Wouldn't it be nice if you could somehow rake in a cool passive income from your holiday photos? Well actually you can do just that by signing up for a microstock site! Microstock sites essentially connects small time or amateur photographers willing to sell their photos to publishing houses willing to buy them.
From the seller's perspective, the biggest advantage of using a microstock agency is that they seldom claim exclusive rights to your photos meaning the same photo can be sold over and over again. From the buyer's perspective also, microstock is often preferred over regular stock photos because they are a lot cheaper (often costing less than $1 per photo).
Following is a list of some of the most popular microstock sites available to international citizens.
A subsidiary of Getty Images, iStockphoto is the oldest and probably the largest (profit wise) microstock agency. A very stringent quality control policy ensures that only the best photos get approved and it is very difficult to become a contributing photographer for them. However, they also provide industry leading contributor compensation schemes making sure their photographers can enjoy a steady and substantial income.
Apart from photos iStockphoto also accepts vectors and video clips.
Another major player in the microstock industry is Shutterstock. Unlike most other microstock agencies Shutterstock operates on a subscription basis, which means instead of single photos, large publishing houses buys hundreds of photos from them at a bulk rate. This in turn ensures their photographers have a greater chance of selling a large number of photos in a short period of time, generating a sizable income. Reportedly,some contributing photographers are earning as much as $10,000 a month from Shutterstock alone.
Another great feature of Shutterstock is their support forum which contains lots of interesting discussions and tips and tricks from some of the industry leaders and is a treasure trove of information for any budding photographer.
Shutterstock is always on the look out for editorial photos and can even provide you backstage passes if you are willing to cover any newsworthy event in your locality.
Dreamstime is a much smaller microstock site, but still a lot of people are making hundreds of dollars with them every month. An unique feature of Dreamstime is that they offer critical reviews of the photos they have rejected, giving the photographer a chance to either plead his case or make the necessary adjustments and resubmit the photos.
Dreamstime also allows the selling of exclusive rights at a recommended price of $350 (negotiable).
A subsidiary of Shutterstock, Bigstockphotos have well over 3 million photos on their database. Their editorial team is a lot more lenient making it a good place to start for beginners. Unfortunately, however, at present it is rather difficult to generate any sort of revenue with Bigstockphotos.
A few other well known and reliable microstock sites include Fotolia, Crestock and Canstock Photo.