Thursday, July 17, 2008

Microstock Photography Sites

I compiled a list of my top stock photography sites.  They all vary in different features.  I recommend checking each one out, however I suggest maximizing your profits by joins more than one if possible.  Good Luck!

ShutterStock is one of the bigger microstock photography sites and has a high sell rate.  They do have a very rigid photo review process however, but once accepted you're photos will be well marketed to a large number of buyer.

iStockphoto is another one of the big sites which has its upside and downside.  Thousands of potential buyers browse big sites like this, however they tend to be more picky than the smaller sites.  The registration process may take slightly longer than other sites, but once you're in and get some photos accepted you'll see the money start rolling in quickly.

Fotolia is a relatively new site that is causing quite a stir in the stock photography community.  They are well organized and have a quick registration process.  Although they have a moderately rigid photo review process, they do not penalize you for submitting photos that don't get approved.  Fotolia is growing and has a good customer base which translates to a high number of sales.

FeaturePics has the least rigid photo review process and is your best bet for getting photos accepted.  The also have a fairly high commission rate.  FeaturePics frequently tried new ways to sell your photos and offer you the option to participate in new projects they have.  I recommend taking advantage of their new ideas, it will just boost your revenue.

123rf is right in the middle when it come to their image review process.  They accept more than most other sites on this list, but do reject a good amount as well.  I'm not too familiar with their sales volume as I just joined this site, but it won't hurt to give it a try.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Introduction to Microstock Photography: Selling Your Photos Online

(See Site List Below for Recommended Sites)

Stock photography is a collection of existing photographs that can be licensed for use by someone or a company.  Stock photography has been around for ages and usually consisted of huge, professional photography companies with very large budgets.  The internet has taken stock photography and created a whole new industry, Microstock Photography.  Microstock photography companies operate almost exclusively online and have a wide range of photographers from amateur individuals to professional studios.  This gives anyone the chance to collect some dough in exchange from some digital images.

Here's how it works.  First, join a stock photography site by filling out their registration form.  Registration should be free.  If a site is charging you to sign up, skip it.  You take your high quality, digital images and upload them to the site.  The site reviews and either accepts or rejects your photos based on their criteria.  Once accepted, your images are stored in their database.  Buyers then browse the database and when they want to use your image for a publication or website they buy a license for your image.  Once your image is paid for, the site allows the buyer to download your image.  As the photographer you receive a commission.  Your cut varies by site and can range from 30-70% of the selling price.

Although open to everyone, not all pictures will make the cut.  These companies are looking for photos that are of high quality (usually more than 5 mega pixels) and are in demand by their customers.  Most sites offer tips on how to make sure your photos meet their criteria.  At the end of this article I list some sites to get you started.

A few things to keep in mind when submitting photos.  All recognizable people, faces, and property (i.e. a particular high rise building) must be accompanied by a "Model Release" or "Property Release" which most sites provide for you in a downloadable file.  Company logo and trademarks are not permitted (i.e. The MacIntosh Apple, McDonald's Golden Arches, etc.).  Poor lighting is the number one reason your photo will be rejected so get lots of light, if you don't have professional lighting I suggesting using the radiant sunshine, it provides the best light for free, just make sure your wear sunscreen.

There are a variety of sites out there.  Some are very rigid about which photos they accept.  Some sites even go as far as to suspend you if you fail to submit enough quality images.  Don't be discouraged though, there are a number of sites out there that give you a chance to get started.  Here are a few with which I suggest starting.

Sites To Get Your Started is a relatively new site but is already creating a lot of buzz.  They are the most rigid is accepting photos that I have on this list, but there is no penalty for submitted photos that don't make the cut.  So, submit away! has the least rigid photo review process and is your best bet for getting photos accepted.  They also have a higher commission rate than most. is in the middle when it come to photo acceptance.  About 50% of my photos were accepted here.  You may have better luck if you have really high quality images.  Like the rest on this list, there is no penalty for submitted photos that don't get accepted.

