In 1953, the Time magazine reported amateur photographers were taking estimated 2 billion pictures a year. In our Digital Lifestyle age, when there is no cost of film and development associated with clicks, one enthusiast might account for this number.
AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER: Every man his own artist. Time Magazine - Nov 2, 1953
Photography today is the national pastime. People seem to be carrying cameras at all times in hopes of one day being at the right place at the right moment. Well, they might get lucky. After all, some amateur pictures made history like the shots of the sinking of the Vestris in 1928, the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937, or the Hotel Winecoff fire in 1946. Can amateur photos compare in artistry and technical quality to the professional photos? Artistic quality is largely in the eye of the beholder and even Robert Capa himself once observed: “Most of the people in this country take pictures, and most of them take better ones than I do.” And now most amateurs are walking around heavily armed with semi-professional and professional cameras that become more and more affordable with every year. Professional-grade cameras now cost less than $1,000 The borderline between professional and amateur photographers is beginning to blur. Back in 1953, selling your lucky shots means a lot of legwork. These days, all you have to do is open an account at one of the photography microstock websites that serve as marketplaces for images, and you can proudly claim yourself a professional once you have sold. One of such sites iStockphoto’s clients now include bulk photo purchasers like IBM and United Way, as well as the small design firms that used to buy from expensive agencies like Corbis and Getty. As a matter of fact, Getty Images – one of the world’s largest stock and editorial photo vendors has made a deal with Flickr to add a hand-picked set of Flickr users’ photos to its catalog. The deal will almost certainly cut further into the market for professional stock photography. You won’t make too much cash selling your photos though. Thanks to the collective effort of millions of you, stock photos are no longer scarce and the going rate for royalty-free photos is $1. But who knows, you might produce a photo that will be hugely in demand. So, click away for extra cash or maybe fame! Here is the list of some of the microstock websites to consider with an overview in their own words:
ShutterStock is the largest subscription-based stock photo agency in the world.
Dreamstime is a distinguished leader in stock photography and a major supplier of high quality digital images at unbelievable prices.
BigStockPhoto provides designers with an alternative to high-priced stock photography, in addition to providing photographers with a marketplace to sell their work.
123 Royalty Free is your one-stop royalty-free photo library offering stunning, practical stock photos at the most affordable price!
Crestock – stock photo & image bank that has the stock photography industry’s highest standard in royalty free stock photos & images.
iStockPhoto is the Internet’s original member-generated image and design community. We offer millions of royalty-free stock images for as little as $1 each.
YAY Micro claims to be the best creative and editorial microstock agency in terms of quality, turn-over, reputation and satisfaction. Our vision is to be the leading digital content provider.
CanStockPhoto is one of the world’s largest microstock photography agencies.
FeaturePics is an Internet tool for the realization of the free market; where an Artist is responsible for a product and supervises its price, and a Buyer completes this market by buying the Art.
Fotolia offers the largest image bank of free and affordable royalty free photos and illustrations perfect for any medium, web or print.
Cutcaster is a dynamic, licensing exchange where members buy, sell and request the rights to use digital photos, vector illustrations and images.
PantherMedia is an online marketplace for royalty-free photography. Buyers and sellers of royalty-free images meet on one common platform.
Zymmetrical – the site’s moto is ‘Digital Art to Go!’, but they let our Artists determine the prices of their files – you may find some files to be cheaper than you’d expect, some may seem expensive; however you can always be sure the quality is top-notch.
Fotomind is a royalty-free stock photography agency delivering high quality photos under affordable prices.
Albumo is the Royalty Free Photo Stock – where everyone can sell or buy desired images.
ImageCatalog is a Royalty-Free stock photography web site with the goal of providing exceptionally high quality images at micro prices.
ThePhotoStorage – a royalty-free stock photography website where anyone can purchase photos or vector illustrations for less than $1.00
MostPhotos is a democratic marketplace for stock photos and images.