Stock agencies have three major features:
- The same picture – we are talking about a good picture or a high demand picture – could be bought thousand of times and therefore keeps paying you. Each payment may be too small to consider separately but multiplied in numerous sales they could amount to a significant income.
- Photos might be sold worldwide. It means you could be living in Asia for example but your photo was bought by a Web-designer in Canada. Are you proud?
- Microstocks are on-line and therefore working 24/7 – no weekends and no holidays. The effort applied only once to take a photo and to specify good keywords (there are a lot of software and Web-sites, like ArtHelpDesk.com that can help with that) will be constantly working for you.
All photos in stocks and microstocks are categorized and could be found by keywords. For example, the good way to describe a girl reading a book in a park may be – “blonde, girl, beautiful, long, legs, book, study, park, outdoor, reading, learning, student, library, pretty”. Some microstocks insist you specify at least a dozen keywords. Usually, the number of keywords is about 20 to 50. Some microstocks can help you by the list of related keywords where you can select the most relevant. Ask questions about singular and plural forms of the same keywords, as search mechanisms may differ from stock to stock.
The best way is to specify keywords in a picture itself (for example, in PhotoShop you can do it through menu File -> File Info -> Document Title, Description, Keyword). This will save you a lot of time in the case of multiple uploads.
If you are hesitating which keyword better describes your picture, try to search for similar photos and find out what others are using as keywords. You might be surprised! Again, keywords and sometimes the sequence of keywords are very important and will allow you to find your photo among thousands of others.
The most interesting question – what is the income? Well, based on my own and others’ experiences, it is possible to say that an average amateur photographer with about 100-200 photos online and about 10-20 photos added every month is able to achieve sales level between 50-300 bucks per month. More skilled photographers with a simple home studio, with about 200-300 photos online and 50-100 new photos every month can earn up to $1000. Not bad for the residual income at all! So keep going!