How to sell images online in 2010?
May 15, 2010 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Stock Photo for beginners 2010 (re do)

I would like to find out about selling images on stock photos sites. I found some older posts here at askmefi, but as is stated:

"6. The stock world is changing drastically by the minute. Right now. As we speak."

So, what is the current thought on this process?

I am a professional cameraman, so I understand the creative part, but what I do not have experience in is the necessary formatting, file sizes, work flow and a comparison of agencies.

One specific thing I do not understand, is a quick glance at Alamy indicated that files sizes of at least 48mb are necessary. Is this true of all sites, and assuming I am using a DSLR, say a Digital Rebel XTi, how do I wind up with 48mb files without up-rezzing, which seems like not really something that one wants to do in order to sell ones work.

Thanks hive mind
posted by silsurf to Media & Arts (1 answer total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
For someone as new to the game of stock photography as you sound, I think your best bet would be to spend a lot of time in the Forum sections of various stock agency sites. There's just too much info to really convey here, and every site has its own specific submission requirements, policies, etc.

Alamy, an agency I do not use, has always seemed to me to be living in the past with their 48 meg size requirement. I am unaware of any other sites which have that requirement, but they may be out there. There are however numerous ways to upwardly interpolate file sizes from cameras like the one you mention, and a few are far superior to others.

Although I've been a photographer for over 30 years, I didn't sign on with any agencies until 2006. Even then, I went with non-exclusive arangements with six microstock agencies, and submit the same photos to each. I only have between 250 and 500 pictures with each.

Since I was very skeptical of having my photographs licensed for as little as about 25 cents each, I made myself a set of rules prior to signing up. As matters stand I make somewhere between $1200 and $1500 annually from this stuff. I have not submitted anything new since April of 2009.

Rather than looking at it as a significant source of income, I kind of consider the agencies as banks, where the principal is my pictures and the income is the interest.

The only time I spend on my stock work is in the course of post production work on my usual assigned photography. While doing that with one computer, I'll keyword, edit, organize, and submit the totally unrelated stock photos on another computer. In other words, one of my rules is that I refuse to add even a minute to my work day pursuing the stock angle.

The main appeal, or actually the only appeal, of the microstock agencies to me is that the entire process of submission, management, etc., can be done online in what would otherwise be dead time for me.

I shoot literally zero photos expressly for stock submission. All of my stock shots are personal work, studio or location test shots, or simple documentary images. My second rule is that potential speculative income from stock submissions simply isn't strong enough to spend much time on it.

My third rule is that I will not spend any money for production expenses on images for stock, and my fourth rule is that I look at all stock income as bonus money. I get to take my wife out to dinner at least a dozen times a year from this income source, but that's about all.

Lastly, I'll add that around 75% of my total annual stock income comes from a single image of an antique school drawing slate on a white background. It's one of the least creative photos I've ever taken, but is so popular because the slate is blank and is used a a design element by designers who put their own text on it. A lot. I've made at least $2500 from that single photo and it's only been available for two years.

Also, of the graphic designers that I deal with regularly for my assigned work, Corbis is the agency of choice when their clients actually have a realistic budget. iStockPhoto is where they go when the client wants to go cheap; which is most of the time these days...
posted by imjustsaying at 2:49 PM on May 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

« Older Help out or hold out?   |   How long is too long: Is this wine still good? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.