Many photographers dream of making money by shooting stock or perhaps generating a passive income as a result of photos that you would have shot anyway. But how realistic is it to make money from uploading your images to stock libraries? A photographer with three years of experience gives a very honest verdict.
If you’ve ever wondered whether you can earn a regular income from stock imagery, check out this in-depth video from photographer Rachel Lerch. Having spent a lot of time successfully selling images through various libraries, she offers some thoughts on whether this is a worthwhile means of making money.
Agencies such as Dreamstime and Shutterstock allow photographers to make their images available to huge markets, albeit with the provision that the earnings from individual sales are typically very small. Creating any sort of regular income from uploading to various libraries requires a lot of time and effort. Even if you remove the act of shooting the images in the first place, sorting out model releases, removing branding, and trying to figure out keywords can mean hours and hours of work. The paycheck at the end of the month may not reflect the amount of time invested.
Of course, individuals will have different levels of satisfaction from uploading stock, and for some, it will work better than others, especially if you shoot a lot of imagery for other jobs that then also prove sellable as stock. If you've experience — positive or negative — be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.