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Selling Your Photos on Microstock Sites

DBK

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Now we are all in lockdown staying safe and sane is more important than ever. So this thread is about one way you could spend some of the time you are now going to be cooped up doing something vaguely interesting. If you are lucky you might even earn a few pennies and after a year or so even a few pounds. :) On the other hand if you are very good photographer you could potentially earn a lot of money - but I have no experience of that side of this!

What I am rambling about is trying to sell all those digital images you have cluttering up your hard drive on one or more of the many microstock sites which exist. To give you an idea what these are, click on the link below and in the search bar in the middle of the page which opens enter "motorhome on a beach". You will then see lots photos of motorhomes on a beach.

www.stock.adobe.com

Some of those images will have been submitted by professional photographers but some have been submitted by bungling amateurs like me. To show how true this is, one of the images you might have seen on the page which opened is of our PVC on a beach at Cabo Cope, Spain. :) This is one of my best-sellers and has earned me a cracking 75p! I have already warned you that you may not make much money doing this and there's the proof.

The way Adobe Stock works is either folk have a monthly subscription which allows them to download a certain number of images a month or they can pay per image. The latter are the best as I get about a pound for each image downloaded like this but only about 25p for those downloaded by subscription holders. Sadly the number of images downloaded by non-members is much less than those who are paying monthly. :( There is no charge for uploading stuff.

If you look again at that page there is a button near the top called "Sell". If you click on this it will take you through the steps of setting up an account and then uploading your images. Which sounds easy but it isn't unless all your images have keywords embedded in them which almost certainly they won't. Keywords are how people find the images. The image of our PVC has about 20 keywords and the first few are: motorhome, campervan, RV, sea, beach, spain, coast. Adding the keywords is a very time consuming process. Adobe Stock has a facility for automating this but I don't advise you to use it but it is a good way to start. If you upload an image without keywords the Abode Site will analyse the image and suggest keywords. It is clever and for example if you upload an image like mine it will probably add "beach" "blue" "water" and so on. What it won't do is add other things you might think people would search for and it won't put them in the best order. Although you can add twenty or so keywords only the top five or so are really important so these need to be at the front - hence why my image has motorhome, beach and sea near the top.

The problem with letting Adobe add the keywords is they stay on their site and if you want to upload the same image to another site it will have no keywords. This is why it is best for you to add the keywords to the image yourself before uploading. I use Adobe Lightroom to do this but there are other programs you can use but I haven't used these so I can't recommend any. This link has some suggestions for speeding up the process.


There are rules about what sort of images you can upload and they will probably rule out a lot of the images you have. The most important is if there are any people in the image who could be recognised by their face you need to have a signed model release form for them. This is a document where they give you the rights to use the image. Because you won't have this for say a general short of a street scene with people walking by you can't submit that photograph. There are also rules about buildings and works of art. I haven't tried it but I suspect if you took a close-up photograph of the Shard in London then this would be rejected as it is a recognizable building. You could submit an image of the London skyline in which the Shard featured providing it was only a small part of the overall image. I won't go on anymore about this aspect. You will soon learn when half your first batch of uploads is rejected.

I only upload to three sites, Abobe Stock, Shutterstock and Picfair. I've never sold anything on the latter but I have sold a few on Shutterstock. The problem with Shutterstock for me is they are very strict on their rules and I get a very high number of rejections. I have over 600 images on Adobe but less than half that number on Shutterstock because images Adobe accepted Shutterstock won't.

The other trap is trying to enhance your image too much. If you tweak the contrast and colour too much then it is likely to be rejected. The sites say you should let the person downloading the image do any editing required but I think if you are gentle and just make the image a bit more striking it will do no harm.

This video is how I first learned to upload images. It does go on a bit but if you want to give this a try then it is worth watching.


You can also upload short videos but ideally these need to be 4K which my camera can't do.

I should also say my 600 images on Adobe isn't very many. If you want to earn more than the occasional beer you need thousands of images. Some of the top contributors on Shutterstock have huge portfolios and over a 100,000 downloads but their images are way beyond what I can do. A lot of the top selling images are studio stuff, for example food photography as you can see here:

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/food-photography-2020-trends

The pennies you earn will slowly add up although you can't withdraw anything until your earnings reach a certain point. With Adobe Stock this is £20 and as you can see in the screenshot below I am almost there! It has taken a year to get here though so I will spend it very carefully!

AdobeStock.jpg
 
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Feb 25, 2018
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I spent enough time reading and trying to understand your post !!!

it took up lots of time and although i do have lots to spare, the thought of making 75p doesnt appeal to me, but thanks for making the hours of lockdown go by quicker .... :LOL: :LOL:

now has anyone else got anything i could spend time reading ...... ?
 
