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How to Sell Stock Photography: 5 Quick Tips

Techniques/ Tips

How to Sell Stock Photography: 5 Quick Tips

So, you already earn an income from photo shoots thanks to a handful of reliable clients — awesome! But what to do with the hundreds of other images, like those from your last trip or your spontaneous spring photo shoot, that are currently idling on your hard drive or gathering Likes on Instagram?

Consider creating an additional income through stock photography, where users can purchase photos from a library of multiple photographers from around the world within a searchable database. Stock photography is frequently used for websites, advertisements, marketing materials and more. By filing your images with the likes of Getty Images or Shutterstock, you can start earning more income and increasing your visibility from photos that might otherwise go unused.

Here are 5 tips for building your stock photography revenue:

Maximize your submissions

That stunning photo of the desert sunset that’s currently paying your wireless bill thanks to its popularity on Fotolia? Chances are, it’s going to do just as well on other stock agencies as well. Maximize your profit by submitting photos to multiple agencies (particularly ones where registration is free), along with other creative communities, such as Your Art Gallery. And, the more you submit, the better you’ll get at anticipating the image preferences of individual agencies.


Categorize your images

Not only will “keywording” photos help potential buyers discover them among the thousands of others within the database, it will also help you learn how to take more marketable photos. A photo of a fruit bowl on a kitchen table, for instance, could be used to convey healthy eating, or fresh ingredients for cooking. Check out iStock’s tips on keywording to avoid common mistakes that photographers make when uploading their images.


Consider curated databases

That fruit bowl image might do well enough on general stock photo sites, but let’s take it a step further: how about food-specific libraries like Stock Food? Once you identify what buyers might be looking for in your image, submit to both category-specific and non-specific libraries.


Let them fly

You are your own worst critic. Photos that you anticipate not doing well might turn out to do just fine, and vice versa. Don’t miss out on potential opportunities by eliminating half of your library before the agency has even laid eyes on it.


Watch the market

Right now, double exposure is having a moment, but who knows what the next new social media channel (or Instagram filter) will do to photography next year. Take note of high-demand images (check out this article on 2016 trends to learn more) and emphasize the qualities agencies are looking for in your next photo shoot.


Have you had experiences with selling stock photography in the past? Tell us in the comments below!