Stock Photography

Stock photographs are professional images that are sold on a royalty-free basis and can be used continuously by different people for commercial design purposes.  In stock photography, the photographer retains ownership of his or her images, and the commercial designer has some limited usage of the photo that is clearly set out in the Terms of Service by the company you bought the stock photos from.

Stock photography is a cost-effective way for designers to obtain professional photos and images without having to hire a professional photographer directly. Images of commonplaces, landmarks, nature, events or people can be used for stock photography. Also, computer-generated graphics, clip-art, vectors, and other forms of imagery qualify as stock photographs.


You can purchase stock photos currently through a subscription and download them from a stock photography distributor’s website or you can buy them as a CD-ROM collection.

Some useful tips to help you shoot great stock photos and also sell same are provided in this article.

What Makes A Great Stock Photo?

Images shot in a clever way so as to serve a number of different purposes tend to work well. Simply put, if your mages can be used for a wide variety of purposes, then they stand a better chance of getting downloaded.
Images with a lot of negative space and have room for copy make great stock photos.

Images that show anonymity and combine other features of stock photography such as ample space are most likely to attract lots of attention. Editorial images are also in great demand so far you can produce professional results and still keep to time.

Shooting Strategies To Improve Your Workflow

You should plan every shooting session ahead of time. Scout a location to know have an idea of what to expect when you go for your shoot.


Prepare a Shot List.

Get to your location ahead of time so you can try your hands on a few test shots before the actual shooting.
Shoot to your style. Do not imitate other photographers, build your own style and tell stories in a way that no one else does.

Tips For Selling Stock Photography

Get Model Releases Early

A model release is a document that grants you as a photographer, free usage of an image you photographed without further consent. You can easily download a model release app or have printed out copies in your photo bag whenever you are going out to shoot.

Asking for a model release before a shoot will make life much easier for you and your model will also have the opportunity to clarify how he or she would like the photos to be used.

Choose Your Agency Wisely

It is essential that you choose the right agency to work with. There are Micro Stock agencies and those have much lower sale prices. Some others negotiate price based on usage while some other are managed which means an editor will look at the photos you submit, and only choose the ones that they would like to take on.

See also: Macro Photography

Some others are un-managed which means that they will accept all your submissions so far they meet technical guidelines.

Take Time To Keyword Your Photos

Keywording will help buyers find your images quickly. To do this effectively, you have to think like a buyer. Try to extract the exact words that your photo can express, be it emotions(bonding, happiness, empathy) or traits (individuality, simplicity, beauty).

Some industry experts advise that the ideal number of keywords is 20-25 but they have to be relevant. Spam keywords can indeed hurt your photographs.

Upload As Many Photographs As Possible.

It has been said that photographers are their own worst editors. That photograph you may not like may be the one that will earn you the most cash while the ones you loved get rejected. The ideal thing to do here is to upload more photos, both good and bad, the photo you may think is bad could be perfect for the editor or creative director.

Supply What Is in Demand

This is a natural law. You have to supply what is in demand in order to be successful. This, however, doesn’t streamline you to taking only certain types of photos neither does it mean you should shoot something you don’t believe in but then, lack of supply in areas of demand is a lost opportunity.

See also: 15 Photography Business Ideas

You should research what is in demand constantly so that you will be in tune with the market. This way, you earn more revenue for yourself and grow your business.

Be Aware Of Brands And Logos

It is important that you have knowledge of brands and logos, this is because photos for a commercial license must be free of brands, trademarks or related graphics in them.


To be successful in stock photography you have to make a considerable investment in marketing yourself and your brand. A way of doing this is to spend money on ads. Also, you can write articles on your photo shoots, travels, tips and tricks that you have learned doing what you love.

See also: How to Start a Photography Business From Home

Master Your Domain

While it is good that you submit as many photos as possible, being a master in a few domains will also help. It is important that you create your own style. Let your photos stand out and this is key to a successful sale. Art directors are always on the lookout for fresh, authentic imagery, so having unique photographs will help boost your profile.

Maintain A High Standard

Ensure that you keep the quality of your images as high as possible. Keep them clean and as noise-free as possible to avoid them being rejected. All stock agencies have guidelines on how they want images supplied such as minimum file size, format, color profile, etc. It is important that you stick to those. Keep your images sharp and get rid of chromatic aberration and excessive noise in your photos.

Save Some Space

It is advisable to take some pictures with enough space around your subject for text or headline. When shooting landscapes, lots of composition rules apply to both composition and cropping of images that you may be left with no space around your subject.


This may render you beautiful photo unsuitable for use by prospective buyers due to lack of space for text to headline around the shot. It is advisable to take a few extra shots with enough space around your subject after taking your artistic shot.

Keep Shooting

The last tip here is for you to go out and shoot more. It is simply the only way you can get better at what you do. You get to learn and try new techniques as well as meet up with fellow photographers who can share their experiences in the business with you. Also, you have to keep yourself up to date with trends in the industry to avoid losing touch with the market.


Stock photography allows you to continue to generate revenue from the same photo over and over again. You license your photos out to buyers who get to use them but you retain ownership of your photos. Useful tips to help you grow your stock photography business have been provided in this article.

Below is added, a video review for you:

Author: Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

About Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

View all posts by Arinze →

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