Stock agency – waste off time or best idea ever?

If you are reading this article then I am sure you are a photographer, and you are starting to look for potential income from your work. Maybe this is a first idea, (after the decision to become a wedding or portrait photographer) is a turn into potentially easy way to earn money from stock agencies.

I decided to focus on four stock agencies who would give me the best chance of getting any income. I registered in almost all the important stock agencies, but I found that my photos were mostly selling in shutterstock, dreamstime, fotolia and depositphotos.

My photography involve majority of editorial material (mostly churches etc), that is why I chose the above agencies. Except fotolia, I can chose I different type of licence for rest of the agencies.

About stock – let me try to clarify some myths and facts for you

Quick income

Definitely stock agencies are not for quick cash or for people who are thinking to do nothing just sit back and have constantly income.
To develop style and build professional portfolio you need a time. Time is also frustration, especially when you thinking about your images are your best work. You find that you’re having a lots of likes on social media but shutterstock rejects the file over and over again. Never ending submission and correction of your work may happen a lot.

Sometime however you can get some extra bonus, specially if someone orders a extended licence for you image. From my experience it’s happened twice in the about a year sometimes.

My personal advice is to think about agencies you like and set a guide to mastering your profession. Don’t forget that you’re always learning something new all the time and that actually that someone has a job checking your images before actively uploading starts . This could be in my opinion a free education for you to potential gain an income.

Photography evolved from film to digital, unfortunately old school photographers can always catch up. That’s what is always place for someone new with fresh look.

Only pictures with commercial licence generate income

Another mitt true, with commercial licence income seems to be easy but everything depends on subjects matter of your photos. Commercial licence mean easy accessible for RF (Royalty Free) but don’t ever give up Editorial licence, especially if you are egocentric, like me and you like to find an article in the web with your image.

From mentioned above four agencies, personally my order going to be:

Shutterstock – most difficult to get in but in my opinion most profitable. Really high standards, even for editorial images. Personal I always seeing, that’s if image get in to shutterstock library, it’s mean it must be good.
Link to registration
Link to my portfolio

Dreamstime – also quite difficult to get in but agency have a different customer’s, definitely worth to have account over there
Link to registration
Link to my portfolio

Fotolia – most easy to get in, actually if I good remember, they don’t have any exams for your photo. If they like them, they take them to their library. Only commercial photos.
Link to registration
Link to my portfolio

Depositphotos – in my opinion is these are the most easy to get in. Interface and categories similar to shutterstock. Allow you to submit editorial photos.
Link to registration
Link to my portfolio

In the end we have problem. In title we ask question about agencies. To one of readers stock agencies going to be a waste of time, specially if someone wants quickly earn money.

Nevertheless if you are on the second group and you trying learn something and develop your skills, stock agencies sound like a perfect partner and guardian for you.

Remember, decision is always up to you.

Jacek Wojnarowski

Editor: Mike Parkinson

Useful links:
Shutterstock registration
Dreamstime registration
Fotolia registration
Depositphotos registration
iStock registration
123RF registration
Alamy registration

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