Author Topic: Anyone selling stock photos?  (Read 1613 times)

Finances_With_Purpose

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Anyone selling stock photos?
« on: June 01, 2019, 04:25:20 PM »
I know some photographers who do photography as a side gig and I'm wondering how easy it is to set them up to sell stock photos.  I assume you're just licensing photos out for use, so it's about as passive as something can get.

These folks have hobbies where they generate tons of photos, many of which are the types of things you might see on a blog, for instance.  And also a lot of nature-type photos, weddings, and so on.  (I would post some examples but don't have them handy.) 

Anyway, I'm going to set this up and am wondering:
1.  Where should one sell stock photos?  Are there some that pay better than others, or sell more? 
2.  What types of stock photos are best/most marketable?
3.  How much (realistically) can one expect to make doing it?  (It's purely passive, so I'm going to do it either way, but I'm curious what, realistically, one might expect.)  Assume the photographer is talented and already has a decent following for the normal photography biz. 
4.  Anything I should do/know to make it more profitable?  (Particular types of photos?  Particular labeling/tagging?) 

Thanks in advance!!! 

gooki

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2019, 01:39:35 AM »
My uncle is an armature photographer, and makes enough selling photos on stock sites to pay for his photography equipment.

Istockphoto and shutterstock are the big ones.

The key seems to be finding a niche and doing well. In my uncles case most of his income comes from photographs of police and police equipment.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2019, 01:47:47 AM »
What I have been told is that fun random photos of nature and stuff like that isn't desirable, since there's a glut. Think about things from a commercial point of view - stock images for ads often need people, which require consent forms. Or like gooki said, some other niche, ideally something that overlaps with an existing interest and has a decent market associated with it.

When creating tags and labels, again think about it from the searcher's point of view. What kinds of language would you search with if you wanted a picture with your subject and tone?

gaja

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2019, 08:14:29 AM »
I've been selling microstock for 10 years or so. It is not a get rich fast scheme, and there are a lot of good photographers who have started it and ended up very disappointed. A good microstock photo is not the same as a good photo. Artisty things don't sell. Landscapes are over saturated, and will sell very rarely if at all. Boring stock photos sell, especially if there are people (with contracts releasing the photo for commercial usage), or object isolated on white background. Tags are boring and time consuming, but important. Don't spam, but do include all the words designers would use to search for that type of photo.

The best microstockers make a lot more than me, but I'm at about $1/photo/year, spread over a dozen or so sites.

I've written a blog about my experiences for a few years. It is in Norwegian, but google translate is your friend: http://gajasworld.blogspot.com/

FallenTimber

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2019, 11:25:42 AM »
I just ventured into stock photography last month, so I can only offer my little bit of experience. Iíve uploaded about 500 photos at this point, which took about 10 hours of work between renaming files, uploading, tagging, titling, categorizing, etc. So far Iíve made $6.00, or about $0.50 per day.

Obviously thatís not much money, but it feels passive at this point since the work is done.

I plan to have the portfolio expanded to about 5,000 photos by the end of the year, and venture beyond Shutterstock to some other websites. Itís not much income, but I have all of these photos on my harddrive already, so itís not like Iím spending any time shooting specifically for stock.

If I can get an extra $5,000 per year selling stock photos, then that covers gas, electric, trash, internet, and cell phone for the year.

Or, put another way, it replaces what would require $125,000 worth of investments at 4%.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 05:56:08 PM »
Thank you all for your input already! 

@FallenTimber You've captured where we're at: thousands of photos already, but nothing to do with them. 

I'm wondering whether it's even worth the time to upload, tag, and post them, even the very good photos...

Thank you @gaja for the tips and reasonable expectations.  I'm going to check out the blog. 

Sounds like this might make a few bucks and it's passive, though it's a bit of a trick figuring out what's in demand and whether it's worth uploading in the first place. 

If any of you have more insight on that, or on profit expectations, I'm eager to hear it. 


gaja

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2019, 06:26:38 PM »
It is very difficult to anticipate both what the different agencies accept and what sells, so I wouldnít worry about that now. Uploading a few test batches with random photos will tell you much more about this game.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2019, 06:55:46 PM »
Good to know, @gaja .  That's what we'll plan on, then, and just try it out and see.  The photos are already there, so why not, right? 


Miss Piggy

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2019, 01:37:07 PM »
A good microstock photo is not the same as a good photo. Artisty things don't sell. Landscapes are over saturated, and will sell very rarely if at all. Boring stock photos sell, especially if there are people (with contracts releasing the photo for commercial usage), or object isolated on white background.

I'm a buyer/user of stock photos, and this is exactly what I have to buy/use...because Megacorp with the money to buy photos is boring and conservative, and we can't dare insert anything fun and creative into our uber-boring PowerPoint decks.

JoJo

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2019, 04:21:14 PM »
I'm in several travel blogger groups.  The general consensus in those are that for travel like photos, it's not worth your time.  Some of them sell photos for good amounts of money but that's through business arrangements directly with private businesses, DMO's ,etc and not thru stock photo sites.

Fuzz

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2019, 06:53:25 PM »
I have bought stock photos. Think about your ideal buyer. Your ideal buyer has to spend money on photos.

My thought is your ideal customer is a high margin service business, where people use the internet to find the business. You want a high margin business because those folks have money to buy photos. A lot of service businesses are relatively high margin (as opposed to a wholesaler or distributor or something). You want a business that people locate through the internet because those businesses invest in their website.

I bet those photos of police officers mentioned above were bought for law firm websites. Those lawyers pay for images (rather than steal them) and need images that are specific.

Architects, consultants, doctors, dentists, financial advisers, etc. need photos of whiteboards, conference rooms, and handshakes. Do you know anyone with an agency? What kinds of photos do they buy?

It's totally doable and an easy experiment. But I doubt there is much demand for random photos, while there may be some demand for a tightly curated collection of photos that allow the buyer to explore a theme and develop revenue generating content.


Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Anyone selling stock photos?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2019, 05:50:06 PM »
Very helpful @Fuzz @JoJo & @Miss Piggy !  Thanks for the insights and tips. 

Sounds like maybe we have some that will work, some that won't, and a better idea of what to aim for when uploading/creating new ones.