Stock Photography tutorial – income expectations and get started successfully

Stock Photography tutorial – income expectations and get started successfully

January 15, 2020 2 By Peter Engel


hello everyone its Thomas from Iscotlanda Photography. This is a follow-up video from my previous one discussing what was
stock photography, to basically talk a bit about how do you get into stock
photography, what are the the benefits the advantages but also what are some of
the frustrations that you might experience from it. This is supposed to be
a very practical video about some hints and tricks to get into it and just to
give you my my general thoughts on the topic So first things first a very
practical question: can you make a living off stock photography and the answer to that is
“with great difficulty” unless you’re a photographer who has a fantastic
collection of images and probably over 10,000 something like that, you’re very
unlikely to be making a sufficient income to make a living. As I mentioned
in my last video stock photography tends to be a mass-market platform so
essentially the royalties you will get of each individual file will be very
small. So you’ll be needing to sell essentially a lot of pictures
in order for that add up to into significant income. So definitely
for me, as a hobbyist amateur photographer it was never something
which I saw that I would be making a living out of. That being said, after a
number of years now and having regular sales you definitely can earn enough in
order to to buy some equipment or some of your gear. Although it’s not
something where you will be able to necessarily buy a house with, it’s
definitely enough to keep me interested and to be able to to get some equipment.
So if that’s the sort of thing that you would find of interest
then I recommend that you go ahead. At the same time I will say that it is very
much an endurance game in that it is not get-rich-quick scheme but it’s very much
something it was you have to put a lot of patience, you have to put a lot of
effort, you have a lot of dedication and you can’t expect quick results.
It’s really something where you do have to put in a lot of effort and then,
little by little, you will you will start to see to see sales coming in. So the
next question is how do you get into stock photography? Well provided you have
a camera and you have some pictures those are really the bare
minimum. And obviously you want those pictures to be high quality quality and
to have some some marketable interest and value. But that’s something in a way that
you might only discover once you start applying so really the first step is
choosing the platform which you might want to join. And you have some big names
like shutterstock, Getty, Istock which is part of Getty, you have Adobe stock,
you have Dreamstime, Alamy, 123RF you have 500 pixels so you have Eyeem so
you really have a lot of choice. My own personal recommendation is to perhaps
start with one of the larger names and like Shutterstock or Getty/Istock
and the reason for that is that they have a huge number of customers.
So although the revenue that you might get for each image that you sell might
be less than when you might get on other platforms you’re much less likely to get
a sale as a result just because of the number of images that are being
purchased each day. That’s not to say however that all the other platforms are
are bad in any way so for example Alamy tends to focus on image individual
image cells whereas others might offer more subscriptions for each individual
images which they sell a low price. Alamy will tend to focus on individual
image sales which can be of higher value and they will tend to sell to to more
certain news outlets. Same thing with Adobe creative they also have a
high number of customers and the value of sales per image can also be quite
high so there’s not necessarily a wrong choice.
But if you’re like me in sense and you quite like to see results
more quickly, you might find that going with Shutterstock or Getty will get
you sales through the door quicker even though the value of those sales might
be a little bit slower OK so you’ve now chosen which stock
website you’d like to contribute to. How do you get on it? The first step for most
photography stock websites will be to essentially submit a number of pictures
for approval. That’s sort of the first case they’ll ask you to submit maybe
something like ten images to caption , then to add all the data that they
require and then they will assess the pictures to see if they meets their
quality standards and generally they’ll be quite upfront about what those
quality standards might be. Stock photography websites in general will not
make any comment on the artistic value of your pictures but they’ll make
comments on the technical value so is the picture in focus? Is it correctly
exposed? is there any what’s called chromatic
aberrations? As in, are they’re really big red blue or green edges because of how
the light falls on objects? Are the shadows a little bit too dark? There’s
really a variety of technical things that they look for including and how you
caption and key word your images as well which is how buyers will find your image.
So really the first step is to spend a bit of time selecting images which you
think are technically competent and meet the criteria that the stock
photography has and making sure that you meets the kind of the key wording and
captioning. I will put up on this video some examples of the Shutterstock
pictures which I submitted when I first joined some of which were approved some
of which were rejected and that hopefully will give you it sort of idea
of the the kind of things that they are that they are looking for Generally you have an
unlimited number of attempts to to submit so even if you fail at the first
time if they don’t approve your pictures and they say try again then you can
always go back to take new pictures or a recapture and then read resubmit them.
But it is worth spending time familiarizing yourself with how
platforms like to have their pictures because then, that sets you up going
forwards for setting them up because they will expect the same standard for
all of the pictures you upload. Once you’ve gone through that first gate
generally you will be approved and then you can upload an unlimited number of
pictures to the platform. Now an important point to make here is just
because your photograph has been approved and is technically competent
doesn’t mean that it will sell. There’s hundreds of millions of photographs on
websites like Getty or Shutterstock so the images that you upload are going to
be in a sea of other competing photographs possibly or very possibly on
the same subject. So there is value in spending a little bit of time looking at
what others are doing and see how you might be able to create images which are
a little bit different which people might be interested in and that’s not
something which can be described accurately up front that’s more
something that you feel as you as you upload pictures. And this is also why I
said in my previous video that you cannot necessarily expect to make a
living because as I said you’re competing against hundreds of thousands
if not millions of images so getting found and getting your pictures to be
selected and downloaded is a real challenge but at the same time that
makes it really rewarding because when you do get a sale, then that means that
the customer whoever he or she what the company was preferred your pictures
amongst others. So that is the the satisfying side I suppose of of stock
photography as well as although you do not generally get to know who the
buyer is because that’s a private and sensitive information from the company
– doing a reverse search on Google to find where your picture was
sometimes will give you an idea of where they are and this is how I found out for
example that some of my pictures had been used by the BBC, The Telegraph, El Mundo
in Spain ,the Huffington Post and again although you might not get a huge amount
of royalties for each individual pictures this does say that your images are of
high enough quality that they can feature in the press or in news articles. And, as a hobbyist photographer, yet not as professional photographers as a
hobbyist photographer that is quite a nice feeling to have which is why this
is keeping me interested. It’s seeing what how can I improve my photography to
the extent that these are newsworthy images or that they they can feature in
in various publications so that would be my encouragement I suppose if you’re
in a position similar as me is if you’ve got if you you think you’re a decent
photographer you’ve got lots of pictures that you don’t really know what to do
with but you think there might it might be of interest to other people
then why don’t you give it a try give it a shot and and see how it goes. The
application process is quite straightforward aside from following
these technical procedures. So generally that the turnaround time can
be from anywhere from five days to two weeks to getting reply as to whether you
are you are accepted on the platform so that’s all I say for now on tips and
tricks there’ll be more because there’s so much to say about the topic but I
hope you’ve enjoyed that video. I hope that’s been helpful and if you have any
questions please write them in the comments below. And if you liked the
video please do give it a like and also subscribe for any updates. Take care and
I’ll see you in the next video