Selling your photos to a stock photography company can be a great way to pick up some extra money, and can even turn into a career. Here are five things to consider before you start selling:

1) Do you have quality images and can you continue to produce more images on a regular basis?

Submitted images should be free of noise, dust and artifacts. Crop neatly and with space for words if desired by purchaser. Colors should be accurate and not oversaturated. Use the highest resolution your camera can produce. Check with an agency you are considering submitting to for more specific image parameters like color space, compression, or file size. Once accepted you will need to continually submit new images, check with the agency to see if they have specific image needs or what types of images are big sellers.

2) Do you have model or property releases for your images?

Model and/or Property releases need to be obtained and filed with the stock agency for any recognizable person or place. Be sure you avoid logos and other people’s intellectual property.
3) What are you willing to sell your stock images for?**

Different stock agencies have different pay scales. Be sure you are aware of what the going rate is for the agency. This has been a major issue recently with some stock agencies selling images for next to nothing. In some cases you will have production expenses that will come out of your pocket, consider what price you are willing to sell your work for.

4) Do you have a clear understanding of the contract?

Contracts with stock agencies have become increasingly more complicated. Be sure you understand what you are signing. It is always a good idea to have an attorney look over a contract before you sign it. Some contracts leave you open to some major liabilities that are out of your control.

5) Can you survive financially if sales are slow?

Don’t quit your day job just yet—sales can be slow. Can you afford to wait for your work to sell?

—Melissa Macatee
Contributing Blogger