Most of the fire photographers I know also make many other types of pictures too; because being hooked on photography will do that to you. I thought that in this months column I’d talk a little about stock photography, and how to make some money with your pictures.
Stock photography has changed a lot in the past 10 years. It used to be a place where photographers would send their out takes from assignments to be sold. The thought was, if you could make $1.00 per year, times the number of photos you had at an agency, then you were doing well. This has all changed.
Most agencies wont even accept your out takes now. Stock photography has become so popular, that many photographers are now shooting specifically for stock, and most of the agencies that handle stock are looking for photos that are as well taken as those used in magazine assignments. There are a number of on-line agencies that handle stock photos, making it easy for photographers and picture buyers no matter where they are located.
I have been supplying stock photos for a number of years now, mainly to PictureStock.com and the past couple of years to PhotographerDirect.com which is in the UK. Recently I found another outlet called BigStockPhotos .com. Within just the past couple of months I am quickly learning to like BigStock.com better than any other agency I’ve dealt with over the years.
Everyone there, the staff, the buyers, and the other photographers are so nice and helpful to each other, unlike other places where no one wants to share information because they’re insecure and afraid you’ll make the sale instead of them. BigStock.com is the only place I know of that IF your picture gets rejected, the approvers will tell you exactly why it was rejected and how to fix it so it can be approved on resubmitting it. There’s a forum where photographers talk about how they took the shot and how they set it up, and there are tutorials on shooting stock and other issues that are important to know. There is even a spot where picture buyers can list what they’re looking for.
Now, you’re not going to get rich shooting stock pictures, but there are some advantages to being a member of a stock agency.
First, you have pictures that are sitting around collecting dust, why not list them and make some money with them? You never have to give up your copyright either. You’ll receive exposure for your style of photography and even if your pictures don’t sell, picture buyers who see your work, may decide to contact you for an exclusive assignment. You can also sell the same picture over and over again.
So dig out all those photos you have, you could be sitting on a gold mine!
Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org