Stock photography is a difficult business. I am with several stock agencies, Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Alamy, Dreamstime, iStock and Getty Images. I’ve been on and off for the last 10 years, but after I become a Getty Contributor I can really see some potential in making profit as a stock photographer.
To get accepted as a photographer with most stock agencies is pretty easy. Over the years the need for uploading high quality work has gone down, and pretty much everything is accepted for starting a stock photography career. So, how difficult (or easy) is it to make money as a stock photographer? To be honest, it’s very difficult. It demands a shitload of work taking good photos, put good names and descriptions, and not at least add 30-50 good keywords to each image. When that is done you need to upload the images to he different agencies. Lately agencies like Shutterstock startet using AI for the quality control, and the system fails a lot. I’ve got the strangest rejections, i.e. the system can’t see the difference between waves in the ocean and noice. If you decide to take a image with blurred background it will be rejected as “unsharp”. This is really frustrating, and a lot of images must be resubmitted, a lot of extra work.
One year ago I was invited via a good friend to be a Getty Images contributor, and being with Getty simplifies my stock photography a lot. There are of course some downsides also with Getty, but my stock photography has taken a new direction. Since Getty is a macrostock agency, the profit is normally much better. After doing som calculations on my excel spreadsheet it showed me that for average of one image sold with Getty, I had to sell five images with i.e. Shutterstock. Interesting fact that made me start thinking about going “all in” with Getty. In fact, Getty Images demands exclusivity. When I make an upload and the image is accepted, I can’t sell it elsewhere.
I know there’s been a lot of complaints about the contributor page at Getty. But there is a solution, a nice peace of software called DeepMeta. I can work “offline” with all my images, and when everything is done all images are uploaded, and the software makes the batch on the ESP page. From there it’s easy to follow the quality control via the contributor app on my iPhone. The QC normally take maximum 2 days, so much faster than most of the other agencies (except Shutterstock).
Per February 2020 I only has about 180 images in my Getty portfolio, but I sell images every month. I’m impressed and excited. So, to come to some kind of conclusion. From the numbers of my sales vs. size of my portfolio, it’s more or less a nobrainer 🙂