Stock photography is an online job opportunity that you can do on your own schedule in a variety of locations. If you love photography, be sure to give it a try, because if you learn it, you’ll enjoy doing it!
Stock photography as an online job
Stock photography gives you the freedom that if you don't have the time or desire to go out, you can also find plenty of photographic subjects at home (objects, computer screen, your family, etc.). If you like to go hiking, you can even work outdoors (having field strength, you can even upload your pictures).
Your schedule is up to you, and it is an uplifting feeling that you are your own master.
Pay attention to this when you start stock photography
Let’s be clear at the beginning: stock photography is not the same as uploading your mobile phone images and then waiting for them to be purchased.
It's hard work. Persistent, skilled work. If you have the affinity for photography, you can improve your knowledge and become a successful stock photographer in a few years.
Let's see what you must know to find the right direction.
In the beginning, it is enough if you love to take photos, but you have to learn a lot if you want to make a lot of money!
Some people start stock photography as a professional photographer, some consider it as a hobby. To avoid being a burden later on, it’s a good idea to be open in the direction of photography itself. There is always something to learn. In the forums of the stock photo websites, photographers have gathered a wealth of experience from which you can learn regularly.
Follow the basic rules of photography
The saying is that 'the rules are good for breaking them' is true. However, the first step should always be to master the rules. I've compiled a few basic guidelines to help you create images that can be sold already at the beginning.
Choose your stock photo company
In my experience, stock photo agencies are so different that in the first 1-2 years, you’re better off choosing only one and studying it thoroughly. It takes too much energy and time to be present on more than one website at a time.
You don't have to advertise yourself, the agency will do it for you
Making life easier for stock photographers, agencies do everything they can to find potential buyers, taking the burden of advertising off your shoulders.
Of course, if you have a special portfolio, it’s a good idea to publish it on your own website as well, but for a portfolio that deals with average topics, you don’t even need that.
Take lots of photos, but with different subjects
An essential element of stock photography is the power of novelty. Many buyers are specifically looking for new photos. You need to upload pictures regularly to get to these people. You can build a portfolio of thousands of images in a few years.
The number of use cases for stock photos is virtually endless, which is why you better take photos of everything you come across. Take a look around the websites of agencies for inspiration.
The importance of market research
I think (almost) everyone starts stock photography by uploading their favorite pictures or pictures of patterns (e.g., cobblestone, wood, material, etc.). Maybe because it's obvious.
However, this will not lead to many sales and much money. This is because buyers aren’t looking for photos that you like or that you think might sell well.
In our case, market research is nothing more than reading the forums of stock photo websites (especially the "images sold" posts) and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the agencies. For example, Alamy has a daily updated report called Alamy Measures about the photos viewed (searched for) and also the search terms.
So once you’ve uploaded all your favorite pictures, you can start shooting photos that are consciously taken to fulfil your customers' needs. And this is the moment when you will feel your sales start to rise.
Don't copycat! Be original!
If you realize that another photographer has won the favor of your customers, you will involuntarily start thinking about how you could reproduce his/her ideas. Do not do it!
The search engine of stock photo sites does not reward copies, nor do buyers. Sooner or later, you’re sure to find a topic in which you can be the first, at least as for implementation.
Your perseverance will bear fruit
Veteran stock photographers often argue that stock photography is not a sprint but a marathon. You have found your style, you have found the topics customers are looking for. Well done. All you need is patience and perseverance. Produce tons of photos and the business starts working all of a sudden. It is not weeks but years when you can harvest the fruits of your hard work.
A number of photographers have already posted on the Alamy forum how many sales they have had each year since they started. It is interesting to note that almost everyone experienced 0 or 1-2 pictures in the first year, 10-20 pictures in the second and 30-50 pictures in the third. And so on. Persevering work is the key to later success.
Remember, stock photography is a job, not a hobby
If you consider stock photography a hobby, you don’t set goals for yourself and you can easily give up if you don’t succeed. If you see a job (business) in stock photography, you want to accomplish, develop, be better than the others.