7 Tips to Help Sell Your Images with Stock Photography Agencies

0Comments

Agencies_USA_1

Getting your photographs onto a stock agency can be difficult. Most have very strict technical guideline,s and very tough editing procedures. However, following these 7 tips could increase your chances of getting accepted and help you sell your images with stock photography agencies.

1 – Do Your Research

Stock agencies vary greatly in what they specialize in, and the type of images they are looking for. Some image libraries desire more lifestyle photographs, whereas others would prefer reportage style images. You should look at as many different agencies as you can, and see which ones suit your subject and style of work, but also which ones you would prefer to work with.

2 – Choose Wisely

Indian food seller (for point 2) I try to tailor my photographs for specific agencies I work with. For example I submitted this photo to Alamy rather than the luxury travel image libraries I work with and it appeared in a national newspaper a couple of months ago.

Indian food seller – I try to tailor my photographs for specific agencies I work with. For example, I submit this photo to Alamy, rather than the luxury travel image libraries I work with, and it appeared in a national newspaper a couple of months ago.

There are different types of agencies, so choosing the right one to work with is vital. For example, ones like Shutterstock and Dreamstime are what’s called Micro Stock agencies, and their sale prices tend to be lower. Whereas agencies like Corbis, Getty and Alamy will negotiate the price based on usage, so they can sometimes be higher priced. However, it isn’t unusual for even these agencies to licence images for very small amounts of money – less than one dollar. Some agencies are managed, which means an editor will look at the photos you submit, and only choose the ones that they would like to take on. Some like Alamy, are un-managed which means they will accept your entire submission dependent on meeting technical guidelines.

3 – Study Their Images

Stock agencies generally want a huge variety, and therefore images that are different to what they already hold in their archives. This is especially true for managed stock agencies, so study what they already have and try to take and submit photos that are different in some way. That could be the lighting, the angle, or even the composition.

St. Paul's Cathedral has been photographed many times, but this was one of the photos the agency accepted.

St. Paul’s Cathedral has been photographed many times, but this was one of the photos the agency accepted.

4 – Be Ruthless

Usually, in the first instance, you need to send a small selection of low resolution images to the agency, for them to review. If they are happy with your selection they will ask to see more, so you need to ensure that you are ruthless when you edit your initial submission. Don’t choose images based on sentiment – just because you waited around for two hours to get the shot, doesn’t make it a great photograph. Instead, try to detach yourself from the images and think like a picture editor who is looking at someone else’s photos.

5 – Be a Perfectionist

All stock agencies have very clear guidelines on how they want images supplied such as: minimum file size, format, colour profile, etc. If you are invited to send more after your initial submission, make sure you study the submission guidelines carefully, to ensure your images are technically perfect. This means checking every single image you are sending at 100% view, because stock agencies will spot any errors, will reject the photo, and in some cases such as Alamy, that whole submission. Make sure your images are sharp, and be especially aware of chromatic aberration and excessive noise in your photos.

The inside of Basilica Cistern in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey, Be aware of noise and camera shake in your photos especially when photographing in low light conditions.

The inside of Basilica Cistern in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey, Be aware of noise and camera shake in your photos especially when photographing in low light conditions.

6 – Work Together

The stock agency is there to promote your work. So if you are accepted, try and build a relationship with them. Ask them if they have any current picture needs, or if they would like photos from a specific location. Run ideas past them, ask for their input and what their clients are asking for. For example, if I am away on a shoot, I will send an email to the picture editors of the stock agencies I work with, letting them know where I am, and asking if there are any specific photos they need from that location.

7 – Look for Opportunities

Once you have established yourself with an agency, you should start to plan your photo shoots around themes and topics that have potential for sales. For example, a new flight route to a country could mean it will become the next big tourist destination, or is there a current news, fashion, or environmental issue that you can create a photo shoot on. The key is to be informed whatever your subject is, so read magazines, trade newsletters, and newspapers to get a sense of hot topics. You’ll have a better chance of selling images that way.

Every year Europe's biggest street party comes to the streets of West London, which means all of the shops and homes are boarded up. This photo sold within a few hours of being live.

Every year Europe’s biggest street party comes to the streets of West London, which means all of the shops and homes are boarded up. This photo sold within a few hours of being live.

With so many stock libraries out there, choosing the one that fits your style of work and also offers a good return on your photos can be tricky. Once you have signed up and submitted photos, there are usually clauses in place which state a minimum notice period to remove photos, or exclusivity rights that mean it can be difficult to move those images to another agency. The key is to make sure you do your research beforehand, choose wisely, and take your time.

