Stock Photography- My Experience


Recently I got a sony A6000 and as  part of this I decided I would start trying to earn money from my photography.  Rather than having lots of outgoing costs and possible not making anything back I decided to try stock photography.  There are lots of different websites that you can become a contributor from and I am not able to cover them all but I thought I would share my experiences of the ones I have applied to and tried.  They all have different regulations and these may change at any time so please check this for yourself if you decide to give this a go.

  1. Shutterstock- This is the first one I applied to, you sign up for free, upload 10 of your best photographs and then cross your fingers and hope you get accepted.  They have very strict guidelines so follow them carefully.  Your photos have to be at least 4 megapixels to be considered, the shot has to be extremely crisp so zoom in on all parts of the photo before submitting it. It takes 48 hours to get a response during working hours it can take longer on weekends etc.
  2. Alamy- This was the next one I applied to, for this one the requirements are similar to above but you only submit 4 photos for approval.  This service is also free to sign up to.  They will let you know if you are successful in 36 hours roughly but again its working hours not weekends and holidays.
  3. Dreamstime- You can create a free online account here, you then can upload your photos for approval.
  4. Istock- This was the final one I signed up for and this is the gold standard of stock photography, you can sign up for a free account and then you have to read the guidelines and take the quiz afterwards.  If you are successful in the quiz you then upload your best three photos to be reviewed.

Things to remember when you are considering doing this:

  • Your work will be critiqued so you need to be prepared for this and you must not take it personally.  It is all a learning curve.  The people looking at your photos are not emotionally attached to them so you have to remember when your sharing your work that others may not feel the same as you.
  • The upload process can take a while.  Shutterstock and Alamy took a particularly long time so make sure you do it when you have the time.  Also you need to name each photo, write a description and add tags so allow time to do this for each site.
  • Each site has different rules and guidelines so always read these carefully for each website before you start uploading.
  • Keep trying, never give up if you want to be successful you have to have the determination and drive to keep on going even if it is a no!

Have you ever applied to be a stock phtoographer?  Would you in the future?


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