Make Money With Photography
You can see there are a lot of ways to make money using the internet. But what do you choose? There is so much out there that it seems almost like a swamp. Maybe it’s a good idea to stick to something you already know and love to do. So if you love making photographs then this is something that you can look at doing yourself.
How do stock photo agencies work?
There are stock photo agencies online where even you as an unknown photographer can publish your photo’s. These are socalled microstock agencies. A microstock agency is just like a normal a stock photo agency. The difference is that they offer very affordable prices for someone looking to use a photo. And also they are less restrictive for the photographer wanting to submit their work. You can find a lot of there microstock agencies all over the internet. Who is useing these agencies?
People wanting to use an image normally want to make sure that they have the right to do so. That is the reason they use stock and microstock agencies. The images can be used for a book, magazine or a website. The size and quality and type of image for print and online publishing can be very are different. So it makes sense fo people to get the right one using an agency. If you want to make money from your photographs then they should look professional. Your average holiday snapshot isn’t typical. Some subjects are overstocked as people love to take photo’s from landscapes and animals. So maybe you want to look for other subjects too.
If you want to photograph other people then you want to make sure that a model release form is submitted with all your photographs of a person. Take special care when the photo is of a child under 18. In that case you need to get the parent or guardian to sign the model release form. Another good subject is of objects that are the sole focus of the image. They can make ideal subjects for stock photography. If you have a photo of a car, house, bridge or even a shoe then there may be someone looking for it for a special subject. If you make a good photo of these kinds of subjects and make it look like artthen you could be on to a winner. So make sure to theme each photo and single out an individual, object or item.
So now you know what type of images agencies are looking for. How do you make money from it? You typically retain the copyright to your image, but sell the image for royalty free use. That means you get money once everytime soneone buys the royalty free rights to publish the photo many times. The amount of money you receive may not be very high but you can have lot’s of photographs. The amount could even be thousands of pictures. You can also publish the same photo to multiple agencies, increasing your change for a sale.
If you do not have hundreds or even thousands of photo’s, where do you start? Well as usual with all ventures, start small. Get a few photo’s submitted to a few agencies and build it up from there. Everytime you take some photographs, submit them and before you know it, it’s a sizeable collection.
The kind of money you can make from it depends on a number of things:
- The number of images submitted
- The number of agencies used
- The subject range
- The quality of the photo’s
Some photographers get over a £1000 per month after submitting only about 500 images to about 10 agencies. There are even photographers who make more than that. But a lot of them make less. Your skill with equipment, subject and artistic choice are overriding factors. But it is possible to get money and even make a living out of it.
You need of course a camera that produces good images. Most camera’s have 10 megapixels but about 6 megapixels is minimum. There are some good compact camera’s available, but the semi professional photographer’s choice would be a DSLR (digital single lens reflex). These camera’s are equiped with larger sensors and have better software. They normally are quicker as well. If you don’t have one, use your compact digital camera. You can always reinvest some money and upgrade later.
Where to start?
Get yourself registered with a few stock agencies and submit a few photo’s, make sure they are of good quality. Submit to a few agencies unless you want to work exclusively with one agency. Being with one agency exclusively means you do not submit to others and people can only get your photo from this agency. You typically make a bit more money but you have a lot less freedom. These exclusive contracts work better for more experienced photographers that are working with one large stock photo agency.
Do use networking and socialise with other photographers. Even if you are in some way competitors, photographers are normally helpful and you can learn a lot from each other. Start registering for forums that are about photography and how to make money with it. There are agencies that also have their own forum. microstock agencies even have their very own forums for their photographers to use. Remember to not use use other people’s help but also give back to the community if you can.