Selling Direct to Clients
When setting up a stock photo collection you need to consider whether you are going to do the marketing and sales yourself, or if you are going to go through an agency. Depending on your agreement with an agency, you can usually do both. This page will give you an idea of what is involved if you decide to sell direct to clients.
If you are planning to sell direct to clients you need to have a well-established collection. Ideally you should already have made a name for yourself as a photographer. If not, you may be able to still make that name through stock photography if you have a sizable quality collection or if you have a particularly unique collection that no one else can match. You want to be able to match as many requests that someone has when they come to you for a stock image within your niche.
Website for sales
When running your own stock photography business, having a web presence that supports you is critical. To manage your website well and upload images to it you will need to have good, reliable and inexpensive bandwidth. If you do not have this, you would probably do better to find a stock photo agency to represent your collection and handle the sales on your behalf.
Figure 1:A website where images can be priced and bought online
Marketing and sales
To manage a photography business you need to have the capacity to put time into marketing and sales. If you already have an established database of clients who are interested in your work, running your own stock business could work well for you as long as you have the time or the staff to dedicate to it. In terms of sales you need to be able to cater for picture buyers who want images in a hurry. You have to make provision for what will happen if someone orders an image while you are on a shoot. Usually you will need to employ staff to do this for you or make sure that all your buyers have easy access to download images from your web site.
Pricing and licenses
As part of running a stock photography business, you need a well-established price list and clarity on what licenses you offer. Your website may have a built-in pricing system.
You can look at other stock photography sites to get an idea of what they charge. There are also websites that offer suggested stock photography pricing; many of those prices are based on international rates. You will probably find that those rates need to be adjusted for your local market. Here are some links to look at to get an idea of pricing:
- Stock Photo price calculator - a handy price calculator in USD
- Africa Media Online - rights managed pricing for the South African market
- fotoQuote - quoting software that you can purchase
Using Flickr to sell images
Flickr is not a professional photography tool, but it can be used for stock photography sales as well as acting as a back-up facility for your archive. One of the Shutha team, D J Clark has prepared a helpful video to help you maximise your Flickr account for stock photography sales.
Figure 2: D J Clark, who is based in China, explains how Flickr can be used as a picture sales tool