There's been quite a bit of controversy centered around stock photography for a long time, so I won't flog a dead horse by repeating the issues in this article. The fact is, there is money to be made in stock photography and it's a good way to supplement your income, at the very least.
One of the most interesting things about stock photography is that you don't have to compete with all those photos of gorgeous models and incredible landscapes to take photos that sell. One of the needs of photo buyers that many photographers overlook is photos of everyday objects to illustrate articles, websites and even printed materials. One of my own best sellers, for example, is a simple photo of a bottle of homemade hard cider. It's a bit cliché, but the swing-top bottle is unusual, the photo quality is good, there's nothing distracting in the frame - and it sells.
Make your photos stand out.
That last statement brings up one of the important points about creating the photos that sell. Buyers are often looking for a different twist on the same cliché. The fact that you're shooting household objects doesn't mean you can't shoot with purpose.
Among the most common buyers of stock photos are website developers, article writers and bloggers. Your photos should work easily into those formats. Neutral backgrounds and simple subjects work well. Standard aspect ratios in both landscape and portrait orientation are most suitable. Anything around your house is a potential subject, from a stack of books to a table setting. Be careful not to show brand names or any other trademarks of products.
Whatever you shoot, shoot it well. Photos should be tack-sharp, with the main subject in focus. Colors should be bright and true (Calibrate your monitor!) and composition counts. Stock photo shooting sessions can be great exercises in using your equipment. Don't just set up and shoot; plan your shots and make them interesting. Don't make the mistake of making stock images out of shots that aren't good enough for other markets in terms of quality.
Shoot LOTS of photos.
The best way to increase the odds of having the right photo for a buyer is to give buyers a lot of quality shots to choose from. That means having a good setup with a clean background and even, easily adjustable lighting. I like the MyStudio MS20 Professional Tabletop Photo Studio Kit because it gives you everything you need for consistent, professional-quality results in a package that sets up quickly on a table. When it comes to shooting dozens of photos in one sitting, this is simply the best solution I've found.
Stock on multiple sites.
Don't stop with one stock photo site. There are plenty of good ones out there and the best way to get your photos seen by the right buyers is to flood the market with them. Naturally, you'll want to compare fees, payout schedules and such, but many buyers have their own preferred sites, so don't miss a sale because the image wasn't on the right one.