5 Tips for Making Money with Your Photos

Stock photo agencies are a convenient way for photographers to sell their images to a large audience. But with the amount of agencies as well as photographers out there, it becomes harder to make a living out of it. The market seems saturated. So how do you make sure that you earn money with your stock photography?

Odense, Denmark, May 04, 2017 --(PR.com)-- Markus Gann is a successful German stock photographer and illustrator who previously worked in the automobile industry. However, in 2010 following several fruitful sales of his works, he decided to change careers and become a full-time photographer and illustrator. His success and talent are what made Colourbox (a Danish microstock agency) select him as May’s Artist of the Month. 1.000 of Markus Gann’s images will be given away as a part of celebrating this accolade.

Not only is Markus a talented artist, he also possesses a keen knowledge of which motifs sell best. Being the author of the notable German book “Geld verdienen mit Stockfotografie” (Engl. “Earn Money with Stock Photography”) he is the perfect person to share industry insights, which he does through the following 5 tips on how to make money with stock photography.

1. Stay Motivated
It can be tough to get your name out there - especially in the beginning; to become known within your target audience. Stamina and the will to work hard for your goals are essential.

“If you want to speed up your career, you need to have a strategical plan and be willing to invest time.”

According to Markus Gann, this is what you need to do if you want to be successful - stay motivated and never give up.

2. Don’t Be a Copycat
At the beginning of your stock photography career it might seem like a great idea to simply research popular photographers and provide a similar portfolio. But Markus Gann’s advice to stock photographers starting out is: don’t be copycats. There is nothing wrong with finding inspiration by checking out the works of others, but be careful to not set aside your own style for those of your competition.

“Do your own thing, don’t pay too much attention to what others do.”

3. Keep an Eye on the Market
“The market is developing constantly,” says Markus Gann. As a photographer you need to keep that in mind. Observe the market and do not lose track of its current trends and needs.

In the past years, there has been a shift within stock photography agencies. Besides the big players offering a wide range of motifs, more and more smaller agencies focusing on a specific niche are trying to find their place within the market now. The same thing applies to photographers, so you should find your own way within the market as it is constantly changing.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Rules
During your initial attempts at stock photography, you will stumble upon those oh-so golden rules, such as following the seasonal trends, e.g. providing motifs of snowy landscapes, Christmas or NYE at the end of the year. But you can rest assured that many other photographers have already covered that ground - the market is saturated.

Or have you ever heard of: keeping it simple for authentic photography whereas you should go for being bold and striking when it comes to illustrations?

Break those rules from time to time. “If you always follow the rules, you’ll lose creativity and motivation.” So do not be afraid of straying stray away from the straight and narrow and exploring new territory.

5. Find Your Own Visual Language
You have thoroughly researched the market needs, you have had a look at other photographers, you have experimented with breaking some rules and you have put some time and effort into your work.

So what is left to do? How do you really get noticed and stand out from the crowd?

You have to find your own visual language.

Occasionally you will find those portfolios in the business that are selling well without being a big collection or offering a brand new motif. What they all have in common is “a personal visual language that just hits the customers’ needs.”

Success is a Story That Often Lies in the Past

The 5 presented tips do not guarantee the follower to become a best-selling stock photographer. You have to keep in mind that success is not really something you can plan. Even the best photographers have to face the fact that not all of their images sell well. To get a sense of what kind of motifs in your portfolio make the most money - you simply need time and experience. Or like Markus says, “Don’t chase after success, let the success come to you.”
Katharina Hassemer
+49 (0)30 - 446 74 94 37