Stock Photography - How To Do, Uses & Website To Sell Photos

Stock Photography - Grow Your Online Commercial Business With Stock Images

stock photography

Pic source

If you’re a photographer who wants to make money using From stock photography then there is something that you must know of. 

Hundreds and thousands of photographers contribute every day to the stock photography websites but how do they make money when the photographs are sold for free on various stock websites? Well, to answer this question we will discuss stock photography in detail in this article.

According to “The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography” the stock photography industry began around the 1920s. But the question is what was the need? To understand this, let’s understand what stock photography is.


What is Stock Photography?

Stock photography is a collection of photographs clicked by amateur to professional photographers and are mostly licensed for use.

There are several advantages to stock photography. One of them being the sole existence of the photograph. This gives the buyer an option and also a consolidation of seeing the photograph before buying it.

The only downside of all this is that photographers only get paid when somebody contracts their photo usage license.

There are various companies out there including Getty images Who sell photographs on behalf of photographers and work as an agency. 

Also, there are companies such as Unsplash Who provide companies with stock images which makes it easier for them as they don’t have to hire a photographer. They can always search for stock images and download what they want.


How Does Stock Photography Work?

Usually, when a photographer sends photos to agencies like Getty images, even though their website and its photos are available for companies, those photos are protected by a watermark and in order to use those photos, one has to pay a fee.

free stock photos

Photo Source

Now some part of that fee goes as a commission to the agency while the rest goes into the pocket of the Photographer.


How To Do Stock Photography?

If you’re a photographer and you’re interested in taking stock photographs then let us tell you that you don’t have to go out of your way. You can just go to any stock website and put in a keyword for example dogs. You will see hundreds of dog pictures.

So maybe you can click the pictures of the dog. It can be anything else such as landscapes photography, portrait photography, architecture photography, etc. Now here are some tips on how to do stock photography. 


5 Tips to Do Stock Photography


1. Make Use of the Natural Light

adobe stock photos

Photo Source

royalty free photos

Photo Source

The first thing you’d want to do to start with stock photography is to get ample lighting to illuminate your subject. For stock, most of the pictures are clicked in natural light unless it is based on a particular theme that requires an indoor studio setup. In such cases, artificial lighting is used. 


2. Use a Wide Angle Lens

stock image photography

Photo Source

selling photos online

Photo Source

Whether you are shooting portraits or doing architecture photography, you can take a lot of advantages from a wide-angle lens. You can take some creative shots as wide-angle lenses tend to distort the subject which gives a really cool image. 

For portraits, you can also use a prime lens depending on the kind of picture that you have but make sure that the subject is in focus and the background is a little blurry. 


3. Remember Compositions

royalty free stock photos

Photo Source

free stock photos for commercial use

Photo Source

free photos to use

Photo Source

stock photography

Photo Source

You can also take advantage of the compositions. For example, you can try the Frame within a Frame composition where you capture your subject from behind an object to make that object look like a frame. 

And you can always follow the Rule of Thirds where you divide the frame and put the subject at any of the four intersections. 


4. Take Multiple Pictures

Don’t just take a single picture of a subject. Try to take more than a few. This can help you in getting some great shots out of average ones. Also, you can diversify your photos by taking pictures of your subject from different angles. This can help in maintaining the visual interest of the audience in your pictures. 


5. Create a Fake Setup

stock photo sites

Photo Source

free stock photography

Photo Source

If you want to take picture of an office then you can fake a setup by going to an actual office but getting people who are models as the employees to make the work easy and fast. Also, you can try going candid on real employees which can also be done at a school, shopping mall or a restaurant. 


Are Stock Photos Royalty Free?

adobe stock photography

Photo Source

There’s one thing about Stock photography is that on the websites that sell stock pictures, they also have a public domain where all pictures are free of copyrights and free for commercial usage. Companies can use those images without having to pay for them to fulfil their commercial purposes.


How to use Stock Photography for Commercial Use?

Now, if you are a company or a business that is looking forward to using stock photographs for business growth or somebody who wants to know how to do that then you can follow these few tips. They will help to identify when and where you can use stock images. 


1. Advertisements

free photos for commercial use

Photo Source

One of the best ways to generate leads and capture the attention of the target customers for businesses is to run advertisements. Now, you can use stock photos to make the advertisement more interactive. This way you can commercially use stock photography for ads to directly contribute towards the growth of your business. 


2. Social Media Posts

stock photo websites

Photo Source

You can make your own social media posts by creating onto those stock photos that you get from the websites. This way, you don’t have to go for a photo shoot or do it yourself. You can just find the right stock picture, download it, and edit your text and company logo onto it. 

You’re good to go. While some may require you to buy a license and a limited usage, there are plenty of free stock photos out there on websites like Unsplash and Pexels that you can use.

Even if it is not directly contributing to any monetary growth of your business, it will still impact other things like branding and awareness. 


