Can You Still Make Money from Stock Photography?

Photo of stock photography tips

Once upon a time, photographers could earn a pretty decent living licensing their images as stock photography. But that’s all changed as the stock photography market has collapsed from the popularity of less lucrative microstock images, royalty-free licensing, public domain photo usage, and downright image theft on the Internet.

Or has it?

In a compelling video on YouTube, two photographers say they’re still making pretty decent money selling some of their photos as stock. The photographers, the husband-and-wife team who run the popular Mango Street channel, explain how they sold over $47,000 in stock photos in the clip at the bottom of this post.

“In this video I’ll break down our $47,107 in stock photography sales and show you which of our photos have sold the most over the years to give you some ideas on how you may be able to do the same,” says Daniel Inskeep, who runs Mango Street with his wife, Rachel Gulotta.

The video is a follow-up to a previous clip from a few years ago where the duo first explained how much they make from selling their images on the Stocksy stock photo service. Inskeep begins by revealing how much they made from the single 30-minute stock photography shoot featured in the previous video.

“All in all, nine of the photos have sold with a total of 14 sales, earning us $332.50 in royalties,” he says. “So that’s not a crazy amount but, first, it was just a 30-minute shoot. If we stacked an eight-hour day full of a variety of shoots and models, we could have a couple hundred photos added to our portfolio stock images. Second, these photos will be up as long as we’re still photographers and as long as Stocksy is still a site.”

Things get interesting when Inskeep gives their yearly sales breakdown for stock photography and shares which photos were their best-selling images. He then explains how you can do it yourself while offering tips on how to get creative with your stock photography and choose subject matter that will sell well.

“Portraits, business, coffee and technology are all really popular among those who license stock photos especially if you can capture it in a creative way that hasn’t been done a thousand times before,” he says. “The more organic and candid nature of the photos on Stocksy was way less common ten years ago so there’s still plenty of opportunity to carve out a nice little piece of side income if you can execute your ideas effectively.”

We always appreciate this kind of business transparency from photographers so give it a watch below. In a similar vein, you should check out this video from photographer Evan Ranft where he explains how to make $100,00 a year as a photographer.

Leave a Reply