5 Mistakes Beginning Stock Photographers Make

Stock photography is often viewed as a form of "passive income" for photographers that have a low barrier of entry. But just because that's the case doesn't mean it's easy. A seasoned stock photographer shares some of the mistakes she made when starting.

Stock photographer and YouTuber Nicole Glass shares her tips on what has worked and not worked for her in her years of stock photography shooting. Some of the most important tips she shares extend beyond the stock photography world, such as photographing interesting things. In her video, she shares that the first photograph that she ever uploaded to a stock photography site was a flower — a lily, to be precise. There are a lot of lily photos out there just a Google search away, and so perhaps, the number one thing to help you get noticed is to find something that other photographers aren't shooting, or think hard about what content creators will like so that you can focus on creating and staging a photo to explain a theme or concept rather than just taking what's readily available, Glass says.

Glass shares that she also thinks about stock video as well, and while it's not as common as stock photography, for her, at least, there seems to be more money in the trade. Especially with the explosion of video content over the last few years, people are paying more for this content than they are for still photography.

No matter what you're doing, it's important to remember that it's a stock photography site. People are going to be buying the photos and videos to do their own thing with, so keep edits light, especially in a trade where editing (and staging as well) are big ethical issues, such as journalism.

Glass shares some other tips that have helped her persevere in the stock photography world. Click on the video above to hear some more advice about what's kept her going even in difficult pandemic times and in times where some photos are only earning a few cents per purchase.

Do you have stock photography tips to share? Leave them in the comments below.

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Alexander Petrenko's picture

Tip #1: Don’t go there.

Charlie Mann's picture

Why do you say that?

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Rising Sun is a town in Cecil County, Maryland, United States.

25 cents per image don't bring you too far in that country.

Charlie Mann's picture

One of the things I learned over 25 years ago working for an RM shooter was,
you have to keep in mind "Who is going to buy the image and how might they use it?"
You are creating an image/video for someone else to use, you are not necessarily creating something for yourself. That is where I think a lot of people miss the mark with stock photography and video.
Pretty pictures of flowers are not going make a lot of money to pay the bills.

My best selling image from 12 years ago, that sells to this day was a grab shot that I almost did not upload. It is not a pretty image, it is not technically a perfect image, it is not even a 100% sharp. But is tells a story at a glance and anybody that owns a dog can relate instantly.