Announcement: How can I sell my photos and make some money???

I asked myself that question over 8 years ago, and decided the answer was to sell my images. Since then I have increased my income to more than $30,000 a year and I share the steps and lessons learned in the newly revised 2017 edition of my eBook – Getting Started in Stock.  You are facing a simple choice – do you want to learn as you go, following the forums and their inconsistent information from people who may or may not know what they are talking about, or do you want to save hours of frustration and learn it all on one easy to follow guidebook?

You can buy the book directly from my site or buy this new eBook directly from Amazon as a Kindle download and get immediate access to the information you need to make money from your photographs! Now recognized as the Best Seller in Professional Photography Books!

amazonbestseller

I try hard to keep this blog informative, but not bombard you with ads that pop-up and spoil the experience. If you find the site useful and have a need for anything from Amazon (a new camera perhaps!), please use this link (or the product bar below) to check out Amazon Electronics, Camera and Photo Best Sellers It won’t cost you anything, but I will get a small affiliate payment if you decide to buy something! Thanks again!


Can you make it with just travel stock photos?

I had a really good discussion with a budding stock photographer yesterday who offered $75 for an hour’s one on one tuition/advice from me. We discussed his portfolio, talked about improvements and had a good debate on how to come up with ideas for new shoots. He asked me if you could “make it” with just travel photography or whether you needed the second of my three main subject areas (places, things, people) to get a reasonable income. Of course, having all three is perfect, but not everyone is comfortable with outdoor shots, or people images, so you do the best you can! But it made me think – how well do my travel shots sell versus my studio “things” shots?

Well here is part of the answer!

 

One of the major issues I faced in looking at this question is – how can I analyse my portfolio into different categories? Continue Reading

How many files do I upload per month

There was a question in one of the comments about how many files I upload in a typical month. Of course, there is no such thing as a typical month as two things tend to drive my uploads – either I have been somewhere and come back with a lot of images to process and upload, or I have a spurt of image production in my “studio” when I think of something interesting or topical to photograph!

I decided to keep this simple by choosing Shutterstock as the example agency. They accept both editorial and commercial images and videos and so that represents the best view of my efforts. They tend to accept most images and so it also reflects, reasonably, what I am uploading. Here are the numbers for the past 3 years:

This represents an average of 93 files per month over the past three years. Overall, my numbers look like this: Continue Reading

Microstockr Pro – I missed it!

I’ve written about Microstockr Pro before, but it is always difficult to justify spending money on applications for microstock. It seems like we are so conditioned to accepting pennies for our images that we absolutely hate spending money (especially recurring money) on services that might make our lives easier! I know someone who earns more from me from stock photography who will not pay for applications like StockSubmitter and Microstockr Pro even though it is clear that she can easily afford it.

I accidentally let my subscription to Microstockr lapse at the end of December and initially thought – “oh, so what! I can see how my earnings are doing from time to time by visiting the main sites – I don’t need to spend my money on this.” So I didn’t renew. The result was pretty amazing – I really missed the program! Continue Reading

Which agencies do I currently submit to?

It’s no secret that I’m now a very keen user of Stock Submitter to upload and submit my images and videos to the various stock agencies. But which sites do I currently support via that program?

I thought a brief post on that might be useful! My referral links (if available) are in the links provided – hope you don’t mind using them!

All images:

Shutterstock
Adobe Stock/Fotolia
Dreamstime
123RF
BigstockPhoto
DepositPhotos
CanStockPhoto
Pond5
ColourBox
iStock
Alamy
StoryBlocks
CreativeMarket
Zoonar
Canva
iClipart

Editorial:

Shutterstock
Dreamstime
123RF
BigstockPhoto
DepositPhotos
Pond5
ColourBox
iStock
Alamy
StoryBlocks

Video:

Shutterstock
Adobe Stock/Fotolia
Pond5
StoryBlocks

Review of 2017 earnings from Stock Photography

It is that time again – a review of the year’s earnings from stock photography. First the good news – I ended the year with a record total earnings of $32,732 after a decreasing trend over the past three years ending in 2016 with $28,368.

Looking at this on a monthly basis, almost every month this year has been higher than I earned in the same month in previous years, which I think is a very good sign. The last two months in particular were significantly higher than I received in November and December in any of the earlier years. If I can somehow maintain that into the coming year, then I should be in good shape for perhaps reaching $40,000 in 2018. Who knows! But that would be a great objective for the year.

Now what has caused this success? Continue Reading

New Year Sale on Stock Submitter

I do talk about Stock Submitter quite a lot, but that is because it is now such a key part of my workflow, so much so that I don’t think I could ever go back to visiting each site in turn to fiddle with their categories and model release approaches to do that final piece of submission. I noticed a post from the developer that he is having his annual New Year sale on subscriptions for the software. It only applies to one and two year subscriptions (which apply to the larger upload packages), but if you were thinking of subscribing, now would be a good time to do it.

