For those who cannot live without photography and have heard of wonderful ways of making money through selling photos, online stock photography can sound a very easy and beneficial. However, taking into consideration the amount of photos taken each year and the number of photographers engaged in selling their images online, one should be well-prepared for competition and realize that only thoughtful planning and constant improving on one’s skills can ensure the success in stock photo industry.

Just to keep you informed, but not discouraged, earning by selling photos online nowadays became a way more strenuous than several years ago.  Due to high offer, customers became very selective and  are now looking for truly high quality and exceptionality. Be aware that becoming popular will take time and effort, and starting to receive good money for the work will take a while. But once you get to understand what it is that customers need, it will go smoother for you.

So what actually one should do in the first place?

At first, select the field that interests you the most whether it be photography itself, vector images, footages, or combination of some of these. For the beginning, it’s better to focus on what you are really good at. Make sure you have all necessary equipment that will help you provide impeccable quality work. Don’t compromise here.

Visiting leading websites, such as Shutterstock,  Fotolia, Dreamstime or iStock will help to understand the requirements both for technical and artistic parts of the matter. Searching their databases and having a look at images that are most popular and selling best is recommended. Thus, you can not only get acquainted with the requirements for quality but also check the current demand. With respect to the latter, it’s constantly changing, however, some topics –as people, business, food, concepts, abstracts, etc. – are always in need, but here it’s better to look for specifics.

To start actually selling, you will need to register on the stock photo websites. Some of those require passing a test. It’s better to begin with those that do not require a test or have less strict requirements, or for instance. So you can at least get there. After you taste what it’s like to sell your images online and get some experience in it, you can register with giants of the industry. For requirements for beginners and for details on registration process on each website, it’s always beneficial to google. Experienced photographers often have their own blogs and willingly share the knowledge. Important to remember: each of the stock photo sites has its peculiarities with respect to sales. Thus, for instance, Shutterstosk sells new images best, while on Dreamstime even older ones can remain popular over time.

Pay attention to how you keyword the images. Accurate and proper key-wording is as important as the quality of image and market suitability. Besides, some sites can even ban you for improper and confusing key-wording.  

Keep your portfolio irreproachable and attractive to customers. It’s important to only upload the best images you have for sale. Check what you have in the list from time to time and remove the pictures that are outdated and do not really reflect your best capacities anymore. You will notice that with time quality of your work will inevitably improve. It’s advisable to make some of your pictures available for free download, in this way, you can also promote your profile.

It’s necessary to keep yourself updated, to search for the hottest info on trends etc. Thus, you can produce what consumers need.

The best way to stay afloat is to keep uploading more and more new images, as older ones will be lost in the thousands. Get yourself first positions in search.

Stock photography requires a lot of work as well as self-promotion. That is why it’s necessary to advertise yourself where it’s only possible, use all existing ways, including social media, your own website and affiliate programs.

Hard work will pay off.