What is a stock photo?


You may have heard the word "stock photo" and could be wondering what it is. Is it a photo? Or is it a photo related to investment as the name ‘Stock’ suggests otherwise.


Terms that you should know about stock photo


The word ‘Stock’ means ‘Library’, so Stock Photo basically means a set of photos taken prior and saved in a library for any required usage in the future. For example, a set of photos of a group of employees working in an office can be taken and at a later time, these photos will be used by the marketing team, PR team or HR team in their daily work presentation, marketing materials or recruitment advertisement.


Stock Photos also can be photographs that are taken for sale to advertising agencies, designer, website creator, agency or public relation company. These users usually require either professional or decent photos for their presentations, advertising campaign, design works, artwork creation or any visual related tasks.


A stock photographer is a photographer who shoots and sells images to a stock photo agency such as Shutterstock, iStockphoto, Adobe Stock, Gettyimages and so on.


A stock photo agency is a company that acts as an intermediary between a photographer and a buyer (users). An agency allows photographers to sell their images, giving them a share of the sales by percentage or level of the photographer based on their experiences

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The pros and cons of being a stock photo model


If you are deciding on a career as a stock photo model, you should consider both the pros and cons of working as a stock photography model. As a stock photography model, You will not receive any royalties from the sales of the photos, instead you will be offered a one-time payment by the photographer. Typically, you can earn anywhere from 1,000 - 3,000 baht for a few hours of work (depending on the theme of the shoot, you could be offered more). But of course, it also depends on your negotiation with the photographer. Some photographers who have less to no budget would only offer TFP (Trade for Prints).


** Time for prints (or trade for prints, time for pics, TFP, and sometimes prints for time, PFT) is a term many photography communities use to describe an arrangement between a model and a photographer whereby the photographer agrees to provide the model with a certain number of pictures of selected photographs from the session, and a release or license to use those pictures in return for the model's time. - credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_for_print

The pros - It could be a good opportunity for you to start a good modeling career via stock photo modeling. Stock photo models don't have lots of requirements as opposed to print or fashion models. As long as you have a pleasant and fresh look, able to do most of the emotional expression and gesture, then you are good to be a stock photo model. You don’t need to have years of experience or a very solid portfolio prior to applying to be a stock photo model.


Once you’ve done a few rounds of photo shoots, you will have a decent lot of photos to start building your profile which eventually can lead to a better prospect in your modeling career. The earning from being a stock photo model might not make you rich, however it is an easy way to earn some pocket money while enjoying the fun and challenges of being a photo model.


You might also once a while bump into your image appearing in advertisements, magazines or any digital media if your images are being sold and used.

The cons - In order for a stock photographer to maximize the potential earning from a set of stock photos, they are often being shot in a generic and simple way. The reason is pretty straightforward - a generic photo will be able to gain more downloads/sales as it will fit most types of usage criterias, compared to one that has been specially styled. Any reputable fashion brands most likely will not purchase a stock photo as it doesn’t fit their style sense hence they would have their own photographer’s team to cover each shoot. If you’re looking to build your profile with photos that can show off your personality and characteristics, you might not be able to do so.

You might also feel disconcerted when your photo appears somewhere or frequently while you’re not getting any extra compensation for it, other than the one-time off payment. Most of the time, you would have no idea who purchased your photo or where your photos are used.

Any photo sold via royalty free stock agency typically also means that whoever purchased your photo has the rights to use it multiple times without the need to inform you or the stock photographer.

The summary of stock photo modeling

One should always weigh the pros and cons of stock photo modeling before signing up for it. Generally speaking it could be a good way to make some extra income and also a stepping stone to a better modeling career.

Do keep in mind that always read carefully the model release form (contract) that you are going to sign with either the stock photographer or agency to avoid any conflicts in future.

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