Making money from stock photography. Of course, that’s why you’re here isn’t it? But if you research this subject then you’ll soon see that making big money from this profession has never been harder to do. A combination of market forces and increased competition has contributed to this, but we believe it’s a complete myth to think that you can no longer make money from stock photography. Whilst thinking about this, I decided to have a look at how many of our photographers have made at least $100,000 worth of sales on Alamy alone, and my list ran into several hundred, many of which have actually made several hundred thousand dollars worth of sales (but I’ll stick to calling this the $100+k club as it has a nice ring to it).
And who wouldn’t want to be part of this club? Aside from the joy of photography itself, the aim of this game is to make money, so I thought I’d start a series of blogs giving you insights from those who are already $100+k club members. I’ve asked them what they like about working with Alamy and what tips they’d be willing to give other photographers. So without further ado, here’s what our first group have to say:
“Each year, as I add new images, I have done better with sales at Alamy. They are prompt with payments and communication with them is very good. They always get back to me in a timely way, and seem to be really interested in helping me with whatever needs/questions I have. I feel very supported by them.”
“It takes a lot of good images to to acquire a steady monthly income, but it is possible, especially if you take the time to keyword images with appropriate words. I can’t stress this enough. Without enough relevant keywords images will go nowhere, but with the appropriate keywords images will get noticed. It is also important to always add new images. It’s not a “get rich quick” type of adventure, but it is well worth the effort, and will keep you involved with photography if that is your passion.”
“Leaving my home in Canada to study and work at UCLA in California in the late 1960s and early 1970s I then travelled to London to work with Archigram Architects in Covent Garden. I didn’t attend a photographic course until 1998 when I did an MA in Documentary photography at UWCN Newport Wales.”
“After my initial time in London I was lured to Wales by the Back to the Land movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Some of these historical images have been placed on Alamy and are selling now, 40 years later with the revival of interest in this lifestyle.”
“Living in rural Wales without a car means I am compelled to stay at home working on my collection daily without distractions. Then I will travel, mostly to cities like London, Berlin or LA to immerse myself in busy stimulating streets and scenes gathering more images to bring home to work on.”
“My collection is eclectic and emerges from studying current events and being aware of gaps and hints provided by Alamy. It spans 5 or 6 decades from photos taken on the television of the moon landing in 1969 to portraits of architects I worked with during my time at Archigram.”
“In shooting my stock images I don’t consciously plan shoots or pursue themes as I might if I were constructing a document or a book. I simply collect random images as I live my daily life.”
“Working with Alamy has given me a special kind of freedom to work where and when I choose and at times has been incredibly rewarding sometimes bringing in four figure sums for a single image photographed only a few fields from where I live. Wherever I am, I am working. I think my success at Alamy comes from tenacity, uploading new images almost daily and absorption in my work. Alamy has been a lifeline for me.”
“Having been with Alamy since May 2003 I’ve seen a lot of changes, most good but some not so good. The only negative is the significant reduction in price per image sale, which accelerated following the economic turmoil of recent years. Despite that I’ve still managed over $400k in sales.”
“As a photographer I’ll never retire, but take a different path. I worked freelance for The Guardian for over 20 years (1987 – 2009) covering news, sport and features as well as other newspapers and magazines around the world. This has given me a vast archive of tens of thousands of images which I am slowly uploading to Alamy. I still take photographs of subjects that interest me, the main one being Hay Festival which I first shot in 1992, again a major archive of images which sell every month.”
“Advice to other contributors: Be organised in your post processing and have a backup strategy and include people in your pictures, especially in anything related to tourism. Alamy is not the place to make “quick bucks” – be patient, take good pictures and eventually you should build up a regular income.”
“What I’ve found great about working with Alamy is its straightforward submission process, transparent and photographer friendly approach, and consistent sales. The advice I’d offer is: take good photos of subject matter that buyers need, be selective in what you submit, process the images well and keyword them judiciously.”
Keep an eye out for future posts as we feature more members of the club – it’s open to new members of course, you just need the right images, fantastic tagging skills and lots of hard work to enter.
**Update** – Check out part 2 of the series here.
**Update** – Check out part 3 of the series here.
**Update** – Check out part 4 of the series here.