#stockphotography #stockfootage #photography
A day of stock photography in a beautiful Rome. I share my pictures and ideas behind it. General ideas do what to photograph.
Music by Epidemic Sound (http://www.epidemicsound.com)
After my last video I received a question from Giovanni in Sicily. He wrote that he does studio portrait photography and Street photography and would like to start stock photography business. He wanted to hear my recommendation what to shoot. My immediate suggestion was he can expand his experience in studio portrait photography for creating people images for stock. All he needs to do is to photograph portraits of people in real life situations like places of work, outdoors, lifestyle images, families nd such. People photographs always been in high demand. I would say that especially now they're my biggest money makers. I think people images are about 5% of my total collections with different agencies. I looked at my sales for last 2 years and people images earn me about half of all money.
Giovanni response was, that he doesn't want to deal with all the paperwork, meaning model releases, required for commercial use of people's images. I can totally understand. That is what stops most people from doing this kind of work. But that is exactly why this work can be very profitable. Stock photography is about supply and demand. Many more people do travel photography, architecture, landscape, nature and such. Files of stock agencies with these kind of images are quite saturated. Not to say that taking pictures of people will guarantee you good income. It will very much depend on content of your images and quality of your work. But from my experience you definitely have better chance to earn money with interesting pictures of people than with famous landmarks.
Of course there is also editorial stock photo sales where model release is not required. However images for editorial usually sold for significantly less money them for commercial use.
You can still sell all sorts of images of different kinds of photography. I regularly sell travel images with famous places and landmarks. It used to be my bread and butter sales for many years, but I saw every year that general sales were dropping down and prices per sale were decreasing. It makes total sense. How many images of Colosseum in Rome, Eiffel tower or statue of liberty do you need! Every year millions and millions of people taking more pictures of these landmarks. If you search stock agency files for these images you will see hundreds of thousands if not millions of images already available.
My point is that stock photography gives you unlimited opportunity to be creative, to learn new kinds of photography and earn some money. One thing which is very important to learn, is to look at your own images from position of art buyer. Just to have a pretty picture is often not enough. It is good when image has a story or certain concept. If it is a beautiful landscape it’s great, but if landscape has tent of a hiker and it is dusk and the light is glowing inside the tent you have a winner. If it is a puppy it is a cute picture, but if you have a person hugging a puppy then you have love of a human and the animal. If you have a bunch of flowers it’s probably not going to sale, but if it is one person hand giving flowers to another you have a good chance. Just make sure that your compositions are more generic and not dated by fashion or looks, this way image will sell again and again for a long period of time.
You just have to decide why you are doing stock photography in the first place. If you just giving away outtakes and you don't really depend on stock photography income, then you can give whatever. Just don't forget that it requires a lot of work preparing images, uploading them, captioning, keywording. There is no free lunch. So doing all this work and getting nothing or just a few dollars doesn't make much sense.
If you want to try your skills in different kinds of photography and improve quality of your work, stock photography can be a good place. The drive to produce more and more interesting images, with better concepts and new ideas is a very powerful force. When I do a lot of work, I can’t stop getting new ideas. I just get more and more excited and more and more creative, even after all this years in professional photography. That’s why I am still doing stock photography now.
If you want to earn reasonable income from stock then you need to target certain areas of image demand. Most stock photography agencies provide contributors with information about their sales and needs. That can be very useful for your business planning.