Make Money With Your Camera Selling Stock Photography & Video Clips


    In November of 2008, I read an article describing how to make extra income online in microstock photography. The idea intrigued me since I was already making a living at photography shooting weddings, beach portraits and other various types of commercial work. I thought that this could possibly be another source of income.

    After checking out some of the photographs on different microstock agency sites to see what categories of images sold well, I picked out ten photographs which I thought might sell. Some of the images had been taken a year or two earlier and were just sitting on one of my hard drives. I joined several agencies, uploaded the ten images and waited to see what would happen. Two weeks later, I had accumulated a sum of $2.58 spread across three different microstock agencies. And ...I was hooked.

    This digital image, taken in October of 2008, is one of the
    original ten that I uploaded in November of 2008. It was
    taken just a few minutes before the start of a beach
    wedding. It has sold more than 300 times.

    A meager sum you might say. Just coffee money. But it started me thinking; if I could make that much in two weeks with just ten images that were just languishing on my computer hard drive anyway, how much could I make on a yearly basis if I had one hundred images online. What if I had one thousand images online, or two thousand or possibly ten thousand. Visions of vast sums of money visualized before my eyes. And that is how my journey into microstock photography began.

My Microstock Addiction 

    I became an addict, a microstock junkie you might say. Over the past three years, as time permitted, when I was not working on a commercial photography project, I slowly built a portfolio of over one thousand images and video clips at a dozen or so different microstock agencies. Month by month and year by year, my income from stock photography has slowly increased. My monthly average for the past 6 months has been a little over $900 per month.

    I don't disclose this just to toot my own horn. Actually, this is a small amount compared to what many have been able to achieve. Some photographers have been able to devote themselves fulltime to stock photography and make a good living at it. One photographer in Denmark is reported to make over $1,000,000 a year in the microstock photography market.

    My goal was never that grand. My initial goal was to make $100 a day with microstock sales. I am almost a third of the way there. It did take me three years to get to this point, but the nice thing about royalty payments is that I could stop now and still continue to receive a nice residual income for years.

    The idea behind stock photography is not to sell the actual image but to sell usage rights. When someone buys the rights from the stock agency to use your image, the agency takes a percentage and pays you, the photographer, a royalty fee. Rather than selling the photograph just once, it can be sold dozens or hundreds or literally thousands of times.

    Although it sounds easy, this is not a get rich quick scheme. You only get out of this what you put in, and it does take some time. So the more images you get online at the microstock agencies, the more money you can make.  If you really enjoy photography, would like to see some of your images published and make a little money at the same time, well, this may be the online business for you.

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