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Submitted on
April 16, 2007


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Sooo You Wanna SELL Your Art?-UPDATED!

Journal Entry: Mon Apr 16, 2007, 10:18 AM

:bulletred: Sooo You Wanna SELL Your Art?--UPDATED!  :bulletred:

Update: Before I go on any longer, my prayers, thoughts, & well wishes go out to the victims and the families of the Virginia Tech massacre. Now the worst education shooting in US History, surpassing Columbine. This tragedy comes almost to the exact date Columbine, which isn't far from my house, happened. May God rest their souls......

  I have gotten MANY questions regarding photography site and thought that I would take a few minutes to answer the questions down below. Feel free folks to post any questions or concerns here in my journal, should you have any.

:bulletred: My images weren't accepted at Shutterstock, now what? Shutterstock, while it is my personal best selling site, it is also the hardest to get in to. They are VERY picky when it comes to noise and focus. here are a couple hints for ya all.
  A) Shutterstock's submission size minimum is 4MP. If you have a camera that is above 4MP, resize your images down to about 4MP. DO NOT go below the size of that. You will be auto-rejected. A rough estimate for the safe zone is 2400x1800. This allows for sharper photos, smaller file size, and the images will have less noise and appear to be better focused.
  B) DO NOT SHARPEN YOU IMAGES, EVER when it comes to stock photography. This isn't just a Shutterstock rule, but a rule at all agencies.
  C) If you were rejected at Shutterstock, fine tune your skills. Start then by concentrating on the other agencies I have listed. One thing to remember, is that because one image was accepted at Dreamstime, doesn't mean it will be guranteed acceptance at Fotolia. This is a norm.

:bulletred: Can I have my images up at other agencies at the same time??-- One word, YES. You sure can. The key here is the numbers, the more you have up the more you sell.

:bulletred: Do I surrender my © to my images when I do this??--No. Unless you choose to do a total and complete sell out of all your rights, you keep the ©.

:bulletred: They said my images were to noisy!--  OK first ALWAYS shoot at the lowest ISO you can. Second, if you use Photoshop or PSP try this technique. Simply go in with the blur/soften brush in the areas that contain noise, set the strength at 10% and have at it and go and soften these areas. That will help a TON.

:bulletred: Does it matter if the image is 240 dpi or 72 dpi?-- No. Not one little bit.

:bulletred: Why do they want a photo ID of me? Because they need to make sure you are who you say you are. This is the real deal, it is NO different if you went somewhere and applied for a job. They are paying you and funds go all over the world to photographers. This is needed for identity so they know they are paying the person who they say they are, and also for Tax purposes if you are a US Citizen. It isn't a scan, if it was, I don't think it would be written about the way it has been.

:bulletred: I only get paid 25¢!!!--  Yes and No. While true, 25¢ is a payout, it is also dependant upon which licensing and rights structure you have chosen and what agency you are on. Some pay over 50% of the price. That can equal several $100s of dollars say if you are selling on or have an image that is exclusive to Dreamstime. Different Rights/licenses/agencies = different prices/payouts.

:bulletred: What about frames in my picture??-- No. Immediate rejection.

:bulletred: If you want to know what sells, browse the sites and choose "show most popular. That will give you some ideas.

If you have any other comments or concerns, please post it here in my journal and I will answer as best as I can.

New features posted below!

  I thought  that I would take a few and talk about selling your artwork, and selling it in droves at that too! Now I know some of you are going to say "who on Earth wants to buy my stuff" or the ever so popular "my stuff isn't good enough". Ya know what I say? Bullshit. If you create it, there will be a buyer for it, and often, how we see our own art is NOT how others see it. We have a skewed perspective being the creator, and are unable too see past this. Everyone does, it's human nature.

