Where To Sell Photography Online?
Where To Sell Photography Online?Posted By Admin: 10/4/2011 6:36:43 PM
Posted To Photographers / Photos That Sell
If you talk to a lot of photographers about where to
sell photography the standard suggestion is probably going to be that you sign on with one of
the Microstock libraries. However, if you're serious about selling
photographs online, you'll usually find the best returns are made
when you stop following the crowd and think outside the box.
The demand for stock photography has
increased dramatically in over the last 20 years, starting with the
advent of desktop publishing and more recently with internet
These days virtually every business on the planet is
both a publisher and a potential photo-buyer.
Not surprisingly a host of
budget-priced stock libraries, the Microstocks, have sprung up
to cater to those markets with vast images collections at heavily discounted prices. Publishers can buy images of every imaginable
subject for a couple of dollars, or less, with many Microstock photographers
happily accepting as little as 25-50 cents per sale.
With the advances in digital
photography, virtually any photographer with the basic skills
and consumer equipment is able to supply images to these Microstocks.
And for better or worse, there's no shortage of photographers
prepared to deal on those terms.
In fact, for a long time there were a lot of
photographers swearing there was big money to be made giving
their images away for less than a dollar, but these days they've gone very quiet.
I'm hopeful we might have come the full
circle now. I'm hoping the competition has reached a level that makes it tough
for the average photographer to generate consistent returns with
Microstock and those with real talent might start looking for other options when deciding where to sell photography.
Now I'm sure there are some photographers still doing quite
well with Microstock, but you can be sure they're going to be very talented
photographers with massive image collections, who are constantly
creating new and unique material.
They'll be putting real time and
effort into researching new markets, and they're probably investing
seriously in shooting new material. The days of any
photographer just submitting thousands of average images to a stock photo library and making big money are long gone and the super low Microstock payouts mean it's only going to be harder there.
Another big problem that's emerged in
recent years with the Microstock libraries is, as soon as a savvy photographer
does come up with a stock photo concept or idea that actually sells
well, it's almost guaranteed to be copied by hundreds of other less creative photographers.
The libraries facilitate
this, publishing live lists of photos that are being downloaded the
most, so the lazy photographer can just throw together a quick copy,
upload it and cash in on the other photographer's creativity. The library won't care ... it's just more marketable content for them, but the photographer who did all the work has to be left wondering why they bothered!
So even if you do the hard-yards and
find some untapped market, then put in the time and effort to produce
high quality, original commercial content, chances are you won't have
the niche to yourself for long.
If it works, it will be copied. Guaranteed!
So the question has to be asked: if you
have to put that kind of time and effort and money into creating new
stock images, does it really make sense to give them away for a
few dollars each?
Wouldn't it make more sense to sell
stock photos where you face less competition and you actually get
paid a fair and reasonable price, every single time someone uses your image?
A lot of photographers are starting to
think so, and more and more, when people ask where to sell
photography online, the answer is 'find a rights managed library'.
With rights managed you license the
image for a specific use for a specific period of time. The photo buyers
only pay for the rights they need, so it's a better deal for them. And you're getting a real paymentso it's a better deal for you as well. Instead of making 50 cents
or less for someone using your image, you might make $100-$200 or
more. Sometimes a lot more!
Since you control the usage terms as
well as the sales, you can offer the photo buyers a history of the
image, and offer those who need it, first rights, exclusive use, and
all the other assurances the high-end users insist on for the best paying jobs.
So if you're serious about selling
photographs online, you really need to decide what sort of
photography business you want...
One where you compete with millions of
other photographers to mass produce images for a market that expects
to buy your photos for a few bucks each?
Or one that caters to a less crowded market that actually values your skills and
creativity, and is prepared to pay well for quality images that
really speak to their audience?
Either way, you have to do the work if you plan on selling photographs online. The business has changed
and the stock photo sales are going to go to the savvy photographers
who research their markets and create high quality original material.
So in the end, isn't it just a question
of choosing what you want to get paid for all that work?