Hi! I'm new to Reddit, and multiple people requested I do an AMA after my post in /r/aww exploded this morning:


I am a professional stock photographer, currently working with three agencies.

My website: https://www.PhotographyByAdri.com

Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/PhotographyByAdri?rid=4028569&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ctrbreferral-link

iStock: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/PhotographyByAdri

Dreamstime: https://www.dreamstime.com/Photographybyadri_info#res13256097

Ask me anything!

Update to add: I would like to make some clarification, since I have been told that "this entire post is a joke."

I never claimed to make all of my income from stock photography, but I can understand how there could be confusion about that because I called myself a professional. I would like to clarify that I absolutely am a professional photographer and videographer; I make the vast majority of my income from photo & video work. Stock photography is not my biggest earner, however, I do have a very thorough understanding of how it works, I have hundreds of images in my portfolio, I have sales every single day, and my stock photos have been published in articles including on the New York Times, the official Shutterstock blog (for which I was part of an interview), and way more places than I could ever possibly count.

If you do not believe that someone can be a professional without making all of their income from something, then I'm not a professional stock photographer. But I AM a professional photographer & videographer, with a better understanding of stock photography than 99% of people - including other photographers. I have never considered professionalism to be solely about how much money you make. In my view, professionalism is about experience in & understanding of a field. And in this way, I absolutely qualify as a professional stock photographer. But if you believe that you must make the vast majority if your income in a field to be considered a professional, then you can simply say that I am a professional photographer/videographer who spends a lot of time working on stock photos.

Comments: 547 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

SeattleTrashPanda1143 karma

What is it with stock photographers loving women laughing at salads?

PhotographyByAdri1284 karma

No clue. I tend to stay away from humans, both in life and in stock photos 😂

poopellar545 karma

"Hey, can you do photographs for my wedding?"



PhotographyByAdri611 karma

I have done two weddings. That was enough for me to decide that if someone wants me to photograph their wedding, from now on they're gonna be paying 2x the usual rate for me. 😶 they were beautiful occasions...but the work, and the stress...and so many people...so, so many people...

jonasdash609 karma

Two questions, because I'm not certain which is more applicable.

Do you find it easiest to photograph chicken, beef, seafood, or vegetable stock?

Alternatively, do you also photograph bonds, mutual funds, or ETF's?

PhotographyByAdri350 karma

I tend to photograph a really wide range of stock, however, my most recent videos have been of a vegan vegetable stock. Slow-motion? I think yes.

Bonds, mutual funds, and ETF's aren't really for me. I like to stay away from the financial sector. Vegetable stock is where it's at.


GillianOMalley106 karma

Did you upload that video because of this question or did you legit already have a portfolio of vegetable stock?

PhotographyByAdri145 karma

I made that video and uploaded it about a week ago! 😉

considerfi214 karma

Hi serious-ish question.

I tried stock and found that even though sales were happening, the money I was making was not worth the effort at all (at least since 2013 or so). I just got a 100 bucks from getty but I don't think they've cut me a check in years. I now do society6 (wall art) and I make way more. Any reason why you are doing stock and not art sales like society6 or redbubble?

To be fair I only have tens of photos on getty but I also have tens of photos on s6 and it seems more promising...

SalmonBloodFarts97 karma

I had to scroll way down to find that the highest grossing picture is $60 something bucks. This is basically a hobby that has netted a little extra cash. Nothing remotely close to a full time professional. Some advice may be sound but the whole post sure read different to me. I have a hard time caring about advice from a “professional” that has barely made a thousand dollars.

PhotographyByAdri9 karma

$60 is more than 99% of photographers will make on a single photo. Photography and video work is my full-time profession, not a hobby, and I make my living with it. Stock photography is one of the niches of photography that I am most experienced in, and that most people know nothing about, so I would certainly say I'm qualified to answer questions about it. You say "professional" in quotes, as if I'm just some person with minimal photo experience that uploads a few photos here & there and makes a little spare change from it. The reality is that I've been behind the lens for about 9 years, and make my living off of photo & video work.

MyApologies_135 karma

I'll cover the elephant in the room.

What would you say is the strangest stock photo you've taken?