For more stock photography tips read:

Do you sell your images as stock photography? Which agencies do you work with? Please share your experiences below in the comments.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Kav Dadfar is a professional travel photographer based in the UK. His images are represented by stock agencies such as 4Corners Images, Robert Harding World Imagery, Getty and Axiom Photographic and they have been used by clients such as Condé Nast, National Geographic, Wanderlust travel magazine, Lonely Planet, American Express, and many others. To keep up to date with his latest news follow him on his Facebook page

  • Christos

    Thanks for the article! In the last shot, did you need a release form from the workers and the Pub? If so, how do you approach that? Do you offer them part of the fee you earn?

  • Deepti

    These is really great tips to earn rewards by selling photography, i would like to add some best stock photography agencies such as Dreamstime, Shutterstock, iStockPhoto & BigStockPhoto which offers nice price. We usually prefer all these listed companies to sell our photos and some time we also buy photos from there for our website fazzy.in Thanks digital photography school & team to share such important tips which will help us to marketing our photos..!

  • Kav Dadfar

    No worries. Take care.
    Kav

  • Kav Dadfar

    HI Christos

    For images which are to be used editorially (i.e. an article about the destination, event etc) you do not need a release form. If the image is to be used commercially (i.e. advertising a service or product) then you will need a release form. This particular image was going on the Alamy news wire so no release was needed. I do try and get releases wherever possible. Usually offering to email the person a copy of the photo is a good option. Hope this helps.

    Regards
    Kav

  • me

    I sell on 123rf, but find the average 25 cents per sale makes it not worthwhile. What is considered a reasonable fee per image use?

  • Christos

    Yes it does. Thanks!

  • surya

    you shared photography is really good

  • Kav Dadfar

    Thanks! Glad you like it.

  • Kav Dadfar

    There isn’t really a right answer. It depends on lots of different factors such as where the image is used, size, duration etc. 1 image could be sold for $1 to one client and $50 to another just because of the usage. Generally speaking you will find that micro-stock stock libraries sell for lower prices but I’ve even had Getty sell my images for less than $1.

  • me

    Hmmm sorta confirms my thoughts that it is hardly worth doing. Even the time to submit, putting in keywords etc, let alone actually taking and processing the images… even if it sells 10x….potentially $2.50!!

  • Cath

    I’m so grateful for all your help. I have started to sell on Shutterstock , the family laugh about it . Ok only 3 shots have sold in as many weeks , 2 at 25c and one $1.88. Everything i have read on dps is so true . Im finding everywhere i look ,I’m sizing up …”what would a buyer want here “. Thanks heaps , I’m learning everyday .

  • naseer

    I like this post on the blog and we are new online bidding service where investors can login and bid on Foreclosure Real Estate Properties in Arizona going to auction every day. Here you are guided for Real estate investment fund foreclosures REO services trustee auctions distressed property Arizona. You must have complete, current, and accurate information to make informed decisions.
    http://educationworld1.co.nf/college/

  • Kav Dadfar

    Good. And well done for making the sales. It all adds up in the end. Glad you found the articles on here useful.

  • Robert

    I too have tried to get images on alamy. How did you get by their request
    for model release for those people in the photograph??

  • Kav Dadfar

    Hi Robert

    You only need a model release for images to be sold commercially (for editorial use you don’t need a model release). When your images are ready to caption on Alamy there is a drop down menu that asks if you have model release (if there are people in the photo). If you choose “no” the image will then only be available for editorial use. Hope that helps.

    Kav

  • Robert

    Thanks for that info Kav. I think it’s funny as I sent in a photo of people skating on a local pond, they were covered up with balaclava and sun glasses. Nothing could be recognizable on them identify them and Alamy would not allow the image GEE

  • Kav Dadfar

    You might have seen this already, but it’s a useful explanation of when you need releases.

    http://www.alamy.com/help/what-is-model-release-property-release.asp

  • samir

    wow it is vary great article. I love to visit this blog daily

    http://www.checkuniversityresults.in/

  • Great article about microstock photography! This is great way to learn and make some money with this hobby…

    http://shutterstock.com/g/stockphotographer

  • Kav Dadfar

    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. Kav

  • I joined the school’s photography. I hope I shall be a good photographer. Daily reads this blog, I’m learning something new and fresh.

    CEO at http://www.getresultonline.in/

  • ‘m so grateful for all your help. I have started to sell on Shutter stock , the family laugh about it . OK only 3 shots have sold in
    as many weeks , 2 at 25c and one $1.88. Everything i have read on fps
    is so true. i am looking for good quality pics for my site Avwal.

