Friday, December 4, 2015

It's Official - It's Never Been Easier to Profit From Your Photography!

A piece of news was released yesterday from a major micro stock agency that could change everything up for regular, hobbyist, or even non-photographers, that would allow them to make a residual income from a little time and some decent images.  Definitely read more


If you've read my blog, you shouldn't be too much of a  stranger to micro stock photography, I've touched on it a few times. (Here are some links; An Intro V1, or More In-Depth Look and Tutorials )  So what changed recently, will make this market more accessible to everyone. And since there have never been more capable cameras in the hands of everyday consumers,

Yes its almost as easy as it sounds. And you can sell as much or as little as you like.. You will want to jump in headfirst, but it will really pay to read my coles notes, and then sign up, and carry on.

Also, before we go much further, I am not a representative of any entity other than myself. I try to present facts as I understand them from my perspective. Individual experiences may vary. 

Getting Into Microstock Photography

Get into micro stock photography the fast way following these quick steps.

1. Have a paypal account. It's not necessary, but it enables the lowest (meaning soonest) payouts and easiest withdrawals, and in my case, conversion from USD to CAD.
2. Have a high resolution photograph of both sides of your government ID. Something with a face, full name, etc. Passport or Driver License is the recommended choice.  A good clear cell phone photo could suffice.
3. Have an organized collection of your best photos, illustrations, videos, etc. Access to old originals may be beneficial after you become more aware of what does well in stock.
4. Quickly understand that stock is not art prints necessarily, or stuff you'd normally use for wall art. And  understand rejection does happen, you can take it objectively, move on and try again, or you can dwell on it and waste your own time.

What are the wages?

Before we get much further, we won't pussy-foot around this. Yes, the rates can be small. With this particular agency who sells consistently, and frequently, you can start at as little as $.25 USD per photo. A quarter. But, its a volume game too. And every now and then you're graced with $30 to $100 sales on the same images so its not all as bad as it seems.  
This particular agency lets you get paid out in as little as $35 to your paypal (its more for paper cheques) once per month.  When you make your first payout its an amazing thing, when I started it used to be at $75.  Which is one more reason why better to join now than before. 

What Sells Well With Stock

As I mentioned up there, stock isn't necessarily images that seem like wall art pieces but more are images that can be used to illustrated a subject or sell it. A lot of the images you see in advertisements come from stock photography. Stock photos can get a bad rap because as a photographer, I may put my work available for sale, but won't know who or what the end product is. And having it used in a low quality end product isn't always beneficial. But it is the nature of the business. The stock photo market is too big to ignore.  You can either ignore it and miss out, or take as big a chunk out as you can get.

The good thing is that the time you put in once, remains 'active' you might say. So the work, lets quantify in hours, I did on photos in my first year still earn me money now 8 or more years later - because those photos can sell again, and again.

I am talking mainly about photos here because everyone has a capable camera now, but if you are an illustrator, you actually have a leg up, illustrations do amazingly well and in many ways are bound by less stringent review processes.

Video sells well too, maybe the best bang for your buck but starts off much slower than photos do, so I wouldn't recommend it for taking your initial dive into the talent pool.

On top of what is a good selling concept, you need to play by the rules

So an agency won't just slap a watermark and sell anything on your behalf. They do have guidelines you need to follow if you want to sell. This is where 'the review process' comes in.  Where they reject or accept your photos for their library. 
In short, what they want; 
- Images at least 4 megapixels. don't be tempted to go too high if you don't have a high quality camera. they'd rather perfect pixels than a lot of them.  Just because you have a 16 megapixel point and shoot, doesn't guarantee you an in. 
- Well lit. For now, unless you're more than a hobbyist, stick to brighter images. Dark photos can be difficult to pass through since they more than likely were captured in a higher iso, a longer exposure, probably handheld, etc. So aim for bright stuff.. I am not saying that bright is better, but it is less likely to contain a lot of image noise, which reviewers tend to hate.  
- In focus. Your subject should be in focus. To ask yourself what should be in focus, ask yourself, what is this a picture of?  Now, is that thing you just described in focus in the photo? That is where the reviewer will probably look first. 
- Does everything inside the image lend itself to telling the story of the subject? Busy images don't really do well. Keep it simple. Copy space, or "room for text" is great in your images due to the nature of their typical destinations.  If your 'subject' is smaller than distracting background elements, your photo won't sell well. 
- Don't even bother trying to sell images with people's faces, crowds, logos, brand names, or even the insides or outsides of famous buildings, or any piece of artwork. Its too difficult a field to navigate for a stock beginner, so don't get discouraged early on by trying the harder avenues. 
-Start off with good concepts like textures. Things that are seamless and can be tiled repeatedly to fill a space are great.

Why Now More than Before?

On December 2, 2015, Shutterstock changed it's long time policy of requiring 7 of 10 images to be of sufficient quality in your initial submission in order for your acceptance into being a contributor. (imagine it like a driver's license, but a license to sell with them) 
Now that number is only 1 of 10. One! 10% to pass. 
So you can understand it is very easy to get 1 of 10 if you know what they are looking for. 

What Next?

Ok, keep the ball rolling. Get signed up. Use me as a referral to you by following this link to sign up. 
have your driver's license or passport photo ready.  Have your paypal account signed up.  You'll want it linked to a bank account within a month or so, but no need to rush, will take a few weeks to get your first payment. 
Payments can arrive in as little as $35 increments. Paid monthly. 

Once you get started, you can start referring people too. You can even refer buyers and make commission on their sales.

What Do I Know About Stock?

Who is this guy you may be asking.. Well, I've been shooting stock photography since 2008 and have sold tens of thousands of files in that time. I actually review images for an agency, so I know what they tend to want and what looks good. I sell video and have dabbled in illustrations. And I am selling with more than half a dozen agencies. Having my own situation is relative order and consistent growth, I want to help others grow into their stock photography as well. Hence the purpose of this post and the ones I shared above. 
There are a lot of people on the internet selling sips of their kool-aid, and it is hard to tell what is legit when it comes to 'making money online'.  So if you have any doubts, or need more clarification, check into the details with each agency you plan to join, or ask me some more of my opinions. 



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