Stock photography 101?



I was just browsing dpreview and they have a thread regarding stock photography in the pro forum there. The thread got really messy fast with people flaming back and forth and basically moving the whole focus to something else than what the initial intent of the poster was.

So now I ask here.

Can anyone give a "quick" tutorial (maybe even spiced with own experiences) on stock photography, which agencies to avoid and which agencies are trustworthy. Also give pointers on the current trend in stock, what kind of images sell and which ones doesn't.

I have been thinking about doing a bit of stock to support my photography hobby, but I don't really have a clue as to where to start etc. And I really don't want to end up making 2 cents a month on photos that I could have made 10-100 times as much with.

Thank you in advance :)
Feb 2, 2005
Real Name
Put together a portfolio then use the 'Font of All Knowledge', ie internet search to search for stock photography submission and you will have a lot to work with. I'd suggest that you look through their offerings first, then profile your portfolios to suit the style of each submission you make.
May 5, 2005
Orlando, Florida
Sune, someone recommended a book to me called "Photographer's Market" or something like that. They said it is a great book for someone who is interested in getting into the stock photography business. I have not yet purchased the book so can't offer any input but thought I'd pass it along anyway.
Jan 29, 2005
St. George, Utah
That is a pretty tall order your have put forth Sune. What I try to do when approaching a broad topic like that is to do my own research first and then ask specific questions of knowledgeable people. My research would consist of the internet first as Chris has suggested and then books that I might buy or check out from a library. Having done some of that in the past I can tell you that you need several thousand images of high quality before you even start. Some agencies want film, preferably larger formats others will take digital but require high pixel count images. If it were easy anyone could do it but alas that is not the case. Many photographers have a few outstanding images but to be successful in stock photography you need thousands of them, with the ability to continue producing more each month. At least that is true for the better agencies.

Not meaning to put a damper on your plans but again I would do my own research first.
May 1, 2005
Seattle WA, USA
What Gordon says is completely true. The lowest number of images that I've encountered being needed is 500 for Lonely Planet guidebooks. After that they ask you to sign a contract which obligates you to contributing more per month.

If you want to make money with stock agencies my advice is to start shooting...a lot.

Make up little still lifes in your backyard of fruit, vegetables, patterns of know, the typical stock shot, and get a pretty huge portfolio.

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