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now has anyone else got anything i could spend time reading ......
War and Peace ??

trying to sell all those digital images you have cluttering up your hard drive
I'm signed up for Shutterstock - 'Next year Rodney We'll be millionaires'

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Oct 18, 2017
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I found your microstock explanation a very interesting read as it is something I have considered previously. Apparently the stunning holiday scene photographs are not necessarily the big earners and it's actually mundane day-to-day pictures of everyday objects which might be used by news outlets, web sites and magazines which can be good earners.

Mark
 
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Decided not to quote all of the OP's post as life is too short, especially in these awkward and potentially deadly times.
I use a organisation called Picfair https://www.picfair.com/
They work in a slightly different way and allow you to set your own price.
I find it works very well and have sold a few pics on there, the free version works though obviously does not get as much exposure as the paid version.
Worth a look if your interested in selling a few pics.
 
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DBK

DBK

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I found your microstock explanation a very interesting read as it is something I have considered previously. Apparently the stunning holiday scene photographs are not necessarily the big earners and it's actually mundane day-to-day pictures of everyday objects which might be used by news outlets, web sites and magazines which can be good earners.

Mark
Yes you are right. For example, a photo of someone on the phone could be used to support any number of magazine stories about communication, relationships, nuisance calls etc.

I've just put my holiday snaps up but perhaps now I have more spare time I should try some "studio" stuff. :)

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Decided not to quote all of the OP's post as life is too short, especially in these awkward and potentially deadly times.
I use a organisation called Picfair https://www.picfair.com/
They work in a slightly different way and allow you to set your own price.
I find it works very well and have sold a few pics on there, the free version works though obviously does not get as much exposure as the paid version.
Worth a look if your interested in selling a few pics.
I've had no sales on Picfair but I didn't have many images on it until about the middle of last year by which time they had changed and introduced the paid for section.
 
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Gosh! Sunset from the CCP aire at Le Puy en Velay.

Raymond is my first name by the way but not one I use normally. :)

Screenshot_20200403-113512.png
 

mikebeaches

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On a vaguely related subject - but sadly not money-making - Google maps asked me to upload some images from my Android phone about 18 months ago.

Since then I've uploaded a fairly modest number, just under 1,500 pics. But what surprises and fascinates me is the number of views each image attracts. Frequently, the pics I think are good, fun or interesting don't get so many views; whereas often one I think is not particularly special get a huge number.

In total, my 'view count' is currently: 2,179,973.

For example, a single fairly uninspiring photo I snapped of a veg stall in Exeter last May has over 300,000 views - go figure...

I haven't added any new photos for about a month, since the whole coronovirus kicked off, but of course the count keeps going up.

Instead of money, I earn points for each image uploaded. And I think I've been granted Local Guide Level 7 status, and speeding towards Level 8 - whatever all that means? Supposed to be some perks, including the chance of going on an all expenses paid trip to Google HQ and a special conference in California.

But I just do it out of interest - only takes moments. :giggle:

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On a vaguely related subject - but sadly not money-making - Google maps asked me to upload some images from my Android phone about 18 months ago.

Since then I've uploaded a fairly modest number, just under 1,500 pics. But what surprises and fascinates me is the number of views each image attracts. Frequently, the pics I think are good, fun or interesting don't get so many views; whereas often one I think is not particularly special get a huge number.

In total, my 'view count' is currently: 2,179,973.

For example, a single photo I snapped of a veg stall in Exeter last May has over 300,000 views - go figure...

I haven't added any new photos for about a month, since the whole coronovirus kicked off, but of course the count keeps going up.

Instead of money, I earn points for each image uploaded. And I think I've been granted Local Guide Level 7 status (I think), and speeding towards Level 8 - whatever all that means? Supposed to be some perks, including the chance of going on an all expenses paid trip to Google HQ and a special conference in California.

But I just do it out of interest - only takes moments. :giggle:
I'm doing the same and at about the same level as you. I also wonder how many of the views are real! I put most up when we are on trips so that activity is on hold for the moment. :(
 
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I'm doing the same and at about the same level as you. I also wonder how many of the views are real! I put most up when we are on trips so that activity is on hold for the moment. :(
Just interested - is there any benefit to the individual contributor other than the satisfaction of knowing people are looking at your photos?
 
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Just interested - is there any benefit to the individual contributor other than the satisfaction of knowing people are looking at your photos?
Only if you sell a photo, when the earnings vary from around 25p upwards. I've been using Adobe Stock for perhaps a year now and I've now earned a massive £19.08! There are different licenses and should someone want what they call the extended license the earnings per photo are around £50. Sadly I've never made such a sale. Earning from videos can be up to around £200 I believe but this is another area I know nothing about.

