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How to Earn Money Working as a Stock Photographer

Melisa Sukman EpandMelisa Sukman Epand
January 7, 2014

There are more that 4 million professional and amateur photographers producing and uploading tens of millions of stock images to online markets. In fact, since the first ever photo was taken more than 180 year ago, there have been over 3.5 trillion photos taken!

Stock photography allows photographers to expand their business and increase their profits, by providing much needed photography and stock images to individuals, companies, and organizations worldwide. If you are making a living from photography, or are considering getting into it, one of the most vital tasks you will take on is finding the perfect marketplace for your portfolio. There is an infinite number of agencies providing photographers with opportunities to market their material.

For amateur photographers, or those that are just getting started, I recommend you look into sites such as Dreamstime, Lori and 123ref. If you are more advanced you can submit your portfolio for approval on sites such as Getty Images, Stocksy, IstockPhotography, or Pond5. After signing up with the agency that suits you best, make sure to go over the requirements regarding the photographs you can upload to have your submission approved. Make sure to read the description in detail to find out what kind of artists and work the agency is looking for before uploading your material.

Another main aspect you want to consider is the market relevance of your portfolio. Stock photography is always at a high demand, and the more industries your content is relevant for, the higher chance you have for it to be purchased. While it may certainly be beneficial to create content specific for a certain industry or organization, you’ll also want your portfolio to include content that can be applied to a range of different projects.

A great way to promote your portfolio is social media. You should definitely go for photo sharing channels such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Google+. Even though the latter is often thought to be less popular, there are many advantages to having your portfolio on Google+. You can read more about the many benefits of Google+ here.

My final tip would be to stay up to date on global trends. Currently the rise of mobile photography is exploding, with social media networks such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook leading the way. This great infographic presented by Overgram shows the evolution of photography, and the tremendous rise of mobile photography:

Mobile Photography

Are you a stock photographer and have additional tips on how to succeed? Let us know in the comments!

Good luck!

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