3. Blogging

best stock photo sites

 This is another great way to commercially use stock photography. It’s also not a direct usage but when you post blogs on your website, you can add related images that you can easily find on Stock photography websites. You can see the credits policy on the free stock website before using free pictures. 


Can Royalty-Free Images be Used for Commercial Purposes?

Royalty-free might sound like you don’t have to pay any royalties in order to use those images which is partly true. A company intending to use royalty-free images may still have to pay a one-time fee before use. The images are sold under a license and can not be used without one. The bright side is, you don’t have to pay the full royalty of the image, instead just a part of it.

Copyright-free images, on the other hand, are present in the public domain and can be accessed and used as per one’s wish no matter private or commercial. So, if you are intending to get some free images from such websites, make sure that they are not being sold under a license, or else the act will be considered illegal. 


5 Stock Photography Websites to Sell Pictures


1. Shutterstock


Shutterstock is a popular platform among photographers eager to sell their pictures. The work is transparent and you get a limited sum for every download. In order to get a better profit, you can create a huge portfolio that allows you to earn more per download. 


2. Getty Images

getty images,

Getty Images is another popular agency that has a unique working. In order to start selling your pictures via them, you need to go through a process that involves more than a few tasks. But once you’re done, you can get your pictures featured. Also, you can be asked to submit particular kinds of images resonating with a specific theme. 


3. Alamy


Alamy is one of the leading stock photography sites that offers photographers a good deal for selling their photographs to businesses. The site gives you a total percentage of 60% on every photograph your sell. Also, the license of the photographs remains to you and you can always put up those pictures to sell on other sites. 


4. Fotolia


Fotolia is an Adobe Stock photo agency that lets you sell images. All you have to is follow a few easy signup processes and you will be good to go. Make sure that your pictures have a perspective and have the potential to stand out for more success. 


5. 123rf


123rf is a little less complicated when it comes to offering photographers to sell stock images. It is a royalty-free stock photography website that offers some price for every download. Also, they take 50% commission from the photography after every sale. 


5 Free Stock Photos Websites for Commercial Use


1. Unsplash

unsplash, stock photography

Unsplash is a widely popular website on the internet for free stock images. The website has a huge collection of unique pictures that you can choose from. They won’t look like your typical stock photos as every photo is different from the other. 

One does not need to give credits as a mandate but they are always appreciated. One can download the pictures and modify them as per the requirement and use the pictures for commercial use. 


2. Pexels

pexels, stock photography

Pexels is somewhat similar to Unsplash. It gives you stock images that can be used for commercial purposes. It contains not just photos but also a wide range of quality videos. If you want to look for images, just search for a keyword in the search bar. 


3. Pixabay

pixabay, stock photography

Pixabay is the place where you can find the most quality photographs on the internet for free. It is a wide range of photographs to choose from with around 800k photos in its repository. One can easily download the pictures and also get the option to select the size of the image before download. 


4. Canva

canva, stock photography

Canva is a photo editor, ppt maker, Resume designer, Social Media posts creator and so much more. It’s everything that a photographer, a company, or a regular person would need from a website when it comes to fulfilling visual content needs. The platform has over a million free images that can be used and modified for commercial purposes. Also, there is a huge stock of premium images that can be accessed through premium options. 


5., stock photography

It is also a great stock image platform where one can get access to free stock photography and use the pictures for commercial purposes. It has an interesting collection of pictures that you will love. 


How to Click Selling Pictures for Stock Photo Websites?

Now, it’s true that stock photography is a great way for photographers to put their work out there and earning from it but one needs to make sure that the pictures are actually interesting for someone to buy them. So, here are a few ways in which you can use stock photography.


1. Follow the Trends

The easiest way to predict what will sell, you have to keep up with the trends. Trends, for example, artificial intelligence, comets, drones, etc. With new and new trends rolling in, you can keep your camera ready and capture some amazing pictures that will actually sell. 


2. Capture Real-time Events

The best way to have a unique collection of pictures and be relevant, you have to start capturing events that are happening around you or somewhere accessible through short travel. 

There you can get the candid pictures that you want and that too of the events that are happening. So the chances of pictures being sold, increases.

3. Choose a Specific Niche

You have to choose a particular niche under which you want to upload your pictures. Now, for that, you will need a little bit of keyword research. You need to find out what pictures do companies want the most. Do they want pictures of an office setup or maybe they to want pictures of golden hour? Well, this is something that you have to do on your own by doing research on the website you are putting your images on. 


While doing stock photography, make sure that your picture is clear and is clicked from different angles. Also, try not to show any logos in the pictures as it can create trouble with the brands if a company chooses to use the picture for commercial use. 

So, if you want to start out with stock photography then click a wide range of pictures and register with the websites mentioned in the blog. And if you are a company or a marketing agency looking forward to using stock photos for commercial use then you have various options both paid and unpaid to get some unique and stunning stock photos that can be used for commercial purposes. 

Read Next: How Smartphone Photography Is Changing The Landscape of Photography?

Written By - Ramnish on 28 Jul, 2020