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Buying and Selling Stock Photos: A Primer

For years, I published magazines for a living. So, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to find the right royalty free photo and then buy the right to use it. Likewise, I know a bunch of great photographers who have pretty much given up on trying to sell their images because it's just not worth the hassle. What's needed is some sort of market place for stock photos that simple, easy to use, and fair for both buyers and sellers.

That shouldn't be too much to ask, but it's surprisingly difficult to find something like this. The big stock photography sites are geared towards publishers who buy large numbers of photos at a time and do not mind the often-significant charges and fees. Even smaller sites generally try to lock you in with subscriptions. Those can be a good deal, but not if all you need is a photo or two for a web site or a newsletter.

Another problem with conventional stock photo sites is that there is a big overlap. Sometimes it seems they all have the same images! It's frustrating to spend the time searching through multiple sites just to find the same stuff. A photo market, just like a farmers market or a flea market, always has fresh, new products and a wide variety to pick from.

Amazingly, photo markets do exist, and I prefer them to the conventional stock photo places. As a buyer, I appreciate being able to look at pictures from many different professional or semi-professional photographers, or even talented amateurs, when I want to buy an image. I also want instant gratification, which to me means being able to download instantly, without buying a subscription first, and using PayPal so I won't need to enter credit card data every time.

How does a photo market work if you want to sell photos? Again, very much like a farmers market where sellers buy space to sell their products. They do that because for small merchants it's cheaper to rent space than have their own store, and the market is where people go to shop. Likewise, for photographers it's usually cheaper to rent space at a photo market where people come to buy photos than to create their own website and then advertise it to generate traffic. How much to vendors pay? That depends on how much space they rent, or rather how many images they want to have for sale at a given time.

The key to a photo market is to keep it simple. To buy a photo you register so the market knows you will respect its terms of use, but you only pay for images you purchase and download. To sell images, you register as a seller and then decide how many pictures you want to have for sale. The rest is between the buyer and the seller. Like in any other market, sellers decide how much they want to charge, and buyers can then decide if they want to pay that price.

A stock photo market is perfect if you need to quickly pick a picture or three for a project, or, as a seller, if you're handy with your camera and want to make same extra money.

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is a published author of Majon International. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2014 (Sat Mar 22 2008) Majon International. Majon International is one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing and internet advertising companies on the web. Visit their main business resource internet marketing web site at:


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