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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E
YONG
Encouraged by some of the forum members, I, an amateur photographer, did a little research on the captioned topic and attempted to upload some of my photos to a couple of these online microstock agencies. As expected, all I got was negative feedback that I don't bother to talk about. But I'd like to share some facts about the topic that may be beneficial to the forum members. That's why I've written the following article. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you.

Wink
Post 27 Oct 2010, 10:31
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E
YONG
Selling Photos Online - by YONG

If you do a google search using the keywords “selling photos online”, you will instantly get millions of results. There are thousands and thousands of websites offering tips and discussions on how to make some extra cash by selling your digital photos online, with some even claiming that you can make several thousand U.S. dollars per month!

Does it sound too good to be true? We will see in a minute.

One of the easiest way to sell digital photos is through online microstock agencies. The procedure cannot be simpler: participate as a contributor, upload your photos, wait for review and approval, and that is all. Your accepted photos are then placed in the online gallery and searchable by potential buyers. Whenever your photos get downloaded, you get paid, automatically.

Sit back and relax. Money should be rolling in pretty soon.

Really?

It is easier said than done!

On the surface, to participate as a contributor is very straightforward. All you have to do is complete a simple form online. But the evil is in the details! To comply with taxation requirements, you will later have to provide detailed personal information, including evidence of your real identity. You may be required to submit a digital copy (i.e., a scan or photo) of your passport, identity card or driver’s license. If you do not comply with such requirements, you will never get paid!

Does it sound troublesome? Something even worse is impending.

After uploading your photos (which can easily and conveniently be done by FTP), you have to patiently wait for your turn to be reviewed by the administration team. Don’t worry, the process does not take forever, but it does take several days or even a couple of months, depending mainly on the human resources and/or the popularity of your microstock agency.

Eventually, you will find that only a (small) portion of your uploaded photos have got approved and the others rejected. Thus, make sure that you are willing to take rejection.

By now, your best photos will be available and searchable in the online gallery. That is kind of cool, especially when you see your photos competing side by side with thousands, if not tens of thousands, of similar images.

Wait a minute. The worst is yet to come, I am afraid.

Almost all of the famous and trustworthy microstock agencies are U.S. based, meaning that they are obliged to comply with U.S. taxation laws. Here is a piece of bad news for non U.S. contributors, myself included. A 30% withholding tax policy is imposed on these unfortunate contributors for sales originated from U.S. buyers, unless the contributors are residing in countries exempt from such requirements (in which case the tax may be reduced or completely eliminated).

Assume that you, a non U.S. contributor, are lucky enough to receive a 50% commission (which is exceptionally high) out of your photo sale. If the sale is originated from a U.S. buyer, your actual take-home earnings will only be 35% (which is equal to 50% times 70%). Please note that most of the popular microstock agencies do NOT offer such a high commission to contributors and that one of the big names even only offers a fixed commission of US$ 0.25 per download to new-coming contributors.

So, after all the hard work, you, as a contributor, will be receiving very very LITTLE!

Are you prepared to accept such a POOR deal?

Here is the conclusion. If you have thousands of professionally-taken photos that are of HIGH commercial value, you may be able to make a hundred or even several hundred dollars annually. (Please note that photos of flowers, sunset, cats and dogs, ordinary and famous landscapes, and the likes are of LOW commercial value! I bet you are going to ask, ”What photos are of high commercial value?” The answer is this magical word: PEOPLE. Here are a few examples: a happy schoolgirl, three or four colleagues working in the office, a middle-aged man suffering from excessive drinking, a female executive chairing a meeting, a woman enjoying massage, sportsmen in various settings, and the likes. Please note that you will always need properly-signed model releases if there are any recognizable faces in your photos. That is exactly why these “people" photos sell best!) Otherwise, I suggest you share your beautiful photos with your colleagues and friends - you will receive a compliment, at least.

The only people who are making real money out of selling photos online are those microstock agencies.

(766 words)

EDIT: Corrected a grammatical mistake Wink


Last edited by YONG on 28 Oct 2010, 04:11; edited 1 time in total
Post 27 Oct 2010, 10:33
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luke77



Joined: 14 May 2010
Posts: 18
luke77
You can do what I did with online surveys that paid little for the time I spent.

Don't do business with them.

Andy
Post 27 Oct 2010, 11:39
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E
YONG
luke77 wrote:
You can do what I did with online surveys that paid little for the time I spent.
Thanks for your suggestion. Wink

In fact, I did a little research on the credibility of these make-money-by-doing-online-surveys claims, too! Wink

It is just a similar story, I am afraid. Sad
Post 27 Oct 2010, 13:13
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 17279
Location: In your JS exploiting you and your system
revolution
You just need to remember one thing.

If it was for real and made people lots of cash then everyone would be doing it. Right?

No one is going to give you cash for doing nothing, life just doesn't work that way. If something is easy to do then the reward will be very small. Simple economics at work there.
Post 27 Oct 2010, 13:43
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E
YONG
revolution wrote:
No one is going to give you cash for doing nothing, life just doesn't work that way. If something is easy to do then the reward will be very small. Simple economics at work there.
Professor revolution, please note that I only got a "C" in Introduction to Economics back in the school days. I really need some time to "digest and absorb" your big theory. Confused
Post 27 Oct 2010, 13:59
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LocoDelAssembly
Your code has a bug


Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 4633
Location: Argentina
LocoDelAssembly
Quote:

No one is going to give you cash for doing nothing
We have just confirmed that you don't come from Argentina.
Post 27 Oct 2010, 14:19
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 17279
Location: In your JS exploiting you and your system
revolution
LocoDelAssembly wrote:
We have just confirmed that you don't come from Argentina.
Wow, you mean in Argentina you get money for nothing? I think I wanna live in Argentina now.
Post 27 Oct 2010, 14:43
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LocoDelAssembly
Your code has a bug


Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 4633
Location: Argentina
LocoDelAssembly
Some people do, the rest has to support them with taxes. And I'm not meaning the social assistance plans here (although in some cases the beneficiaries don't have to give nothing in return except going to political acts forcefully at times to show the media how beloved the politicians are), but municipal and other governmental positions where many people only have to go the pay day.
Post 27 Oct 2010, 15:06
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Tyler



Joined: 19 Nov 2009
Posts: 1216
Location: NC, USA
Tyler
Oh, well if you mean the administration/government doesn't work, then that also applies in the US. They get paid $174,000 a year for ~180 days of work.
Post 28 Oct 2010, 02:18
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LocoDelAssembly
Your code has a bug


Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 4633
Location: Argentina
LocoDelAssembly
Oh no, I don't mean those honorable, exemplary people and great thefts whose earnings are not limited to their legal salary only, I mean people that **REALLY** goes the payment day only. It is very common in many municipalities where the employees count is far greater than the physical capacity of the buildings and/or room they are supposedly allocated. It was said one time that Buenos Aires (the capital city of Argentina, without including the province of the same name), had more employees than Microsoft worldwide... This probably remains true since the current city administration failed their attempt to remove clearly unneeded personnel (or at least they didn't go too far).

hehe, now I even remember a fellow in elementary school who told me his aunt's "work" consisted only in going to an office to sign a paper just to register she was there and then go back home. Well, this case is sightly less worst, since at least she needed to assist for a few minutes, what a decent job!
Post 28 Oct 2010, 02:44
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guignol



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 701
guignol
rev wrote:
No one is going to give you cash for doing nothing, life just doesn't work that way. If something is easy to do then the reward will be very small. Simple economics at work there.
Aha... now I see why saving lives isn't in preference.

Anyway, I never knew that economics has anything to do with working.
Post 28 Oct 2010, 02:45
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E
YONG
I must admit that Argentina is not only my favorite national football team but also my favorite country of residence! Wink
Post 28 Oct 2010, 04:22
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bitRAKE



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 2915
Location: [RSP+8*5]
bitRAKE
Sounds like you'd do better to put thumbnails of your work on Picasa (or another similar host), and then offer higher resolution versions for sale. Picasa easily links up to other Google tools: blogger, groups, analytics, etc... You also maintain all rights to content, and control of exposure (I have private family pictures there). Not sure what limits exist on image quality/size - might not be ideal.

[SIDEBAR]
I do well, but work hard daily. For me, there are personal rewards greater than the money. My work is outside and quite physical, so I stay healthy. Also, I meet many people in the community - not always a good thing. Happiness is more important: I've quit two career jobs to live more meager, and spend more time on the forum. Very Happy

[SIDE-SIDEBAR]
Government sucks - we don't need most of it anymore, really. The judiciary is quite bloated, too. So, many laws no one can navigate it, and everyone can be caught in it's web. We are going to move beyond this time - I don't know how, but it will happen because this bloat isn't sustainable.

It will be a global effort. Maybe we will move back to a barter system (re-localize and let the monetary system die). The cost to move physical items all over the globe is great, and that cost is not realistically reflected in the purchase price. Nor is the product life-cycle cost adequately accounted for! So, much trash - build it cheap and throw it away - scary.

How can we protect people (their sense of self and well-being) as we migrate to a better way. The unneeded jobs which people have spent a lifetime to learn. All the capital investment sitting in ruin.

We have a lot natural disasters here in California - it's not all paradise - fires, floods, quakes. When something like this happens everyone just starts doing anything they can. It's funny how the control happens later - people mobilize locally to do what is needed in the moment. Really, it is some kind of self-organizing chaos. Some people like to imagine it is the other way around, but it will be a neighbor running into a burning building before the fire department gets there.

[Guess I went on a bit.]
Post 28 Oct 2010, 04:41
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 17279
Location: In your JS exploiting you and your system
revolution
YONG wrote:
I must admit that Argentina is not only my favorite national football team but also my favorite country of residence! Wink
But if you move there you will have to pay towards all the others already there enjoying sinecure.
Post 28 Oct 2010, 04:51
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E
YONG
bitRAKE wrote:
Sounds like you'd do better to put thumbnails of your work on Picasa (or another similar host) ...
Thanks for your hints. Wink

revolution wrote:
But if you move there ...
No, I won't, unless Loco is willing to teach me some elementary Spanish FOR FREE! Wink
Post 28 Oct 2010, 06:48
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luke77



Joined: 14 May 2010
Posts: 18
luke77
revolution wrote:
You just need to remember one thing.

If it was for real and made people lots of cash then everyone would be doing it. Right?

No one is going to give you cash for doing nothing, life just doesn't work that way. If something is easy to do then the reward will be very small. Simple economics at work there.


The site for online surveys let folks post messages and there was no shortage of feedback about "lots of work = little reward"

As a business man, I have the right to charge what I feel like for my services.

Tickets to a ball game are reasonably priced even if the owner is "real proud of their brewskis and nachos."

Eat before the game, or have big pockets with some "flexible aluminum covered drinks" and "non-meltable in your pocket candy."


Outta here,
Andy

Very Happy
Post 28 Oct 2010, 11:31
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