Why Stock Photographers Should Crash Their Cars

Let’s just clarify one thing up front in this post, I am not really suggesting you have an accident in your vehicle! I don’t want you to cause any damage, get hurt, or run into problems with your insurance company! I want to make a point as you consider subjects for your stock photography portfolio, and hence the title ‘Why Stock Photographers Should Crash Their Cars’. Read on, I will explain.

I have written blog posts for Beyond Here on a range of subjects related to stock photography. It has been very exciting that many readers have opened stock photography accounts and are now turning their hobby into an income. In the age of digital cameras and the internet, generating an income through stock photography is open to nearly everyone. If you are reading this blog online and you have access to a digital camera, it is open to you.


If you haven’t read those posts, you can find some of them here.

When you are starting in stock photography it is easy to think that your stock images need to be outstanding or very creative. I have found that isn’t the case, and that well lit ‘every day’ images have a market.

That point was reinforced to me this week, when this image was downloaded from my iStock portfolio again. To date, it has been downloaded over 150 times and has generated over US$700 in royalties.

Car Accident

Successful stock images need to be useful not outstanding

So how did this image come about? Unfortunately this is my car! Several years ago it was accidentally backed into the front fence outside our house (not by me!) leaving a dent in the side of the vehicle. I took some shots thinking they were potential stock images which could be used by businesses in the car repair or car insurance industries.

This specific image was taken several weeks after the accident, when I had been out shooting sunrise images. The space in the car park, and the morning light, created a more useful image than the ones I had previously taken in my drive way.

This has turned out to be true and the image has sold steadily since I uploaded it in 2010. At the time I made an insurance claim and, after I paid the policy excess of A$500, the insurance company had the vehicle repaired. It has generated just over US$700 in royalties which, based on today’s exchange rate, is the equivalent to around $900 in Australian dollars. So it cost me $500 and has so far generated $900 in royalties, and that’s why stock photographers should crash their cars.

The point is that successful stock images don’t need to be high impact, creative images – they need to be useful. If you keep looking for everyday useful images you will find that potential stock images are all around you. Shoot them in good light conditions and you will be building a stock portfolio which generates royalty income every day. Thanks for reading ‘why stock photographers should crash their cars’ and please don’t go out and have an accident. Drive safely!

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