Stock photography jobs allow you to turn your hobby into cash. Unfortunately, not everyone can make a living from selling his or her favorite pictures.
What are Stock Photos?
Stock photos are images you have taken yourself and that you own the copyright to. Owning the copyright allows you to license the usage of your pictures to make money from them. Legally, you can license your photos many times. This fact makes it possible for you to continually make money from the same shots.
These days, almost every stock photography company in the world conducts business exclusively online. Publishers, advertising agencies, graphic artists, and webpage designers are the largest purchasers of stock photos.
If you want to succeed in a stock photography job, you need to know how to do business with stock agencies. In between photo buyers and sellers are stock agencies. The stock agency hosts photos, provides search capabilities, completes billing and pays the photographer commission on a regular basis. For this service, the agency keeps a percentage of the transaction.
While there are an overwhelming number of stock agencies online, most fit into two categories: Macrostock and microstock agencies
Macrostock photo agencies tend to deal exclusively with professional photographers. These agencies have a reputation for being exceedingly selective about which photographers they'll work with and the quality of images they accept. However, they also offer large payouts in return for fabulous photos. As an amateur photographer, you will have more success working with a microstock agency.
Microstock photo agencies pay significantly less than their macro counterparts, but they are also much less restrictive about their photo selection process. Microstock photos are simply stock photography that is sold at deep discounts to customers such as non-profit agencies and bloggers who cannot afford macrostock prices. Clients are able to license stock photos for five dollars or less and the photographer earns a cut of the profits--roughly 20 to 50 cents per image. For hobby shutterbugs, a microstock photography agency can be the ideal place to start making money off photos.
Tips for Landing a Stock Photography Job
Before you start researching agencies, consider the following tips to see if you have what it takes to earn a living selling your photos:
Spend Time Conceptualizing Your Photos
Think before you shoot. Review stock photography websites to see what images they are looking for. In addition, take notes while you are researching. Remember, you want to gain inspiration from others' work, not copy it.
Concentrate on Composition
Peruse photo books and learn the basics of good composition. Note how award-winning photographs capture unique angles and master the art of lighting. Potential buyers want pictures that are well lit and feature unique compositions.
Submit Your Best Work
Buyers will not shell out money for lousy shots. Nor will stock photo agencies accept bad pictures. Remember: Quality over quantity. If capturing an outstanding photo means snapping dozens of shots of the same subject, so be it. Experiment with as many angles as possible to ensure you capture the best image.
You may think your photos are sharp and well composed, but realize that there are tens of thousands of amateur photographers who feel the same way about their pictures. Be realistic when applying for stock photography jobs. The idea is to build your portfolio with incredible images so you can increase your odds of having clients choose your photos.
Beware of Rejection
Don't allow multiple rejections to deter you from your dream photography job. There are dozens of microstock agencies out there. If a few turn you down, submit your work to others. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Also, over time you will recognize that a stellar photo can be rejected by one site and sell like hotcakes on another. The key to success in the business of stock photography is to never take rejection personally.
Increase Your Odds
To increase your sales, it's best to find several good stock photography websites and upload to all of them. Doing so will provide more opportunities for exposure and enhance your portfolio in the process.
Where to Find a Job in Stock Photography
There are a plethora of stock photography agencies that provide cash in exchange for incredible images. Here are some of the most popular starter sites:
For faster results, consider visiting the following websites that offer extensive listings of individual stock photography employment opportunities:
As you gain experience in the field of stock photography, you'll increase your chances of collecting a monthly paycheck for your efforts. Good luck!