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Old 01-20-2014, 09:55 AM
Scioto's Avatar
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Default Wondering about selling to stock photo sites

Hi, WAHMs

I'm curious about selling some of my images to one or more stock photography sites. I've skimmed through this forum and I'm researching online, but I'd like to ask you about some basics.

I've been taking digital images since 2002. Naturally, the earliest ones were from the earliest cameras with lower resolution and capabilities. These days I'm running the HS30EXR from Fuji.

I have thousands of images, mostly of natural subjects, specifically, around the Scioto River in Ohio. I'd like to capitalize on this work I've already done, if possible.

First, is there much income in it? Are natural subjects in high demand?

Second, what are the basic rules - for example, can an image be sold to multiple sites?

Third, what are some of the pitfalls? I'm familiar with the freelancers' woes of working for pennies, and poor payment reliability.

Fourth, is it advisable to strip out the exif data? Or encrypt some sort of copyright or watermark via steganography?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

A little teaser: I run the Friends of the Scioto River site, and I rotate seasonal 320x240 thumbnails for the top page. Right now we have snow on the ground, so I'm using this image from a local park.

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Old 01-23-2014, 05:43 PM
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Welcome to the thread, I have been pretty inactive as of late but I will try to answer some of your questions from my personal experience with stock photography.

There can be a great income from stock photography or a nice supplemental income. Check out this guy he is doing very well Who? | Yuri Arcurs. Some people view stock photos as cheapening what we do as photographers as it allows graphic artists to use your photos for a fraction of the cost if they hired a photographer, for large projects. It's a good way to get started and you can learn a lot on what images get accepted. Not sure how in demand natural subjects are but since you can do seasonal stuff you might find a great demand. It's also all about your tagging of photos.

Images can be listed on multiple sites, this will give you more exposure and might lead to more profits. You can be exclusive to one agency and for doing this they will give you more per image. It's really a toss up, if the site gives you the exposure and you have lots of photos or a top contributor then you might be better off being exclusive. Even with lots of images if you are not getting exposure from the site or a top contributor then you might be better off spreading your images over different sites. Remember though some images might get accepted at some sites and not at others.

The pitfalls I have run into is if you have a low number of images it will take a while to hit their payout threshold. One site I am on is $100 dollars, I only have like 10 images though as I fall in the category I would rather get paid for the project and give my clients a one off image for their sites. It makes them stand out from competition who use these stock images you might see everywhere. This makes it hard to hit that payout so you can be waiting for months or years. If you are good, get approvals on lots of photos then you will hit these numbers quicker. But fast denials when you are starting off turn most off as it's hard to meet some of their requirements if you are just starting out.

Most agencies require you not to put any watermarks on the images. They will use their watermarks and put them on the images. This way when the client downloads the image they will get one without a watermark. Watermarking an image will get it quickly denied. I am not sure about the exif data. I have never removed mine from the images I have uploaded. I do have my copyright info into the exif data with my camera also. Basically the agreements they have will give the client a limited use license, these can also vary greatly between agencies.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:31 AM
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I was wondering about this too. I would love to sell some of my work.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:10 PM
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Thanks for the answers!

I should explain that I'm only an amateur photographer, and I've never done any commercial work.

However I like to place a camera to catch fleeting opportunities and unusual perspectives, so I have a lot of unique images. That's why I'm asking about the market.

Here's a double example: This is the same local park, a long narrow gorge that happens to be aligned so the rising sun shines straight up the gorge to hit the waterfall. You can only catch that effect during two time windows in the year. And, that park now has a big raised boardwalk running up the middle to the waterfall, so you can't get this open-valley shot at all anymore. Now it's a nature preserve, and it's illegal to be off of the boardwalk, so everyone has to shoot from the boardwalk.

Which brings up perspective. This was taken on a half-height tripod standing in the stream; the camera was about knee-high instead of head-high, so the foreground is huge. It's more like seeing from a dog's eye level.

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Old 01-25-2014, 09:37 AM
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ya anytime you have something unique, that sells. I have a photo that I shot, during a hurricane at high tide. I waded in thigh high deep water with my equipment to get my angle and shot while all the others stood on the bank and out of the water. Sure you can get the angle that I got at low tide and no storm, but what I got was the perfect storm, high tide, storm surge, clouds in the sky and sunset to boot. What resulted was a very old lighthouse (no longer working but has survived many storms) surrounded by water, with some crazy pink and purple hues in the sky.

