123RF Review: How to Make Money Selling Your Photos
- 123RF Review: Snapshot
- 123RF Review: How Much Do They Pay Photographers?
- 123RF Review: How Can I Become a Contributor?
- 123RF Review: Tips for Getting Photos Approved
- 123RF Review: Tips for Making Money
- 123RF Review: Getting Paid
- 123RF Review: The Bottom Line
- Founded in 2005 by Inmagine, 123RF is an affordable, royalty-free stock photo agency.
- Has grown to be one of the world’s largest digital stock agencies.
- Serves over 12 million monthly active users.
- Has over 300,000 creative contributors.
- Adds 90,000 new photos and other content every day.
- Serves a number of big-name customers including Amazon, American Express, Apple, Budweiser, McGraw Hill, Google, HBO, and many, many others.
- Offers customers two plan options: purchasing batches of credits or monthly subscriptions.
- Create an account on the site’s registration page, choosing the “sign-up as 123RF photographer/contributor” option. (Note that you must be 18 or older to become a contributor.)
- Provide a valid form of government-issued ID.
- Check the “I agree” button for the various legal forms.
- Submit 10 sample images, with keywords, for initial review.
- Check the orientation. The number one reason 123RF rejects photos is that they are not right-side up. Make sure your photos do not have to be rotated before you submit.
- Don’t repeat. No two images should be (almost) exactly alike. While 123RF will accept photos of the same subject shot at different angles, if images are almost identical, they will be rejected.
- Think commercial. Images should not be too abstract. Also, the photos should feature vibrant colors, use proper lighting (not overexposed or underexposed), and be well framed or cropped.
- Avoid the controversial. 123RF will not accept photos that come across as discriminatory or too controversial, including images such as burning flags or money, or images that are gruesome, terroristic, or pornographic.
- Clean them up. If your photos feature any kind of logos, branding, or identifiable marks such as a bar-coded number or a license plate, the branding or marks need to cleanly removed. Likewise, printed patterns are often copyrighted (think Gucci) and will be rejected, as will photos with recognizable patented images, such as a Rubik’s cube. Additionally, photos that have distracting items in the foreground or background will likely be rejected.
- Stay smooth. If you have removed a background from an image, look at the image at 100% and make sure the edges are smooth.
- Format correctly. Photos must be a minimum of 6 million pixels, and JPEG format only with a minimal 80% quality compressions.
- Avoid noise. 123RF wants sharp images. Your photo may look fine reduced on your screen, but at full size it may have noise or grain, particularly in the dark areas. One recommendation is to reduce the original image by as much as half, which will help clean it up. Just make sure it’s still large enough to meet the site’s size requirements.
- Follow the FTP rules. 123RF has three FTP servers, and each has a quota that should not be exceeded. If you are uploading several photos, do it in batches, but do not exceed your FTP quota or you will have to wait 24 hours to try again.
- Get permission. Photos of any kind of private property such as a building or house must have a valid property release signed by the property owner. Public buildings do not require a release, nor do exterior photos of many religious buildings. Interior images always require a release. The exceptions to these releases would be if the photos feature several buildings, such as a photo of a skyline, or if the building is unidentifiable and is not the primary focus of the image (think of a high rise window cleaner on the side of a building).
- Be smart and thorough with descriptions and keywords. Descriptions should be clear and concise, thorough but without extra verbiage. For example, a good description would be “woman eating a fruit salad.” A bad description would be “Caucasian woman eating a fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon.” However, those extra words can be used in your keywords.
Anything that is separated by a comma is considered a keyword, so “fruit salad” would actually be one keyword, whereas “fruit, salad” would be two. 123RF requires a minimum of seven keywords but recommends using anywhere from 35 to 50. When coming up with keywords, think of the who, what, when, where, why and how of your photo. Also, don’t use words that don’t relate to your photo to try to get more views. You can find a list of the most commonly searched keywords on the 123RF blog.
Finally, make sure your words and descriptions are spelled correctly. People will not find “friut salad.”
- Think seasons and trends. Holiday and seasonal related photos are always popular, but you need to get your pictures in early. You’ve got a better chance of selling your Christmas photos, for example, if you upload them by September. Additionally, pay attention to the types of stock photos you see on websites and in magazines, the try to emulate those in your own creative manner. You can also see what searches on the 123RF website by scrolling down on their main page.
- Play the numbers. In many ways, 123RF really is a numbers game. The more photos you upload, the more you have approved, the more chances you have that people will purchase them, and the higher your commission percentage will be.
- Use the app. The 123RF On-the-Go app, which is now available for both Apple and Android users, lets you take photos in the app, then immediately upload and tag them to your contributor’s account while you’re still in the moment. You can also enter your photos into their ongoing contest where the selected winning photo contributor receives $300.
- Become an affiliate. Becoming an affiliate and posting their link on your own website means that you get a percentage of the sale from anyone who becomes a 123RF customer or contributor by using your link.
- Subscribe to the 123RF newsletter. This highlights the top photos from the preceding month as well as forecasts future trends, giving you a better understanding of what is selling.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
If you are looking for a how-to-get-rich-quick tutorial by selling your photos to 123RF, this is not the article, and 123RF is probably not the website for you.
However, 123RF is a great place to get your feet wet in the stock photography industry, while providing you with passive income from selling your photos on one of the world’s busiest stock photography sites.
In this 123RF review, learn the ins and outs of this ever-popular stock photography website.
Table of Contents:
123RF Review: Snapshot
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123RF Review: How Much Do They Pay Photographers?
123RF boasts that it pays contributing photographers anywhere between 30% to 60%, but there’s a massive difference in how you get up to that 60%
Payment percentage is based on your contributor level, which is determined by how many of your photos are available on the site.
If you have less than a thousand photos accepted, your credit is 30% of the net income for credit customers (21 cents for subscription customers). To get that 60% (or 43 cents per subscriber), you must have submitted one million or more accepted photos.
123RF Review: How Can I Become a Contributor?
Becoming a contributor to 123RF is pretty straightforward:
It takes reviewers about a week to approve or reject content. If you haven’t heard back in a week, email them at [email protected], give them your User ID, and they’ll expedite your submission.
Once you have 10 photos approved, you are officially a contributor.
123RF Review: Tips for Getting Photos Approved
As a microstock site, getting photos accepted is somewhat easier on 123RF than some other stock photography sites, but plenty of photos are rejected. Keep these things in mind when submitting photos.
Similarly, any photo featuring a person who can be identified requires a model release. A model with a recognizable tattoo requires both a model release and a property release for the artwork.
123RF Review: Tips for Making Money
Getting your images approved is only half the battle. 123RF has millions of images for clients to choose from, so getting your images seen, nonetheless selected, is not always easy. However, there are some strategies you can use to help with this.
For more details about how to sign up for and use the 123RF On-the-Go app, check out the video above.
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123RF Review: Getting Paid
Getting paid is easy. Go to the earning’s page to keep up with how much you make daily, monthly, or annually.
Once your account exceeds $50, you are eligible to get paid. You will need to set up a payment account and select to be paid by Paypal, Moneybookers, Payoneer, or by check.
If your account exceeds the $50 minimum, payments will be automatically made between the 13th and 17th of the month. Checks may take anywhere from two weeks to a month to arrive.
123RF Review: The Bottom Line
Although some photographers do make some pretty good coin through 123RF, most are more likely to receive a small check several times a year.
However, it is a great place to learn the ins and outs of the stock photography industry. Doing so also can help you learn to become a better photographer, let you experiment with new projects, and keep your creative juices flowing.