Yesterday was a red-letter day and I sold two images and one earned over £2! Sales seem to have picked up over the last month or so - I wonder if it related to more people working from home?

The graph below shows weekly sales, the red line and weekly earnings, the blue columns. The key is to have a lot of images. I only have about 600 but 6,000 would be better!

Sales-03042020jpg.jpg

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Hope OP doesn't mind but if you want to make a few (and I mean a few) £££ taking photos when the lockdown ends, take a look at. https://shepper.com/

I registered (its free) a couple of years ago then promptly forgot all about it until about 6 months ago when they had a job in my town and contacted me direct.

Basically they need photographic evidence for landlords, insurance companies, marketing companies etc.

The first job was to visit a retail park near my town and photograph the signage and each store Currys, Wickes, Lidl etc. Took about 15 mins and got paid £17.

A couple of months later, around Xmas, I had another message saying they had 6 jobs in my area. I had to go and photograph posters advertising my local theatre's pantomime. Most were in bus shelters and two were about 4 feet apart on a wall at the railway station, got paid £58 for about 40 mins 'work'. This type of job would be by far the exception rather than the rule though.

Everything is done through their app, you accept the job and it then gives you instructions like "take wide shot showing ?? in its surroundings" take close up showing ?? and any damage. Each photo is taken and uploaded from within the app, very slick.

Jobs I have refused..... 'Visit Morrisons car park in a town 10 miles away between 4-5pm on specified date payment £3"

Visit xx shop and photograph a display for £7, again the town was 10 miles away.

You specify the area you want to work within the app. I think you can go in and search for jobs too but have never bothered to do that.

I live in a fairly small boring town, I guess there would be more jobs in larger towns, cities etc, but maybe more competition for jobs too. They pay direct into your bank account. No work going forward for the moment, but they did send an email a few days ago saying they would be paying everyone they owe earlier than usual.

If they survive, might be of interest to some, but dont expect to get rich.

Steve
 
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Hope OP doesn't mind but if you want to make a few (and I mean a few) £££ taking photos when the lockdown ends, take a look at. https://shepper.com/

I registered (its free) a couple of years ago then promptly forgot all about it until about 6 months ago when they had a job in my town and contacted me direct.

Basically they need photographic evidence for landlords, insurance companies, marketing companies etc.

The first job was to visit a retail park near my town and photograph the signage and each store Currys, Wickes, Lidl etc. Took about 15 mins and got paid £17.

A couple of months later, around Xmas, I had another message saying they had 6 jobs in my area. I had to go and photograph posters advertising my local theatre's pantomime. Most were in bus shelters and two were about 4 feet apart on a wall at the railway station, got paid £58 for about 40 mins 'work'. This type of job would be by far the exception rather than the rule though.

Everything is done through their app, you accept the job and it then gives you instructions like "take wide shot showing ?? in its surroundings" take close up showing ?? and any damage. Each photo is taken and uploaded from within the app, very slick.

Jobs I have refused..... 'Visit Morrisons car park in a town 10 miles away between 4-5pm on specified date payment £3"

Visit xx shop and photograph a display for £7, again the town was 10 miles away.

You specify the area you want to work within the app. I think you can go in and search for jobs too but have never bothered to do that.

I live in a fairly small boring town, I guess there would be more jobs in larger towns, cities etc, but maybe more competition for jobs too. They pay direct into your bank account. No work going forward for the moment, but they did send an email a few days ago saying they would be paying everyone they owe earlier than usual.

If they survive, might be of interest to some, but dont expect to get rich.

Steve
Thanks for the tip. :)
 
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Thanks to the Op for posting the explanation, i looked into this some time ago and got put off reading the rules etc
can any camera be used ie a phone , or does it need something more technical ?

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As with all sites like this, we all know we won't get rich from them but I find the excitement of someone choosing one of my photos better than the money it might bring!
I used to post up a lot on Flickr and had them all marked as a CC licence basically meaning someone can use my photos for free so long as they give me credit.
Had quite a few used on websites and got a bit of a buzz when I found them. Although be careful that you only licence photos you are happy for people to use, I once had a photo of my daughter wearing a fake moustache and it got used on an article about women lip hair removal :LOL:
 
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Thanks to the Op for posting the explanation, i looked into this some time ago and got put off reading the rules etc
can any camera be used ie a phone , or does it need something more technical ?
No, it can be any phone or camera and some phones now have extremely good cameras on them.
 

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I guess using keywords to search for images that you want to illustrate a story, explains why, last week, accompanying a story about the difficulties facing high street shops, i.e. local shops rather than shopping centres, the national newspaper I looked at printed a picture of Oxford High ! :roflmto: Lazy journalism.

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