“Hey, hubby, you have always said that I take fantastic photos, and Tim and Kate have also mentioned it couple of times. What if I tried to make a little extra money from my photos?”
Maybe a similar conversation has happen to you and now you are looking around the internet to find the ways to make money with photography.
It might be not seem as easy you’d like. A couple of common suggestions you come across online on how to make money with photography in their article about making money from photography are not exactly what you probably have in mind, such as…
1) make money from photography by selling your old gear, or
2) make money from photography by renting your gear out
Maybe it’s good to consider these two approaches first, but when you are confident that your photos are great and photography is your passion, you are in a good position to try stock photography as a business! Of course, since the rise of digital photography there are probably as many photographers in the world as there are people. Okay, maybe a little bit less. But the competition is surely higher now that’s it ever been.
Here are a couple of tips that will help you get a good start in stock photography.
Get to know the business
Now days it’s good to start with microstock. Most image licensing businesses have moved to the Internet and several microstock agencies have proved themselves as trustworthy, high-quality image providers. Many agencies have a section with their popular or bestselling images. Check those out to see what kind of images clients are looking for on stock sites. Would you like to create similar images? Would you love it?
Your style doesn’t have to match exactly with popular images. It’s high competition up there and copying the style of bestsellers might bring you more shame than fame. Copying is never a good idea on stock photography, those copycats who do it, will not remain in the business for a long anyway. But checking out bestselling photos might help you to see difference between regular photography and stock photography and the subtle differences that make one photo sell well even though the subject matter might be covered by many other photos.
You will certainly learn a lot about how to create high-quality photos. And there is lots of information on stock sites to help you in that. Several stock sites have blogs and forums where you can learn all kind of tips and tricks.
Test yourself – are you ready of becoming a stock photographer
Pick one stock photography agency to begin with. Sign up as a photographer and provide your best images for a test drive. Select images which describe your style and showcase your skills the best.
Stock agencies have image reviewers who will examine all images before they go live online. Here’s a place where growing a thick skin will be rewarding. When your images are rejected, and in the beginning it might happen a lot, read carefully the reasons for rejection. Don’t get discouraged. Instead, heed the recommendations and critiques of the reviewers. They are not giving you’re their input to ridicule your work, but to help you improve it.
Read and ask advice in the forums offered by stock agencies and try to figure out what you can do to improve your stock images. You might learn new things that you never thought of as hobbyist photographer. It might look like a lot of work at the beginning but it’s worth it if you don’t give up. Often your images won’t be rejected because of quality but because agency already knows their clients, that they won’t accept a particular style that know won’t sell. Then you might want to try to sell them with a different agency.
Usually the key question about the photo when you are hobbyist is: “How do I create a beautiful photo?” But as a professional stock photographer you should always ask: “How or where could clients use my photo to make profit?” If you know answers to those questions you will do well in both fields.
Selling stock photos is not rocket science. If you love taking pictures, have a good idea for design and what clients might want, and are willing to learn you can start making extra money from your hobby in no time!
This stock photography article was written by Mailis Laos, a freelance photographer based in Estonia. You can see more of Mailis’ work at http://www.dreamstime.com/maigi_info. AThe stock photos used in this article are copyright Mailis Laos for Dreamstime.com.