Whatever it is you like to do in and around your hometown, you can likely take and sell photos of it as stock. You don’t need experience or a portfolio to start. All you need is some good photos of subjects that sell.
Stock agencies are constantly in need of city, town, and even countryside photos taken by the people who live there. The key to taking photos that sell is to think about what your town is known for, or what makes it unique, and look for photos of that.
Here are three hot-selling photo trends that you can tap into to earn money from online photo stock agencies.
1. Local Activities
What’s your hometown like? Maybe there are farms or a rodeo nearby. Perhaps people love to shop on your main street, or the area is teeming with wineries. Seek out the biggest attractions and activities in your area, and photograph them.
Bend, Oregon, where I live, is known for outdoor sports like skiing, mountain biking, rafting, rock climbing, and fly fishing (and…beer). Stock photos that include any or all of these themes work well not only as iconic Bend shots, but also as more generic shots of each of those activities.
To get these kinds of shots, reach out to people you know who can give you an “in.” Do you know any farmers or cowboys? Wine makers? Or simply friends who love to shop?
Fly-fishing photos that Bonnie took near her hometown of Bend, Oregon, have earned her money through an online stock photo agency. ©Bonnie Caton
Weather—especially bad weather—is huge in stock photography right now. Since the climate is regularly in the news, photo buyers need relevant weather shots. And not just pretty photos with beautiful puffy clouds or gorgeous winter landscapes. They need the weather of daily life, too.
If it snows where you live, capture a friend shoveling the driveway, icicles hanging from the gutters, or snowy streets. When it’s hot in the summer, find a dried-up riverbed or wilting outdoor plants. If it’s rainy, grab photos of people commuting to work with umbrellas on wet city streets. When it’s windy…you get the point.
The great thing about this kind of shot is that you can take it from indoors, too. Get a friend to join you at a cozy café and include a rainy window. Or get a detailed shot of the actual raindrops sliding down the window.
3. Friends Having Fun
What do you and your friends or family like to do in an average week? Do you take grandkids to the park? Or meet a friend group for happy hour or book club?
Photos of everyday people taking part in common activities are in big demand on stock agencies—especially if some of those people happen to be baby boomers.
What to Avoid When Taking Stock Photos
Logos, business names, address signs, license plates, art (like public statues and paintings), and recognizable people should be omitted. The trick with stock is to take photos that contain no copyrighted material. When you’re photographing your hometown, that means finding angles that obscure any business signs and excluding things like car license plates.
You also need to make sure that you have a model release for any recognizable people in your photos. Which is why it’s great to shoot friends.
Taking stock photos in your hometown is perfect because it’s low pressure. There’s no client with big expectations, and you don’t have to do any selling, since the agencies do that for you. Better yet, since just about any photo subject can sell, you can easily combine it with your hobbies and daily life.
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