What kind of luck have you had selling stock photos?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by wanderinggypsy, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. wanderinggypsy

    wanderinggypsy TPF Noob!

    Jun 1, 2010
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    Seriously, do people actually make any money this way? An acquaintance of mine was making some pretty hefty claims about how much this augments her income, and I just thought I'd bounce it off the crowd in here. I know a lot of factors are involved but bottom line, is it even a viable option? What to people tend to bring in this way?

    Thanks a bunch!

  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Oct 31, 2007
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    Cedar Hill, Texas
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    Are you talking micro stock, or an actual stock agency?

    Huge difference in how much you can make...

    If you're talking about any of the (many) microstock sites, you wouldn't make much...
    You'll be paid pennies for your work.

    If you had a massive, always growing, body of work - yes, you probably could make enough to buy a lens or something every now and then. Probably nowhere near enough to live off of though...

    The microstock sites are pretty easy to get approved on, places like Corbis or Getty would have much higher standards, and require a larger body of work to even consider you.

    Just to give you an idea of the differences:

    On Dreamstime a full-res photo would cost you $15-20 (or less) ... on Corbis it would be $500 (or more).

    I don't know what percentage of that actually goes to the photographer, but which figure would you rather have 15% of (or whatever it is)...?

    I would imagine that Corbis would give a higher percentage to the photographer than Dreamstime too...
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2009
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    There are 2 kinds of stock photography:
    1. Rights-Managed (RM) Rights Managed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    2. Royalty-Free (RF) Royalty-free - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Register at Corbis and Getty and some of the micro stock sites as if you were a buyer for stock images and you can see the prices they charge for different uses. On Corbis, an image used just for web/mobil can cost as little as $35 for 3 months of usage.

    Look at the use license terms each are selling and you'll understand why the prices are so different.

    Just a few months ago Time magazine used a micro stock image on it's cover, that was made by an amateur shooter.

    Time’s $30 Cover Image: Affordable and Good Enough | Matters of Varying Insignificance

    Check out: What should I shoot and what sells well? | Yuri Arcurs and several of his other info on stock photography, like the legal aspects.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

    Jun 15, 2009
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    An American in Europe
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    Sorry Josh but the days of decent pay for stock images are pretty much over. My checks are getting smaller and smaller all the time and definitely not worth going to shoot more stock.

    That business will soon be entirely in the hands of amateurs which is ok as it means it will someday come back to the pros when the buyers get tired of crappy shots.

    There was a link posted a few months ago about some guy who is supposed to be the top seller of micro stock. Well I read the article carefully and it turned out they were like 12 photogs shooting for him and he hadn't yet made any money. Lol.

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