My Journey Into Stock Photography

Stock photography tips
Football stock photography - Jim Harmer

I'm starting to dabble in stock photography.  I'm not any good at it yet, but it sounds challenging and fun.  I'll be writing a series of articles on stock photography on this section of the website as I learn more about the world of stock.

Stock photography is where photographers sell their images to people for use in advertisements, pamphlets, websites, etc.  In micro-stock, the cost of each photo is extremely cheap–as low as $1–and photographers make up price with volume.  Some photos will end up selling thousands of times, but most will only sell a couple per month.  Some of the most popular stock photo sites are istockphoto, fotolia, shutterstock, and canstock.

The photo featured on this page is my first attempt at stock photography.  I got the idea from listening to a podcast where Nicole Young said to start shooting what you love.  I love football and my Boise State Broncos, so I decided this would be a good match.

I spent a few hours on iStockPhoto trying to figure out what kind of football shot sells, and what doesn't.  It seems to me that the best selling football shots are clean and simple, but also dramatic and powerful.  At first I thought about using some dramatic lighting on a black background, but I wanted to do something a bit more natural.

I remembered  noticing fog hanging over the fields near my law school, so I decided I'd keep my camera and a football in the trunk for the next foggy morning, which is pretty common in Southwest Florida.

I added a little flash to the scene to highlight the football on the field and this is what I got.  What do you think?  Will it sell?  Will it even get accepted by the eagle-eyed editors at istockphoto?  I'll be submitting in the next few days… we'll see.

4 thoughts on “My Journey Into Stock Photography”

  1. We’d love to have you as a contributor at The3dStudio.com. We’re in our 15th year, which makes us like a 980 in web-years!

    We pay the highest royalty rates in the industry and we let our members set their own prices, so none of the normal pennies on the dollar.

    As long as your file size is large enough and your camera decent enough, I can’t image why your football shot woudln’t get in – it’s a great shot!


  2. so what happened? update? i submitted 10 photographs to a stock photography site and they complained about noise 🙂 when view at 100% i hate post processing but i did buy a software program to reduce some of the noise in my photos. it’s not really worth my time to earn 1.00 or 2.00. i can and do make more from my photos selling to people and the law firm i work for.

  3. I like your shot of the football. May I offer my thoughts? If you turned the football so the laces were slightly forward, I think it would be a little more eye catching. I hate to ask, but is the football on the corner of a soccer field? I think it can be a very sellable image overall, but I wonder if you’ll have more luck if you roll the ball around just a little and place it on a football field.

    I hope you don’t hate me for these comments…

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