  • Kav Dadfar

    Hi Suman, they may laugh about it, but that’s people paying to use your images! Also, believe me all of those small amounts add up. Kav

  • It;s excellent tips. but i would add that, as a graphic designer, i use concept words when searching for images almost as much as i use specific words especially when i am not married to a specific image but want to find images to fit a concept i am trying to convey.

    Regard’s
    Robedu.in

  • To be honest this is Great article about photography! If you would like to get more sells of product photography then clipping path experts team might help you. Go to Google and search “clippingpathexperts” you will one professional image editing team. Trust me you will get much more sells from your photography.

  • I just sold my first photo on Shutterstock for $1.88 or 12% of the sale of the photo. I did this in 10 days from applying to making my first sale. Here’s what I learned.

    The biggest thing I learned was that keyword research IS SO IMPORTANT. There are hundreds of millions of photos in some of these larger stock photo sites. So understanding how people search for photos makes the biggest impact in my mind. I would spend 30 min to an hour of keyword research for each photo.

    I’m not promoting Shutterstock, come on, I only made $1.88. Just wanted to share my experience, here’s my full 10-day journey to selling my first photo ever. http://www.walletsquirrel.com/sell-stock-photos/

  • thanks for sharing information regarding market policy. when is tarted visit & reading this blog i get many of success, so special thanks by http://robner.in

  • James Adam

    So resource and useful article. I have a website where we collected the African Stock Photos and your suggestions will give us ways to explore our work more.

  • Iqbal Haridh

    Hi. This is really great article for me, because I want to start really bad. But one thing i’ve been meaning to ask. Is it ok if I do post process the photo (jpg)? Something like color correction in ligthroom?

  • Kav Dadfar

    Hi, yes there’s no problem with post processing the photos. In fact most photos will benefit from post production. However, a word of advice, you will be better off doing the post production on RAW files and then saving a JPEG version rather than post production on JPEGs.

  • It;s fantastic tips. in any case, I would include that, as a visual creator, I utilize idea words while hunting down pictures nearly as much as I utilize particular words particularly when I am not wedded to a particular picture but rather need to discover pictures to fit an idea I am attempting to pass on. http://news4ind.com

  • Oliver Wintzen

    Hi Kav! Very good article in my opinion. I happen to apply to Robert Harding and they accepted me a few days ago. I read in your article that you contribute to Robert Harding, too. Could you tell me your opinion about them? I mean, if you sell well with this agency and if they are helpful if one needs advice, feedback or information. Thank you! Regars Oliver Wintzen

  • Kav Dadfar

    Hi Oliver. Congratulations. They are a very good agency and always very helpful in discussing shoot ideas and so forth. Stock photography fees and dropped massively in the last 10 years, and RH have been affected as well but fees are not bad and in line with most other agencies these days so still opportunities to make sales. Good luck. Regards Kav.

  • Oliver Wintzen

    Thank you! Good luck for you, too … even if you are already some steps further with your travel photography career than I am 😉 Regards Oliver

  • Oliver Wintzen

    Hi Kav! Yesterday I saw new photos of you accepted from Robert Harding. I mean, the ones from Zagreb. Really good ones in my opinion! Do they accepted almost all images of that place you submitted to them? Do you mind to let me know your acceptance rate? (It´s ok if you don´t want to tell) Regards Oliver

  • Oliver Wintzen

    *Did they accept* of course 😉

  • rob

    It;s fantastic tips. in any case, I would include that, as a visual architect, I utilize idea words while hunting down pictures nearly as much as I utilize particular words particularly when I am not wedded to a particular picture but rather need to discover pictures to fit an idea I am attempting to pass on.
    https://result-s.in

  • It;s fabulous tips. regardless, I would incorporate that, as a visual designer, I use thought words while chasing down pictures about as much as I use specific words especially when I am not married to a specific picture but instead need to find pictures to fit a thought I am endeavoring to pass on. https://gpup.in/

  • Kav Dadfar

    Hi Oliver, difficult to say really. They don’t really work to a rate. Sometimes they accepts 50%, sometimes 25% sometimes 75%. Depends on the location and also the quality of the work. I wouldn’t get hung up on that. Submit what you think are great shots.

  • Kav Dadfar

    Yes 100%! Keywords are absolutely essential for any stock image to do well. Thanks for the tip. Kav

  • Oliver Wintzen

    Hi Kav! Thanks for your response and your advice. Regards Oliver

  • KBC GBJJ

    we will want to this type of article, so please send it allways through notification or other mathod .. https://kbcgbjj.in/kbc-gbjj

  • lootner

    we thanks to author and its team to share this informative info and tips for the their user and people. lots of people who select architect field they all are need to subscribe this site and get more info form here thanks dear…

    regad’s
    https://lootner.in

Join Our Email Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!


DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed