Microstock Minefield

Earn cash from your photo’s – simply upload your photos to various microstock websites and wait for the money to roll in! Well who wouldn’t be interested in an offer like that? To be fair no microstock sites claim that you can make a load of money quite that easily but it is a lot harder to earn money with microstock than I initially thought.

Firstly there is the problem of which microstock sites to upload you photos to since there are so many. Some such as Shutterstock or iStockPhoto require you to pass a quiz on what they require and what is or isn’t allowed. These bigger sites also require you to submit a batch of your best photos to evaluate before they will accept any photos from you whereas most other evaluate your photos on a case by case basis. Of course the sites with the higher standards are going to be the sites that you can make most money from. Other sites may accept lesser quality photos but you are unlikely to earn much money from these.

The photos that you submit need to be of an extremely high standard – low noise, high resolution, perfect focus, well lit, correct white balance, and of course be the type of photo that people will want to buy. Even when you get all of this right you will find that some microstock sites accept your photo while other don’t. Whether your photo gets accepted is very subjective – a real person rather than a computer program will decide on whether to accept it or not.

The website that I found to be of most help to me is http://www.microstockinsider.com who have loads of useful information on which sites will earn you most money, what these sites are looking for, keywording, and how to streamline your workflow.

I was originally hoping to earn enough money to build up a pool of money which I could spend on camera equipment without dipping into the families spare cash. I still hope to do this but it is a lot more time consuming and much more difficult than I first thought. I will keep trying though as raising your photography to the standards that some of these site require can only be a good thing.


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