If you are a shutterbug like most people these days, then chances are you’ve taken one or two photos you are really proud of. Do you show off your masterpiece every chance you get, but still feel like you aren’t getting the recognition you deserve? Uploading and selling your photos online could be the feedback you’ve been looking for. I remember when I sold my very first photo online… the feeling is overwhelming and very satisfying! The fact that someone actually took notice of my work and paid to own it is a big confidence boost! Stock photography websites are the perfect outlet for my inner artist.
Film photography is a thing of the past! It is virtually impossible to find a company that deals with film photographers, so I’m not even going to bother getting into how to sell you photos with prints via snail mail. Microstock photography is the royalty free stock photo industry. Microstock is personal and small business users, but has recently opened the door for many professional photographers as well. Microstock sites are open to anyone and any type of photography; therefore, allowing many amateur and hobbyist photographers to make a good income. However, do not be too quick to rush in and start uploading your photos just yet. Any site worth getting involved with have very strict guidelines on what they will accept, and most require a screening process. This is how agencies keep their site ahead of the game, only allowing the best work to be displayed and sold.
Beware of sites who make promises that guarantee you will sell hundreds of photos and rake in money like crazy. Sites that do this are usually ones that require a fee to join, and are more concerned with what kind of subscription they can sell you and at what cost. A perfect example of this is www.shutterpoint.com. This site used to be one of the lead contenders in the stock photography industry a few years ago, but the quality of their work has gone downill so much that they basically will allow anyone to upload anything to their site (including pornography)….as long as they pay the account fee. The customer service is absolutely terrible. There is a money back guarantee, but you basically have to go through hell just to get your money back. When I was a newbie in the stock photography game, I regretabley signed up on this site, realized it was BS, asked for my money back, waited 2 weeks….no reply, waited another 2 weeks…no reply. Only after I reported them to the Better Business Beaurea did I get my money back.
Now on to the good stuff! One site that I absolutely LOVE and am so grateful to have stubbled across is www.redbubble.com. The people on this site are amazing and so friendly. It feels like a little family, and everyone is so supportive and gives great feedback. It’s a wonderufl little community, and I am happy to be a part of it. The site is userfriendly and they do all the work for you. All you do is upload your work, and set your price. When someone purchases something from you, RedBubble takes care of everything. They create the purchased product and ship it straight to the buyer. You can even create your own little mini gallery where people can buy your work. Here is my own personal gallery on RedBubble, ©sassyNpunk photography.
There is no approval process on RedBubble, but the work displayed on the site has remained exceptionally high. No bogus promises on this site.
I also am a contributor on www.istockphoto.com. They are one of the leading stock photography websites, but getting your photos approved by them is no walk in the park, so I wouldn’t recommend this site to anyone just starting out.
I haven’t had extensive experience with other sites besides the three mentioned above, but I plan to diversify soon and hopefully it will be a successful experience.
Good Luck with your art!