  So now I suppose I have ya asking "just how do I sell my art"? This implies to photography, photo manips, fractals, backgrounds, you name it. Are you aware that stock photography sites actually accept and will allow you to sell other things besides photography? Photography is a shoe-in, but they also accept graphics and fractals? Yep, they sure do! Now I know you all are saying,  "but at 25¢ an image doesn't seem like much". That 25¢ a download has equaled over $300 on one site alone in just a few months for me. I sell photos, fractals, backgrounds, etc. Other sites have a higher payout to, and some even allow you to choose the kinda licensing you want when it comes to your images. Do ya know I have been on these sites for 6 months or less selling, and in that small amount of time I have made over TWICE the amount selling on stock sites that I have made on prints from DA which I have sold for over 2 years?!?!? A great big WTF there, huh? Yep, it runs circles around my print sales! Now I just gotta get Judy doing this! :D

  I honestly see TONS of stuff on DA from my watchers that would sell like hot cakes on a cold winter day on a stock site, T O N S. Let's be honest, you have a TON of images, what are you doing with them? My guess is probably nothing. And if you are a photographer, my guess is that you 1000s of images. Just sitting around, doing nothing but gathering dust. Why in the world not make them work for you and sell them and make money!?!??

  The August 2006 issue of Popular Photography had a nice article called "25 Cent Fortunes" (available online at the link) that in detail talks about people who are actually making a living off this. Now just think a second here, all those images you have, be it photos, graphics, manips....can do this.

  To be really good at this, you have to be able to submit as often as you can, know what is hot, what sells, and know and understand keywording. I personally use XnView as my program for keywording. It is 100% free and allows for templating, which means that when I have a lotta images to keyword, I can simply apply the template and wallah, all done easily.

  I encourage everyone to try it, after all what do you have to lose? Money! And just images sitting around on your hardrive gathering dust. Here are some helpful tips for ya all:

:bulletblue: The stock agencies are sticklers (meaning tight assed) about focus and noise reduction. BIG TIME. Your focus MUST be sharp, and if noise is an issue, use something like Neat Image and make sure you download your cameras noise reduction profile for neat image. Go lightly, in fact, you may wanna use noise reduction on a seperate layer and then erase in areas. To much noise reduction will get ya a rejection on the submitted image.

:bulletblue: I do NOT submit to IstockPhoto. And here is why: Since they have been bought out by Getty Images, they have essentially cut back and now placed image upload limits on providers. No, this isn't worth it for me. The key for stock is to have as many images possible for sale, and the limit of 10 or so a week doesn't work for me. And they also have an absolute draconic, pain in the ass, non complacent, submission process. It takes me the longest outta all the agencies I am on. So I left IStock to concentrate on the other agencies I am a member of.

:bulletblue: Age. Shutterstock is, as far as I know, the only agency where you don't have to be 18 to submit to. This is fine, as they are the site where I make the most money at. they are also the largest site around. There may be others, which is possible, but make sure you check the TOS when you join.

:bulletblue: Payouts & Photo ID's. . They can pay you in paypal, bank check, or Moneygram. ID's ARE needed for tax purposes. They are also needed so they can verify your identity. They aren't gonna cut a check to someone named xXBleedingHeart13Xx after all. If you are a US Citizen, they also need it for tax purposes. This is the real deal, and as I said, many people make a living at this earning 1000s a month.

So with that being said, where do I submit to you ask? Ask and you shall receive!

:bulletblue: Resolution. You MUST have at least a 4MP camera. Shutterstock only accepts images at 4MP and higher, and if your camera is a dead even 4 or 4.1 MP, add a 100pixels to the size and you will be fine. Other sites accept at 3mp. Here is a lil trick for ya all. If you have a camera that is higher than 4mp, resize your image down to 4mp. Like 2500x1800 or so. This makes your uploads go faster and submitting higher res images really has no effect on anything. This is also a nice lil trick to hide imperfections such as noise and so forth.

