Stock Photography, Your Camera and Making Money from Home
by Roy Barker
Most photographers are aware that there a two primary ways to make money from
photography. They are stock photography and assignment photography. Both areas
can be rewarding if they are entered into professionally and with some research
Assignment photography differs in that it is mostly based on taking pictures at
a predetermined event or perhaps, function. On the other hand , stock photography
is finding a buyer after the pictures have been taken. Almost like speculative photography.
Yes - it's true that prices are lower with stock photography however, they have
a much wider audience and potential. Their sales are also most often repetitive.
Many budding photographers don't realize that it is possible to increase your chances
of selling this kind of work dramatically if you know how! More on that in a minute.
I'm quick to point out that there are stock houses for photography everywhere on
the internet, making it easier to put your work out there for inspection. Their
role is to be the intermediary or the agent on behalf of the buyer.
Most photography stock libraries are similar in the way they carry out their
business. You supply a photo, they put it up on highly visited pages on their
sites and you get paid when they are downloaded and in some cases you can
royalties as well.
Stock photography can be a a good source of income for the savvy photographer
who is prepeared to be creative and do just a little planning. You can tell I'm
leading somewhere, can't you?
This way of marketing photographs has more distinct advantages, if you are a
part time freelancer, or have just started your own business. Either way you are
probably too busy making portfolios, and taking pictures to market them.
Another factor, which makes this method of marketing advantageous, is that when
you are starting you do not have the network of contacts to market your
photographs. Added to that there are some people who won't or can't perfect
their marketing skills.
A downside of this marketing method is that there is a little more to it than
taking photographs and waiting for the royalty checks to come in.
Most stock libraries, will want to re-caption your pictures to fit in with their
image, this can be a time consuming process and it can take months to get them
online. However, you can avoid these stock houses and work with those who have
better systems too.
Like many aspects of selling it is a "numbers game", the more photographs you
have available to sell the more you are likely to sell. This is a fairly general
aspect of marketing, but it is more specific in this instance, as prospective
buyers may look at other images, if they like one particular one.
Because of the time factor of getting your work to the buyers or the public,
many stock libraries, have insisted on a minimum contract, which means that they
typically ask to retain your work for a minimum of two years.