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Selling Stock Photos

Updated on September 23, 2011

Should You Sell Stock Photos

Selling microstock or stock photos has become a popular hobby for people all over the world.  For those whose hobby is already taking photos everywhere they go, selling those photos and making some money along the way sounds like a win-win situation.  However, there are some things you need to be aware of before you begin selling your photos.

Can You Spot the Digital Photos?

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Business Vs Hobby

The quality of your photos will determine whether you will make a living off of your photos or simply make a few dollars each month. This can make anyone discouraged, especially if they need to make money from their efforts. In order to make money from your photos you should invest in the best camera you can afford and perhaps a few professional photography classes. At the very least, you should read everything you can that is available on the Internet or at your local newsstand on the subject. Remember, a camera is only as good as its photographer.

What can you expect to make as a stock photographer? A good stock photographer can expect to make about $28,000 each year if they keep at least 2,000 photos or more on microstock websites. Keep in mind, this is a photographer that knows what the public is buying and frequently uploads approximately 50 new photos each day for sale.

Microstock Vs Macrostock

Microstock is the sale of digital photos, usually at a very low cost. The average sale of a single commercial photo nets the photographer 25 cents. Obviously, this won't make the hobbyist photographer rich overnight. For many professional photographers, selling microstock is a lot of effort for very little return on their investment. Many professional photographers have other gigs that brings in more income, such as freelance photography for local newspapers or weddings. Selling microstock, for them, is a sideline income stream.

Macrostock photography is the sale of photos, sometimes digital, other times 35mm, for commercial and editorial use. These photo sales usually net the photographer much more money. These sales usually take place through a photographer's website or through contacts that the photographer has cultivated after years of professional work. The pay for these photos is significantly greater, netting the photographer anywhere from $30 to $350 or more per photo.

Only you can decide how much your photos are worth.

Where to Sell Stock Photos

If you're looking for an easy way to sell your photos and make a little cash, simply uploading your photos to one of the many microstock websites. The size of a photo, before upload, needs to be 3mp or larger. Photos smaller than this will be rejected. If you're a 35mm photographer, simply resizing your photos to make them larger will usually get them rejected because of "noise." (This means that when the editor makes the photo much larger, it will look greatly distorted). No one wants their photos to be rejected, so crop and make sure they are the best they can be before you send them to an editor on any of the following websites.


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