Making Money When You Can’t Produce New Images

Posted on 3/26/2020 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

“Sheltering in Place” will certainly hurt many photographers. Photographers won’t be able to get out to shoot new images. Customers won’t be coming to your studio. You might be able to shoot still lifes in your home, but getting props may be difficult.

In theory, the images in your stock collection should still sell, but many of the designers who buy such photos are likely to be cutting back on the projects they are working on. My bet is hat Shutterstock’s first quarter sales figures (which won’t be out until early May) will be significantly lower than in past years. Unfortunately, none of the other agencies will give us their sales figures, but Shutterstock’s trends should be a good indicator for the industry.

So what can you do to pay your bills?




One possibility, particularly if you have a large stock photo collection, is to check out Canva and see if they will pay a one-time fee to purchase rights to a significant number of your images for inclusion in their Free collection that they make available to their Graphic Design customers. Currently, they have over 4 million images in that collection.

They also have over 50 million Premium images for which they charge $10.00 per download. If your images are chosen for this collection you get a royalty share whenever one is downloaded.



They probably won’t pay much per-image for the images they buy outright (probably around $1.75 each), but they may buy a significant number. I know one photographer who got around $23,000 for a large collection a couple years ago.

The first reaction of most photographers to this idea is that, “I’m not going to sell my images for such a low price.”

But, if they buy enough it may be worth taking the time, while you “shelter in place” doing nothing, to show them your collection (assuming it is already available and searchable online). It is important to recognize that licensing images for this specific, narrow purpose doesn’t mean you are giving up all rights to the images. The photographer above is still licensing all the same images he gave to Canva through multiple other sources and earning the same revenue from those other sources as he was earning before he did the deal with Canva.



Thus any free image deal with Canva deal would supplement your other deals. It doesn’t mean that you can no longer earn money from other licensing of the same work. On the other hand, if  Canva becomes so dominant in the minds of professional buyer that they stop using the other industry leaders it is certainly possible that sales from other sources will decline.

For more about Canva check out this story. To see the kind of photos they are looking for check out this link

Canva is also paying photographers to do photo shoots. Check out this link to apply.  You’ll need a link to your online portfolio.  Also check out “Apply to Contribute.”

The following is a list of the 92 prime categories in which they sort their collection.

Virus Flower Bible Healthy
Computer Yoga Desk City
Home Beach Mask Support
Food Online Friends Pray
Spring Book Sick Rainbow
Flowers Music World Cross
Family Community Prayer Reading
Phone Work Exercise Writing
Health Background Ocean Fire
Laptop Fitness Sun Arrow
Money Help Earth Smile
Business Blue Delivery Forest
Nature Social Media Wood Team
Books Paper Workout Sleep
House Work from Home Easter Hope
Coffee Hands Pink Brain
Water Doctor Art Children
Love Dog Cleaning  
People Sky Clean  
Heart Green Calm  
School Black Meditation  
Office Instagram Home Office  
Happy Travel Medical  
Kids Church Peace  
White Car Woman  


Copyright © 2020 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

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