On Stock Photography

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

What to consider when photographing for stock photo agencies – an update

In my last week’s post, I talked about the importance of having an online presence for photographers. So, today, I decided to revisit and update an older post on stock photography. Here it is:

The beginning of the coronavirus pandemic made me revisit the possibility of photographing for stock agencies. In particular, photographing “no people” images, hence, no model releases necessary, for stock.

One idea that came to mind was to revisit stock agencies–like Alamy, iStock Photo, and the like.

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.

NOTE: Photographing stock, only, can be a source of income, but not the sole sort of income. Not nowadays, anyway. And not when stock agencies end up paying either pennies per image or up-to-50% commission, at best. In addition, the payment process, itself, is a lengthy process.

That said, submitting to stock photo agencies can have a few advantages:

  • it gives photographers a reason to photograph, a goal for their photography, and the possibility to get paid for that photography

  • it asks photographers to spend some quality time with their work, browse through their older and newer images, organize them, revisit related metadata, keywords, and the like, and 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 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 some of the photographers’ work

  • it’s a reason to sort through and organize their images, and share their images with the world, and not for free, for a change

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

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

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

Alina Oswald


  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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