What is the cost of stock photography?

Did you ever wonder how much the amazing photos you downloaded for your newsletter and website cost? Are you wondering if you are paying too much or getting a great deal? You’re not the only one. Smartphone cameras are ubiquitous, making it appear that anyone can take great shots. So why should you pay for them?

Stock photos, especially microstock photos, can be quite expensive. Many stock photographers don’t get their fair share of the profits. Here’s why:

Camera gear can be expensive

First, great photography is costly. The most obvious cost to a photographer is his investment in equipment. A high-end camera is necessary to be competitive. It must have the ability to hold up against thousands of great photos. The camera must be able to take high-quality photos. This can easily run into the thousands for serious photographers. Some stock photographers are successful and can sell decently with fewer cameras, but they are very few.

Stock photography is more than just taking photos.

You’re not only paying for the gear but also the time and talent. Stock photographers must understand the elements and how to use negative space.

Most people invest in education to get to this point. Fine arts degrees are common among photographers. Some use online courses, Youtube and forums for photography. They must learn how to use their equipment, keep up with the latest trends, and master post-processing. This takes time and money if you take courses.

Additional costs may apply for studio, lighting, props and models.

Another important factor is that there’s more to creating great stock photos than meets the eye. Props and models are often needed. It’s important to consider studio usage and lighting equipment if the shot is not outdoors. This can add up to hundreds of dollars for a photographer, especially if the studio or lighting equipment is not already owned. It would be best to have the studio, lighting, props and clothing to shoot for more than an hour. It can easily cost thousands of dollars. You can make it happen with a small budget. However, you still need to spend time and money on the props.

Photography takes hours of hard work and education.

Once the photographer has the right elements – the location and model, as well as the props and gear – it’s time to set up the lighting and take the photos. The next step is post-processing images, keywording and uploading. Finally, you can choose the categories to display on each stock site. It’s still a lot of work, even if you have special software that streamlines keywording and uploading.

On-going Education 

You must keep updated with all the latest technology and trends to make it in stock photography. It doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. But, it is important to know what’s available and how it’s being used.

Stock photos are extremely expensive for the amount of work they require. Very few photographers can survive on stock photo income alone. They’re getting underpaid and not overpaying.

You might be wondering if stock photos can be expensive. Take a few hours to hire a photographer and get some photos with rights-exclusive content. Then, see how much it costs. You can also make the images by yourself. It is possible to develop a new appreciation of the art and craft of stock photography.

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