I'll will follow up with more sites in a later article.  Good Luck!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Garage Sale Tips: Price Tagging

To Tag or Not To Tag

Growing up with parents who would cross over three lanes of traffic without checking a mirror because they just saw a small garage sale sign at the turn we were about to pass, I've been to my share of "junk" sales.
I was a timid child, quietly browsing the merchandise. I was never brave enough to ask the sale owners for their asking price of an item, so sales with affixed price tags "tickled my pickle." For that reason I suggest tagging all items if you have the time, or just some if you don't.

Tagging: The Bad

Before I dive into the many benefits of tagging your items I should mention that there are some drawbacks. Lets discuss a couple. Almost all of your garage sale patrons will be on the hunt for a bargain, that's why people go to garage sales. Price tags have the potential to scare off these frugal buyers, by expressing a form of rigidity in price. To prevent this from driving off potential buyers, place someone in charge of your cash box (who won't walk off with it and is well versed in arithmetic) and mingle with the crowd taking note of interested buyers. If you see someone eyeing an item with some uncertainty, interrupt and get a feel for their thoughts. If they express concern about the price consider negotiating, especially if your sale is past its half way mark. If you truly are trying to get rid of things, bargaining is a must.

Tagging your times is also very time consuming. It is much easier to just lay it all out there and come up with a reasonable price as people ask. If time is factor, I suggest setting up a little early and tagging items as you wait for customers to arrive. Grab a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker and start with your larger items, such as furniture or toys. This will allow you to concentrate you price "barking" in an area where you can consolidate your smaller items. (Price "Barking": Shouting split decision prices to multiple customers asking about the price of item.)

Tagging: The Good

Price "barking" is one of the main reason I believe tagging your items is a smart idea. Especially if you don't have a lot of help, the constant query for prices can be very stressful. You have to decide on a price on the spot and usually you will end up shouting out a price that will make your customer extra happy and not necessarily the price you think would be reasonable. Taking some time beforehand to look at your items and make a calm, rational decision about how you will price them, will make your big day a lot less stressful and make sure your items are priced accurately.

If you are employing help at your garage sale I highly recommend tagging. Tagging your items makes checkout by someone who does have all the prices in his head, like you do, as simple as adding it all up. This will allow quick and easy checkout which your customers will appreciate. You know those garage sale hunters, there's too little daylight to hit all them sales.

A coworker of mine would always ask me if I had anything I wanted to contribute to her yard sale. All the while I was thinking, "Why would I let you make money off my junk, when I could sell it myself? Get away from me!" I didn't know that she was going to give me the income generated from my "junk" through a carefully designed processes that she had perfected over her many years of yard-saling. She used different color tags for each person's items which allows the merchandise to be mixed up without worrying about ownership, and customers could checkout with all their items at one time. She then collected the tags as she rang them up, marking any discounts that she may have negotiated. At the end of the day she would use her color coded system to determine everyone's cut of the earnings. I suggest using this system for multi-family sales as it allows your customers much more freedom to shop without worrying about keep track of who's items they are picking up.

Tagging Tips

Tagging Furniture/ Large Items

  • Use masking tape and a permanent marker. Masking tape will easily peel off most hard surfaces and is considerably cheaper prepared labels or sticker tags.


  • The cheapest way to tag items like mugs or glass cups is with a grease pen. This can get messy, so you may want to use masking tape as well, but I've seen grease pens work well at thrift stores.


  • Office supply stores are now selling tagging guns that most retail clothing stores use to tag their items. It uses a needle which pushed a double sided T-shaped plastic fastener which secures a paper tag to almost any article of clothing (or fabric for that matter). These guns and supplies can get pricey averaging $50 for a starter kit. If you want a cheaper way to secure a tag to clothing you could use a regular office stapler and staple your tag directly to your garments. Keep in mind that staples can cause a little more damage than a tagging gun, however, stapling works just as well for me.

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Garage Sale Tips

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Selling on Criagslist

Craigslist ( is an online classifieds service that is basically free for everyone. Craigslist does generate some income by charging fees for businesses and related listing in certain areas. I first started using Craigslist when I was looking for used cars or boats. However, the potential of Craigslist should not be overlooked. Anyone who isn't locked in a cave underground will have heard of the huge auction site eBay.

