Now tracking 8 ways to make money through selling stock photography.

Selling Stock Photography Background Information

First things first, selling stock photography is hard. Supply severely outweighs demand. Hell, if it was that easy, any fool with a digital camera could become rich. So, before you grab your digital camera from 2001 and start snapping photos of trees, door knobs, and exit signs, know that this is a challenging field to make money in, especially if you are just starting out and you are trying to make a name for yourself.

I suppose now would be a good time to explain how exactly you would get paid. You need to have a photo that is actually worth selling. Then, it must be submitted and approved by a website that sells stock photography. After it’s approved you just have to wait for a consumer to purchase a copy of the picture and then you receive compensation in the form of royalties. Like I said previously, this isn’t exactly a lucrative business, but you could be using one of your hobbies to pull in a bit of extra cash.

Recommended Sits to Submit Your Photography

  • ShutterStock – This is the best website to submit your photos. They accept photos of nearly anything of quality and will pay you $0.25 per download. This is a good website to start with as a beginner.
  • 123 Royalty Free – Another great site for beginners. Similar to ShutterStock but with plenty of ‘rewards’ offered.
  • Big Stock Photo
  • Can Stock Photo
  • Crestock
  • Dreamstime – They offer high percentage rates on sales, but generally sell photos for less. The more photos of yours sold, the more potential earnings.
  • Fotolia – Has a number of international sites for our overseas friends.
  • iStockphoto – One of the more popular sites. Will payout more for you to become “exclusive” to iStockphoto.

Do you have experience selling stock photography to any the companies above? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Join the Discussion

  • Jeff

    I am a photographer and I use RF stock frequently for my advertising magazine. I know several photographers that make a very good living from stock photography.
    Let me make one point. It must be professional photography that makes the money.
    A snapshot of your cute dog, adorable kid, pretty girlfriend, won’t cut it unless it is done professionally and cleanly or you get a lucky shot. There are strict size and quality requirements as well.
    The dollar stock agencies are less strict, but most of their photos are unusable and only a few make the big money. Whatever percent of one dollar they pay….

    Reply added the ability to sell photography this year — it may be worth getting into, as it is a relatively new part of the service. It’s a good chance to get in on the “ground floor” so to speak.

  • microstockinsider

    Microstock can be lucrative if your photography is good and you know how to market it – like any business I guess. But it’s not a free ride, earning money with stock photography is just like any other job, it involves work and in most cases A LOT OF HARD WORK, you most likely won’t make a fortune.

    There are tens of thousands of photographers out there who are making a nice little income on the side by selling their work. Often it’s just enough to buy a new camera after a year or so but – that won’t pay the bills but it’s not something to turn your nose up at either.

    If you work full time at it then you can earn enough to live on – i do

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