Asked Questions about photos
much money can a photographer make with a stock photography
Well, that depends on the site and the quality and size of
your file. Some microstock sites will accept images around
2 MP, but usually they ask for at least 3 or 4 MP. However,
submitting larger sizes does improve your sales potential
as many designers simply prefer the larger sized files. Depending
on the stock photography site payment policy and the size
of your image, you can expect to get anywhere between 20 cents
to a few dollars per download, or even more on some sites.
Now lets say you have 100 images on one site. Each picture
has an average of 10 download per month. If you get paid 50
cents per picture that means that you will make 500 dollars
in a month. And if you have the pictures on more than one
site you can make some serious money.
stock photography sites may sell your pictures through affiliated
sites at different prices. For example, ShutterStock sells
pictures on their site for a small price and the photographer
gets 25 cents per download (but the photographer makes a lot
of money because the pictures are downloaded very often) but
they also sells pictures on other affiliated sites for a bigger
price and the photographer is paid with more money, a few
dollars or tenths of dollars (but the pictures are downloaded
much more rarely). Anyway, the pictures are sold on affiliated
sites only if the photographer agrees with this. Of course
how much do you sell depends also on the quality of your pictures
and how the sites manages to promote and increase its sales.
The more you upload, the better the chance of making sales.
Quality and quantity are directly related to your earning
I upload any photo?
Theoretically, yes. Of course stock photography sites do not
accept pornographic pictures, photographs that contain violence,
x-rated content, or any other illegal content. Images must
not contain recognizable brand named products, any company
names, product names, or trademarked designs. Images must
not contain any copyrighted material including paintings,
another copyrighted photo, copyrighted logos, or any other
art/advertisements/sculptures/exhibits which are copyrighted.
Of course, the photographs must be owned by the submitter
who has the complete rights to the photo, found images and
public domain images cannot be submitted. This are general
submission guidelines usually applying to all stock sites.
However, every time you register to a stock photography site
you should read the guidelines to see if they have any particular
restrictions or guidelines. Stock sites prefer commercial
stock oriented images. Unfortunately, sunsets and pictures
of your pet may not sell very well unless they are very good
do I submit photographs to a stock photography site?
There are several ways to do this. Basically you can submit
via HTML upload, FTP upload or ActiveX upload. HTML upload
is probably the easiest as you can do this directly from an
upload page on the site. For FTP upload you need to install
on your computer a FTP client and connect the FTP Client to
the FTP host of the site using the information provided on
the upload web page. ActiveX upload requires an ActiveX uploader
that has to be installed on your computer. Macintosh, Linux,
and users with old versions of Windows may have problems with
the ActiveX uploader. The number of images per submission
batch varies. Usually, after your initial submission has been
reviewed and accepted you can upload a big number of pictures
(30, 50 or more) or on some sites you can upload an unlimited
number of photographs daily. Some stock photography sites
have different procedures for submitting vector so you should
carefully read the submission guidelines.
will I get paid?
There are serveral ways to do this and most sites offer options.
One of the most used method of payment is by a check that
you can cash at a local bank and it is sent to you by post.
Another convenient method is payment by Pay Pal when available.
Some stock photography sites may pay you by a transfer to
your bank account. The payments are made when your cash balance
reaches a certain limit set by the site. This limit varies
from 30 dollars to 100 dollars. Some sites pay the photographers
monthly (if the photographer has reached the cash limit),
others sites pay at different time intervals or when the photographer
requests to be paid.
is a model and/or property releases?
Every image with an identifiable person (or face) requires
a model release. The model release is a document that must
be signed by the model and it states that the model agrees
with the picture being used by other people in commercial
or other purposes. This model release is required even for
self portraits; in case of pictures of children the model
release must be signed by one of the parents. Model releases
can be downloaded from the stock photography site.
A property release is a written agreement
between the property owner and the photographer where the
property owner has granted the photographer permission to
use the photographs commercially. Releases generally permit
the use of the image(s) for all purposes, with exceptions
for controversial, sensitive or defamatory uses.
stock photography sites ask you to upload a model/property
release together with the photography. Others allow you to
upload pictures without releases but ask you to be able to
provide the model or property release whenever is necessary.
