I know you are looking for passive income streams, although going through the headache of fighting for quality entries seems proactive. Sending your photos to the right people might quicken the hunt.
Maybe I dream to big?
Injury. stupid dirty hands. A sweater (that my grandmother knit in 1960s) that is too big for me and a mug that is too small for the photo. Not to mention the uneaven weathering on the wood (the back of a trailer we use for hauling wood) and I didn't bother to sweep off the extra ditritus. I just plopped my tea down on the leaves that were already there, got my tripod, took the shot with the self timer, then drank my cold tea.
It's not professional. But it is me!
Okay, so yeh... my photo is poking fun at these professional shots. But then again, I'm also showing off how good they are! These people are professionals. They spent a lot of time seeking out the location, light, time, sweater, all to create a specific mood. They know the trends. They shoot the photo at the right time. They know what they are doing.
I actually like your photo better than the more "commercial" ones, Raven. Far more interesting and evocative, and makes you take a second look and see more details. The others are "yawn, another stock image, yawn". But, alas, I don't buy Shutterstock images.
Have you ever considered making cards? There are a few local artists from near my hometown that make extra income selling cards on consignment at local shops. I have bought a few for "very special" thank you cards, as they are expensive, at $6-10 each. But they seem to do well with the summer tourist crowd. They have them (probably on consignment) at various local art and gift stores, restaurants, etc. I've even seen people do boxed sets of say 5 cards (for example - 5 animals in the snow as a christmas card set, or whatever). Take out your hands and add "Thank you" in the right text, and you'd have a really nice, unique fall-themed thank you card. Or leave in your hands and it's a "Get well soon" card
One of my friends is a card-a-holic from Vancouver and actively searches out stationary shops and Etsy for neat and unique cards. I've seen a brisk business selling unique cards at a few events in downtown Toronto. Not exactly "passive" income though. I remember there being a lot of quirky stores in downtown Victoria, and in Sidney that might be interested. I've seen a few styles of cards that seem to do well - "local" but not overly commercial scenery (like an ACTUAL canoe, blemishes and all, on a lake, rather than a "perfect" canoe on a "perfect" lake, or an authentically grubby and graffiti'd Toronto street scene), cute animals, and quirky/funny/sarcastic. Anyway, those would be a "print off a bunch, then return in a month and see how they did" sort of thing. Another option would be prints - there's a local photographer that seems to do a decent business selling prints at our local art festival. His stuff isn't my style, but I know a lot of people who have some of his prints.
posted 2 months ago
You're on the right track.
Raven did say she's looking for a passive income stream.
Hard for me to think that way.
I like the idea of local cards at local merchant's idea.
My employer, a trucking company, started having a small turnstile of occasion cards, birthday, thinking of you, etc. I grabbed a couple, but the next thing is finding a mailbox at a truck stop.
I still like the idea of it though.
I used to belong to sendoutcards.com, it was great sending pictures of my then infant son to family. All from online. Maybe they would love a new line of photos.
That idea made me think of "How'd We Do?" photo postcards. Contact local merchant's, or ones a thousand miles away. See if they would like to try a unique way for customers to tell them how they did, areas for improvement, or calling out an exceptional customer service individual. A simple postcard with a beautiful picture of their food, a sign for the business, etc.
Seems every fast food business wants your two cents, and will give you a free food item for your feedback using their register receipt.
Wouldn't some businesses love to take that to the next level? Maybe a photo of a 10 percent off sign, "please take a minute to get 10 percent off your next order", no need to keep track of this postcard, just drop it off in any mailbox, your discount will be waiting for you the next time you come in.
I think the cards thing is neat, but I know too much about the distribution chain to see that this is not passive income. It's great for people who have that much free time, at the time of day when their contacts are at work. But I don't.
As it's active income, it might be worth starting another thread about it.
My interest with stock photography is in passive income. Think about it like a pension. Every month, money arrives in the bank account. I could be sick in bed all month or on vacation, and I still get money delivered to me once a month, on schedule. That's what passive income is.
