There are many reasons to sell stock images and footage. One of these is that it can help you grow your business or even let you start on a new career path. Want to hear some advice from a stock contributor? In this video, author Richard Harrington interviews Matt Hayward about some advice for people who want to get into stock imagery.
- Well for many years I was a stock contributor at Fotolia.com and after a period of time I started managing the forums just on a volunteer basis. I was a restaurant manager, passionate about photography and had a decent photography business going in addition to the restaurants. After a period of time I realized that the restaurant industry was kind of sucking the soul out of me and photography made me feel very good, about you know life in general.
You know I truly enjoyed photography and so I took the plunge, I left the restaurant business and decided to focus completely on photography. Doing that, the next day I emailed a couple people I knew at Fotolia, including the owner and let him know that I was more available, if there was anything they needed, let me know, and it just so happened that someone was quitting that day on the customer service team and so they offered me the position. And so which was great, because they recognized that photography was important to me, I was allowed to pursue that and work my job international hours so it was very flexible.
So I started doing that, and about a year and a half in we got an email that Fotolia had been purchased by Adobe and so it was a shock to us and we were excited, and like, uncertain, we didn't know what the future held and it turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Truly the best company I've worked for, and so right when I started the first week, we met the Vice President David Wadhwani and talked to him about what I did as a photographer and in customer service and he recognized the need for contributor relations to really focus on photographers.
Because they're so critical to the success of Adobe Stock. If photographers aren't happy and successful, then Adobe Stock isn't happy and successful and so I got out of the customer service. They created the Contributor Relations position for me and the rest is history, it's been a few years now, and I love my job. So the benefits to contributing to Adobe Stock obviously, flexible hours, you shoot what you want when you want, you can shoot what you're passionate about, you diversify your portfolio. The content you submit earns money for you while you sleep.
I have images that I uploaded over 10 years ago and I'm still generating income off of those. The best advice I would give is to be intentional about shooting stock. I do like to encourage people that are just starting out to look in their hard drives and see what they've already got and upload that, by all means. It's sitting there just gathering dust, why not make some money on it. But then, shoot intentionally for stock as well, create a shot list and just get out there and shoot. You will find better success if you shoot consistently and intentionally for stock and you upload on a regular basis. As you build your portfolio, the revenue continues to increase and grow.
When you submit your images to Adobe Stock they go to a moderation team for review and so the moderators are looking for intellectual property violations, and so you've gotta avoid any brand name, trademarked items. I use Gaff Tape before a shoot, I'll Gaff over any logos like on my laptop there's a little HP logo, I put Gaff on it and then when I'm editing those pictures, I see that black tape and I clone that out. But buildings are something a little bit different and it's tricky, if a building is recognizable, it's private and it's the main focus of your image then you can't use it unless you obtain a property release signed by the owner.
If however it's part of a general cityscape then you're fine. Any recognizable people in an image is gonna require a model release and recognizable doesn't mean just a face. It could be a tattoo or a birthmark, or a unique hairstyle or whatever if that person would recognize themselves in the image they need a model release. And so most of my pictures are family and friends, I you know I do work with professional models. But that's a more expensive shoot and so I weight my budget and so I have two daughters that have grown up in front of my camera and been my stock models, and they love it.
But then also my kids, their friends I've known them since they were young, we know their families and so we'll give the kids 20 bucks each and we'll spend the day shooting pictures. They signed a model release and that's a good time to talk about what that model release means. I think over-communication is critical as far as I'm concerned ethically. So photographers should consider shooting video, even if they're not comfortable with it yet. If you've got a good DSLR which most have pretty great video capabilities these days.
Just shoot some clips, five seconds to 60 seconds. You don't have to be amazing with video, but practice and get good. But the videos sell for a lot more money, and so your individual commissions are much much higher you may not see as many sales in quantity as you would with still photos. But the commissions are much better. I get asked all the time how much money can I earn, and I always answer that question with a question. I say how long's a piece of string? I mean it's completely up to you, we've got photographers that submit a couple of pictures here and there, they make a couple of bucks here and there and they're totally cool with that, and we have photographers that are very serious about what they do.
They look at it as a job, they have a strong strategy, they shoot all the time and upload on a regular basis and they make crazy money. Years ago I started shooting weddings. I was doing a lot of weddings and I had couples that couldn't afford my rate and so what I found was I would give them a discount with the disclaimer that they sign the model release and allow me to use their wedding photos for stock, and again I would over-explain what that meant. That, you know you could be on the cover of a box of cereal or whatever and so they did that. Which was great for them, they could then afford my rates and I uploaded the content and now those pictures still sell 10 years later.
And I found I could make way more money on the stock, the individual stock sales than I ever would have if I charged full price. To get you know, really to get sales you need to have content that's in demand, you wanna stay ahead of the trends and you need to keyword your content really effectively. Those are the best tips for success. As far as processing is concerned the number one buzz word that I here is authenticity. That's more than a specific type of content, just subject matter what people are really looking for is authenticity, they don't want static posed models.
You know saying cheese in front of the camera and you know isolated backgrounds shaking hands. They want real looking people, in real looking situations doing real things with real expressions. As far as lifestyle is concerned, cultural diversity is in demand and so that's something. That I hear a lot about, like mixed race families would be something that is in demand. Just diversity in general, I saw an awesome image of a woman in a wheelchair playing tennis and it was just, it was a strong, powerful photo and I could see so many different uses for it, and so yeah I mean I take pictures of my family all the time but I'm also looking for opportunities to diversify my portfolio.
- How creators make money with stock images
- Copyright status and trademark restrictions
- Choosing content to sell
- Shooting stock photos and videos
- Technical requirements for photos and videos
- Designing vector graphics and motion graphic templates
- Signing up to sell stock images
- Optimizing images
- Uploading content
- Improving the discoverability of your stock content