PhotographyByAdri213 karma

Hmm...probably this one, or one from this shoot! https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/funny-silly-man-blue-eyes-looks-1264487305?src=JkobSwwXKz1fsHU0-MaMMw-1-0

And this wasn't staged. He said he was going to take a bath, I came upstairs 20 minutes later, and found him in a tub overflowing with bubbles!

I tend to not take those really weird stock photos that you sometimes see. I personally find it to be a waste of time, because the market for them seems so small. I'd rather invest my time taking and editing photos that I really enjoy, i.e. dogs & nature/wildlife. This is the path I want to pursue anyways, so adding the really strange stock photos to my collection just seems a bit out of place when it's next to a bird and a dog.

UnderestimatedKoala212 karma

I love the related images.

PhotographyByAdri112 karma

Hahaha!! That's awesome. The other day I reverse searched this image to see if I could find where it's been used, and the related images were of monkeys covered in snow!!! 😂😂😂

missthatisall58 karma

The bathtub guy, what’s his dream? Is he trying to become an influencer? Looking to be an actor? Or just someone making a bit of side cash?

PhotographyByAdri118 karma

Bathtub guy is my boyfriend :) We run a video production company together; I work the camera and help with editing, he's the pretty face for the spokesperson part & also does editing. He has done some acting here and there, but his dream is to do comedy. He has an improv group & has done some stand-up as well.

fucky_fucky36 karma

You being a professional at this implies that it's your sole source of income. I ask this as someone who's been selling on all three of those sites and more for years. I make about $100 or so a month, despite having hundreds of photos for sale. How much do you make?

PhotographyByAdri53 karma

I don't make a living off of it, but I also don't believe someone has to be making their living on something to be a professional at it. I make my living with photo/video work, and have sales on the stock sites every day, so I consider myself professional. Someone who is able to make a living off of stock photography is extremely rare, as microstock isn't a big money-maker. Most stock photographers use their stock photos as a source of extra/passive income. I'd still consider these people professionals, if they're actively working and making money with it. But maybe I use the term more loosely than some people.

weedfreer35 karma

what type of pics tend to take in the most coin/which pic you took you thought would tank but actually turned up trump's?

PhotographyByAdri133 karma

Well, you need to keep in mind that I work in just a couple niches. My "people" photos don't really do well - however, I only have a small handful of "people" photos, and the market/competition for them is huge.

My best-sold photo is this one: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/bubba-dog-photographed-northern-california-animal-624340325

Generally my best-sellers are either portraits of dogs & cats looking at the camera, and nature photos that show human impact on the environment. Such as this one, my second-best seller: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/hungry-gull-finds-itself-plastic-bag-630931349

I was a bit surprised that my best-seller ended up being the one that it is. That dog was honestly not the cutest dog, which was a huge part of why he was stuck in a shelter for so long. But my (volunteer) job was to make him look like a dog that someone would want, so I captured his bubbly personality. In hindsight, even though he's an "average" looking dog in the photo, I think it's his big smile and personality that have led it to be such a good seller.

niamhellen59 karma

I disagree about the dog, he is a very handsome boy. I love his coat color and beautiful little square face!

PhotographyByAdri28 karma

I take that as a compliment to my photography, because in person he was definitely not the cutest dog I've seen. A good photographer knows how to make any dog look cute, though. ;)

sailor_sega_saturn20 karma

You apologize to Bubba right this moment! 😠

PhotographyByAdri52 karma

🤔 There's nothing wrong with noticing that a dog is not the most visually-pleasing of a group. In fact, as a visual artist, it's a necessity. If you don't recognize the unattractive parts of a subject like this, you'll end up with photos that are not as appealing as they could be. Note their strong points and their weak points, and focus on the strong points.

I mean, even the shelter workers said he's not the prettiest. I certainly did NOT think he's ugly, but I wouldn't say he's a supermodel dressed as a dog. And saying a dog isn't the cutest of a group isn't saying that they aren't worthy of being adopted. He was just as, if not more, worthy of adoption as any other dog there. I just took photos to help people see the prettier sides of him, so their first impressions weren't the giant bald spot and huge mole on his back. Their first impressions were his huge, happy smile and eyes.

Burgerforlife15 karma

So did Bubba get adopted?

