Is it really possible to make $$$ selling stock photography?

  • Eat Good
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I see all the stock photography websites out there. They have millions of images up for sale all over the net. It would seem that the supply of images for sale far outweighs the demand for them. To me it seems the market would be saturated with photos that don't sell, images that just sit there and flounder.

I am asking because I'm a street photographer who loves to shoot in the street. I just picked up the hobby about a year ago and I love it. I feel lucky that I discovered it. I should say that don't know how to use Photoshop, but I could learn. I have lots of free time during the day, so if I decided to sell stock photos, I could set a goal of capturing 5 or 10 good images a day, or say 50 or 100 good quality images a week (rough estimate). I already have a stock of photos on hand.

And thus I was wondering if it's possible for someone to earn around 500 hundred dollars a month selling stock photos. To me, that doesn't seem possible. I'm theorizing this using basic bonehead/101 business principals. Granted, I'm a complete outsider who doesn't know much about the world of Internet stock photography. But it's apparent to me the competition is fierce. Supplementing your income to the tune of 500 dollars a month doesn't seem possible because it appears, at least to me, to be a buyers market, not a sellers market. :?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Don2007
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't think there is much of a market for that either and even if there were people who were willing to buy your photos, how would you display them and protect your copyright at the same time? There maybe a way but I would say that it's hard to stop someone from copying a photo from a web site.
  • Eat Good
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Don2007 wrote:
I don't think there is much of a market for that either and even if there were people who were willing to buy your photos, how would you display them and protect your copyright at the same time? There maybe a way but I would say that it's hard to stop someone from copying a photo from a web site.


Someone else said that the pay would be poor and infrequent. A quote found online:

Companies like iStockphoto, or any other operation that is open to submissions from the general public, which licenses images for peanuts, is not going to be serving the interests of the bulk of the photographers who submit pictures (that's a polite way of saying it isn't even worth the time of most contributors, but that doesn't stop them going fishing). The internal competition will be very high, and the pay will be very poor and infrequent. Oh, and have you thought about how to audit whether they are actually reporting sales and paying properly?
  • Ishii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

See http://www.niltomil.com. There is a formula to follow. If you follow it (and don't have photos that suck), you will be successful.

Now if you're asking "will it be easy?" then the answer is absolutely not. Stock photography is hard work, and quite honestly my brain doesn't work that way. I'm not afraid of the work, but I'm not going to force myself to do something I don't care to do when the payoff takes that long to reach.
  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think it is possible to make money selling stock but you have to be willing to submit lots and lots of images. You also have to find subject matter that people want/need. I know several people who make decent money selling stock, but they're pro photographers who use the client rejects from a photo shoot as stock.

Personally I sell a few images on iStock and to be quite honest it about pays for me to buy images that my clients need. So I guess really I'm not making money, its more of a trade system... but it serves the purpose I need.

I think the real key to making money with stock is the type of imagery you produce. For example iStock and similar sites are packed full of flowers and sunsets, but high concept imagery and things that are easy to incorporate into other projects are pretty scarce.
  • mantonino
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks to Ishii I found this site from some hits on the link above. I'm the guy referenced in the NiltoMil link. It's more than possible to make $500 or more in stock photography - actually I made just over that this month myself.

Between my top 6 sites, I made just over $520. My portfolio on these sites averages right around 1000 images. As of March 1st I only had 161 online so I've added 840 in the last 4 months, so about 200 per month.

If I keep adding 200 per month, I should be making just over $1k per month by the end of the year. :) So to answer the question, yes, it's very possible.

I need to update the page, but I do have a short explanation about each agency here: http://niltomil.com/agencies/
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It's really nice to get people from linked websites to come and register to explain on a more personal level.

Welcome to Ozzu mantonino.
  • mantonino
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for the welcome! :) I have run several forums in the past so I know what you mean. I'll try to stick around as much as possible - I'm on so many forums tho I have difficulty keeping up. :)

M
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Post 3+ Months Ago

mantonino wrote:
Thanks for the welcome! :) I have run several forums in the past so I know what you mean. I'll try to stick around as much as possible - I'm on so many forums tho I have difficulty keeping up. :)

M


Hey... I have more posts than you on this forum, sweet! For those who don't know, mantonio is a (the?) moderator on a photography forum that I frequently visit. He has over 6k posts there.

Welcome to Ozzu, hope you don't mind me sharing the link to your site, it's quite useful.
  • mantonino
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hey Other-Matt,

I definitely don't mind you sharing the link! I love finding new forums & meeting new people so this is cool. I just read a post in the Spanish forum that linked me too although I gotta admit I know what he's saying but I probably can't write well enough in Spanish to reply!

(as far as my time spent on other sites - don't remind me!)
  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You can make money out of stock photography. You just need a lot of images which people are likely to need to use. Try looking at the top keywords people use, also check out http://www.stockxpert.com/ - you can sell on there too and they say what are the top keywords people look for.
  • krsnasolo
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yes it is indeed possible to make tremendous amount of money online with photos. Specially stock photos for they can be resold as many times as you want as royalty free photos. if you check out a few stock photo sites and look through their prices, you will know. Each one is multifold better than selling ebooks to make money online. One thing you must remember that the competition is extremely high. Hence you got to find your own niche, which is of utmost importance. I started my portal called Picdif Stock Photos, specializing in Indian and Asian stock photos and today reaping the benefits from it bigtime because there is less competition in the niche of indian photos. So you can trust me on this, that it does make thos $$$ selling stock photography.
Moderator Remark: removed website screenshot
  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

If anyone is still interested in selling photos online this site is really good: http://photodune.net/

I buy heaps of photos from there for various projects.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

If I were selling stock photography I would first approach graphic designers and graphic design firms and try to sell directly to them. If I used a third party stock site i would promote my stock business the same as any other service and not strictly rely on the sites popularity.
  • scott22
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You can make some good money on stock. The best tip I can give is going to a smaller archive that has quality shots that can represent your images. The better the quality place the better the chances of your photos selling because of the type of clients they have looking at their archives. There is a new place I just checked out called shotshop that checks my boxes.

Just my two cents! cheers!
  • Gooseman
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Of course you can. Just think at the default windows xp wallpaper, bliss. That photo was sold for a very big sum and it was just a picture taken in a break by the photographer.

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