Photography

August 1, 2008

How to earn money by selling your pictures through microstock agencies.

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Earn money Now, you probably heard that you can make money on-line by simply selling your pictures. Sounds easy, right? I’ve been asked a few times about how do I make money from my photographs, so that is supposed to be simple and concise reply to that question.

First of all, there are several ways to sell your pictures over the internet, depending on your level and on what do you have to offer. Once you begin selling the pictures you’ll understand better what’s needed by your agency and how you can earn more. For start let’s explain what is stock photography, what’s microstock and how is it different from traditional stock photography.

Stock photography is basically a collection of photographs on various subjects that can be used many times, so instead of hiring a photographer for a specific job or assignment, customers who need pictures just browse the stock collection and select the image they need, thus saving time and money. Traditional stock is what big publishing houses, advertising agencies, newspapers and magazines use. Microstock is what comes handy for small design studio’s, bloggers and everyone who just cannot afford to pay big money for a photograph. The main difference is of course the price you pay for a photograph and the license type. I’ll write a separate article on license types, but just so you know RF (stands for Royaltee-Free) and is what’s used for microstock and traditional stock uses both RM (Rights Managed) or L (Licensed) and RF. An RF image sold through microstock can cost somewhere between 0,20-5,00 USD and the same image sold on RF license through a traditional agency will cost at least 50 USD.

Professional photographers are reluctant to microstock and would never sell their pictures for such small prices, however things begin to change now and it seems that microstock have it’s own niche on the market. From a photographer’s perspective you can make about the same amount of money from a picture offered for sale on microstock and in traditional stock. You see, on microstock your picture will probably sell tens of times a year (depending on the picture of course), while in traditional stock you’ll be probably be selling one picture out of ten pictures offered for sale and just once a year. So the amount you can earn from a microstock and a traditional agency is about the same (note: that can of course be different depending on your case). I haven’t decided yet what works better for me and I haven’t listed that many photographs with an agency yet, but I did have enough sales in both microstock and traditional stock. There’s just one rule you for you to remember, select different pictures for microstock and different pictures for traditional stock!

So, the BIG QUESTION is: Can I sell my pictures and where? Yes, you can! I’ll help you select the agency to start with depending on what you’ve got to offer and what type of camera you use. OK, then – let’s start!

SELECTING THE MICROSTOCK AGENCY

THE MICROSTOCK AGENCIES:

1. Dreamstime
2. Shutterstock
3. Fotolia
4. iStockphoto
5. YAY Micro
6. 123RF
7. BigStockPhoto
8. Crestock
9. Stocxpert
10. SnapVillage

There are tens of other microstock agencies out there, but these are the ones I would recommend you to begin with because either they are the the biggest and produce most of the income or have a high potential. You can register with any other agencies too, but for some it will be just a waste of your time, since they are too small and it might take you years till you get your first payment.

P.S.: I’ll be updating this post in future, so you get the latest news from the industry and more articles on this subject will follow up, so stay tuned! Also, if you have any questions, just ask!

Note: Here’s a link to an article I wrote comparing these 10 most essential microstocks.

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