- Digital Stock Photography: How to Shoot and Sell
- Stock Photography: Residual Income with your Digital Camera
- Stock Photography - 3rd Edition
Stock photography is one of the best ways to make money as a photographer, as long as you know what you're doing and work really hard. There’s a myth among photographers that it’s not as profitable as it used to be and it’s not worth getting into anymore. While there is no definitive truth about this, it’s fair to say that it’s probably not as easy as it was ten years ago when stock photography was still relatively new.
Nevertheless, it’s still a good way to earn money if you play your cards right. First of all, you need to keep an eye out for trends. Stock agencies are interested in certain types of images, and those preferences change regularly based on what their clients want. It’s no use uploading shots that were popular three years ago. One very important thing to remember about stock photography is that there is a lot of it out there. There are literally millions of pictures being taken and uploaded every day with any kinds of subject you can think of. If you want to get noticed, try photographing everything a little differently. Use your imagination and create your own style that will make the images sell.
Technical flaws, no matter how small, are unacceptable in stock photography. All the major agencies will simply turn down any noisy or soft images. Speaking of stock agencies, it’s best to send your work to the big ones like Dreamstime, Shutterstock, Fotolia, etc. They're the ones with the most clients and ultimately you want a large audience for your photos.
All the money from each sale will be split by you and the agency. It’s very important to read about percentages and actual earnings before agreeing to anything. Also, carefully read the agency’s policy on copyright and rights. Some will demand exclusivity on your images while others will let you sell them to other agencies as well.
Finally, stock photography is not something you do on weekends. It is a full time job and if you want to make serious money you have to shoot daily. I have a friend who makes a living with it and he shoots six days a week. After you shoot, remember to polish your images in Lightroom or Photoshop a little bit, just to give them that extra commercial appeal.
Here’s a video posted by Anthony Morganti that explains it all. Enjoy and good luck!