9 tips to Become a Successful Freelance Stock Photographer
Photo by Miguel Angel Junquera

9 tips to Become a Successful Freelance Stock Photographer

Published on December 16, 2020

9 tips to Become a Successful Freelance Stock Photographer 

We have interviewed many profitable stock content creators, and have had the privilege to gain some insight on their success. We handpicked nine of the best tips to become successful with stock photography from our interviews with the professionals. We hope these tips can be useful and easy for you to incorporate into your practice.

Photo courtesy of eberhard grossgasteiger

1. Shoot relevant content.Think about emerging industries. There are many topics to shoot, sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming. We recommend first doing a little research and shooting the industries might not be trending yet but are coming up and quickly growing so that you can be ahead of the pack. Some ideas are: 

2. Have discipline and upload frequently! Staying organized is key for this one. Users who upload regularly and maintain discipline with their photography practice are much more likely to sell their photos. Whether it is monthly, weekly, or daily, make an appointment, and upload on the schedule that you’ve chosen. 

Photo courtesy of Daniel Chekalov

3. Focus. Think about dominating 3-5 categories. There are hundreds of millions of photos in the market. Many successful stock sellers decide to select a number of topics and upload consistently within those. Choose categories you are passionate about or particularly skilled at shooting.

Photo courtesy of Paul Skorupskas

4. Upload Quality content (Equipment, Youtube tutorials). There are countless Youtube tutorials that can help you with the shooting and editing process of your photos. We recommend taking the time to learn about your camera and editing options available to you in order to see success in this industry. Equipment can’t be overlooked either when it comes to taking professional quality photos. The cameras we recommend are: 

Photo courtesy of Anna Auza

5. Be Patient. Remember: this is an investment and it takes time. Don’t have expectations to see money flowing into your account in the beginning. Overtime, with patience, and consistent practice many photographers can count on seeing some extra passive income every month. So, don’t give up early, be patient (especially in the beginning).

Photo courtesy of Simon Rae

6. Be creative! As stated earlier, there is no lack of competition with stock photography. It’s important to have a unique vision with your photos, and not to be too cliché in order to stand out. A fresh take on a traditional topic can bring in surprising rewards. So, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box (maybe even begin creating illustrations and experiment with editing software) . 

7. Know the rules. There are a few technical rules you need to be aware of before you begin shooting in order to avoid having your images get rejected. Here is a link to another blog post which explains more about these.

There are also some basic photography “rules”, which lay out some overall photography tips and suggestions to help you take visually pleasing photographs. We recommend reading this blog post to inform yourself about these rules the professionals use.

8. Think conceptually, not literally! One thing we’ve learned is that ideas and concepts sell. It is always recommended to think about the feelings, ideas, or concepts you want to sell like, “friendship” or “happiness” or “coziness”, and then arrange the elements in your shot to cater to that theme that you’ve chosen.

Photo courtesy of Alisa Anton

9. Have a good attitude. Be confident, and relaxed when shooting people in order to get authentic photos. In order to get the really natural photos that sell, you must be enjoying the process. Many photographers highlight the importance of relaxing and enjoying the shoots, especially while shooting people, to achieve that connection and perfect facial expression visible in the final shot.

Photo courtesy of Duy Pham

These are the top 9 tips we recommend to be successful with stock photography but certainly there are many more. We hope you can profit from these and wish you the best of luck in selling your photos.