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Making Money From Photographs: Earn Money From Stock Photography

Updated on July 5, 2016

Looking for extra ways to earn a passive income? Why not consider making money from stock photography?

Looking for additional ways to make money from home and have an interest in photography? Stock photography may be the perfect money spinning hobby.

What is Stock Photography?

In essence, stock photography is a way of allowing commercial access to a large number of images for any one with the need to publish an image in a variety of formats at short notice. Uses of stock photographs can range from display on a website or in a magazine publication, through to printing on a postcard or item of tourist clothing.

Once the fee has been paid by the user, which will depend on image size, license type and the agent, the buyer is free to use the image as per the agreement without further payment.

How To Make Money From Stock Photographs

If you have decided that stock photography is for you, the first step is to register with an agency. There are a large number of agencies. Entry requirements range from a simple online registration process with minimal information required to create an account, through to agencies targeting the professional and may require sample photographs or have a much more complex application process. For an easier account set up, consider Fotolia, an organization which operates internationally and has a relatively easy-to-follow account set up process.

Once registered, most agencies will pay the photographer a small revenue for each image which is downloaded by a client. As such, making money from stock photography relies on three key elements: volume, quality and search engine optimization (SEO).

While the first two elements may be obvious, the third, SEO, is often a key downfall. While buyers are looking for an image, they can only find images through searching for keywords which describe what they are looking for. As such, it is important to spend as much time on keyword research as it is in looking after photographs to be marketed.

What Makes a Good Stock Photograph?

While holiday snaps may have a personal meaning, stock photography is not about capturing emotion, so much as images which have commercial value. There are some tips what makes a good commercially viable photograph:

  • Low Competition – Can you find an image which few others have had the foresight to take?
  • Commercial Appeal – Take images which are of commercial value. Tourist icons, products and conceptual representations are more likely to have commercial appeal than family photographs.
  • Keywords – Can you make your image easier to find than the competition? If so, you may be able to beat substantial competition through good keyword research.
  • Quality – Most agencies will vet photographs before adding them to a database. Quality is the key. For instance, never submit a photograph which you won’t be happy to be permanently displayed in the public eye.

Whether you're looking for a way to break into the professional photography, make sure you have high quality holiday snaps with commercial value worth publishing. Stock photography can be an interesting and relaxing way to earn extra revenueand start building your reputation as a professional photographer.


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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 19 months ago from New Delhi, India

      This sounds quite attractive to me!

      I love taking pictures and nowadays it is so much easier with smart phones. Thanks for your tips and suggestions about earning money through photography! Sharing it and pinning!