Ebay is an online giant and attracts millions of visitors in traffic which makes it look very attractive to sellers. However, you should keep in mind that eBay charges sellers not just to list an item, but they also take a percentage of your final winning bid. Therefore some may find eBay's fee cut too far in to their profits that listing items there may not be worth it. That's where Craigslist comes to rescue.

Although Craigslist does not generate the kind of traffic eBay does, it is gaining popularity around the world. If you have things at home you are trying to get rid of, such as furniture or baby clothes or even tupperware, you can list it all for free on Craigslist. My mother has also done well for herself selling her crafts she sews at home. Craigslist has great categories and search option that make finding your item easier than you think. Also, Craigslist sorts listing by area or region, therefore you will target local customers that will most likely be able to pick up your item, alleviating the need to ship you item. (However, this also limits your customer base.) Craigslist is great for larger items especially like furniture that would otherwise be unpractical to sell online due to the enormous cost of shipping such a large item.

Craigslist PROS
-Absolutely free
-Good for listing large, unshippable items
-Listings by category
-No registration or sign-up
-No need to give financial information

Craigslist CONS
-Local listing only
-Limited traffic
-No online order form

Craigslist TIPS
-Add at least one picture to every listing
-Use an email rather than a phone number for contact
-If you are unsure about a category do a search for your item on Craigslist and see where everyone else is listing similar items.
-People are looking for bargains, put up a reasonable price but be willing to negotiate by placing "or offer" next to your price.
-List similar items in one listing, this may help you sell a bunch of items to one person.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Trade Your Electronics For CASH!

A new business has sprung up almost over night to take advantage of how quickly people buy new electronics. We're upgrading to that hot new phone every year, getting the lastest, smallest, coolest mp3 player. All that upgrading leaves perfectly good, unused electronics lying around. Gather them up and head to your computer cause someone is ready to give you cash for your unused electronics. BuyMyTronics is a small company that buys back cell phones, PDAs, iphones, ipods, and game consoles for top dollar. All you need to do is visit their website, plug in your info and they will give you a quote in no time. Simple and easy. Then all you do is mail in your item(s) and they send you MONEY! Get your free estimate now with no obligation on their website ( They accept electronics worldwide. A great way to turn those unused electronics in to cold hard cash!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Garage Sale Tips

Everyone has heard about the good old fashion garage sale, but in my experience there are a few things that will make or break your earning. Here are a few of my tips for creating a winning "sale of stuff."

1. Gathering your "stuff"
It may sound simple enough, but it's important that not only do you have the items you want to sell ready to be displayed, but you also have enough stuff. You should gather your items so you can see just how much space it takes up. Some buyers are turned off by small sales and leave before even looking at any of the items for sale. If you don't have enough stuff, consider asking someone to join you like a neighbor or relative.

2. Pick a date and advertise
Weekends work best, some holidays may be appropriate. Once you have your date set it's a good idea to advertise. Placing an ad in a local newpaper and free online advertisement at websites such as CraigsList will help boost traffic to your little sale and in turn boost your profits. Another easy way of advertising is well made, large lettered signs directing sale-seekers to your home. Don't forget a sign at your house so people know where to stop. Make it easy for buyers to find your sale with ballons or bright signs nearby.

3. Tag your items
Some sellers are weary of price tagging their items because they feel it somehow makes bargining impossible. Not at all. Tagging lets you communicate to your buyers how much you are asking for an item without having to ask you anything. Don't worry, if buyers wants to negotiate, a little sticker is not going to hold them back. Tags also help when you have people helping you at your sale. It makes it easy for others to make sales for you without the need to refer back to you each time some makes an inquiry about price. Timid buyers, they're out there, and they like to see a price without having to find someone to ask.

Supplies to have on hand:
  • Plastic bags (i.e. grocery bags) for bagging smaller items
  • Extra money in change for buyer with larger bills
  • Tables make displaying more convenient for your buyer
  • Tarps or plastic to cover items in the event of rain
  • Money storage container
  • Calculator
  • Something to drink
  • A hand truck or cart for heavier items
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Garage Sale Tips: Price Tagging