Stock Photography Business Basics

Stock Photography offers photographers targeted markets for their pictures that assignment photography doesn’t. For some long time stock photographers, the changing indus tr y is in chaos (lots of fast changes). For others, the change is taking their profits to new heights. And, they love it. For photographers new to the field, the playing field has been dramatically leveled. The business of stock has not become any easier. But, for those willing to work at it, business is good – very, very good. 

Knowing what to shoot and where to sell it are key elements in being successful in this field of photography. Nothing, however, replaces the need for honed skills in photography. Photographers must always remember: photobuyers buy pictures that they need, not pictures that they like. 

With the advance of technology, markets dominated for years by larger photography businesses have to adjust and to compete. While they have competed with each other for all these years, they now are competing with photographers operating out of small home offices, kitchens, laptop computers, etc.  

Technology has removed the barriers that geographic location presented to small photographers. Photographers now do business with photobuyers half-way around the world as easy as if they were next door to their customers. Easier doesn’t mean less value. Pricing is separate from the changing stock photography indus tr y. 

Pricing stock photography requires the understanding of basic value criteria. And advancing technological innovations have almost nothing to do with the value and pricing of stock photography. Long time photographers as well as photographers new to the field must understand that. 

Other significant points that long time and new photographers must understand include:

  • Technology is a tool, similar to a flash, it assist us to apply our skills. Technology is not the art form itself.
  • Content is still king. Pictures must still convey experiences visually. Likewise, oddly enough, with the new advancing technology, content is king. That is one of the key reasons that small photographers can successfully compete with the big guys.
  • Spending large amounts of marketing money no longer is an advantage to large agencies.
  • Mastering technology, while helpful, is no advantage in the stock photography indus tr y.
  • Successful stock photographers will have to know something about technology. But, not that much.
  • Expensive equipment, expensive studios, memberships in elite organizations, awards, large ads in the yellow pages, no longer are advantages. That age has gone the way of the typewriter.
  • In stock photography, the world is rapidly changing. Democracy reigns. Even a tr ack record is no longer a prerequisite or advantage in stock photography.
  • Technology has opened up a gold mine of niche markets that demand content.
  • Finding your markets; defining your Market Strength Areas; and refining your photo marketing are the areas of focus needed to guarantee your success.  

If you have read this far on this page, it probably means that you have great photos. You know that others know you have great photos because they have told you. Your photos are gathering dust in a box going nowhere or taking disk space on your computer. You know that your pictures should be published. Others should be able to enjoy them. Your photos should earn money for you. This site will show you how they can.

It’s not as hard as you might think. You don’t have to be a technology wizard. You don’t have to know java, HTML, CSS, or how to write program. You need to know a few things. And you need to always remember that in stock photography (as well as internet technology) content is king.


This site will continue to provide current, accurate and helpful stock photography tips, resources and how-to pointers.

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