Stock Photography . Waste of time ?

Looking for something to do with the Covid/no wedding scenario and to justify a new camera.
So is it a waste of time? People who are making a success of it are not going to say yes I make $1000 a month so its difficult to get at the truth. Any thoughts?


  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,507Moderator
    From friends that do it: Some shots sell, most do not. Best to treat it as a bonus rather than rely on it.
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    Stock photography used to be profitable, now most of them are just giving your images away and taking any profit for themselves. Many even assert rights to distribute, and take copyright of your images as they see fit in the terms of service.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,395Member
    Thanks. seems like a dead horse
  • photobunnyphotobunny Posts: 572Member the terms don't seem too draconian. If you have a big enough net you could generate some passive income and sell elsewhere at a higher price.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,507Moderator
    A friend makes around a couple of hundred pounds on his usually, but only sells like one a year...
    Always learning.
  • photobunnyphotobunny Posts: 572Member
    Aye, it not going to earn a living. But if you are taking the shot anyway then It is passive income you earn while you sleep. It might eventually pay for a lens or a camera bag.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 991Member
    I think that if you want to earn money on Shutterstock and similar you should investigate in what kinds of photographs are wanted and missing. I don't think it is what we usually photograph but rather images needed when people create presentations, manuals, signs or similar. Rather than beautiful landscapes, wildlife or interesting street photography you might want to photograph things like food, a bike or a person smoking, just different things that might be useful, and see what works.

    I think it is a saturated market, but on the other hand not much to lose. Please let us know if you try :).
  • photobunnyphotobunny Posts: 572Member
    I earned money years ago on a picture of a dummy tit. Not as much as doing product photography for a day, but there you go an everyday item. I don't know if I could earn of wildlife photos. Might need to have good negative space and the like.
  • MrFotoFoolMrFotoFool Posts: 325Member
    In my opinion and limited experience, yes it is a waste of time. Worse, it devalues photography. You give away high resolution images for any use for a few bucks. I would rather not sell anything than have my images devalued like that.
  • EricBowlesEricBowles Posts: 27Member
    There are people who make good money with stock photography, but they shoot specifically for stock and they place a high emphasis on keywords and marketing.

    One of those photographers is Darrell Gulin - a Canon Explorer of Light. He built a portfolio of beautiful images of beetles and another portfolio of butterflies. The insects were very colorful or iridescent. Some of them were rented and others were traded by working with collectors. There was lots of cloning and other Photoshop work required. He identified a unique market, had the skill to make good photos, had an agency relationship with Getty, and submitted a portfolio of more than 200 images thereby creating something that could be marketed and promoted by Getty.

    The other person I know has a job leading photo trips on cruise ships, and she produces 1000-2000 new images a week from cruises (until Covid). Her images emphasize travel, lifestyle, and colorful patterns. She has an established stock agency that works with her on positioning.

    There are people who make money in stock photographing food, food prep, etc. Some of them are involved with food stylists or with cookbook photos.

    Stock photos are used a lot. People don't pay a lot for the images today, but with all the web use there are lots of images being used. One of the common threads is these people commit a lot of time and effort to being in the stock photography business. It's not something that works with casual shooting on an occasional trip.
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