What is “stock?” It’s a picture that’s licensed for specific use by advertisers, journalists, travel writers and others. Newspapers, magazines and other media love stock because it saves them money — they don’t need to hire a photographer. They can peruse huge databases of images and purchase just the few that meet their specific needs.
As a photographer, you create a portfolio of images, upload them to a website, and leave the business of selling and collecting payment to them. You can sell non-exclusive licenses to the same images over and over.
Best of all, you don’t need insider connections with editors or ad executives to sell stock photos.
Micro Stock Websites
iStockphoto.com provides a Training Manual online to help you prepare your photographs to upload on their site.
Shutterpoint gives a Comprehensive Guide to Marketable Photography to its active account holders.
Earning a Living in Stock
How can you earn a living selling images for just a few dollars apiece?
It depends on how popular those images are, and how big your portfolio is. Upload more images and you’ll increase the likelihood that some of them will be purchased dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of times.
Composition is very important in stock photography. An editor or advertiser will want space above, below or alongside the image to add a headline or some words, and the overall proportions have to match their space requirements.
Stock photos also need to be generic in nature (no logos on the t-shirts or baseball caps, please!).
To make a living at stock photography, you must know something about composition, lighting and other tricks of the trade. Learn more at places like:
- Your local community college
- Online. The website Learn to Take Great Photos offers a wide range of courses, starting with a Beginners Guide to Great Photos for only $39. Photo.net is a feature-packed website with tons of information and resources, though not geared toward beginners. Digital Photography School offers something for photographers at all levels of expertise
- Professional Training Courses like the home-study Turn Your Pictures Into Cash program or three-day intensive workshops like The Rome Photography Expedition
If stock photography interests you as a portable career for your untethered life overseas, start building your portfolio before you leave home to make your transition easier.
Have you taken a photography course online? What did you like/dislike about it?
Photo by Bien Stephenson on flickr