Stock photography is a great way for both amateurs and professionals to make some passive income. If you want to dive in the potentially lucrative world of stock photography, here is a compiled guide for all you need to know.
Pick Your Camera for Stock Photography
Modern cameras and even high-quality phones make it increasingly easy for us to create technically strong photos. The higher your standards are, the higher are your chances to sell stock photos online. Try to make well-lit images that convey positive emotions. Declutter the image and remove anything from the shot that you think may distract the viewer or move the focus away from the subject. But let’s get back to the camera features and what you should take into consideration when picking equipment regardless of brand.
Don’t waste too much on your first camera. A DSLR or mirrorless camera will work fine for you. Just make sure the resolution is above 20 megapixels and that it has an accurate focus system. Some good examples of such budget cameras are Nikon Z6ii/Z7ii, Sony A7 III, Canon EOS R6, Fujifilm X-T4, Olympus OM-D E – M1 Mark III, etc.
Take a Few Different Shots
Take the same photo from different angles, make a few variations. It’s interesting but you might not always sell what you like most. An advertiser might really love a photo that you took of a girl reading a book, where your focus is in the cup near her. This can be a good fit for both coffee-making companies and for those who sell prescription glasses just like the one the girl is wearing to read the book. The more variety of photos you have, the more are the chances to benefit from your photos.
Make sharp images as the clarity in photos is extremely important to buyers. Be precise with the focus, especially when using a shallow depth of field. You may also think about leaving some extra free space around your subject that will allow the designers to add some text or logo. This will make your photos much more practical.
Take Time for Keywording and Tagging Your Photos
Many photographers take keywording as the final step in the shooting and uploading process, but it does not always have to be so. Instead, you can try using trending keywords as a starting point and source of inspiration. If you see any trending keyword in social media, keep it in mind when planning your future photoshoots.
Details are important, and when you upload many photos it is easy to lose the thread, so gather all your keywords in one place when you examine your photo and make some final touches in Photoshop. There are three types of keywords that you must bear in mind: literal, conceptual and stylistic. Literal keywords describe the “who, where and what”. If you took a picture of an old man reading a paper then you have to tag the photo as it is. Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer, what would he search for if he looked for such a photo. Conceptual keywords describe emotions and ideas that you illustrate in the photo. Stylistic ones refer to art and design choices such as color palettes, orientations or icons. Including all three categories of keywords will make it easier for the buyers to discover the photo you are selling.
Upload Images to Multiple Stock Agencies
If you have time then make sure you send your images to more than one stock agency. By uploading photos to many stock agencies you multiply your chances to sell your masterpieces. Take into consideration the views, impressions, and sales of your photos and after some time consider uploading to the stock agencies that sell. This can take a lot of time, but there are alternative options such as Wirestock that provides one door access to multiple stock agencies from one account. You can sign up here and upload your photos only once and simply select what other marketplaces (Shutterstock,123RF, Dreamstime, Adobe Stock, Depositphotos, Pond5, Alamy, etc) you want for your photos to be in.
Learn About The Copyright Issues
There are two types of stock photo licenses: commercial and editorial. Both editorial and commercial photos must meet certain rules. Any commercial photo requires permission from every recognizable person or private property captured in the photo. You cannot capture artwork or graffiti from the owner to commercially use them in the content. There can’t be any visible trademarks, intellectual property infringements, logos or restricted events in the photos. Unlink commercial photos editorial ones can contain logos or trademarks, however many people and business owners have specific restrictions and you have to always take them into consideration.
Go Out and Do What You Love
Always stay motivated and remember that sometimes it takes time and patience to reach huge results. Go out and take more photos, try new techniques, new angles, new lights. Don’t miss the meetups with other photographers. Get out regularly to do what you love and keep yourself in shape!