Which Photographs Sell Well and Make Serious Money?

how to sell photographs?In our post on 8 ways to make money online, we discussed that you can even earn money by selling your photographs. Photography is an expensive hobby and now you can make money from it as well. To me it was a new concept and I felt interested in finding out its details. Would you like to read what I have found? To begin we need to know the proper terminologies. Stock photography is the term referring to the photographs or images that can be licensed for specific use. And micro stock photography means you can buy high quality and high resolution images at specified prices.


Why Micro Stock Photography?

You must be curious to find out why we need such type of business? Actually this is popular among designers, advertisers, marketing professionals etc. for the use of images in their websites, advertisements, brochures and magazines etc. Instead of hiring a professional photographer who may be much expensive and can cost them in terms of time as well, they prefer to select images or photographs already available, make payment and own it.

How to make good Stock?

Of course you need to have stock of your digital photographs which you are willing to sell. As every other industry, it has also got competition and you can’t sell each and every image of yours. There are some very basic points that can help you gather a good stock; and can pay your hard work.

1-Good quality:

make money selling photographsYour photographs must be clean, sharp, and free of digital noise, high quality images with correct exposures. A recommended practice is to shoot your images in RAW format.

2-Commercial photographs:

‘Snapshots’ which are usually your family photographs or still images are not a suitable choice.  You must check what is most demanded, if you want to earn a reasonable amount. If you are persistent to capture landscapes and tourist type photographs, that’s fine too; they will pay you less. Photographs or images that can be used in brochures, flyers or advertisements can add up to your stock. For example, if you take a still image of your school going child, it would be rejected. But, if you show him in uniform, hanging his school bag with a brighter smile on his face; this photo can easily be selected by any milk or butter advertisement.

3-No trademarks:   

There should be no trademarks and no logos of the company, to whom you are selling photos. Also, if you have an image in which a person is wearing a shirt with its brand name; it may be rejected.

4-Signed Model release:

Each agency has its own standard model releases.  Don’t forget to ask for it. It is a form that you fill in and send along with each image containing identifiable person.

5-Technical details:

For technical details and copyright issues, you may like to go through this manual at www.istockphoto.com/training_manuals.php

Where to sell?

There are many micro stock agencies; you should start from the basic step. Your ultimate target should be doing business with the leading company; but postpone this idea until you get some experience and understand the tactics of photographic market. Most of the websites are not doing exclusive business so you can sale the same image to different agencies. We are listing a few of these agencies:


Guest post by Rahmeen Ahmed Khan also known as Aiman Khan. She is MBT's Gold Star Contributor.

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