Dip Your Toes into Stock Photography

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As a wedding photographer (or any kind of photographer), you get used to income that is inconsistent. Months where your income is $10k and months where it’s freezing and you’re lucky to be able to cover your bills.

Passive income can provide you with a little peace of mind. Making money while you’re not working. Stock photography has paid for my car payment and insurance for the last two years. I’m not making bundles, but it’s something. My photos sell when I’m working on other things, asleep, or living my life. I signed on with Stocksy about three years ago and have slowly built a portfolio.

I’ve guided a few friends through this process. The first step is to create a portfolio website of “stock worthy” images. Your portfolio doesn’t have to be custom designed or cost $2,000. In the past, I have used Format for my portfolios. It’s $12 a month and you get a domain with that. You may be wondering… what makes an image “stock worthy”? When pulling images for stock, I look for images with genuine interaction, motion, negative space and anything unique. Pull the best of the best work you have. Your porfolio doesn’t need to be huge. 20-25 photos will do!

You’ve completed your portfolio and you’re ready to spread the good word. There are many stock companies. Some you have heard of and others that are more obscure. There are different kinds of stock companies. Some companies have been around forever, are somewhat uncurated, but have a huge clientele. Then there are the smaller, more curated portfolios that target more of a niche market.

Big, Established Agencies:

Offset

Shutterstock

Getty Images

Smaller, Curated Agencies:

Stocksy

Adobe Stock

Twenty / 20

When you’re ready to jump into the stock world, apply to few companies and eventually there will be a place for you somewhere. A while ago when I was jumping in, I think I applied to three companies before I was accepted by Stocksy.

After you’re accepted, that is when the real work begins. It’s time to upload images that you want to sell! When I was accepted, I went back through years worth of work and asked the subjects to sign model releases so I could use them for stock. I have photos from 2011 that occasionally see to this day. There is quite a bit of work in the beginning to get your portfolio filled out, but later on when you’re off doing other things you’ll be making money from work you’ve already done! Now is the season to make things happen, friends.

Sidney Morgan