About 2 weeks ago a huge international law firm contacted me. They wanted to license my ‘Art or architecture’ drone photo for their annual report. After a bit of negotiating on the details of my licensing contract, I was able to close the deal on a nice four figures number.
Which is absolutely new for me! I’ve only ever sold a few drone photos around the $200-400 range before. The big difference here was they were buying in perpetuity (so without ending). Which allowed me to put my game face on and go all-in ?
Don’t misunderstand. It’s not like this is happening regularly now. Income from licensing is still pretty slow for me in general. I think I only sold around 6 licenses for drone photos in 2020 ?
How to license your drone photos?
I work with Amazing Aerial Agency and through them I only target the premium stock photography market, such as Adobe Premium, Offset (by Shutterstock), MyPictureMaxx etc … which sell photos in the $200-500 range. The regular stock websites – like Shutterstock, Getty and iStock – are much more on volume than premium pricing, selling only in the $5-50 range. Thus you need to sell A LOT of photos to actually earn enough commission.
However I have good hopes of doing better in 2021, as last month I gave my agency a lot more photos to upload, hereby doubling my online stock portfolio. I’ve also added all of my drone video clips now. We can clearly see that video is the upwards trend the last years. And I’m happy to say this already resulted in 2 (small) video sales in the past 2 weeks, yeey ?
PRO tip: 1) aim for premium websites to actually earn something and 2) shoot famous landmarks, buildings and sites to increase your chances of selling in the stock market. That’s definitely going to be easier than my (mostly) nature/landscape focused photos ?
That’s how award winning drone photographer Bachir Moukarzel does it! By focusing on urban shots, he’s added a nice 3-digit passive income every month through premium stock sales.
If you have any questions about how to license your drone photos, feel free to contact me and maybe I’ll do a more in-depth article on this topic in the future.
Also read my follow-up article on how the law firm actually found my photo through a photography contest.