Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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49

I'm going to be a bit blunt here: your photography isn't the kinds of stuff clients who buy stock/microstock go for. In 2011, the vast majority of stock photography is used to sell business products to business people. And if it's not that, it's used as a source of images to be composited with other images. I've worked in interactive and print advertising ...


32

To answer your question, no, stock photos are not a viable source of income. You can make money off of it, just like some people who are able to write iPhone applications are able to make huge paydays; but in general the market is saturated, and unless you produce something that stands out amongst all the cruft, you won't be making much. Think of it in ...


28

What you're seeking: "an easy way where I would just upload my pictures somewhere and let it go" doesn't exist. If you want to make money, you'll need to invest time and work in making that happen. Let's look at a couple options you mentioned: Stock Photography The stock photo market is flood with pros and amateurs seeking revenue. What sells in stock ...


16

Yes! But not the way you might hope. In other words, not usually from the type of photography you do as a hobby. Stock photography, like any other kind of paying work in photography, has its own requirements and demands, and is usually quite separate from the kind of work you'd do as a hobby. In other words, it's a job. Like a lot of jobs in ...


16

I make extra money through photography by developing personal relationships with potential clients, and using the internet as more of a portfolio guiding people rather than as a primary money maker by itself. Most of my photography money comes from shooting events (weddings, etc), or from one-off gigs where people want something photographed more nicely ...


16

In theory any photo can be stock, but successful stock photography tends to have the following attributes: It can be used to sell a product or concept (or many different concepts) It is bright, colourful and appealing It is designer-friendly: it can have text superimposed on it, or it can be easily composited with other photos or designs It is aimed at a ...


15

Bear with me for a second here for some background.... When you downsample a 4000×3000 image to 400×300, you are "discarding" 11.9 million of the 12 million pixels. This clearly reduces "image quality", depending on what exactly you mean by that term. If you go from 1000×750 to 400×300, you're reducing the area by about 6 times. Again, data is discarded, ...


14

This probably isn't what you want to hear, but you might want to try and improve your quality before trying to sell your images. The market for stock photos is pretty saturated, so unless your quality is good enough to pass through the policies, you will probably not be selling enough for it to be worthwhile. That being said, there are quite a few other ...


13

This is hugely subjective. The 'best' for one person may be anathema to another. Personally, I would avoid micro-stock sites, that have vast collections of images from amateur photographers selling at a couple of quid each. You'd have to submit hundreds of images just to appear in searches, let alone make any sales. I use Alamy for my photos, though I don't ...


12

If your volume is low enough, you could just handle everything yourself. Post low-resolution images on your website and let users contact you directly specifying which ones they want. You could accept Paypal, which has much lower fees than many photo-selling websites I have seen.


11

One thing that's not technical but more subjective is how "sellable" the image is. The world has so many photos of sunsets, women sitting at desks on the phone, and nice forest landscapes that you will want to choose subjects that are something a little different in order to stand out amongst the crowd. Yes, technical correctness will be needed, but to ...


10

Have you considered a solution like Instaproofs? They don't have a setup fee, you can set your own prices, you can upload whatever you want to (it's designed as a professional photography proofing site), and they charge a commission only when a sale is actually made... The commission is kinda steep- 15% of the total order amount (although it is on a sliding ...


10

For the most part, no. There are a decent number of photographers out there that make money with stock photos, but there are many many more who never really make enough to justify the time put into it. That being said, if you're willing to spend the time, there is money to be made. If you decide to give it a try, take a look at these ideas to keep in mind ...


10

The problem with stock sites these days is that they are utterly saturated with photos. Your photos are just a few amongst thousands; the chances of them being picked up are therefore small. Type 'sunset' into Getty Images and you get over 50,000 hits on more than 800 pages. If your photos appear on any page over about 10, you can probably forget about ...


9

As you noted, subject and composition are vital. Another item to think about is the mood. Mood is important for a company that is looking for marketing material. Color is the main factor, as colors tend to have meanings associated with them. Sharpness, or lack thereof, can give an image a totally different mood. For instance, a distinct lack of focus ...


