Stock photography - Part 1 The great thing about stock photography is......

Photographer doing anything to avoid keywording another image!

The great thing about stock photography is........

There are no deadlines

There is no client hovering behind you

You have complete freedom over where you go and what you do

You can earn money from shooting what you want

Sounds great doesn't it?

Well yes, once you take into account the facts that -

You have to finance everything yourself with no guarantee of any future income whatsover.

It may take years before you start earning a decent income.

The ENDLESS computer hours editing and uploading.

Having to keyword and caption every image.

The last two have laid waste to many a photographer who thought stock photography was a good way to earn money from photography.

Once you've sat and contemplated how to keyword your 25,000th image, it can loose its appeal!

So why do I do it?

Firstly, a word of explanation from Wikipedia.

"Stock photography is the supply of photographs licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer. Today, stock images can be presented in searchable online databases. They can be purchased and delivered online."

Its a good explanation which is why I included it.

The phrase "fulfill the needs of creative assignments" is a particularly good one, though somewhat undermined by the fact that my best selling image ever is a shot of a bathroom!

This is balanced by the fact that my second best selling shot is of a sunrise over a snow covered road, which involved pulling myself out of a warm bed in the dark to go out shooting in sub-zero temperatures.

There are many things that go towards making a successful stock photographer.

A good eye and a sound knowledge of photography and equipment are the basic requirements, as is a keen imagination and the ability to constantly monitor fashions and trends in photographic use, both in print and on the internet.

However the two most important attributes by far, are determination and patience.

Anyone who makes a decent living out of stock photography works hard, and when you start you work hard for no income.

For at least a year, and more often than not for at least 2 or 3 years, you won't earn a significant amount. Hence the determination and patience.

It used to be a rough guide that you should be able to earn £1 for every image you had available, every year. So if you have 10,000 images with picture libraries an average income would be £10,000 a year. Working on these figures you have to have at least 20 - 30,000 unique images available for sale at any one time, to be able to earn a reasonable living. All of these images have to be perfect technically, and have the kind of impact that attract potential buyers from a web site thumbnail.

Of course not everybody is looking to do this as a full-time job, many photographers use it as an additional source of income and people in other employment often use it to fund their equipment. The libraries themselves don't differentiate between their contributors and expect the same standard from everyone.

Despite the difficulties, and many people do give up early, it can be a rewarding and stimulating way to earn a living. The more passionate you are about photography, the more chance you have of becoming successful. If you want nothing more than to take photographs every day, day after day, then you probably have the basic requirementto be a stock photographer.

The worlds best selling stock photographer is Yuri Arcurs, who sells 1,000,000 + images a year.

1,000,000 !!!!!

Have a look at his website at:- to see what this entails.

D & A

In Part 2 - Gear and software.

Photographer after too much time in front of a computer monitor!