Enlisting with photographic agencies is a great start for freelancers who want to gain global exposure for their photography. Stock photographs are commissioned as royalty-free (RF), rights-managed (RM) or rights-ready (RR). RF means buyers purchase a single license to obtain the right to use an image or photo in unlimited ways. RM offers a customized price to a buyer for customized usage of the image or photo. RR is a single category license for a flat fee and unlimited use of the image or photo.
Before querying any agents to accept your work, make sure to have at least 20 photographs or images in your portfolio, then follow submission guidelines for any photograph agencies to avoid automatic rejection. Some agencies offer online registration, submission and uploading of sample photos, but in general, there are three basic ways to get your images seen by an agent:
1. Make the photos available via your website. Stock photo agencies will view the images and get back to you if interested.
2. Email up to 20 low-resolution photos as attachments directly to the stock photo agency.
3. Create a CD with photo samples and mail to photo agencies, but don't expect the CD to be returned.
Start freelancing with online stock photography agenciesOnline agencies for photography either want instant access to your portfolio or will require that you fill out questionnaires and direct them to a Web-based portfolio of your work. Know your skillset and confidence level to focus in on the type of picture agency to best fit your needs.
Start making money right away from subscription-based photo agenciesGet on board with a subscription-based photography agent and allow some flexibility in income potential. These agencies set a commission for each photo sold, as well as income or discounts when you refer buyers or photographers.
Learn from stock photography agencies who specialize in subject matterYou can become a photography agent if you focus on one subject and build a stock of photographs for purchase. If your photographic images are unique, high quality and in demand, specializing can be quite lucrative. Seek out subject matter specialists to find a niche that will work for you.
- Land a spot on the roster with a photographer agency with the same amount of effort you would use to land a full-time job. Submit your resume and cover letter, accept an interview where you speak about your experience and show your portfolio, and then see if you beat out your competition. It can definitely be a highly lucrative position if you find the right agency for your skills.