Traveling is a wonderful experience. Having the ability to explore our world and its beauty can bring untold joy. Photography is a natural extension to traveling – the two activities go hand in hand. Whilst traveling, you can let your creativity and imagination run wild and take stunning photos of the places you visit.
Aside from creating beautiful imagery and fantastic memories, travel photography can also provide you with a steady stream of income. Firstly, travel snaps could be used in web content or your blog. Secondly, you can actually submit travel photos to stock photo platforms. Third-party users can then purchase your images and you will receive a commission.
This can be a lucrative venture providing you understand how to submit photos and what is involved. Many travelers actually fail to successfully submit their first photos. This can be due to a lack of knowledge or other factors. In this guide, we look at how to submit your travel photos to stocks and get paid:
Step 1 – Research stock photo platforms and their requirements
First and foremost you must look at the different stock photography platforms available. The web is littered with stock websites – the quality and setup can vary greatly from website to website. Moreover, each stock platform may have different requirements or contractual agreements. It is important that you fully understand what a site has to offer, and what you must offer in return.
Examples of popular stock sites include:
- Getty Images
- Adobe Stock
- Big Stock
Each of the above sites operates differently. Getty Images, for example, has some of the highest earning potential available, but the competition is fierce and images must be immaculate. Moreover, they exercise exclusivity on your images – this means you cannot submit them elsewhere. Ensure you first understand the market and the available platforms.
Step 2 – Research current trends and photo niches that can offer higher earning potential
One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is to submit generic photos and expect them to sell like hotcakes. Consider this – you know that stunning photo you took of that pristine beach in the Caribbean? There are probably a thousand other photos of similar beaches available on stock photo sites already. You can, of course, submit a photo such as this, but as it is not unique, it may not generate a large number of downloads.
This is why the next step is to look at current trends and niches. Stock websites are often in-need of particular photo niches. Water Splash photography could be popular for example. Or there may be a high demand for a particular type of image, but a low supply of relating stock images. You must research these trends and try to understand what unique photos will sell quickly and in higher volumes.
Step 3 – Select a handful of stock photo platforms
Once you have found some photography niches and have a firm grasp of the industry, it is time to make your platform selection. There are two options – exercise exclusivity and concentrate on one stock platform, or choose a handful of websites to improve your potential revenue. When choosing stock photography platforms, consider the following:
- Exclusivity rights (Can you still submit your photos to other platforms?)
- Copyright issues (How stringent is the platform on copyrighting?)
- Pricing structure
- Payment cycle & payment methods
- Website platform and usability
Dissect each platform and decide which ones are the best for you.
Step 4 – Carefully select photos for submission and complete the process
Finally, you can choose your photos and prepare them for submission. Bear in mind that some stock photo platforms do not allow photo editing – they want the image to be untouched and in its original format. Others do allow minimal editings such as corrections and minor color improvements. Other considerations to look at for photo submission include:
- Minimum required resolution
- Maximum file-size
- Accepted file-types
Ensure you have chosen wisely and that your photos are exceptional quality. This will give you a much higher chance of success. Once you have submitted the photos, approval is required. Each image is analyzed and its quality is checked. If accepted, it will then be uploaded to the stock photo image database and will appear in user search strings.
All that’s left now, is it monitor your photos and check on their performance. On mastering the submission process, you can then regularly upload new photos and improve your portfolio.
The stock photography market is competitive and your photos will have to shine. Providing that you take into consideration the above, however, there is no reason why you can’t be successful. Understanding is key and ensuring that you are providing unique photos that fill a niche in the current demand.