Do I retain rights to the photos I upload?
You should always read the terms of the stock photography
site to see what are your rights as a photographer. All image
rights, including title and copyright, in and to the uploaded
Images, are retained by the photographer; no title or copyright
is transferred or granted in any way to the stock photography
site or any third party. The photographer is entitled to disable
file(s) from his portfolio at any time, by using the appropriate
section of the stock photography site. The photographer is
responsible for any challenges made by any third party regarding
copyrights in the image.
I upload the same photograph to more than one stock photography
That depends on the terms and conditions of the site. If the
site is non exclusive, this means that you can sell your royalty
free images on that site and you are still free to sell the
same images elsewhere. Fortunately, most microstock sites
are nonexclusive so you can submit pictures to more than one
stock photography site, increasing your sales. If the site
is exclusive, than you are not allowed to sell the pictures
you have uploaded on others stock agencies.
How can I buy images from a stock photgraphy site?
First of all you have to choose the right stock photography
site for you. There are differences between sites including
quality of the pictures, prices, photo licensing, etc. You
can by photos either by a subscription for a certain period
(1, 3, 6, months, 1 year, etc) or by single picture download.
If you need a big number of pictures then you should consider
a subscription stock photography site, because this way you
will save some money. If you need to buy photos only form
time to time, than maybe you should download pictures directly
without a membership or subscription. But if you buy a single
image you will have to pay a higher fee. Some sites (like
ScanStockPhoto, etc) require you to buy credits that can be
used later to download photos that you need. Pictures can
by also bought on a CD from a stock site. After you have decided
about the right stock photography site, you have to register
in order to buy images. The registration is free. Usually
you can purchase images online with a credit card, but you
can also pay by Pay Pal, InVoice, etc.
can I use photos bought from a stock photography site?
Most microstock sites provide a royalty free license for the
images. Usually royalty free images may be used for brochures,
web sites, multimedia presentations, for business letterhead,
business cards, decoration of public areas, restaurants, offices,
stores, books, e-books, magazines, newspapers, greeting cards,
personal use, etc. An image may not be used for more than
a certain number of times (usually between 200,000 and 500.000
times) this is why you should carefully read the licensing
agreement of the site. You are not allowed to resell the photos
downloaded from a stock agency or sell templates that include
those photos. Also you may modify an image and use it, however,
you may not claim copyright to that image.
site has its own rules regarding the way you may use images,
so you have to read the legal agreement or Terms and Conditions.
By downloading an image, you agree to be bound by the terms
of such an agreement so you should know what it is all about.
license is granted with the images?
Most stock site grant a royalty free license with their photos.
Royalty-free is a type of a stock photo license that provides
for the unlimited use of a photo in any media defined in the
licensing terms. Royalty-Free means that you pay for the image
only once and then you can use it as many times as you like,
with just a few restrictions. In other words, there are no
license fees except the initial fee and no other royalties
to be paid except those included in the initial cost. The
opposite of royalty-free is rights-managed licensing. A rights-managed
photo needs a specific individual license stating the audience
and material surrounding the photo and it is more expensive
than royalty-free photos.
I resell photos purchased?
You are not allowed to resell the photos downloaded from a
stock agency under Royalty Free license or sell templates
that include those photos. Also you may modify an image and
use it, however, you may not claim copyright to that image.
Some stock agencies sell images under extended licenses. These
licenses allow the buyer to multiply the image up to some
millions copies, to resell the image as part of a template,
print, calendar, on T-shirts, etc. Of course, for these extended
licenses the price is higher.
are also some stock photography agencies that sell the rights
to an image. In this case the buyer will buy the ownership
of the image and the photographer will have no right to sell
that image by any means. The buyer is allowed to use the image
any way he wants (except for pornography, violence, or similar).
Examples of stock agencies that sell the image rights: Dreamstime,