Ever wondered if there was more money to be made from the great images you have already taken? On this page you will be given an overview of what you need to know in order to start doing exactly that through selling photos as stock.
What is stock photography?
Stock photography refers to images you have already taken that you make available for licensing. This can become an ongoing income source because the same image can sell again and again. And it is not just images that you have already taken. Many photographers who focus on stock anticipate demand and take pictures specifically for stock markets. Building a sizable, quality archive of unique stock images can be a supplementary revenue stream for you for years to come. For many photographers, it is their pension.
Stock photography refers to collections of existing images that are used by publications and designers to fulfil their picture needs instead of commissioning a photographer to do a shoot for them.
Types of markets
The buyers of stock photography have traditionally been divided into 2 groups: editorial and commercial. Editorial includes magazines, newspapers and books, and commercial covers usage such as for advertising and promotion.
Stock photo licensing
In order to license images you must be sure that the image is yours to license. Read our section on copyright of images to be sure.
In stock photography rights are sold to use the image. Selling rights is known as licensing. There are 2 main types of licenses used in stock photography: Rights Managed and Royalty Free. A Rights Managed license gives the user permission to use an image for a specific purpose, and the price charged relates to this usage. A Royalty Free license gives the user the right to use an image for any purpose and the price relates to file size.
What kind of images sell?
The images that people rate highly on Flickr are not always the same images that make good sales as stock photography. There are lists of best sellers and required images put out by some photographic agencies that can provide some good direction. There are also some general guidelines to follow when shooting for stock. There are plenty of opportunities to be maximised by being a photographer based in the Majority World which are highlighted in this lesson. A global perspective is provided in an interview with Alex from Alamy photo agency.
What is a stock photo agency?
A stock photography agency is an organization that markets collections of photographs from numerous photographers and from other stock photography agencies. In the digital era, stock photography agencies provide online databases that picture users can search to find the image that they require. The stock photography agency charges the picture buyer a rate to license an image for a particular use.