On Stock Photography

Rainbow through Waves. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

What to consider if thinking of photographing for and submitting to stock photo agencies

In this age of Covid-19 and like many other creatives, I’ve found myself without (as many?) projects, contracts, and assignments. As a portrait, editorial and event photographer I haven’t been able to photograph people, outdoors or indoors, and definitely not inside a tiny photo studio. Also, many of my clients have been struggling, too. And so, what to do, what to do….

The Moon and the Palm Tree. ©Alina Oswald.  All Rights Reserved.
Face to Face: The Moon and the Palm Tree. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

One idea that came to mind was to revisit stock agencies–like Alamy, iStock Photo, and others. While it’s tough to make a living photographing stock, submitting to stock photo agencies has some advantages:

  • it requires photographers to spend some quality time with their work, to browse through their older and newer images, organize them, revisit related metadata, keywords, and the like, even back up and clean up hard drives

  • it calls for researching various stock photo agencies (aka, learning something new), in order to better understand what they’re looking for, what and how to submit, etc. [Note: it’s a good idea to do follow their specific guidelines especially in terms of image size, tagging, caption, model releases (if necessary), etc.]

  • it allows photographers to find out what images sell as stock, and thus what to photograph next, for stock (if that’s of interest, of course)

  • it’s also a way to promote photographers’ work, a certain kind of photography work that is; I use stock photo agencies to show my nature/landscapes/environment/cities photo work, while I use Fine Art America (not a stock image agency) to display my black-and-white, dare I say…maybe more artsy kinda work

  • some photographers might prefer certain stock agencies over others or stock photography might not be for every photographer, but one might consider it a reason for organizing their images, sharing them with the world, maybe even making some money while at it

If you are interested in submitting to stock photo agencies and/or have any questions, feel free to ask me.

Hope this finds you all well and safe. As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

Enjoying the Hawaii air. #tbt
Enjoying the Hawaii air. #tbt


  1. Hello Alina, thanks for your last post. In particular, the fineArtamerica was unknown to me. What is your experience with that? Is it expensive to use this platform for presenting and (may be) selling photographs?
    Thanks in advance and stay healthy


    1. Hello Klaus,

      I appreciate your note and question. I personally like Fine Art America (FAA). It allows visual artists to upload their work and print it on photo paper (various kinds), canvas, also t-shirts, masks, and so on.

      You can set your own prices. There’s a default $ that FAA charges and, as an artist, you can add a mark-up.

      There’s a FREE membership that allows a limited number of images to be uploaded (25), and there’s a fee membership (it was $30/yr, not sure about now) that offers more choices, including posting your FAA store on your website. (I had the fee membership, I’m back to the free one now). So, I’d try it for free, first, to see if you like it or not.

      As an artist you get a ‘store’ webpage, a storefront (alinaoswald.fineartamerica.com); you can add your images, organize them in categories, offer them as prints/prints on items (you get to adjust how your images look on specific items) and set your prices; you can also share/promote your work and share a blog (either write it right there or share links to a blog you already have), you can also share events (if you have an art opening or a book, etc), and so on. There are groups (say, sunset photography group, or Europe cities photography group, or b&w, etc) and contests, as part of FAA. You can apply to contests or create contests, if you want to (haven’t tried that one….) Oh, and once you upload your images (you can upload one at a time or multiple images at once) you can change the order in which they are displayed, hence. That’s especially nice when it comes to sequencing, of showing your images in a particular order for a particular reason.

      I use FAA to upload more artsy, experimental work (right now, only in b&w), and also to see what other artists share and/or have to say. I also share links to my weekly blog there, too…most of the time. I’d check them out at http://www.fineartamerica.com.

      Thanks again for your question. I’m here if you have any other questions.

      All the best,


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