Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pentax friends: To sell stock photos or not to sell stock photos? Do you want to earn money?


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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Of all my endeavors over the years, I never tried to sell stock photos through a Stock Agency. Maybe I should have. In the film era, there was a lot of money to be made, but the process was more complicated than it is today. Gone are the days that agencies like Corbis or Getty would sell your images for hundreds or even thousands. The Digital revolution has changed all that.

Nowadays, with luck and taking thousands of photos, anyone can produce decent images. Let's face it, the modern DSLRs are better "photographers" by themselves that most of us are as photographer.  With an good DSLR, anyone can get great results by simply using the auto-modes. Of course that takes care of correct exposures, but someone still has to have an eye for photography to produce well composed images.

So, assuming that you have good images and that you are accepted by a stock photo agency. You get a small percentage per file downloaded, which usually amounts to as little as .25 cents per download. Yes, many claim to make a reasonable profit from new generations of Stock agencies such as iStock.  Some apparently have quit their day job and are now making a living from selling stock images.

Is that a reality or is that another marketing trap? To make a living earning say: $50,000.00 per year, one would have to sell 200,0000 (Two hundred thousands) downloads @ .25 cents each. That's 548 downloads every day for an entire year. Is that really attainable?

Unfortunately, some businesses make huge profits by making you believe that you can become a millionaire if you just join their organization, buy their books or CD's full of proven methods to get rich, etc. To some extent, some prey on people's dreams of becoming rich and famous.

With iStockphoto and other similar agencies, you don't actually have to pay anything to join. You supply the images, and if accepted, you get a commission for every download. Can you verify how many of your photos are downloaded?  I'm not sure that there is a full-proof method of doing that. I think you could sell enough images to pay for your equipment, but I'm not sure one could make a decent living at it. I would love to be proven wrong.

Here's my point, If you are using stock agencies, let all of us know how it is working for you, in the comments section of this blog. In fact, if I can download and pay for one of your image from a stock agency I will  post it here as example that it does indeed work, I will. buy a photo (up to 20 from different photographers) from your stock agency (provided I can buy one and not sign a contract for hundreds of dollars). That would make an excellent blog subject and would certainly help many photographers wanting to sell their images. It will also be a free advertisement for your images listed with your stock agency.

I hope to hear from many photographers using stock photos agencies to sell their images. 1001 Noisy Cameras site has agreed to simultaneously run a survey about Microstock photography to complement this blog. I will publish the results and comments from both sites. Visit them as well. Let's get the truth about Microstock photography. Can you make a substantial income?
The above is what the survey on 1001 Noisy Cameras looked like Sunday January 31, 2010 @3:00 PM California time. 

The above seems to be the final results. 80% never tried Stock Photography. Of the people that tried, 42% were disapointed. There you have it. Of course this is only a survey and it's only as accurate according to the people that took the survey.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

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