So what is stock photography? According to wikipedia it is “the supply of photographs licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer.” Basically it means photos which are available for use of marketers and advertisers.
Every time you read a magazine, a blog post or whenever you look at a newspapers, billboard, textbooks, book covers, business catalogs, direct mail, or a business profile you are probably looking at stock photography.In today’s modern world, probably 99.9% of stock photography are sold online. Very so often these photos involve people or models posing with overly excited expressions, trying to portray the most enthusiastic positive manner a person can possible express. As its not about creating beautiful artistic photos however it is about creating bold concepts which would potentially be sold to clients.
Of course the most common genre that one would jump to is the business sector as there are millions of companies out there looking for photos to fill their corporate profiles, websites, brochures, advertisements etc. Other common stock photography niches include photos related to travel and tourism, lifestyle, medical, health, sports, arts, landscapes, nature, technology and the list is practically endless.
But that does not mean that everyone should be taking photos of people in suits. There are endless possibilities of photo ideas that are just waiting to be explored. For example there are photo of just plates and cutleries which have been sold thousand of times, even a photo of a football on an empty field is a hot selling photo. My point is take your camera and start shooting anything of interest. Photos from your last trip to Bali could be next poster on the Visit Indonesia website.
So who are the buyers?
Stock photography is estimated to be a $2 billion industry. The types of buyers are:
- Advertising Agencies
- Publishing houses (fiction, non-fiction, textbooks)
- Corporations, businesses
- Websites & blogs
- Non-Profits or government agencies
- Graphic designers
What do you need?
- Of course you need a camera. NO! your camera phone does not count. Most stock photography sites will only accept photos above 4MP and are extremely particular about the noise level of the photos. A DSLR is highly recommended
- Read up on the requirements of stock photos. Ever stock photography site will have a tutorial on what photos are acceptable and what is not. Also find themes or genres that has yet to be explored by other photographers, perhaps instead of the hyper enthusiastic business person try photographing a person rock climbing or playing a classical instrument.
- Some extra lighting can be useful especially if you are shooting people indoors or products.
- No snapshots, make sure the photos are well composed must be commercially in demand.
- Also make sure that you are not showing any brands, trade-marks or logos.
- Model release-forms if you are shooting people. as stock photography sites will not allow you to submit portraits without including a model release form.
Can you post the same photo on multiple stock photography websites?
Yes, you can, unless if you choose for be an exclusive contributor with Dreamstime or any other agencies that offer exclusivity.
What type of photography seems to be the most profitable?
Shoot what you like, at the same time keep in mind that your photos must be commercially in demand. While some photographers say that people photos always sell however I have seen many best selling photos landscapes, travel photographs as well macro shoots of objects. The point is don’t constraint yourself to just one genre.
Is there a video guide on how to shoot stock photographs?
Yes, as a matter of fact here is a one. Thanks Digitalrev TV:
Where can I submit my photos?
Here is a list of the the more popular Stock Photography sites where you can start earning some cash for your photos: