Stock photography : Is it worth it?
Now that we’ve taken a thorough look at exactly how much money I make selling stock photos, let’s talk about whether or not it’s worth the time and energy.
If you’re new to stock photography, I’ll be the first to tell you that it does take quite a bit of time to not only sort through your photos and upload them to each site, but especially to properly keyword each and every photo one by one.
Of course, there are ways to copy and paste batches of similar photos, which I do recommend. But it still takes hours. And when your pay off is only $0.25-0.33 per photo… you have to ask, is it really worth it?
Honestly, it’s a personal question that only you can answer. But here are some things to consider.
It’s passive income.
To me, this is the number one reason why I am a stock contributor. I love the idea that I can put in the time to upload and tag and then my photos and videos will continue to earn money for me indefinitely.
It’s the best feeling in the world to go month after month earning hundreds of dollars while not doing a thing.
Time is money.
On the other side of the coin - if you’re limited on time and your time could be better spent on something higher paying, like earning a few hundred dollars per shoot. Then stock photography may not make sense for you, as it’ll take a long time to exceed those earnings with stock photography.
My kids are young and right now I am more focused on spending as much time with them as possible at home, so for me passive income makes sense. But rewind my life to 5 years ago and I was out making way more money on individual shoots than I do on stock photography. It comes down to your priorities and your stage in life at the moment.
Which is better: stock photography or stock footage?
Here is the critical divide that I have personally come to. For me, it’s obviously not a question anymore: I have found a lot of value in selling stock. I will continue to upload new media. However, the question for me now is whether it’s worth continuing to upload any more stock photos over stock footage.
To be honest, right now the answer is no. I am not adding any more stock photos to my portfolio. When I have the time to upload more content, I focus on adding stock footage.
Two reasons why I’m focusing on stock footage:
1) There are far less stock videos available than stock photos, which means less competition. This means a much higher chance that my clips will be downloaded over the competition than the same content with stock photos.
2) You earn SO much more for a single footage clip than a single photo. For one clip you’ll earn anywhere from about $20-40 versus less than a dollar per photo. Just take a look at a few months of my previous earnings and you’ll see where the majority of my earnings come from. And interestingly I have almost the same number of clips as I do photos. The videos make about 10x as much money on average than my photos.
If there comes a day that I run out of stock footage to upload, then maybe I will go back through my photo catalogs and upload those, but for now I just can’t justify the time spent doing photos over the amount I could make in the same way through stock videos.
If you don’t have the capacity to take stock video clips or if you have an abundance of great photos to upload, I don’t want to discourage you in any way. It’s all about what makes the most sense for you! If you can upload 1000+ photos and are happy with an extra $100 bucks from it each month then I say go for it.
I think it’s an excellent little side hobby to earn some extra cash, even if it’s not your primary source of income.
Wishing you all the best on this journey. Please leave any questions or comments below. What are your thoughts on stock photography? Still worth it??