You could make $500 or more per month —without even trying— by
posting photos you already own to multiple stock photo sites. The
pictures do have to be appropriate for stock photo purposes. Here are
10 tips so you’ll know which images in your library might bring you an
unexpected passive income.
1. Picture potential stories. With stock photography, your images can tell
hundreds of stories for a variety of brands. Set up your shots in advance
with a few ideas in mind on how they can be used and then market them
2. Avoid brands and logos. Your photos cannot be used for stock
purposes if there are brands, logos, or trademarks in the image. Brands
don’t want to see other brands’ images in their ads. Plus many brand
names, logos —and even shapes— are copyrighted. Keep it simple and
3. Focus on people. Stock photos can range from people working out
at the gym to working in the office, to landscape shots of nature. If you’re
really looking to make money, though, photos with people in them sell
4. Get model and property releases. You must have model releases in
order to sell any photos of recognizable people. Also make sure you
have property releases for any photos that show recognizable
properties. Without these, you won’t be able to use your photos legally.
5. Include negative space. Your stock photos will stand out amongst
the rest with negative space, not only because the subject is the clear
focus, but also because it leaves plenty of room for those using your
photos to include headlines, titles, and other information. Plus, clean,
simple images are popular right now!
6. Consider your unique access. Think about people you know who
may be able to give you access to unique scenes. Do you know a
college professor, who would let you shoot classroom photos? Or a zoo
keeper who might be able to get you behind-the- scenes for animal
shots? Also look for lists of scenes microstock companies need, and see
if you have a way of providing them.
7. Shoot with large resolution. Customers purchasing your stock
photos might have to blow them up into large formats or edit the photos
as they please, this makes it crucial to shoot high resolution photos so
they are never pixelated or distorted.
8. Save art for another project. Stock photos are meant to be simple
with a clear image and story surrounding them. If you enjoy artsy
photography, continue to work on your experimental photos, but save
them for an appropriate audience in art galleries.
9. Optimize keywords and tags. By using tags, keywords, and
detailed descriptions, your photos will be placed into more —but also
specific— categories. This provides the opportunity for your photos to be
seen by a large pool of people who truly need them. Many stock sites
will actually do this for you now!
10. Consider using multiple stock sites. I’m a fan of Snapwi.re and
it’s the only stock photo site I work with, because it has terms that are more generous to photographers. But if Snapwi.re won’t work for you, putting
your portfolio on multiple different stock photo sites is an option. It may
seem like a lot of maintenance, but really there’s nothing to maintain.
Uploading photos is a one-step process, but the revenue can trickle in for
years to come.