Shutterstock-- This by FAR and away is my #1 site. You have to make $100 (I THINK) before you get your first payout. Honestly, if there was but one single site I would tell everyone and encourage everyone to join, this would be it. They accept all kinds of images, and my backgrounds have sold really well, as has my photos. In your initial submission to them, they do things a little differently and actually give you a test run before you can submit regularily. You will be required to submit 10 images for review, 7 of those 10 MUST be accepted, for you to become a contributor. When not, you then must wait 30 days to try again. So make sure, for this, you submit your BEST shots! The image below is my #1 seller on Shutterstock, though not incredibly popular here on DA, it has garnered me over 200 downloads on SS!!! Let this be a lesson to you, don't let DA be the judge of how GOOD your artwork is, and if someone would purchase it! Get over to Shutterstock people and join, like yesterday!!!!!!!
Old Cadillacs by kkart

Dreamstime-- My second best selling site, they are creeping up on my sales over at Shutterstock, and what I REALLY like about DT is the fact that they pay you more, depending on what size the image is the person has downloaded and paid for. And they have an exclusive program, meaning that if you sell an image just on DT and not another agency, you can make a boatload! I highly encourage everyone to also check out this site. They are a lil anal on Fractals, but I have had several accepted.

Big Stock Photo--- I love this site, and I also sell quite a few on here too! They are quite a friendly bunch over there and I get almost everything accepted. From photos to fractals, to everything in between. One heck of a great site!

Fotolia-- Fotolia...well for awhile I wasn't selling much on here but over the last 3 mos bizz has picked up in a BIG way, and why that is I am not to sure. They have a really nice and easy uploading process, and is quite fast. Give em a look over!

Featurepics-- This site is amazing, and honestly it is also VERY unique. It is neither a micro stock site or a macro stock site, but rather both where YOU choose the pricing and the licensing structure for your images. You can sell rights managed, royalty free, or whatever you choose. You have full control here. An easy layout, that is designed very well, uploads here are a snap to do!

All of these sites also have forums, and you can really learn a lot in there, I know I have, with tricks, ideas, and suggestions. They are very professional, and are some of the best photography business forums I have ever seen.

I seriously hope all of you reading this will give it at least a try. After all what do ya have to lose? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say!!!! If ya all have any questions, just ask here in my journal !

:spotlight-left: :iconcravingfordesign: :spotlight-right:

I have watched C4D for a LONG time now, and honestly, he is not only one of the VERY BEST photographers on DA, but one of the very best I have ever seen. His work is utter perfection in every imaginable way and I learn something just from looking at his images. He doesn't post much at all, but when he does, he never fails to make my jaw drop. It is quality like his, I strive to achieve one day in my photographs.


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Add a Comment:
trevg Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2008  Professional Photographer
Well, I just submitted my first 10 to shutterstock. Thanks for all the tips. Hopefully at least 7 will make it through.
kkart Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2008  Professional Photographer
Oh I am sure u will be ok!
trevg Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2008  Professional Photographer
Shot down! Well, 5/10 isn't bad. I should have done more research before submitting. Oh well, I now have accounts at all the sites you listed. We'll see what happens from there!
kkart Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2008  Professional Photographer
really? I didnt pass my first either lol Dreamstime rocks though, start on there, they are my #1 seller now
Delusionist Featured By Owner May 28, 2008
Thank you for this wonderful posting I've just started looking into stock and found this very helpful... do nature photo's sell very well ?
Esmeral-da Featured By Owner May 4, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Hello! Thank you for good article!
I have one question, but not about the theme of the article: don't you mind is I public translation of this article in my russian blog?
kkart Featured By Owner May 4, 2008  Professional Photographer
hey if you can translate it then go ahead! Can you link back to me?
Esmeral-da Featured By Owner May 17, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
so... here is a translaton [link]
i've just finised it.
kkart Featured By Owner May 17, 2008  Professional Photographer
wow why thank you! :) I'll plug it in my journal as well :)
Esmeral-da Featured By Owner May 17, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for the article that makes a desire to translate!!!! =)
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