PhotographyByAdri44 karma

Yes!!! 😍 Shortly after I photographed him. His adoptive momma is Facebook friends with my friend who works at the shelter. His momma is super super happy and proud of him for being my best-seller 😉

sailor_sega_saturn9 karma

Just messin' with ya. No worries. Good photo, I'd love a dog just like him, bald spot and all, but can't realistically take care of any pets right now.

PhotographyByAdri6 karma

It's all good! :) & good on you for recognizing your limits. And for being the kind of person who could love a shelter dog with a bald spot & all! ❤

roxy03111 karma

When I looked at your portfolio, that Bubba photo is the first one I would’ve purchased. I’m a graphic designer and I volunteer for a few animal shelters and rescue organizations (and I’m in NorCal so it’s possible Bubba is from one of the ones I volunteer with!), and I do a lot of searches for friendly, happy images of pitbull-type dogs. Bubba caught my eye immediately :) Your work is great!

PhotographyByAdri16 karma

Thank you! Bubba was with the Humboldt County shelter, a friend of mine works there. :) I'm happy to give you licences to use my photos for $5/photo. Feel free to contact me if you're ever interested!

roxy0316 karma

That’s really awesome of you! I will def take you up on that.

PhotographyByAdri10 karma

Seems like a win/win! I keep 100% of the profits and make more with your "download" than I do with 99% of them, and you get the photo for a fraction of the cost of a normal stock photo! 😁 HMU any time, the offer will stand.

klye795228 karma

Have you ever met Harold?

PhotographyByAdri3 karma

Unfortunately, I have not ;)

Domaloth24 karma

Can you upload whatever photos you want to stock sites? Or do you get requests by these sites? If so, what's the weirdest shoot you've ever done?

PhotographyByAdri39 karma

To an extent, yes, we can upload whatever we want. However, there are limitations. No porn is allowed, of course. And if you don't have a model release, or brands/logos/recognizable property is visible, it must be submitted as editorial. And editorial photos cannot be staged (i.e. people looking at the camera and smiling)

Some sites put out requests for custom content, in which any contributor can submit to. However, usually requests by sites is just limited to something like a monthly shot list/recommendations for photos to upload/what customers are searching for. I don't usually do these as they usually involve photographing people...which isn't really my thing. :)

LostPaddle18 karma

Nice photos!

  1. What's the most you've made on a stock photo so far?

  2. What portion of your stock photos are candids vs setting things up?

I take photos too and have some up on Shutterstock. I haven't put too much effort into it yet, but was thinking about it! I've made $2 so far haha. Keep it up!

PhotographyByAdri37 karma

Thank you!

  1. So far, my best-seller has earned me $63. Stock photography definitely isn't a get-rich-with-one photo job ;)

  2. Most of my photos are nature/wildlife and pets, so I would say that most are candid or partially-candid. Depending if you consider doing a shoot of shelter/rescue dogs to be set-up or candid. :) Often with dogs, the best photos come from just letting them be themselves and do whatever they want, then photographing them while they do that.

Faesun15 karma

how did you get into stock photography? is there a training method for learning to take pictures that way?

PhotographyByAdri42 karma

I was taking a beginners photography class when I was in college, mostly for shits and giggles since I was already at professional level then. The teacher told me, as constructive criticism, that my photos looked very commercial. I.E. they tend to be clean, bright, minimalistic. But I couldn't find it in me to take that as criticism. I like that style. The thought lingered in my mind for a while, until one day I decided to upload a bunch of my archived photos to Shutterstock. As soon as you start seeing sales, it becomes a bit of a game...how can you upload and how much can you earn? It's quite fun, really. I don't think there's really a training method. Producing quality work that people will want to buy is the best tactic to be successful.

stevesy1728 karma

Adri's Guide to Success

  1. Produce quality work that people will want to buy
  2. Profit

Feel like I'm missing a step but I don't know what

PhotographyByAdri12 karma

Hmm...I don't believe my comment was meant as a guide to success.

Winterpainter15 karma

Just saw your post in r/aww. Is your boyfriend single? Any chance for me to make goal by tackling Goalkeeper

PhotographyByAdri16 karma

Haha! Well, you can certainly try. But I think he's pretty crazy about goalkeeper and would not be happy with anyone tackling her ;)

heethen010 karma

Have you found that there is more of a want for natural/lifestyle pics or staged scenes?

