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Tech tips

Get started selling stock photos online

Julia wrote from Bossier City, LA. She wants to sell pictures on stock photography sites. But she’d like help getting started.

Well, Julia, there are plenty of microstock sites online. You can search via Google to find them. But let me give you three popular ones to get you started. There’s iStock, Fotolia by Adobe and Dreamstime.

Now, before you start selling, there are things you should know.

1. Your photos should be high quality. A budget point-and-shoot probably won’t take pictures good enough for these sites. Most stock photographers use digital SLRs. These give you more control over your photos. Also, thanks to larger sensors, the quality of the photos is better.

2. The size of your photos will affect the prices on the site. You’ll earn more for larger photos. So, take photos at the highest resolution. Buyers can purchase smaller versions of your photos if they want.

3. All photos submitted must be approved before they can be sold. So, take some time getting your shots together. The first photos you submit will undergo the most scrutiny. Submit your best ones. That way, you can start selling sooner. You can always resubmit if your work is declined.

4. Read materials on the sites carefully. Make sure you understand model releases and the like.

5. Laws govern where you can and cannot take photos. My column will help you sort out the confusion. But for shots containing people, you’ll need a model release.

6. Not all photos will sell, regardless of their technical quality. The photo subjects must appeal to buyers. People, business settings and food are popular subjects. Peruse popular downloads on the sites to see what’s selling.

7. Think about the holidays. Include holiday-themed photos in your portfolio. Don’t wait until the last minute. Have them up a couple of months in advance.

8. Submit photos to as many sites as possible. They’re more likely to sell. However, some sites pay more for exclusive work. This might be worth the commitment.

9. Finally, don’t forget to post your photos on Flickr. Photo stock agencies look at pictures there, and your great shots could be picked up.

Want to up your photography game? Here are even more tips that can help:

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