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Earn Commissions Selling Stock Photos

Updated on July 3, 2016

Business Opportunities Working From Home

Finding another source of income can often be as simple as looking at hobbies that already take up time, effort and brain-space. If taking photos is an obsession, selling them could be the next step.

A weekend photographer may already have enough stock, or micro stock, to begin earning money with digital images taken for fun. Earn cash by submitting photo images to a stock photography website which stores them for free. Wouldn't it be great to know that every time a photo is downloaded on the site, the photographer will be paid a fee?

Micro Stock Photo

What are micro stock photos? A cousin of traditional stock photography, micro stock is another form of photography which can pay out over the long run. A stock photograph is one that is taken for the simple pleasure of shooting, not by a client's request. These kinds of photos are considered "stock" that can be sold afterward to any and all interested parties.

Micro stock photography can be considered lower-end by professional photographers. However, some of the micro stock companies, Dreamstime, for example, require "quality-based photos" once the application has been accepted.

Inventory comes from a wide variety of photographers, sold at very low, affordable rates. With many companies and individuals suffering effects of economic distress, buying and selling these micro stock photos is just plain good sense.

Royalty Free Photographs

Shutterstock is a company that will pay the photographer 25 cents each time a photo is downloaded but once $500 has been reached in earnings, the commission raises to 30 cents per download. This boils down to $500 in earnings for the photographer per month once 2,000 downloads have occurred. What's more, this program can be joined for free.

Stock Photo Images

Micro stock images, taken anywhere, any time, on any digital camera can be used for a wide variety of purposes:

  • company brochures
  • business cards
  • magazines
  • billboards
  • websites
  • book covers
  • newsletters, leaflets
  • T shirts
  • Car Advertisements

Stock Photo Companies

Companies that offer a reasonable payback for micro stock images (once registration and application have been accepted) include the following:

  • Shutterstock
  • Dreamstime
  • StarvedArtists
  • Imagevortex
  • Fotolia
  • ContributorVeer
  • Istockphoto
  • Photospin
  • Stockxpert

Sell Stock Images

Selling images to stock agencies is a way to earn a residual income. These agencies host photos, provide search assistance, sell images, bill for the images and pay the photographer a commission regularly, usually once a month. Earning money through affiliate programs is another way to boost income.

What kinds of stock images should a photographer shoot? Photospin updates their website monthly on hot images companies are looking for. For September's hottest images, some companies are looking for photos in reference to the swine flu. Images requested are those with people getting shots, lying in bed sick, seeing a nurse, having a temperature taken, washing hands, sneezing and coughing.

While the agency will keep a percentage of each transaction, photographers can sleep at night knowing their work is being sold and accounted for. The freedom to work in a creative atmosphere certainly allows for breathing space in the typical 21st century conundrum of work more, earn less.


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