Most people assume that to make money from photography you need to go take artistic photographs and sell them to clients as such. Portraits are a classic example of this, as are landscapes. These aren’t your only options though; another alternative is to go down the route of taking stock photos. Stock photos are somewhat generic photos that can be used for a broad range of purposes, rather than custom or commissioned photos for a specific use. By using a stock photography website to sell your photos, you can keep an eye on trends and build up a large catalogue of photos, each of which earn you money when licenced.
Alamy is a large stock photo website with over 220 million photos available. It also offers a solid commission rate. For exclusive images, it offers a 50% commission, whereas for non-exclusive images you get 40%. Students who sign up can get a deal for 100% commission price for two years.
Image courtesy of: Dreamstime.com.
Dreamstime offers up to 49.5% of the sale price if the sold file is popular and exclusive. The pricing of files and the percentage you earn from them is based on the type and size of file, how long it has been available, and how popular it has been. Newer, smaller, and less popular files are cheaper and give you a lower percentage. If you agree to be an exclusive user to the platform you can get a flat 60% cut of all sales and a small increase to the price of your pictures across the board.
With most stock photography sites, you need to manually attach keywords and any necessary model release forms to each individual image. CanStock Photo sets itself apart by making that process easier. You can upload release forms to a batch of photos at once and upload a text file with keywords for your photos. Together these options make it easier to have your images processed and ready to be sold. The prices and your commission rates are set out in clear bands rather than with percentages.
Previously Fotolia, Adobe Stock offers royalty sharing rates between 20 and 46%. As well as being able to upload your photos from the web, Adobe Lightroom CC and Adobe Bridge CC have integrated upload functionality. The intelligent tagging feature also automatically applies detected tags to your pictures, saving you the time of doing so manually.
Image courtesy of: Stocksy.com.
Stocksy is a co-op stock photo site, you have to have your application approved to join, but once you’re in, you can have a say in how the business is run. You’re required to have a level of exclusivity but for that, you can get between 50 and 75% commission. While you may be restricted from uploading your photos to other stock photo sites, you can still include your photos on your personal portfolio site, in exhibits at art galleries, and in any products you sell.