About Using Stock Photos
I’d thought I would just take a moment to talk about the benefits of using stock photos. There are many benefits from both the photographer and user standpoint. Many people don’t think about it much but, I’ve talked a little bit about copyrights on my vintage blog. I am grateful that I’ve done so much reading on the public domain; because indirectly, it gave me lots of insight in to the very complicated world of copyright. The internet has changed copyright laws tremendously; and copyright isn’t just about someone trying to “steal” a movie. Copyright is so much greater and complicated than that. Sometimes we can commit infringement and not even know it; which is also one of the reasons I chose to no longer use “reprinted articles,” or articles that are “open source,” or “creative commons text.” The internet has become so massive that we can’t always trust “user contributed data.” A good example of this is sites like archive.org. Users are allowed to upload content; some users deliberately upload copyrighted material, some users assume something is public domain cause they found it on the internet. This is NOT the meaning of public domain, and careless bloggers will not care until they get their first Cease and Desist letter. Then your running around messaging people asking them what should you do? Take the time and look through my resources, that’s what they are their for to help. The problem with the internet is that we’re to easily tempted to copy and paste, simply because the option is there. A downloader of archive.org may or may not know something is copyrighted; but will try to use the content because archive is mostly a public domain website. It’s important to be aware of this if you plan on being a serious blogger, or if you are receiving high traffic. Remember, you’re not behind close doors, anyone has access to your website.
Stock photos are not full proof; in other words, they are not free from the possibility infringement/plagiarism. However, it is extremely unlikely. Another thing I should point out, if you ever get a copyright complaint, all stock photo sites have a record of the photos you’ve purchased, so you can always show proof of license. Many stock photo sites have different licenses and conditions; make sure you read those conditions before you use them. The reason why stock photos are great, is because many licenses will allow you to modify the photos, which would allow you to create transformative work. Most licenses also allow you to pay for the image one time, and have unlimited usage, and no expiration. Both bloggers, graphic artists, and people in print media benefit heavily from using stock photos.
In terms of the photographer standpoint, you can sell all your high quality photos just sitting in your computer. This is not a quick “you can make thousands of dollars a week” game. It’s not like that at all. Depending on the type of photographer you are, and or the photos you possess, some photographers barely make any money. However, the more photos you possess, the greater chances you have to make a little profit. There are literally thousands of stock photo sites, each site requiring different things from it’s photographers. Some only look for specific types of photography; some make their members go through a long approval process; some will only accept if you have at least 1,000 images or more to upload (high quality), some sites go through an integrity check on every photo, and if it fails you’d have to re-upload again. Different sites have different commission rates, some only pay a flat rate; Some sites want their photographers to be exclusive, some sites don’t care; some require a release letter, some may not. There is a lot to look for; and like I said, it’s not like you can sign up for 100 of these sites and start making money. It’s a process, and you must read all the requirements and legalities before you commit to a stock photo site.
Many companies are buying more and more stock photos, because equipment, photographers, props, and time cost too much, it is much cheaper for a business to just buy a stock photo and use it for their employee handbook for example.
A few things to keep in mind. Be careful of what you shoot! Don’t shoot logos and trademarks, that is considered infringement because they charge licensing fees to use them. If your at a museum, it is a good idea to ask if the subject you’re about to shoot is copyrighted; yes believe it or not, you can be prohibited from selling any likeness of a display within a museum. Any building that isn’t a landmark, you’d probably would need a release letter. Be careful of shooting anything that is recognizable products, such as cars, boats, backpacks, store signs, even designer napkins that are specific to a particular manufacture or company. These are just a few things to consider when wanting to sell your images as stock photos.
I am not going to go through all the stock photo sites, because they are just too many. However, there are many sites you can google to get an idea of what stock photo sites are best for you.
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