Sometimes in places like this, where there is only one "dedicated path" I will go several times and try to get to know the park rangers. Then on a slower day when no one is around see if we can maybe get off the beaten path a little. By this time we know each other, they realize I'm not getting off to destroy the surrounding, and that I will tread very lightly.

Just looking at this spot and imaging the boardwalk there. If you can get off the path something that might look interesting is. If you setup to the left of the walk way so it enters your frame on the right. Have a few people at the end facing the waterfall (so you don't get their faces, too much licenses to deal with lol). With the right lighting, you would have a completely different shot and angle that others can't get.

While it's not the above shot that you are no longer able to get it is a new perspective and it can also add a human element to the shot. It's amazing the things that get done to make things like this available to the masses. Get your shots while you can b/c I see it all the time where it can change drastically in a year just to make it open to all.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Get your shots while you can b/c I see it all the time where it can change drastically in a year just to make it open to all.
That's one major reason why I'm interested in photography: it can capture the ephemeral. This is why I like historical photos of things long-gone; it helps to put me in those places and times. So, I like to take my own images to record places and events that will change and never be that way again.

An example: Here in Columbus we recently removed a downtown dam on the Scioto River, which will completely change the look of the city core. I didn't know exactly when they would start the breaching, so I went downtown, though I missed the very beginning. But I was able to catch this early phase, before the pool below the dam had started to lower. Now the dam is gone, and the pool is gone. That was the last time to capture them.
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Old 02-05-2014, 01:45 PM
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personally I haven't been a big fan of the stock sites (micro stock like most ask about). Giving your images away to mass produce at very low costs. However thinking about things I might give it a try one more time.

As you mentioned I have tons of images of real estate/architecture. This is what I shoot full time so I have thousands of these images. I own the copyrights to these photos so I might see about putting them up on stock sites and see how things go.

I will still keep my landscapes and speciality images for selling to local designers or marketers at market value. Also take the one off assignments for my clients. But maybe some of these every day single family style homes that have staged interiors will sell ok on micro sites.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:52 PM
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Yea it's worth it but you have to know the tricks to get and keep your photos flowing through the sites. I started a few years ago and really got nowhere. I jumped in it not knowing the ins and outs of it first. I purchased an ebook from cashforpics.net and now I have hundreds of photos online. Their members only section showed me what I was doing wrong even down to properly keywording my pics for better profit. Hey I'm not making $20,000 like some people be claiming but getting a couple hundred dollars a week for a few pics that were stored on an old external hard drive....you can't beat that.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:00 PM
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Default Selling stock photos is good if you know what they want

Yea it's worth it but you have to know the tricks to get your photos accepted. Just because you take photos of landscapes or trees in the woods that doesn't mean that will automatically accept them for their site.I purchased an ebook from cashforpics.net and now I understand what I was doing wrong and now my pics are accepted all the time. Not all of them but the majority of them. Like I said it's definitely worth it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:57 AM
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Default Yes, it can b profitable

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scioto View Post
Hi, WAHMs

I'm curious about selling some of my images to one or more stock photography sites. I've skimmed through this forum and I'm researching online, but I'd like to ask you about some basics.

I've been taking digital images since 2002. Naturally, the earliest ones were from the earliest cameras with lower resolution and capabilities. These days I'm running the HS30EXR from Fuji.

I have thousands of images, mostly of natural subjects, specifically, around the Scioto River in Ohio. I'd like to capitalize on this work I've already done, if possible.

First, is there much income in it? Are natural subjects in high demand?

Second, what are the basic rules - for example, can an image be sold to multiple sites?

Third, what are some of the pitfalls? I'm familiar with the freelancers' woes of working for pennies, and poor payment reliability.

Fourth, is it advisable to strip out the exif data? Or encrypt some sort of copyright or watermark via steganography?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

A little teaser: I run the Friends of the Scioto River site, and I rotate seasonal 320x240 thumbnails for the top page. Right now we have snow on the ground, so I'm using this image from a local park.

Hi, I can only speak to the profitability aspect of your inquiry. I had the same question; someone pointed out to me that if I were to "post" or sell 5 images per week to a stock photo site, every week for over a year; at the end of that year, I would have a very nice source of passive income for myself. I did just that and so glad I did. Hope that helps.
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