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Stock Photo Agencies: Make Money From Your Photos

Last updated on 01/18/2013

Have great pictures laying around? You can make a few dollars from your photos
By posting your photos with a stock agency. We've rounded up a few of the best -- and best-paying -- below. By Emily Raymond

Want to make money off those vacation photos? Put your photos up in a stock agency, where images are showcased and sold to web sites, magazines, and other publications. As long as you don’t mind your vacation photos appearing in advertisements for prescription drugs or on cereal boxes, selling photos to a stock agency is a great way to make a few extra bucks.

Don’t quit your day job yet: Most agencies pay photographers every time one of their images is downloaded and some even offer additional royalties, but unless your work is highly popular, you’ll have to keep commuting to your cubicle in the mornings.

Stock agencies want a wide variety of images – people, places, art, animals, landscapes, action – to cater to a variety of clients. The chances are good that you already have photos that someone else wants. Time to upload! As long as you are 18 years old, are the sole photographer of the images, and obtain written permission from any people seen in the images, then you are eligible to sell your photos. Here are a few agencies that accept new contributors at any time:


Can Stock Photo – This agency allows you to retain all rights to your images, and pays a quarter per sale to subscribers of its service, and a 50 percent commission of sales to guests and members. 


Deposit Photos – This agency has different packages for guests and subscribing customers, and photographers’ payment is dependent on the type of customer purchasing their photos as well. Pay ranges from a quarter to $5.40 per download, depending on type of customer, seniority status, and the size of the image. You can also rake in 50-60 percent of the royalties. 


Getty Images / Flickr – In 2008, stock-photo powerhouse Getty Images struck a deal with photo-sharing service Flickr that allows Getty’s seasoned photo editors to pick budding photographers among the millions of Flickr users. Photographers who want their images to be seen can apply on Flickr’s web site, and can make enough money to order a pizza every couple of weeks. 


iStockphoto – Whereas most agencies require a few submitted images before signing you on as a regular contributor, iStockphoto has an additional requirement: passing a quiz on copyright issues and image requirements. This agency pays 20-40 percent of royalties to photographers, or about $0.30-7.50 per download, and pays more if you deal exclusively with them. 


Veer – This agency doesn’t require a quiz, but pays slightly less with going rates of $0.35-7.00 per download. If your photo is picked for an “extended license” to be sold commercially, you can make $43. They offer tips, feedback, and forums. 


As always, be sure to read the fine print on copyrights and royalties before registering and downloading your photos. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the agency’s payment schedule; each has its own, but it is common for stock agencies to pay via PayPal or Moneybookers once a certain dollar amount is reached. Happy uploading!

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