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How To Turn Stock Photography Into A Lucrative Profession

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How To Turn Stock Photography Into A Lucrative Profession

In this digital age where everyone has a website, blog or advertises online, stock photography seems like a very appealing business. Whether you are a professional photographer or photography is your hobby, you can make money by selling your photos online. Here are some guidelines to help you start off on the right foot.

Stick To The Rules

Just like with any other business, the stock photography marketplace is regulated by the relations between supply and demand, which also dictate trends. If you don’t pay close attention to what you submit to stocks, you are hardly going to make serious money from it. Images that tell stories and reflect emotions perform well, while lifeless images are considerably less appealing to potential customers.

For instance, highly sought-after topics include images that feature old men and women, which imply trust, whereas those showing individuals who work early and late speak of the people who want to prove themselves as hard workers.

Choose What To Shoot

As mentioned above, trends in stock photography will determine what you need to shoot to make the most of your efforts. However, your images still need to be unique. Be aware of the market needs, but don’t limit your creativity.

Many photographers are data-driven, which means that they check what sells best and make the most of it. Making cliché images won’t help you establish yourself as a competitive photographer in this business, so you should research the needs of the stock photography market and find a way to deliver unique photos that sell.

Bear The End-User In Mind At All Times

If you want to sell your photos well, you have to offer something that end-users want. Marketing agencies, businesses, magazines, and bloggers – they are the ones who determine what sells. But what are they usually looking for?

Images that help illustrate different concepts and complement the content they are developing. Now, it can be just about everything, but there are some things that are simply in higher demand than others. For instance, businesses often need images that properly illustrate concepts like “teamwork”, “family” and “trust”. The more pics you can create that bring such concepts to life, the more likely you are to sell them.

Learn From The Best

If you want to start earning from stock photography, you have to be a good photographer in the first place. Besides your skills and talent, you have to own the right gear that will help you produce high-quality images that you can sell on different stock sites. Extensive courses, as this contemporary master course in photography, for example, will teach you not only what it takes to be a good photographer, but also how to monetize your passion.

Working side by side with professional photographers who lead today’s market will give you insight into the business part of photography, teaching you how to find your place in various areas of visual production, communication and image, from still & motion and storytelling to advertising and corporate fields.

Get Things Rolling

First of all, you need to put together a captivating portfolio, after which you should sign up on popular stock photography sites like Shutterstock and submit a batch of your photos. They have editors that review your photos, and if they like them, you’ll receive feedback. Going forward, you may even receive requests for content, depending on what they need at the moment. At this point, you have to listen to what the editors are advising you as well as develop your authentic style.

Shoot, Upload, Repeat

Stock photography is quite a dynamic field, so you have to constantly refresh your portfolio and keep up with the trending topics. There are people who earn good money from selling their photos on stock sites, but their success is not accidental. These photographers put a lot of effort to produce sellable images on a consistent basis.

Stock photography can be a profitable business if you can manage to come up with attractive images on a regular basis. To produce stock images that sell, you have to be a good photographer, invest in quality gear, research, develop an authentic style, and be open to accepting changes.

About The Author
Jennifer Hahn Masterson is the Lead Content Strategist at Spread the Word Solutions, holding an MA degree in business communication. She is always doing her best to help her clients find their place in the ever-so-competitive business arena, insisting on long-term sustainability rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast scheme. You can check her out on LinkedIn.
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