I know what you are going to say, 'you dont have a professional camera'. Right, that's the first myth I am going to break here. I have seen many ordinary photographers with a simple digital camera with 5 megapixels, 3X zoom - who are making a decent monthly income from selling stock photographs. Here, I am going to help you to make money with your digital camera. Believe in you and your digital camera. You are going to make money with it.
So, what exactly is "Stock Photography"?
"Stock photography is photography or other imagery of common landmarks, objects, concepts, people, and events that can be used and reused for a variety of commercial purposes. Stock photography can be searched by keyword and remains cataloged until purchased by a customer."
You shoot some pictures that are of good commercial value (look at the above examples) and submit to stock photo agencies. A stock photo agency combines the stock photos from many photographers and promotes them for sale. Media publishers (magazines, newspapers and web sites) search such stock photo sites for images , and when they download your picture, you get paid a commission. So, you make money whenever people download a copy of your photo. You can build a portfolio and submit to many stock sites at once (without providing exclusive rights to anyone), and make money.
Simply put, it is like selling your digital photos and earning royalty for a lifetime. That's why this is a passive income. For example, I had uploaded 25 images on a stock site named, fotolia an year ago, but still they earn me commission.
How do you get started?
Things you need:
1. Digital Camera (minimum of 4 megapixels)
2. A Light box.
No need to spend money for it. You can make a light box with this tutorial
Make sure that you set your Camera Settings to highest quality (Refer to the Camera manual) and largest picture size and shoot some sample images with bright light and preferably inside a photo light box that you had created.
My friends have sugegsted that Fotolia is one of the easiest microstock agencies for new photographers to join. Fotolia offers 50% commission to you so, you will earn 50 cents whenever someone downloads your stock photo. You will get an easy approval and the process is very quick. Another good site is Dreamstime which provides 30% commission on each photo sales.
Both these sites have tremendous traffic, high sales records, so, with a good quality stock photo portfolio of 50 images, you can earn upto $100 assuming people have downloaded 200 times.
1. Look at the best selling stock images Fotolia,Dreamstime, Getty Images and Corbis Images. Note down the kind of images that you can easily re-shoot and use your creativity to shoot better photos.
2. Look which season or festival is coming next? For example, just before the Christmas Holidays, images and photos that signify Christmas / Santa / holidays / Gifts are sought over by every publisher. So, submit such images two months in advance. Now, is the best time to submit Easter images.
3. Describe your photos with relevant keywords. Again, look at some of the successful photographers on keyword suggestions.
4. Submit your images to more than one stock agency site. In this way, you could earn money with same photographs using different stock agencies. Refer to the Terms and Conditions of stock agencies before you do this.
5. Use bright lights, but avoid harsh shadows. If you use the light box, the light is diffused so you can shoot high-quality, professional photos.
6. Invite your friends and ask them to pose for your photos. People
photographs are the highest selling stock photos. You need a signed,
no-objection certificate from them (a model release) for using those photos
comemrcially. You can learn about model release at fotolia.
7. Read your camera manual and understand the different modes to use it more effectively. Many professional photographers use simple Point and Click cameras because, they are the best to shoot close-up , macro photos.
8. Set your camera to shoot highest quality and largest size picture.
9. For every weekend, shoot at least 50 images and upload them to stock agencies. Always, always upload only the best images.
10. Prepare for rejections. In your early days, many of your images may get rejections for poor quality, blur, not having commercial value. Prepare for it, and always look at some winning photos.