How to Become a Stock Photographer


Stock photos are becoming very popular among web surfers today, particularly those creating their own apps, website banners, or even photos for blogs. This increase in popularity stirs many individuals’ curiosity about how to become a stock photographer. If you want to be this type of photographer, you must know the following details to set your expectations accordingly.

What is a Stock Photographer?

This type of expert is a regular photographer who distributes pictures on stock photo websites to obtain royalties from photos used for a wide array of online tasks. People wanting to be stock photographers can be professionals or amateurs so long as they have the right equipment at their disposal.

Work Opportunities

The best work opportunity is by submitting photos to different stock photo websites. Numerous sites offering stock images are available online and welcome submissions from photographers across the globe. The photographer will need to sign up and understand license and royalty details* before completing the registration process to set their expectations accordingly.

Educational Requirements and Investments

Completing photography classes is beneficial although may not be necessary. Some stock photographers are hobbyists who trained their skills with continuous practice on their own time**. One way to do this is to play around with your camera and became familiarized with enhancing shots. If you are doing this for fun you may want to upload photos to stock photo sites and earn some additional money.

Knowledge in photo manipulation software is also necessary. Editing will enhance the photo and will make your shots more appealing to potential buyers. Many Schools will offer short courses about photoediting using different programs. Some photographers however, are able to learn photo editing through self-study.

As for investments, you need to have a high quality camera with great resolution to distribute larger sizes and crisp quality. Camera accessories like lenses are among some of the standard investments for stock photographers. Photo editing software is another crucial investment since you need to use it for enhancing pictures.

Work Environment

A photographer who wants to take stock photos can work indoors or outdoors. Some generic photos can be taken at home with white or black background. From there, the photographer can edit the photo in preparation for submission. Submissions will be directed to the stock photo site.

In some cases, a photographer goes out for more subjects or change of environment. Generated photos, however, will still be edited at home and then submitted.


A stock photographer earns revenue through royalties when their photos are used. However, talking about royalties can be tricky. First, royalties can be around 20% to 50% of the amount depending on what the site offers. The price, however, is not the amount offered on site, but the price agreed on the license. Hence, the price offered on the site is not necessarily the price offered to the photographer.*** Therefore, the final price will be much smaller than expected.

Being a stock photographer can be good a side-job for photographers, but for those without equipment it requires quite an investment. Hobbyists and professional photographers won’t have any problems with these investments since they already own and use them.


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