How to Sell Stock Photographs

February 23

7 min. to read

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Top questions about stock photography answered by the Depositphotos Team. Check them out!

We’ve decided to ask Vadim Nekhai, Chief Marketing Officer of one of the biggest photography stocks - Depositphotos - to answer most popular questions about this business. Enjoy!

Explain why stock photography is needed in the first place? What does a photographer get and why do people buy stock photos?

Stock imagery is essential for any business that wants to use high-quality visuals in their marketing communications, web and mobile designs and much more. Creating visual content requires a lot of effort, resources and time, whereas using ready stock solutions is both cost-effective and convenient. Just imagine having to hire a whole team of professionals every time you want to send a newsletter, create a web banner or illustrate a post for your corporate blog!

On the top of that, with stock images, you don’t need to worry about any copyright violation issues that may arise when you use free images from the internet. Stock image websites offer millions of photos, vector images and videos, which is why it’s easier to find the right content for your visual needs.

As for contributors, they receive a stable source of income with huge flexibility and almost no limits to their creativity.

How does a stock photo differ from other images?

The old clichés connected to stock photography are quickly losing popularity. Newest trends illustrate that there’s a movement towards authenticity and sincere emotions. Today, stock photography meets the needs and demands of modern customers. It’s often hard to tell whether an image is downloaded from a stock photography website or it’s one created with a team of professionals.

However, there are some requirements for stock images that remain unchanged. For example, images and vectors should be high quality. Also, more often they are easy to adjust for a specific target audience and you can’t really guess in which country they’ve been shot.

What type of stock photographs sells the best? Are there particular styles that are most popular?

The images that will always be in demand include ones that illustrate the business processes, creative work, family moments and leisure activities. These images have been and always will be in demand as they are ‘universal’. We’re seeing a growing demand for photos with natural lighting and authentic characteristics.

When shooting for stock photography, is there a specific process a photographer will typically use?

Shooting stock photos is a complicated process that needs to be well-planned and organized from concept to photo processing. Our top photographer Stefan Dahl, describes this in detail in his interview with Depositphotos.

Can one particular image define a photographer’s success in the stock photo arena? Or, is it more about creating a series of work around a theme or simply a lot of photos?

The success depends on two factors - how in-demand the topic is and how good the quality is.

Can you show us one of the most popular images on Depositphotos?

Here are 5 of our most popular photos

How to Sell Stock Photographs Image1

Are there photographers who only shoot for stock? What is the difference between their work and the work of other photographers?

What distinguishes stock photographers is that they approach it like a full-time job. They plan the concepts in advance, rent studios, hire models, stylists and prepare props. Professional stock photography contributors know that images that look authentic and spontaneous often need to be well-planned, and they take this process very seriously.

Who are the most successful of the Depositphotos photographers and what do you think distinguishes them from others?

I’ve named a few below. Most often, their success is a combination of hard work, exceptional quality, a unique style and the themes they work with.  For example, Anna Subbotina is one of the first and most influential beauty photographers who developed her own style, which many photographers have tried to copy in the past. Galyna Andrushko is famous for her landscape and travel photography, a style she has refined as a photographer-alpinist.

When describing the complete process of creating a stock photo, can you tell us about each stage starting from an idea through posting the photo on a stock site?

It all starts with the concept. After a photographer has finalized his or her idea, it is necessary to plan everything, find models, rent the location etc. The shooting stage itself may take from a couple of hours to a whole day. The best shots get processed, and then uploaded to Depositphotos, accompanied by Model’s Release forms if needed. Our inspectors evaluate images to make sure they meet our quality criteria and community guidelines, and they’re ready to go live. Stock imagery is not limited to photos. For example, our top contributor Aleksandr Prokofiev describes the process of creating stock illustrations here.

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