How to maximize your earnings from your photos

We all spend a lot of money on our hobby, so how can you maximize the amount of money you earn from licensing your images via stock agencies? Well, the obvious immediate answer is to take great commercial images that are better than all the ones already out there, but, to be honest, that is easier said than done. There is another way though – maximize your income by making your photos available to as many potential buyers as possible.

We are all aware of the main agencies, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock and so on. Some people have decided that the rewards are greater by choosing one agency and making yourself exclusive to them. Often their commission rates are higher for an exclusive contributor and you save the effort involved in uploading and submitting images to other agencies. I can understand the logic, but you are really making yourself dependent on the success of one agency for your entire income stream. If that agency annoys its buyers, fails to market correctly, or is simply taken over by another company that doesn’t have the same objectives you could be in trouble!

So how do we reach the most potential buyers – by submitting to the maximum number of agencies! I am sure there are some buyers who have an idea for an image they need and they search the internet using Google Images and they find that image on a particular agency and sign up to license it. But then with the next image they find a different agency and sign up again to buy that one. Even as you are reading this, I’m sure the complexity of the task becomes apparent. Setting up multiple accounts and using your credit card to buy images on a one by one basis is a lot of work and you are unlikely to get any discounts from buying more than one image.

Much more likely is the buyer who either personally, or their company has, an account with that agency. Perhaps they have a subscription type agreement, or a plan where they can buy a certain number of images over time – but the majority of people who are willing to pay for licenses will sign up to no more than a couple of agencies in my view.

Some of those agencies charge more for licenses – Getty and Alamy have significantly higher license fees that Shutterstock for example, and yet their buyers continue to buy images at those prices. I’ve studied the images that have been looked at in detail on Alamy and have never found a case where someone has “zoomed” into one of my images there and then gone elsewhere to buy the same image for less on another site.

So if the buyers tend to have a favorite agency, then the only way that buyer will license your image is if you have uploaded it to their agency – it is as simple as that. If you don’t upload there, then they will buy an alternative image from someone else that meets their needs.

But what about the risks of supporting an unknown agency that may decide to go belly up and simply sell your images for next to nothing? Yes, there is a risk that the more you support smaller agencies, that one of them may close down – it has happened a couple of times to me, but I’ve never had the situation there they have done anything more than close down the agency and delete the files. It would be an unusual CEO who would be willing to risk fraud charges by illegally selling off images in their database.

Is there a limit on the number of agencies to support? Yes, they must meet both of these criteria – be easy to upload to and have at least a few sales a month! As I explained in this post, I have a structured approach to managing my files such that it takes very little time to upload to 16 agencies compared to the effort in supporting one. Yes, technology helps, and the earnings from these smaller sites more than covers the cost of using software to help in the process.

So what is the result? Taking earnings from 2017 to date, if I had only supported one agency (Shutterstock in my case), I would have earned $8.5K for the year. Adding in a second agency takes this to $13.5K. My top five agencies increase the take to $22.5K. Adding the remaining 20 agencies that have some (or all) of my images gives me the remaining $7.5K. I don’t submit currently to 25 agencies, as over time I drop agencies from my upload process if they don’t contribute more than $10 a month or more. But I don’t delete my existing files on those agencies as getting payout once a year for no effort is still OK in my eyes.

So start counting those pennies and maximize your chance of selling your images by supporting the agencies that the buyers are supporting!

My current workflow

It is a long time since I wrote about my workflow and it has probably evolved over time, so an update might be welcome for some newer readers. Here is the essence:

  1. I always take my images in Raw format and import into Lightroom. Because I keyword all the images I think are worthwhile, having a structure on my hard-drive with topics or particular shoots isn’t necessary and so I use a simple Year and then Month structure:
  2.  I have some fast SSDs in my computer (Windows 10) and keep the Lightroom catalog on my C Drive, which is the fastest drive.
  3. I keep my current year images on another 500G SSD and move a completed year’s images to a normal hard drive (F: in the photo above) which is 4TB and large enough to hold all my images back through 1999. Continue Reading

How to create images for things in the news

It is always a good idea for stock contributors to be ahead of the game when it comes to illustrating subjects that are going to get a lot of coverage in the news and on blogs and sites. Of course some of those are obvious now in retrospect – buying some fake bitcoins to illustrate the seemingly endless rise in their price would have given you lots of opportunities for sales:

Since I first bought these “gold” coins back in March and I uploaded 48 different sorts of images and videos, I have earned over $1000 from the set. Total cost to me was about $40 (the ethereum coin was almost $20 for some reason). It is a bit late to get on this bandwagon, but how do I go about creating images for things that I think will be newsworthy? Continue Reading

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