing the waters” to see how well your photos sell.

At this point, the driving factor in your work should be quality. Good color, well composed, and sharp photos will usually be most in demand, so you should make every effort to offer only high quality photos – it would most likely be a waste of your time to offer anything less. Look at other stock photographs, and make sure the photos you offer are at LEAST that good.

Also, discuss with the stock photo company you select what types of photos are selling well. Take photos that are in good selling categories, but add your own creativity and originality to make your photos stand out – and sell. Don’t worry about offering good creative photos. The market will decide what it wants, and if your photos are right, they will most likely sell.

Finally, you should start your own web site to start showing off your work. From there, you can link to the stock photo companies that are featuring your work.


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