For any photographer starting out, one of the hardest elements is to try and sell his images. If you spend all day by the phone promoting the business, the chances are that you will spend less time doing the thing that you love most, taking pictures.
This is a problem facing many aspiring young photographers. If you fall into this category then it is time to have a rethink about your photography and contact one of the many stock photography agencies.
One of the main reasons for letting an agency handle your entire sales is their customer reach. A large stock company will have thousands of clients on their books, and are always on the lookout for new talent. You have the pleasure of taking images and leaving all the sales to the agency.
The following is a synopsis on how photography agencies work.
Submitting your images to a picture library or agency should be looked at as a long-term investment. You could have to wait for six months before you receive any payments. When an agency accepts the work of a new photographer they will have a lot of scanning and filing to do and all of this takes time. They will then have to market your images.
An agency will ask for a contract to be signed, licensing them to the right to market and sell your images for a standard length of time. The standard term is normally five years with some of them looking for up to seven years.
Agencies normally sell the reproduction rights of an image, which means that the image is being licensed to a buyer for a specified purpose. They will not normally sell outright rights without the photographers consent.
Photography agencies work on a commission basis. Usually when they sell an image to a publisher the photographer receives a percentage of the price agreed. The percentage is normally fifty percent of the sale price. Most image libraries will require a minimum submission. This could be anywhere between fifty to five hundred images.
Before you submit your photographs do your research. Find out what sort of images are accepted by image libraries. All agencies will have their own set of guidelines; do follow these or your images will be rejected. Check out their website to see what images they are using. You will also see the quality of the images they accept. Make sure that you add a detailed caption with each image – this will help to sell it.
So, do you think you have what it takes to be successful with a stock photography company? If you are a well-published photographer you should have no trouble. If magazines and publishing companies have rejected you in the past, the chances are that your imagery is not up to par. If you do feel that your pictures are good enough, create a portfolio on a CD and submit it.
You do not need to submit all your images to the stock agency; you can always keep some images to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to get a rejection slip through the door. Some of the world’s greatest photographers have received them.