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Digital Camera Creates Stock Photography Market
by Joan Airey

Writers who supply photographs with their articles can earn dollars by submitting some of their photographs to stock photography Internet agencies. Payment for a photograph will be fifty cents to five dollars but each one can be sold numerous times and you can work at it when time permits. Photographs can be taken in your home, your community or on vacation.

Step 1: Equipment required.

“The camera should be capable of at least 6 mega pixels—8 is better—preferably a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) capable of delivering technically good and noise free images. This will save a lot of headache and frustration when your images are up for review,” states Jostein Hauge aka Joss (www.incredipix.com)

Step 2: Study stock photography websites, etc. to learn what is in demand.

When shooting for the stock photography market, you want photographs that graphic designers can use for backgrounds, magazine articles, company brochures, space ads, websites and more. Stock photography is very diverse in the subject buyers want—from barn board to people. If people are identifiable in the photograph you must submit a signed model release form. Carry one with your camera at all times and do not be afraid to ask people to sign them. Adding the human element to your photographs adds to their salability.

Regularly study the photographs that are downloaded from stock photography websites and it will give you an idea of what sells.

“Stock photography is different than just any regular hobby photography. You’ll have to read up on what stock photography is and what is in high demand to be successful. Just pointing your camera at anything you found interesting and submitting it for sale is over. The competition is getting harder and harder and you have to be focused on what you are doing and what the market wants. Read books about the subject as well as articles on the Internet and in magazines,” states Josh.

Step 3: Locate viable stock companies.

“Micro stock” agencies were started on the web and deal with digital files. Search the Internet for stock photography agencies. Two I’m familiar with are:


For other stock photography companies be sure to read their requirements before up loading photographs. All agencies have different rules regarding uploads and payment for photographs they sell for you. Some agencies payout when you have sold thirty dollars worth of photographs, others after fifty dollars if you use PayPal or by check if over hundred dollars in sales when you cash out.


Step 4: Check quality of photograph required.

“In stock photography most common rejections are for basic technical reasons—file size is too small. Minimum image 2000 X 1500 pixels is required. That’s a 3 mp file. Images that contains copyrighted logos and protected material, are probably the most common reason for rejections. Following that, soft focus issues and compression artefacts.

Photographers could protect their upload ratios a great deal simply by checking their file size and inspecting the entire image at hundred percent actual pixels. It is unfortunate that so many photographers miss this important post-processing step before submitting images to stock sites such as www.canstockphoto.com,” commented Kerry of Canstockphoto.

Canstockphoto has a list of ten very detailed ways to avoid rejections, Kerry stated the most common ones for us to avoid.

Step 5: Submit your best photographs.

“When you submit your application to join the chosen site, make sure you send your very best images for the initial review. Have someone more experienced look at them and give you some advice before submitting. If you are not careful, you might get rejected and will not be able to submit another application for quite some time,” commented Josh

“Be open to critique. I find that as photographers we are quite sensitive about our work—at least I was when I started out and probably still am! Having someone more experienced look at your work is very valuable. Also after being accepted on a stock photo site you will learn lots from your rejected images—and believe me, you will get rejections. Don’t let this discourage you. Keep learning from it and go foreword from there. Some rejections you won’t understand till later and some you will never understand. Use your imagination. Create interesting and original images with a clear message,” says Jostein Hauge (www.incredipix.com)

© Copyright 2007, Joan Airey

Joan Airey is a freelance writer and photographer. She resides in southern Manitoba, Canada on the family farm.

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