I love making money in my sleep! I will spend days doing what I love (photographing) and then upload my best pictures to microstock agencies who will sell my pictures around the world for me while I sleep or do other things.
“Where can I sell stock photos online?” I hear you ask? I’ve listed a few of my favourites that I’ve had success with. Check them out!
iStockPhoto – iStock pay a base royalty rate of 15% for each file that is purchased and downloaded. This can go up to 45% if you become an iStock exclusive contributor. This means that you put your photos on iStock and make them your exclusive royalty-free agent. This means you can’t sell your royalty-free stock files anywhere else. You sign an exclusive contract (which you can always cancel with 30 days’ notice and good reason) and earn between 22% and 45%. They have a royalty schedule which explains the sliding scale used to increase your percentage earnings. The iStockPhoto website is very informative and helpful. The two main sections I love to use are the Help section (located on the top toolbar) and the Learn More section (located on the side bar of the Help section or at the bottom of each page of the site.
Shutterstock – Shutterstock is one of the most popular microstock websites. It’s also one of the most difficult microstock agencies to get photos accepted into. But don’t give up! It’s a very rewarding experience when you do get accepted as you know that they haven’t accepted just any photo. Your photo has potential to sell and earn you some good money. Here are some tips on getting accepted by Shutterstock.
Try choosing more than the required 10 photos necessary for submission. Choose photos that have commercial value, such as iconic monuments or wedding photos. Submit these photos via a website link to the Shutterstock critique forum before sending them to Shutterstock. It’s really important at this point to not take any critiquing personally. This forum is designed to help you get accepted. And just because you have a beautiful photo of your baby son smiling at you, remember, it may not be a commercially viable option for Shutterstock.
Use the critique to reduce any noise level and improve your photos technically. Once you have your 10 photos technically perfect, upload your photos to the Shutterstock server according to the rules. These are downloaded from the Shutterstock homepage. Once you have been accepted (and remember it might take a few goes), smile, sit back and reap the rewards!
123RF – There are a few ways to make money from 123RF.
1. You can become a contributor and earn straight commission when a buyer downloads your content.
2. You can become an affiliate and refer buyers. Then when they clink on your link and purchase, you earn referral commission.
3. The third way is when a contributor joins and starts contributing. A bit like Chinese whispers!
As a sole contributor, you will earn up to 60% of the credit price and up to .43 cents per download. Through the referral system, you earn 15% of the retail price of whatever the buyer purchases and when a contributor joins and starts contributing, you earn 10% of the referred contributor’s commission.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways to earn money through photography and these are only a few. The important thing is to keep opening yourself up to different opportunities, keep learning and keep shooting! Who knows when you will get that perfect shot where everything falls into place at the right time enabling you to sit back, smile and live the photographer’s dream.