let us talk about the cheap side of photography. Some photographers claim they make a living with microstock. I admire them (if they tell the truth). My experience was short and disappointing.
Of course, the time I began photographing more seriously I necessarily had to think about a way to get my pictures sold.
I had quit my job and despite knowing of having the money to survive some months without (as well as earning a bit with my writing jobs beside) I could need some additional income. So why not sell them to a photo agency after weeks of internet research.
The first images I wanted to give a try were shot during a trip to the far north of Iceland, a small but great isle called Grimsey. This place with about 100 habitants is magnificent especially in winter, when no tourists hang around. Not to talk about the stunning light from the low sun near to the poles (and the green ones during night). On the other hand in summer you have more than three hours of daylight and great nature including hundreds and thousands of funny puffins. Well I was there in snow time (and forgot the boots in my hotel in the capital Reykjavik – no good idea).
In the icy season you are likely to fly in to Grimsey with a small propeller plane from Akureyri, but it is also possible to take the ferry twice a week. People on the Island are most welcoming and for a stay there are a comfortable guesthouse (which you will have for your own in Winter) as well as a shop selling whatever they got shipped some days ago. So you have to be a bit creative at cooking, since the isles restaurant is closed in winter (and hardly will open for you, as long as you are not a travel group). And plan some spare time for the return leg! When it gets too windy or snowy there won’t be any connection back to the mainland for one or more days. My friends and I got stuck, too. But I’m getting off topic.
Where to sell the pictures was the question. No bigger photo agency would be interested in just a hand full travel images, I guessed. But at microstock agencies I thought I could try. So my choice fell on panthermedia and fotolia. They rejected most of the offered, but kept three images in the end. Strike!
Con: Three images as microstock? That can’t give a good payoff.
Pro: Come on, it were my first ever published images! I was damn proud.
I knew it wouldn’t be hundreds of dollars cash, but it was a test, just to try how it works. And it worked. When I saw MY PICTURES online I felt like hot and cold. This is one of them, not an incredible wooooow, but at least a start.
The next days I stuck to my computer. Every few minutes I had to click and refresh the page of the agencies. How many visits, how many clicks did it get and how often would the images be bought? I was so nervous.
To tell the truth: The first day the pics weren’t clicked a single time. As well as the second. And the next and the next and so on … In the end I had about 30 hits in more than a year and sold the shown lighthouse image above one single time. I earned 0,40 Dollar. Don’t get me wrong, these agencies might be good and giving them a try with just three travel images wasn’t really fair. But in the end I decided: This is definitely not my way!