Can you imagine anyone paying you good money for your photos? No?
You know, I had all those photos from a recent trip to Rome, Italy, laying around and I thought it should be possible to make a few bucks off of them. First, I couldn't think of a way to market or sell those images but then I discovered micro stock sites.
Micro stock sites are great: You register (it's free) and then upload a few sample images. After your samples passed an initial review you start uploading and making money.
Let's look how this works in detail:
What is stock photography?
Imagine someone is creating a website about healthcare. To beef it up they want a few images of doctors, nurses, operating theaters and the like. Rather than hiring a photographer (sending him on "assignment" as it's called in the business) which can be very expensive the designer decides to use stock photos, i.e. images that are readily available.
Usually stock images are much cheaper than "bespoke" photos. So our designer would visit one of the established stock image sites and browse around a little until she finds some nice healthcare related imagery. After paying up (usually at the tone of $100 per image or higher depending on the use) she downloads the photos, puts them on the website and calls it a day.
Micro stock sites vs. traditional agencies
With a traditional agency our designer likely spent between $500 and $1,000 for half a dozen images of doctors, nurses and stuff like this. That's small change if you are a Fortune 500 company, but what if you are on a budget or doing website design for a friend or a non-profit organization?
Enter micro stock agencies. Micro stock sites have stirred up the traditional market for stock photography over the last three years. What's the idea here? Rather than charging $100 or more for a photo, on many of those sites you can get high quality images for less than $10, sometimes as low as $1!
With a payout of perhaps 25 to 50 cents per image this is not very attractive for professional photographers but an amateur can make decent money this way and should at least be able to finance her hobby. And remember, this is the Internet we are talking about: Make it up on volume. 25 cents per image downloaded may not sound like much but if you have several hundred or even a thousand decent and usable images, all of them submitted to the big micro stock sites even a paltry 25 cents per download can add up nicely.
What you need
Most micro stock agencies have the same requirements: You'll need at least a four Megapixel camera (more is better, although you'll be fine with between six and eight Megapixels), your images should be free of noise, properly keyworded and should picture sought after subjects. For example, good selling images are business or healthcare related or illustrate a concept or an emotion such as love, relationships, carreer and the like.
Here is a few micro stock agencies that you can try out:
Fotolia - Fotolia is a rising star in the field of stock photography. They usually pay more then 50% of the commission to the photographer, and allow you to set your own price. They are one of the fastest to approve photographs. Another nice thing is the way you can get your money. They will allow you to make a paypal cash-out once you've hit the 2 dollar mark.
Bigstockphoto - Yet another great site to sell images at. They pay 50c or 1$ per image downloaded. and they allow to get paid after only 30$ has accumulated. They will approve photos in about three days. They allow FTP upload.
Shutter Stock - Shutterstock is the leading micro stock agency today. Shutterstock’s business model allows a customer to make a subscription and during the subscription period the customer can buy and download 25 pictures a day. This model encourages downloads, and indeed you will get allot of downloads. The photographers earn 25c per image sell, and additional 5c if the customer also requested to burn the image on a CD. There are also broader uses licenses that the client can buy for additional payment. The site is very friendly. It has an FTP upload option and pictures are approved within a day or two.
Dreams Time - A very popular site with the clients, and will get you great sells. The basic price per image is 1$ (or 2$ for full resolution) out of which the photographer gets 50%. The site is very friendly. It has an FTP upload option and pictures are usually approved within a three days. Defiantly an option if you want to sell your images.
Pixmac - Yet another great site to sell images at. They give you 50% commission for non-exclusive rights and 60% commission for exclusive rights.Earning money has never been easier!
CanStockPhoto -They pay 50% for guest/member download and 0.25 USD for subscription download. They are a great agency, with a little cluttered design.
Feature Pics - A very nice agency - they let you set a price for your stock photos or set the percentage that you want to earn.
Photostockplus - Photostockplus gives a great variety of products you can sell. They will not only sell your photos, but put them on mugs, shirts and more. photostockplus also provides great resources for event photographers.
123rf.com - 123rf is a relatively new agency which is doing well. They are still small, so if you are good standing out is easy. They pay 50% of each sale to the photographer - nice. another nice feature is email notification once your images has been approved or rejected.
Crestock Stock - At Crestock Stock Photos you can earn up to 30% commission on every image or photo you sell. With hundreds of thousands of unique visitors a month, you're guaranteed incredible exposure for your portfolio. Their fast upload system ensures you won't spend ages just to get your photos and images online.
Stockphotomedia - When an image or photo is downloaded, the individual or entity doing so, the User, pays for the image/photo the Photographer has uploaded and the Photographer’s account, the Account Holder, is automatically credited with 35% for small images, 45% for medium images, 55% for large images And 50% for Illustrations of the revenue generated for every photograph and image downloaded. When the balance on an account exceeds 60 EUR or every 3 months, the Account Holder is entitled to submit a request for payment. We use paypal or Moneybookers.
Shutterpoint - ShutterPoint offers THE highest payout rate on the internet: 85% for Full Royalty-Free License, 70% for Standard Royalty-Free License. Payouts are delivered by check, through PayPal, or MoneyBookers whenever your earnings exceed your minimum payment amount. Minimum payment options start at $50. You also get your own image store-front to showcase and sell your photo albums to the world and your own pro-style sub domain (http://USERNAME.shutterpoint.com).
Fotomind - Fotomind is ideal for Stock Photographers and people looking to sell quality stock photos. Good revenue - 0.3$ per credit (that means 0.9$ per image in most cases). Get up to 27$ per image. Upload pictures via FTP or HTTP. Automatic handling of image metadata. Various payment methods (check, paypal, etc). Payouts are sent every month, minimum payout is 100$. Photo review time: up to 72 hours. Earn more money by referring people to FotoMind.com. Fast and Friendly photographer support.
I wish you the best of success!