PhotographyByAdri6 karma

Definitely the natural/lifestyle photos. Granted, I don't usually do staged scenes. However, when you look at pretty much any blog article or other place where stock photos are often used, there does seem to be a trend of moving away from the awkward, staged photos and towards more natural, true-to-life photos.

awesomeaviator8 karma

What gear do you use?

PhotographyByAdri29 karma

Nikon D610 with Nikon 50mm f/1.8, Tamron 150-600mm, Tokina 16-28mm, and Tokina 100mm macro. But asking a photographer what gear they use is like asking an artist what paint brushes they use. Yeah, good brushes do a lot to help you make good work, but your brushes don't make the painting. My camera is only a tool to help me make a digital copy of what I see.

bobex998 karma

Do you have any tips for someone looking into becoming a professor photographer? Like, how did you get into it?

PhotographyByAdri22 karma

Practice, get feedback, practice, get feedback. Repeat.

I am completely self-taught. When I was fostering dogs for a local rescue, I learned that good photos helped dogs get adopted faster. My mom had an old DSLR laying around that she never used, so I grabbed it and started working to take better photos to help my foster dogs get adopted faster. And the rest is history ;)

One of the best ways that I improved my work, was taking my favorite photo that I had recently taken, sharing it on Facebook photography groups, and asking the pros to rip it apart. It helps keep your ego in check, and helps you improve your own work at the same time.

Georgeipie5 karma

Can anyone put pictures on these sites to earn money or is their and emploment or quality proces?

PhotographyByAdri4 karma

These sites generally have strict quality standards. It is in a stock agency's best interest to only present high-quality work to their customer base. :) I still get photos rejected on a regular basis - usually for too much noise (grain) and I have to go back, make adjustments, and resubmit.

NorvalMarley5 karma

Do you ever see a photo like “woman petting snail” and see that it exists but think “I can do better”?

PhotographyByAdri13 karma

For sure. Most of my income actually comes from video production (it's very rare to make a living off of stock photography) and often when I'm looking at stock footage I think, "why does this exist?" and often "I could do that much better."

I am constantly seeing the flaws in photos that other people take. It's one of the downsides of this job, is being unable to simply appreciate most "good" photos without being critical. That being said, I don't usually voice my criticism unless it's asked for.

marchmay2 karma

What can we do to get more people of color in stock photos?

PhotographyByAdri6 karma

Encourage them to reach out to model for the photographers, and encourage stock photographers to work with people of color! And encourage people who buy stock photos to purchase photos of colored people. If it's in demand, there will be more people working to create those photos.

Unfortunately my profile only has white people, with the exception of my boyfriends mom who is Brazilian. The only reason I don't have people of color on my portfolio is because I am not close to any people of color, and I don't work with models. There have been times when I've seen a gorgeous woman of color and been tempted to ask her to model for me in exchange for photos, but I'm quite shy about it and have never done that with anyone...colored or not 😬 And people aren't my main subject, so I have never pursued photos of people outside friends/family.

trickymaid2 karma

How can we get more ACTUALLY disabled people represented in stock photos, shot in a way that doesn’t reinforce ableist narratives?

PhotographyByAdri2 karma

Great question. I mean, I am an "actually" disabled person, and there are self-portraits of me on my stock portfolios. However, my illness is mostly invisible. This being said, I would think that for well-represented photos of disabled people, you need two things: one, a photographer who is not the type to only shoot photos that reinforce stereotypes (check their portfolio to get an idea of this), AND a model who is genuinely disabled and will have open conversation about how their disability affects them AND be open to being vulnerable in the photos. For example, if there was a photo of me struggling to get up from a seat without falling over, that would be a true, genuine representation of someone with my illness. But it can be hard to take a photo like this, for so many reasons. I wish there was a simple answer to this, but I if there is, I don't have it. Photographers looking to capture authentic moments, working with models who are genuinely disabled, is probably the best solution.

BraveSock1 karma

Have you ever considered not adding the text “iStock” over the middle of all your photos? It really detracts from the quality.

PhotographyByAdri1 karma

It's not my decision. All stock sites automatically watermark their images to help protect the contributors copyrights. Plenty of people would just steal the photos without those watermarks.

xmarlboromanx-1 karma

Do you work for exposure?

PhotographyByAdri0 karma

How do you mean?