Is being a stock photographer a viable business? Any tips more than appreciated.

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by JanSlo, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. JanSlo

    JanSlo TPF Noob!

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    My name is Jan from Slovenia. I have been a semi-professional photographer for almost 10 years now and have accumulated thousands of photos that IMO have a commercial value.

    I have talked to some colleagues that upload their works to multiple stock photo platforms and make a good living out of it.

    I am curious, what are the main downsides and risks that I need to consider before making a decision? Should I only use one platform or upload to all of them? Seems its quite a lot of work with a high amount of photos. Also, what is the average revenue you can make of a single download?

    Any feedback from those who have experienced this would be more than appreciated.

    Thank you in advance for helpful tips and feedback.


     
  2. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Hello Slovenia and welcome, good luck..........
     
  3. Fujidave

    Fujidave Blue eyed and Beautiful Supporting Member

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    Hello Jan, welcome to the forum. I have not done any of what you ask but, I`d say just try one first of all and see how it goes and then go from there, hope this helps.
     
  4. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    without knowing which sites your colleagues use, we couldn't really answer that question.
    Plus, if they are making a good living off of it maybe start with the same websites that your colleagues are using .. that would seem to make sense, right?

    Also, we don't know (1) what your colleagues consider a good living, and what you consider a good living without knowing what constitutes a good living in your area; (2) we don't know your photography in comparison to your colleagues in the market that they and you would be in. So it's haphazard to give you any answer on a generic question.

    but ask some pros ... @Derrel @tirediron
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks astro!

    I'm very surprised to hear of anyone making a good living off of stock photography these days. It used to be a great way to put some extra cash in your pocket, but these days, at least in North America and western Europe, those days are gone. There are soooooooooooo many images, that it's very difficult to produce something that doesn't already exist by the thousands on multiple stock 'sites. The photographers I know who dabble in stock and make even the most modest return, have tens of thousands of images on-line, and put many hours a month into increasing their library.
     
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  6. jeffW

    jeffW No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am curious, what are the main downsides and risks that I need to consider before making a decision? Should I only use one platform or upload to all of them? Seems its quite a lot of work with a high amount of photos...[/QUOTE]

    How do you truly know any specific platform is going to be honest in reporting how much money they are licensing your images for or even if they are reporting every actual transaction? You assume they are honest!?!

    Stock agencies have become a scam!!! (for the photographer) First they have set ridiculously low payouts 40% as the highest I've seen, but and a very big BUT they sell subscriptions to their buyers (photographers never see a dime of the subscription monies) so the buyer licenses an image for pennies because they've already paid into the subscription and the stock agency only has to pay the photographer 40% of the penny sale. (and I'm talking about right's managed stock none of that RF "")

    Back to the honesty comment: I had seen a couple people claiming “A!@m7”, an agency was licensing their images even after they had removed themselves from the agency - I kind of shook it off as internet rants. Well after being frustrated that “A!@m7”, an agency was licensing my images for these extensive licensing deals (world-wide advertising) and only paying me $35 bucks (RM) I removed all of my images yet years later I still get “A!@m7’s", an agency's automated email congratulating me on another sale (never seem to get the money though) I am completely convinced “A!@m7”, an agency is still licensing my images. This past fall I was convinced that I found a news org use one of my old capital shots (it was from a roof and now there's buildings in front making that view impossible) they could of only gotten it from an agency. As I have officially removed all of my images from any agencies I ever belonged too - so how did bloomberg get that image?

    After “A!@m7” an agency I had all my stock images on my own website and licensed them myself while a massive waste of effort I will say a single license through my own site netting me more that a decade+ at “A!@m7”, an agency and a couple of other stock agencies.

    When you ask what are the risks, well once you upload your images to an agency how do you specifically know they are going to be honest about reporting back the true revenue they receive from your images?

    Ten + years with some very exclusive images that news orgs love to use total net was not close to a thousand bucks - stock sales through an agency is a waste of time (for the photographer) it is a scam.
     
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