Here is a "Stock Photo Basics" workshop, presented by Keren Sachs. The talk is best-suited for new Shutterstock image contributors. More info on this talk here.
After speaking with a few of our photography students today I decided that I will conduct a test to see which is the best stock photography site for photographers looking to sell their images online. This case study will be updated over the next 30 days to include information on the image submission process, the revenue earned and the overall experience of submitting images to stock photography companies.
I couldn’t find any comprehensive stock photography case studies or reviews myself so I’m deciding to go at it alone. Here are the basics of how I plan to submit and monitor my photographs.
- I will submit 10 images to 3 different popular stock photography agencies
- I will monitor which of the images are accepted and which ones are rejected
- I will provide commentary on issues such as royalty structure, submission delays and other important information to help photographers make informed decisions about where to submit their stock photography.
- Lastly, I will provide an earnings report for each of the sites I submit to.
I will provide 3 updates within 30 days (space out by 10 days each) providing information on the process so far.
Stock Photography Website 1:
Website URL: www.shutterstock.com
Payout: .25 / download.
Sign up process: After veryifying my email it required that I upload a photocopy of my passport. You can’t upload photographs for 48 hours while they review your document. Mimum photo size 2.5 – 4 megapixels
Stock Photography Website 2:
Website URL: www.istockphoto.com
Payout: 20% (prices vary from $1 to $20) (.20 cents to $2 / photo)
Minimum photo size: 2.0 megapixel 1600 x 1200
Sign up process: Needed to read about 15 pages of ‘how to” information on submitting photographs to their site and pass a 13 question test on copyright issues, photo quality and topics about photography composition. They also required that I upload a .jpg of government issued ID. After I did that I needed to upload 3 samples of my work, after which they told me I may need to wait 2 weeks to have my application reviewed.
Stock Photography Website 3:
Website URL: www.fotolia.com
Payout: 33% (non exclusive rights) 50% -80% on exlusive rights (the more downloads you get the higher percentage you make)
Sign up process: Very quick and easy. No mandatory turorials, tests, or email verification. Just sign up and start adding photographs. Photos must be 2400 x 1600
If you are a photographer and you’re looking to either a) start making a living from it or 2) find additional ways to make passive income from your work as a photographer then this article will help you greatly.
Here are some different options for selling your photographs online.
Sell your stock photography through 3rd party stock photography websites.
If you sign up for photostockplus.com you’ll receive 85% commission plus be charged a small processing fee for each order that goes through. You’ll receive your own storefront and the website actively markets your photographs to corporate and individual clients. Like most stock photography companies, they don’t make money unless you do which means they have huge incentive to promote their photographers. They also handle all printing and shipping letting you focus on just taking photographs. You also have full control of print quality and the pricing structure for your photographs. They do provide pricing recommendations which range between $18 to $100 but in the end it’s up to you to set the prices.
Shutterpoint.com is very similar to the photostockplus. They will protect your images with watermarks and provide an eCommerce storefront that allows people to search through your photographs and order their favorite prints. They pay out between 70% and 85% of the purchase price to their clients.
Fotolia.com is another revenue sharing website that claims that “Almost 100% of all images uploaded* are online and generate revenue through direct sales or via our exclusive revenue sharing program from advertisement in the free pictures section.” You will have full control of pricing and this website which is a very popular stock photography website also allows for user and photograph ratings and they also have a high payout of 80% for the photographer.
Using these stock photography companies you can get the biggest commission (industry average is 52%) and you’ll get great exposure to your photographs and hopefully be able to earn some extra revenue through your hard work as a photographer.
Some photographers make a living selling stock photography. However, it usually takes years before your photography portfolio will be large enough to have the quality photographs within it for substantial commercial success.
However, selling stock photography is a great way to earn passive income (no mater how small the payments) and allows you to focus on photograph taking while the stock photography companies focus on website promotion and the business end of things.
Best of luck selling your photographs online.