selling pictures... does it work?

United States
December 24, 2008 5:05am CST
I am interested in selling pictures using sites like shutterstock and fotolio. Is anyone familier with with these sites? Has anyone tried them? Does it work? How easy is it to have your picture selected for selling?
1 person likes this
3 responses
@pyewacket (44031)
• United States
24 Dec 08
These sites are what is known as "microstock" photo agencies and to be honest as a photographer I'm very against any of these types of sites. People think they are going to make a fortune selling their photos on such sites...nope. The deal is that most of these sites use Royalty Free licensing for photos, meaning a potential client interested in using photo can download the image for about $2.00...AND can reuse that photo over and over again without any further compensation to the photographer...so in other words has the potential of using that image over and over again without further payment to the photographer...NOW..if the client can download the image for only about $2.00, you can imagine what the photographer is getting...about 25-cents. Also the chances that your individual photo will be used is slim...Say a client is interested in a photo of a Swan...he makes a search on the site and hundreds will be available for the choosing...eeny, meeny, minny mo...What I'm trying to do is my own on-line photo business to sell directly to people (still working on it)...When I used to sell my photo work between the years 1980 to 1996 I was able to get a minimum of $100 per published photo at one-time licensing. If the photo was used again, I had to be paid again. Uh, much better deal, right? So nope, it's not easy at all to get your photo work published at these types of sites
• United States
26 Dec 08
Thank you for all of your information. I do not think that I will be using these sites. It makes sense what you have said and just doesn't seem worth the time and effort.
• Australia
28 Dec 08
About a year ago I modified my web site to promote my material on other sites: I couldn't get enough traffic to generate sales before, but now the sales come quite regularly. Have a look at www.davidrichphotography.org and you'll see how it works: there are the typical galleries of a photographers' web page, but the links to purchase link via widgets supplied by the sales site to my online galleries elsewhere.
• Australia
28 Dec 08
The top sellers on microstock sites make a lot of money. The more traditional sites re harder to get published on (they protect their quality standards vigorously), but many of the top microstock sites are actually owned by the top Licensed Stock Site, Gettys. There are plenty of sites that sit somewhere between, and others that help sell your work as product . I have work on RedBubble, Imagekind and several other sites. But my most regular sales of framed art prints is at Zazzle.com (www.zazzle.com/practicaps) ~ I sell an equal number of calendars, mugs and T-shirts, with the odd mouse mat, postcard and other item supplementing my income. I find this far more productive than stock.
24 Dec 08
Ive not tried those sites but when it comes to selling photos the ones which seem to make the most money are set piece photos of objects such as keyboards, money, piggy banks rather than scenic photos. Companies pay more to use a picture to demonstate a concept such as a piggy bank for savings than that of a wintery landscape. Plus they need to be of a high resolution and very sharp.