There are plenty of websites talking about this subject on internet but I just wanted to share my approach and give you some tools and links which can be useful if you are new to this business. To be fair with you, just be aware that some links here are affiliate links (blue ones), I use all the tools described here, it won’t cost you anything but if you register these websites, I will earn a little commission. I will probably use it to cover the web hosting cost of this website 😉
If you have a big collection of photos sleeping on your hard drive, maybe it’s time to think how to monetize them. You don’t need to be a professional photographer with expensive gear to do stock photography even if basic technical quality and composition is required. You have to be imaginative, find your niche and meet the market demand at a precise time and you should get sales. Sometimes you will be surprised what clients can buy and are ready to pay for it!
Where to begin? Well, the most famous stock agency is Shutterstock so you can give it a try. The basic workflow is taking photos, edit them, find a good title and description, add good keywords and upload the photos to the agency. For the keywords, you can use this website: Imstocker, you just have to write a few words describing your image and it will search internet for corresponding photos. You will just have to select thoses who are similar to yours and copy the keywords into your photo
If you begin to have sales maybe you should consider uploading your photos to other agencies to maximize your revenue. 2 or 3 of them offer similar revenues as Shutterstock (Adobe Stock, Istock …) but others with relatively smaller income depending on the content you are uploading (Photos, vectors or videos), when added up can can be interesting (Dreamstime , Alamy, Pond5, Eyeem, 123RF, Bigstock, Canva, Depositphotos, Canstockphoto, Pixta …). If you think it’s too much work uploading to a dozen agencies, fortunately there are tools to greatly ease the process. For example, Stocksubmitter where you write all photos metadatas only once and just have to tick an option box to upload to another agency so really, the only thing to do is to configure the agency in the software with login and password (and FTP server for some).
Maybe you think you are a pretty good at what you do, you can also try to register Getty Images as a contributor even if it’s difficult. My advice: keep trying. The process is relatively simple, install their contributor app on your smartphone and send between 3 and 6 of your best photos. If your are successful, that’s great! If they don’t accept you, you will be automatically accepted to Istock (owned by Getty Images). Getty images is exclusive, that means your photos on their collection can’t be sold anywhere else. So you will have to select your photos carefully if you also sell your photos on other stock agencies. The revenue on Getty images is very interesting because their clients are generally big corporations and for some, they have big communication budgets. Getty Images have so many partnerships with other agencies and bulk plans that you can see sometimes very low prices in your sales so the goal here is to have some big sales to compensate. On Getty images, big sales really make the difference so try to find a good niche with potential clients ready to pay you well for your work.
For the last part, how do you get paid? Well Paypal is the most famous money collector and is accepted by all agencies. Payoneer is also a good choice and allows you to have a Mastercard linked to your account. For those who travel a lot or are not in their home country, I’d recommend also to create accounts in different currencies with Transferwise. The currency exchange rates are really interesting if you have to do regularly money transfers from your home country to your local bank accounts.
I you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.