How much money will I make?

I’m thinking of signing up to a stock agency as a way of furthering my skills. The plan is that it will encourage me to develop new concepts and motivate me to try out different genres. If I can make money from what I love doing then any extra income will be bonus for me, but how much can I expect to earn? - Mark Waiters

Going into a stock site with the mind-set that it’s not all about the money is very sensible as it’s certainly not a guaranteed cash cow. It’s quite rare to find a photographer who makes their living from selling on stock sites.

Competition is fierce and it takes practise to be successful, but if you enjoy taking photos then it won’t seem too much like hard work.

It’s worth remembering that all agencies will take a proportion of the fee for hosting your images in the first place, and this can vary.

Alamy boasts the largest royalty of 50% for its contributors of all the major players in the industry, and other sites such as iStock offer 15%, or 45% if you qualify as an exclusive contributor. The latter option guarantees you a higher earning potential, but bear in mind that exclusive means you can only sell images on that particular site as opposed to multiple agencies. For more information, see the specific terms and conditions of each site to determine what suits you best. You might also want to check these terms to see how it effects your copyright of the image – most will allow you to retain these rights, however.