Getting Started with Using a Stock Photography Site

In my previous posts I spoke about why you should use stock photography sites and how to choose the right stock photography site for you. I will now give you all the information you need to get you started on your chosen site. 


Selecting Images

Start by going through your image library and select any images which could be a suitable candidate. You are likely to have so many that it is actually easier for me to provide a list of images which will not be suitable.

Images which are not suitable include anything where:

  • A persons face is visible or recognisable. (Unless you have the correct release)
  • There is a visible trademark. (Unless you have the correct release)
  • A building is recognisable. (Unless you have the correct release)
  • Identical or almost identical copies of picture.
  • The technical details of the image are not good. (Exposure, focus, etc)

Everything else should be good enough to submit. Depending on what type of photographer you are and how long you have been shooting you may have only a handful of suitable photos or you may have so many that you don’t know where to start. 


Preparing Your First Submission

Some stock photography sites have a sign up procedure where a certain number of the images which you provide in your first submission have to be accepted. Others don’t have a specific sign up procedure and even more don’t have an approval or rejection system. 

Which ever site you are using it is always a good idea to select your best images for your first submission. This will help you to start selling quickly. 

When I say select your best images I don’t mean your favourites. One thing which I have found with stock photography is that actually the images I think are my best (and therefore my favourites) often don’t sell and sometimes they even get rejected. 

My advice is to have a good look at the content currently available on your chosen site. See what is popular and then compare with your own images. 

Always double check your images and zoom into 100% to check the focus. Use a histogram to check your exposure and make sure there are no marks or distortion from the lens. 



Either use the sites uploader or use a ftp connection. 

If your site supports ftp it will give you the detail on how to use it. 



Keywords are very important, in that they help people to find your photos. 

Spend some time looking at similar images on your stock site to see what keywords they are using. 

Your site may also have a keyword suggestion tool. 

For more information on keywords please read this blog

After adding keywords and titles submit your images. 



Now all you have to do is wait. You will find out within a few days if your images are accepted. If they are accepted it could take a while before you make a sale. 

It is a good idea to keep track of what images are selling and how much you are earning. Most of the sites will have a statistics section to help you with this. 

Also don’t forget to submit images regularly. The more images you have on your account the more chance you have of selling. 


If you would like to sign up to Shutterstock please use this link and I will receive a bonus.

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