Microstock photography is photography taken for the express purpose of distributing it to clients – mostly from the business sector but also a few recreational graphic designers – who are willing to pay a small amount of money in exchange for royalty-free usage of your work. The concept is that if enough people purchase your photograph at a small fee – over time these payments will accumulate into respectable revenue.
What is Microstock Photography?
Essentially what microstock really boils down to is a micropayment system wherein a large number of clients will purchase your shots for relatively little money, usually less than a dollar per purchase. The profit for the photographer and for the host of the site is purely in terms of volume and in quality of sales, ie – repeat customers.
Microstock is an emerging business model and many people are making a living simply by producing high quality images for use on stock sites. Keeping in mind what it is that the clientele is buying – typically corporate or business shots, theme or concept shots, or images that can be used as backgrounds – one can make a decent wage through inventive and professional photography in the microstock industry.
Looking at the Major Players
When considering entering the microstock business – be sure to investigate the above large players. Shutterstock and iStockPhoto in particular seem to be doing extremely brisk business. Smaller fringe companies will not attract nearly as many clients and as such your revenue will be much, much lower. Also, be sure to have an eye-catching and varied portfolio to upload to the reviewers for each of these sites – do not upload your middling shots first or you may not be accepted at all! Prepare for your initial entry into the market beforehand by brushing up on your Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro skills, retouching your photos will make a large difference to experienced eyes.
Release your Inner Artist and Get Paid!
While shooting stock photography is often regarded as a bore, this is pure misconception that simply is not true! Shooting microstock can be creative and rewarding intellectually as well as financially – all it takes is a few fresh ideas and an inventive eye for shooting! Whether it be shooting at a closed down factory, a model shoot with business wear and other corporate iconography, or even a simple but beautiful landscape – many types of inspiring photography can work very well in the microstock market, so the best policy is to throw your hat in the ring and learn from your mistakes!