Over the years I’ve dabbled in “micro” stock photography. There are a few popular websites like shutterstock.com and others that are massive hosts of user submitted images. They usually have the images under a pretty unrestrictive royalty free license and are either subscription or pay-per-image based.
I’ve made a few hundred dollars over the years, but it would take a large amount of images to make any serious income from that. Especially when I only make maybe $0.20 per download.
Lately, I’ve tried to offer my images directly to users, but without decent site traffic, it’s quite difficult if not impossible to make a sale. I keep trying though!
First I tried using an open-source cart system that had pay-per-download functionality built in. I eventually converted that site to a free stock under the creative commons license site (dslrninja.com). While the images are small and the license requires attribution, you would think I would receive a decent amount of traffic to the site. In actuality it’s one of my lowest visited sites. That could be due to various factors, but none of which I currently know how to fix.
I just moved a large number of images to my new gallery site and offer them up at $10 per download. While I was lucky enough to find the images stashed on my hard-drive in (almost) full resolution to save me hours of post-processing, I still need to go through each one on the site and add keywords which will also take hours.
The nice thing about the new Zenfolio site is that I can store full resolution files on there, so it acts as a public viewing areas, but also a pretty cost effective off-site backup.