9

Stock Photography (or microstock) could be an option, as an activity it's mostly performed online and it only requires some kind of small, basic studio (although that depends on what kind of photos your father would like to submit to stock). Stock isn't easy, as there are lots of agencies, licences to choose, understanding what sells and other issues to pay ...


8

It sounds like you haven't worked much with models. If not, it'll be an interesting journey. It's convenient to make a broad categorization of models into two groups: 1) Professional models, represented by an agency; and 2) People who model but are unrepresented, part-time, etc. If you want to be reasonably sure your model will be on location when he or she ...


7

I'm pretty sure that Lulu.com will do what you are asking of them. It's not a particularly well know site for selling digitial prints, but it will do the job.


7

Without serious work, your chances of making money from your photos are quite low because there's lots of people who do work hard to make their images more appealing for potential buyers. There are only two options of making money with hobby shots I can think of, both rather occasional than generating regular income: someone wants your photo thanks to ...


7

If photo is royalty-free and requires one-time purchase, can I take picture with camera of my screen and use it without paying for it? No. If stock and non-stock photo was taken from certain website and had title added to it, does that make it legit to use it? No.


6

The microstock sites often provide charts of the most popular images or tags. Some examples: http://submit.shutterstock.com/top50.mhtml http://www.istockphoto.com/participate/contributor-lounge/trends There's also highlighted images from agencies: http://www.alamy.com/showcase/latestimagery.asp Some sites even explicitly say what they are looking ...


6

Check your contract. If ambiguous, talk to the client. If uncertain, ask a lawyer (or just forget about it, as that lawyer will likely cost you more than you'd ever get from selling the shots). That's the most definite advise you can ever get here, as we haven't seen you contract, don't know the law where you live, where the client lives, and where the ...


6

No, of course you can't do those things. Taking a photograph of your screen is making a copy, just like using a copy machine or a scanner would be. Pay the price, or use public domain or Creative Commons imagery. If someone else's work happens to be in some portion of your photograph but only incidentally, you may be able to argue fair use (or possibly ...


5

The obvious difference would be on the value of sales. If you've an exclusive or very high quality image, then you probably want to exploit its value, and sell for a higher price through a specialised agency. Conversely, if your image lacks exclusivity, (for example, two people in business suits shaking hands), then there would be a lot of competition on ...


5

I think one of the key features of a stock photo is a simple to understand single message. It should be clear even without thinking what the picture is about. In other words, stock photo market is the world of technically perfect cliche images. Fine art images, in my view, have the opposite goal.


5

My understanding is that an image cannot stand independently if greater than 1000 pixels. This would be using the image itself as the primary design, where if the image is incorporated into a larger design and the image is not the primary object, then you are in the clear. This stipulation is often to prevent the image being sold as artwork by a person other ...


5

As many other people have said better than I, being a professional is measured not just by the quality of your photos but also how you manage the business side of things. Being professional is handling client relations, billing, timeliness, attention to detail and most importantly - networking. Expecting work to fall at your feet by just taking great photos ...


5

Even if it wasn't illegal in pretty much every legal jurisdiction in the world (maybe with the exception of the countries that are currently in a state of semi-anarchy), it is certainly a moral issue. The reason that people are charging for these photos is that they have almost certainly put a lot of time, effort and monetary investment into the creation of ...


4

Every photographer has a chance to make money with stock, but it depends on many factors. Read this article, which I wrote specifically on this subject, you will find a detailed answer to your question there: Getting Rich with Stock Photography Part 1: Dream or Reality? If you want to try yourself in stock photography, you need to be prepared to work hard. ...


4

Gimp has a really nice 'Color to Alpha' feature that sounds like it does exactly what you want. It doesn't just erase one color, but tries to make things that are almost white into almost transparent. It's not perfect, but comes pretty close. Here's an example from the docs: http://docs.gimp.org/en/plug-in-colortoalpha.html



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