More answers to your stock photo questions

I’ve been taking a break from stock for a few days to get ready for Christmas, although I did take the opportunity to photograph my grandchildren in front of the Xmas tree. I rarely use them as models for stock photos – there are possibly too many ways that images can be misused, but certain shots are less likely to be taken out of context and so I do upload those with a model release. This one really caught my eye as being very illustrative of joy at this holiday season and so I did upload it today – too late to sell well for this year, I’m sure!

Joy at Christmas time with young child in front of the Xmas tree with an excited expression
Side profile view of a young caucasian baby boy staring at the magic of an Xmas tree for the first time in wonder

But back to the main subject of this post – some of your questions. This was an interesting comment:

1. What happens when i die. Stockphoto earnings goes to who?

2. Taxes when i sell stockphotos on a site in an other country then my own. Do i pay in my own country or what?

3. I sell stockphotos at 10 sites and one of my best sites is Mostphotos and i can see that you sell just a little on that site. It´s a site based in my home country Sweden and the sell most photos to Sweden and other countrys in Scandinavia. It´s not a question but maby interesting to write about in your exellent book. I mean that a good tip is to sell at local sites even if they are small

The first question is perhaps one that I will need the answer to more quickly than most of you! I did a quick search on the internet and didn’t actually find anyone discussing it for stock photo income in particular but there are discussions about the royalties an author would receive. Basically (in the USA), your intellectual property is considered as “property” and will pass to your heirs and your royalties from your intellectual property (your images or videos) will be passed to your heirs in accordance with your will. It might be a good idea (and I will do this) to make sure that you do some estate planning and make sure that royalties are identified and you decide how they are to be passed to your heirs. That would make it easier for the person administering your will to approach each agency to make suitable arrangements for continued payment.

The second question is one that I do meet as a US tax payer – income tax is deducted in some countries on the income from a stock agency before it is paid. This happens to me from Canva (in Australia) and in Germany (from Zoonar). I let my accountant know about the taxes paid and we claim those as paid taxes against the tax due on my US income. I think you can claim back taxes between certain countries (the US and the UK for instance – or at least set up a mechanism not to have taxes deducted) but I am getting way out of my comfort zone with this!

What happens to taxes that are paid on stock photo earnings in another country
Alarm clock approaching midnight on tax day and taxation forms not completed

The third question is a welcome one as well. I get nowhere these days with Most Photos (less than $10 a month) and I no longer supply new images to them although unless something really awful takes place with an agency I rarely remove my existing portfolio. But agencies do serve the market in the country they are in, and it sounds like seeking out smaller agencies in your home country or region would be a great way of monetizing local images (and others, I’m sure) that may not be being picked up in the global agencies. Great advice!

Then there was this question:

hi, whats best option for stock photo&video starters ? buying a cheap dslr or (same price) good smartphone ?

I do write about this in my book, but my views have definitely changed over the years. I know a number of contributors now that solely use a mobile phone (especially for videos as people rarely look frame by frame through a video to spot any defects). They tell me that the Samsung S10 is great for this. I’m maybe old school and I prefer the control that you can get with a mirrorless camera in particular – changing the lens to give you a better composition, using macro to really get close and get the depth of field you want via selecting the aperture. Increasingly phones are starting to do all this as well, so I’m sure the answer will be – the phone is all you need – by the time I revise my book in 2022! Certainly you should always make use of your phone when you are out and about and see a great shot – the best camera is the one you have with you when you see the image!

OK – that will do for now – I’ll look at some more of your questions soon.

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4 Responses

  1. Appreciate if you could explain the difference between what SS considers editorial and Adobe consider editorial. Adobe say identifiable people or buildings but how identifiable must they be. Is a person in the distance editorial? is an apartment block editorial?

    • Steven Heap says:

      Hi Noel
      I will answer this as best I can – I’ll do a post in a day or two reviewing what I have uploaded as editorial to Adobe

  2. Виталий Борисов says:

    I have a question regarding print shops. Is it possible to upload editorial photos from photo stocks to printshops in the form of prints (for example, to the mediaartic in the form of posters, postcards, etc.)? Having talked with the technical support of different microstocks, some say no problem since you work non-exclusive, others say that it is only commercial use and editorial shots that are undesirable to sell in the form of prints. And honestly, I got confused, but print shops sell only prints, right? In general, it’s probably better not to upload editorial shots to the same Finartamerica, Society Cafeexpress etc( in the form of the same pictures of posters, etc.). They say that some microstock employees explain that there may be problems, and suddenly a person finds himself in the print and can sue and there will be big problems. The slippery theme. I don’t know what to do. And you do not upload editorial photos to the same Finartamerica (canvas print etc.) ? Sorry to bother you, it’s just a difficult situation, and I don’t know what to do.

    • Steven Heap says:

      It looks like you tried several times to post this, but I moderate first time posters. Sorry for the confusion. Good question, and I’ll get back to this in a day or so.

I'm always interested in what you think - please let me know!