What is Stock Photography and Why Is It Important?

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The concept of stock photography came into existence in the late 1920s. Most photographers did not have sufficient clients to conduct photo shoots or sell their photographs. For this reason, agencies started coming up, which bought these pictures from the photographers that were then licensed for particular uses.

The same concept of stock photography is still in operation. Moreover, stock photography has developed as a domain with several niches working under one big umbrella. It includes microstock photography, macro stock photography, mid stock photography, etc.

In this article, let’s discuss what is stock photography and why it is good for photographers.

Many photographers believe that shooting stock photographs is a good way of earning some extra income. On most occasions, stock photography does not require staging and set up. Knowing about the best selling stock photography ideas is always useful to sell more pictures, which we will discuss in a bit.

The Stock Photography Market

The photographs clicked by a photographer have a license that ensures that the image can be used for specific purposes and for a specific duration only. For stock photography, the photographer gives the photographs to an agency that gets the rights to the photograph and can use it for its purposes.

In several cases, it is a contractual arrangement, and to reuse the photographs, the agency needs to pay the photographer again. For this, photographers have to sell stock photos to an agency that selects some pictures out of the portfolio. It helps in selling the photographer’s pictures without advertising or attracting clients through paid promotions.

Best Selling Stock Pictures

When you ask professional stock photographers about the field, they say that clicking stock pictures is not easy. This is because it becomes difficult to please the agency as they have thousands of pictures from different photographers to choose from. This makes it necessary that every photographer clicks high-quality images and knows about the best selling stock photography ideas:

Candid Pictures

The most popular stock pictures are those that are not staged. Sometimes simple, candid pictures clicked with ordinary cameras sell like hot cakes. Clicking candid pictures of people in authentic settings is a great idea for stock photography. Natural interactions between people, friends enjoying a lively chat, or a party scene can all be great ideas for candid stock photography.

However, if you choose to click pictures of people, you need to have a model release form that states that all the people shown in the photographs gave their consent to be clicked. Unless you do this, the agency cannot license your pictures for sale and won’t pay any money for them.

Unique Niches

It is very difficult to find appropriate niches for stock photography. One needs to analyze the products or demands of any subject matter company. Then, go about clicking pictures that are unique and have high chances of selection by these companies.

Search for pictures from various domains on popular stock photography websites. Then, start clicking pictures that are not available but can be useful for any subject matter company. Sell these to an agency and tell them how the picture is unique and valuable.

Trending Topics

If you sell your photographs to a stock photography agency, then chances are that these photographs will be used for online content. Moreover, most websites today curate content based on popular trends. So, if you click stock photographs that can incorporate popular trends such as the latest technology, latest fashion styles, etc. then there are high chances of selection of these pictures.

Nowadays, agencies are desperately looking for such pictures and spend a good amount of money on the same.

Event Photography

Clicking stock photographs at popular events is a great idea. This is because the ambiance at any popular event is energetic, and you get to capture some authentic moods at such places. Since popular events get better coverage in online magazines, newspapers, etc. there are high chances that the pictures will get selected.

Why Most Stock Pictures Get Rejected?

1. For using logos

In any form of commercial photography, using another company’s logo or trademark is not allowed. So, while clicking stock photographs, ensure that no logos come within the frame. An exception can be made to the same when you click photographs of popular products, for instance, Samsung phones. However, try that only the phone gets within the frame and, the focus is not on the logo.

2. For Plagiarism

Since stock photography is more of a freelancing job, some people try to copy the photographs that are available on popular stock photography websites thinking that agencies can’t keep track of what’s already present online. This will not help your cause because the agency knows what they are buying. Therefore, they will never purchase content that is stale and plagiarized.

3. No concept

While clicking candid pictures and pictures that are not readily available on websites are good ideas for stock photography, it does not mean that you click and upload random subjects. The pictures need to be of high-quality and should have a concept behind them. Only then will it attract the online agencies and the target audience who will ultimately pay you for your work.

Choosing a Stock Photography Agency

Several popular stock photography agencies buy pictures from photographers regularly. However, the terms and conditions of these companies can vary a lot.

Some companies take a huge cut from the money that your pictures earn, while some others only pay you once and take all future rights for the pictures. So, you need to analyze the market before you choose an agency to whom you would want to sell your stock photographs.

What is stock photography – Conclusion

So, in this article, we discussed what is stock photography and its scope as a domain of photography. To become successful in this field of photography, you need to prepare a good portfolio with high-quality pictures. The competition for selling stock photographs is immense, so research for the best selling stock photography ideas and approach suitable agencies to sell your work.

Having a good concept is the key to clicking better stock photographs. Just using good lighting, expensive lenses, and working with good models does not make the stock pictures sell at a good price. Plan it as diligently as any other project of yours.

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Marco Downs

Marco Downs

Marco Downs is our second founder and he is the creative head of this website. Marco stumbled upon photography only in college when he joined the photography club. His parents could never afford a camera for him as a child and it was in college that he saved up and bought his first camera. He now writes in-depth buyer guides and informational articles to assist the buyers. 
Marco Downs

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