How to Start a Stock Photography Business

Interested in small stock photo business planning tips? If YES, here is a practical guide on stock photography agency business.

How to Sell Photos Online and Make Money

Do you know that you can make money online as a photographer? And even grow it to become a sustainable business? I am sure you are asking how. Online stock photography is one way to do that.

The internet has made it possible for people to make money online in many new ways and photographers are not left out. As a photographer, however, online stock photography can be your gold mine.

See: Best Photography Business Name Ideas

Online stock photography in it’s the easiest form is the supply of photographs, which are often licensed for specific uses and often sold for a fee. Publications prefer to use stock photographs instead of hiring photographers so as to cut cost.

How much money can you make from stock photography? Where can I sell my stock photo? How do you make money as a photographer? Do you want to start a stock photo agency? What is the average stock photography income?

In this article, I’ll be sharing ways in which you can start your online stock photography business and start making money from your photos instead of always waiting for clients to call you.

Here is how to start selling stock photography:

Step 1: Create your own Site

Do you know how to set up your own stock photography website? Presently, the online stock photography market is mostly dominated by a big site like Shutterstock, Bigstock, Getty Images and iStock just to mention a few. Posting your images on these sites have some advantages like giving you a market of already existing customers and a low level of risk.

It has its own disadvantages too; one is that there are many other photographers like you that want the attention of the site’s visitors. Another disadvantage is that you have no power over the presenting, pricing and marketing of your pictures on these sites.

That is why you need to set out on your own and create your own stock photo library. Granted, starting an online stock photography site by yourself may seem daunting, but rest assured, it is very possible. Unlike before, creating and managing a website is now simpler and easier. You don’t need to be a tech guru or a geek before you create a site.

Of course, there are many benefits to gain from creating your own site. These include; Absolute control over what is happening on your site, a chance to make yourself unique and stand apart from the rest of your competition, the sense of freedom and excitement that come with building your own business.

Step 2: Know your Niche and Specialize in It

The big sites already have pictures of almost everything to sell, so it would be senseless to do the same thing, knowing you cannot compete when you consider their popularity and also advertisement budget. Hence, the need to specialize.

When you have great photos that steer towards a particular niche market, you need to capitalize on that. Make your site about that niche and don’t compromise. Say, for example, your photos are always about food, then your online stock should be about food. Also, don’t forget to use a site name that reflects your niche.

Step 3: Use Keywords and Captions

Use keywords and captions when uploading your pictures. Your work will not get noticed if all you know how to do is work your way around the camera. You also need to know how to use keywords for search engine optimization purpose.

As you are about to upload your photo, put yourself in the shoes of the customers that want to make the search, think about keywords that they would use when they are looking for the photo you want to sell. Anticipating the keywords will help you to become more visible to them when they make their search.

Step 4: Start a Subscription Plan to your Photos

Want to turn a one-time sale to a recurring sale? Offer a subscription plan for your photos. With this method, recurrent income is assured.

A subscription plan implies that whenever a customer visits your stock website, they can choose to select a plan to download your photos.

You will continue to get paid either monthly or yearly as long as the customer does not cancel the subscription plan that they chose.

Step 5: Do not take Pictures of Logos and Brands

For you to be able to sell your licensed photos, you have to take pictures of objects that do not show the brand or logo. These logos and brands are intellectual properties of the company, so it is wrong to have them on your site, and it is also unprofessional.

Step 6: Think like the Buyer

When you are about to take a photo, think about why a possible customer would want to purchase that photo.

Putting yourself in the shoes of the customers will make you take a picture that they would like because you have them in mind when taking the picture.

In online stock photography, there is a need for you to be observant, and understand what kind of photos customers want to buy.

Step 7: Learn how to use Photo Editing Tools

While you might have good photography skills, it is important that you also know how to edit your photos. There are times when editing makes the photos better. After editing show the photo to someone else to see if at all the editing made it better, before you upload the photo.

Starting an online stock photography business is a great way to combine your passion with a means of livelihood (realistic income from stock photography). Don’t forget to upload quality photos that were taken with an actual camera, not with your iPhone or Android device.