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Micro Stock Photography

Updated on April 20, 2016

Brad Mauer

Starting in Stock Photography

If you want to sell your photographs online through a stock agency there are a variety out there, and as different as their names are so are there business practices. If you do a search for stock photography many different sites will pop up for the results. I belong to a site called fotolia and have been quite happy with them for the few years I have belonged there and have recently signed an exclusivity with them. What this means is that I will only sell my photographs through there site and they will pay me a higher percentage. Most of the sites have some kind of test before you can join, this can involve sending in a couple of your pictures so they can judge the quality.

Building Library

The key to making any money on stock sales is to have a large and quality library. You will have to constantly go out and snap more pictures, and only keep the ones of high quality. There is an equation that you can expect to make approximately 1 dollar per photo per year. This is only going to work if you have photographs of high enough quality people can use for there illustrations. Stock photography is used in graphic design, magazines, and websites.

Once you get a reputation for having quality work more people will view your portfolio and purchase your pictures. If there is a certain niche of photography that you are good at and enjoy become a specialist. A specialist is some one that shoots pictures of a certain type and they soon become known for it. If you are known for certain type of photography then when people need that type of work guess where they will come to see. So get out there and snap pictures and build a name for yourself.

Uploading Photos

When you get accepted on the site/s of your choice it is time to get your photos up for sale. They usually have a large batch upload, use this to upload any files in your library that you believe are of professional quality. Once you have uploaded the pictures they will have to be viewed by editors to decide if they can be used on the site. This step can take a few hours to a couple of weeks so be patient. When you upload them put in as many keywords as you can think of anything the picture could be used for.

The more pictures you upload and get accepted the better chance you have of making money. You can expect to put in a lot of time before you get any sales this is common. While you are waiting to get sales keep shooting build your library up larger and stronger.


Paying the stock company their commission helps pay for advertisement. Even with the company advertising for you it is still a good idea to advertise for your self. The more clicks you have on your page the better your chances of making sales.There are different ways of advertising from free to costly. If you belong to any social networking sites like myspace or facebook then let your friends know that you have set up the site. You don't want to spam them but I am sure they wouldn't mind looking for you and giving you there feed back. They may also pass on your site to anyone they know that may need your work. Another free way to get advertisement is to add a signiture of your website on your email, with this every where your email goes your web link goes.


Getting started in this field, like many other fields takes time before you see results. This is one of those fields that you need to build a reputation in order to boost your sales. If you continuously come out with a quality dependable product it wont be long before your asked for by name for projects. Stock photography is my favorite work to do because you do it on your terms with your creativity alone. It is nice to have contracted work, and it pays well but at the end of the day you have a client to make happy. With stock you have to make yourself happy and the customer finds you for what you have created.


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    • peanutroaster profile image

      peanutroaster 6 years ago from New England

      I want more info.