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Are any of these viable ways to make a bit of money these days?
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There are photographers who work full-time taking photographs for stock. The successful ones know what sort of image is likely to sell and tend to have tens of thousands of images in the stock libraries. There was an article in one of the UK magazines about a year ago - or maybe a wee bit more than that now - that suggested that well over 90% of photographers who submit to stock libraries never make a single sale. But they also featured a professional who did it full-time and was earning well into six figures per annum.
I now have over 4500 images with Alamy so can claim some experience in the matter:
The process of stock photography is long term, rarely is any short term success reported; you have to be prepared to remove your epz/camera club approach and take pictures that answer what, who, where, why & when, images that may not be pretty pictures that attract approbation, adulation and hero worship from your peers but photographs that buyers may want to use to illustrate an article or make a point.
Your images have to be of the highest technical quality to quote Alamy "be able to withstand scrutiny at 100%"; sharp where they should be; correctly exposed, no CA, no sensor dust etc etc.
The images have to be well keyworded: an art in itself and one that many find a chore and a bore, once you have uploaded 1000+ you may start to see regular sales.
I have also seen the claim that over 90% (I think the figure was 95%) don't succeed as many individuals in this age of instant gratification haven't the patience or application to succeed.
However if you are prepared to do some or all those things to succeed, realise that stock photography won't make you wealthy it is yet another reason to get out and about with your camera and personally I would much have £20 rather than 20 points at a camera club.
Thanks Peter, very helpful. Are you able to share what sort of income someone can expect with around 4500 images, assuming they are all of the required standard and relevant to marketing needs? Please pm if you'd rather divulge your experience privately
Also, am I right in assuming that any pics loaded to say Alamy cannot be used by me or sold in any other way?
Re income you are asking how long is a piece of string; the rule of thumb was/ is1 image per month per thousand i.e. if you have a thousand images you may sell 1 per month depending entirely on the images in your portfolio e.g. if you have plenty of lifestyle images; people smiling on sunny days with blue skies you could do well alternatively if you have preponderance of epz style beloved landscapes you may not sell very many unless they illustrate a particular point; actually the latter could really do well in more specialised markets like landscape stock agencies, calendars, cards and so on.
I don't sell bundles as I put in images I like rather than what sells but then stock photography for me will be never any more than icing on the cake particularly with the low rates that photographs attract.
Any images you upload to Alamy can be used anywhere else but why not have a look at Alamy or Getty or somebody like Photographer's Direct websites and look at their t&c?
Ive read the T&c and joined Alamy.
However I have one last question, which is about the file preparation? it says:
"Uncompressed file sizes of more than 24MB. This means you should make your JPEG file from an 8 bit file that is over 24MB. If you have a camera that is capable of producing an uncompressed 8 bit file of over 24MB then leave it that size."
A RAW shot from my Canon 5DMkII (One of the accepted cameras) converted to full size jpeg creates a file of 11.6mb?
when you open your JPEG file in P/S or whatever it should open at 24Mb or more. A Canon 5D MkII will be more than adequate everything else being equal.
Oh yes, it says its 60mb in PS. I get it now, the file is compressed on disk, doh!
good luck with your endeavouras. Petejones is spot on. i started stock 18 months ago, but not to make any serious money. currently i have 40 uploaded pics and have currently made $1.50 for each photo currently uploaded, which I suppose is a good return. It never ceases to amaze me what sells. i took a mundane shot of a 'break glass' fire alarm on a brick wall, and so far it has been purchased 3 times (no accounting for taste).
i seem to upload in bursts, maybe once every 6 months so far. If only I had the time to put into it I would be able to upload more. Take a look at Yuri Acurs (i think I have spelt his name correctly). his website is rather interesting and can be quite informative. He is the chap who has made a six figure sum from stock. however, I'm quite sure that that rather large figure may well be his turnover rather than his profit!
Look for 'concepts' when taking photos for stock, or good location shots, holiday places, etc . Remember it is a crowded market, so dont expect miracles. your pics may well be rejected purely on the grounds that the library is already chock full of much the same type of shot. That said, it is fun. the anticipation after uploading, whether they will be accepted or not. and then the anticipation of that very first sale.
i reckon if i sat back on my current laurels I will earn a cool $1m in 25000 years time.
Quote: Also, am I right in assuming that any pics loaded to say Alamy cannot be used by me or sold in any other way?
This depends upon what you state for marketing purposes, It can be Exclusive rights in which case you cannot sell elsewhere, or it can just be managed rights in which case you can. You have the choice per image once accepted.
Regarding what sells, I have sold a lot of shipping pictures but for small amounts under some new idea that alamy has for "Novel use" something to encourage buyers I think. You can opt out of this if you wish.
My best seller is of a wireless controlled central heating thermostat on the wall in my hallway. I received $103.50 a strange sum.
All comments above make sense, I submit at a range of agencies and have anywhere between 500 and 20 images on each site (20 being Alamy and it is a winter project for me to dig through my portfolio and increase my presence there). You will not get rich but it is a nice little side income and the thing it hasd done for me is improve my photography across the board by making the technical aspects of photography more like second nature rather than taking "purdy shots" that were technically very flawed.
I guess I make a couple of hundred dollars a month and it has continually increased in the 18 months that I have been submitting.
Most of what I have that sells is agricultural food stuff, but that is driven by the fact that I live in a rural community and grow most of my own food, my biggest seller is of me harvesting maize, but it is closely followed by a simple black and white image of a baseball... Go figure
Getting paid whilst being encouraged to become technically better is cool and it has more than paid off what I have invested in my modest equipment
$285 for this; I can't imagine how many votes it would get in epz galleries; probably a dead loss.
A pic of my bathroom taps used to be my best seller! The only thing it would get on EPZ is..................... ridicule!
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