So far, it's going well. I'm selling more photos than I expected, much earlier than I expected. It takes a few moments per photo and some of the photos are now selling more than once. I'm making more sales than predicted for this few photos, so I'm very happy with the path it is taking.
I took it as a photo exercise to play with composition and to try to get the white balance right. I failed at the white balance but uploaded it anyway with the idea someone would buy it as a good example of how not to take a photo on a white background.
I did a google search of where this photo shows up on the internet and I found it here.
I've slowed down on my uploading because of the Holiday Season means I haven't had any time at my computer.
But I wanted to give an update. I have a little over 200 photos on Alamy and on Shutterstock. Most of those photos are exclusive to that site, with about 20% shared on both. So that's really closer to 350 photos for sale on stock photography.
On Shutterstock, I'm selling at least two a week now. With an average income of $4 per month over the last 2 months. December has had more sales, but most of them are subscription so the amount I get per sale is lower.
It's still a long way before I get enough sales on Shutterstock to meet the minimum for payment (which is $35).
The photos that sell best on SS so far are ones I don't like much. They aren't technically good photos and are usually of defective or ugly things. Which tells me a lot. I noticed that most images for sale on stock sites are as perfect as possible. A search of "rain barrels" gives beautiful, clean, artistic, and inspiring images. It made me feel bad. Mine don't look like that. They are practical and used. They look like this.
Although there's some gratification of seeing the images out there in the world and knowing that what I create is useful to someone, it's still rough to know that I'm getting so little per sale. It's very hard to see the sweater for the stitch. Knitting one stitch creates a tiny amount of cloth. The average handknit sweater is roughly 100,000 stitches. When you think of it that way, it's amazing that we have anything to wear. But a knitter makes one stitch at a time and the sweater grows. Like the power of trickle charging a battery or crowdfunding.
As for Alamy, no sales yet. My clickthrough rate for October was high, but plumeted since then. I've been focusing on images that would be good for books or magazines so I understand the sales there take a lot longer.
They have a much easier system for uploading photos and adding keywords. They also have really good statistics that I can use to look up what keywords are working and what is not.
December was a slow month. On shutterstock, my sales were less than half the previous two months and still no sales on alamy. I'm still making two sales a week, but the sales for December were 25c intead of the dollar something I was getting before.
I'm not feeling a lot of motivation to upload photos this week, but I'll get over it. There are a lot of photos building up on my hard drive waiting for a quick edit and keyword. But I'm also thinking of getting a software that will load the keywords directly into the picture instead of having to type them in each time I upload.
This is my thinking today. On Shutterstock, my beautiful photos don't sell. Why? Because so many people make more beautiful photos than I could ever make.
However, on Shutterstock, my ugly photos sell. Today I sold this:
But when I do a search for similar images, there aren't many. The ones I find are perfect - beyond reality - or far more grubby than one would normally find in their home. If I was blogging, I would want something just grubby enough to look real but not too messy to scare people.
So today I'm thinking that my niche is to take photos of ugly things. I seem to do this pretty well.
back in the days of film I was member of both ASMP and NPPA and had two agents that dealt with stock photos and assignments, Agency France Press and silver image, never made too much money off stock photos, paydays are from assignments and things like events usually an assignment say for example gymnastics national championships, you get paid for travel, time, and then get a space rate based on what is published and where. or an editor will negotiate a flat rate for a job but you'll get your images sent back to agency to be kept on file for stock requests. or just going to events and shopping around for buyers, for example I remember one year going to Daytona Bike week and cashing in big time selling covers and a couple double trucks to easy rider and Lady Biker Magazines, big magazines like National Geographic, Newsweek, business week, time and the like also pay well. Ive had pictures published all over the world and won a bunch of awards, but I'm still a near nobody in the world of photography. There are a million people who want the one job. Of course today nearly everybody in the world has a camera with them at all times. there are billions of pictures on the internet. If your pictures stand out and have great or unique subject matter someone might have a use for them and you might be able to make some money from them if you deal with a trustworthy agent. Still today some of the top magazine photographers in the world still use fujichrome from what I understand.
good luck to any of you who want to put you pictures up for stock