19 thoughts on “How to Break into Stock Photography

  1. Loved the article! I might still consider stock photography but don’t know if they will consider me! It will be a lot of work.

  2. Great article. Its a shame you didn’t persevere with stock photography. There is a lot of work at the start and the returns are small but if you upload regularly over a few years you learn quickly and can build a portfolio which will eventually provide a return on your time invested – but maybe not as much as you had hoped for!

    I’ve been submitting for over a year now. If your looking for concise advice on starting out in microstock visit my website.

    • Hmm, well I’ve started free-lancing, but that’s active income whereas stock photography provides passive income… the best way to go is probably a mix of the two, but I could never get on ShutterStock because they wouldn’t accept my images (they’re nuts about grain). I did get onto a few others with portraits, but only sold a couple and never hit the payment threshold.

  3. is there keyword tool for stock photography analysis ? i would love to try one .. i think your point no.5 is spot on..

  4. Something else, future stock photographers should think about:
    1. it takes a lot of work to make one photo look great. From the beginning to the end.
    2. You will never make the money you could make by cleaning floors for the same time amount. Its located in the fact, that many people think what is fun is not worth so much.
    3.And of course, the world is competing on a leavel united by those stock companies. Thats a lot of competiton, even if only freelancers are submitting.

    My recommendation, look around you. If there are bussinesses near you, offer to shoot for them. Lets say, you spend a day making a good shot from a wheetcutter. The company pays you 300 Dollars for it. That is for sure more fun, less rejections and definitely more money than any average stock photo will ever make you in a lifetime.
    Thats the sad truth.

    • Unfortunately, you’re right. I made 30 cents from stock photography. I make more than that in an hour from Google AdSense.

      Photos that are artistic or even photos that are commercially valuable have no chance in the stock agencies. Out of my gallery of 200 photos, only about 10 are suitable for stock. The rest have a little bit of grain (or a lot), vignetting, chromatic aberration, or some other problem. Fixing these or taking new stock photos gets old fast.

      You’re better off being a freelance photographer unless you really enjoy stock photography.

  5. thanks for the info! this is great stuff! :help: could i ask your opinion on something else related? i’m looking for a program – freeware preferably, that i can use to put all my photos in order. like tagging, key wording, and model releases attached and sorted with RAW files. any recomendations? thanks

  6. Surprise, surprise! I found a blog that is actually helpful. Thanks.

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  8. I think your article is great. I can totally relate to what you are saying. Most of the stuff you are talking about, I used the same methods in taking photos for my website. (some manufacturers photos are in my site too, they are not mine). I enjoyed reading your article. No, I do not think it is a joke. Thank you.

    • Thank you! I use some of this stuff too; focus is really important, and clean backgrounds are less distracting even in art photography. I’m not zealous about grain, so some of my photos become quite grainy after being shot at ISO400 + large contrast adjustments.

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  10. is this supposed to be funny? i hope so… (if so, you failed, but not as much as if this were not intended to be funny).

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