Juan van den Heever discovered that he could earn an income selling his photos and videos when his father suggested contacting Caters News Agency. After the success of his penguin video, I decided to ask him to elaborate on the topic.

He says that, considering the technological advances in cameras and phones, selling photos and videos are extremely challenging at times. A nice perching bird or grazing elephant is not going to sell – “gone are those days”. Using a stock photo or news agency that makes your photos accessible to buyers worldwide is your best bet. “It’s kind of like a supermarket for photos and videos.” Juan recommends Shutterstock, Nature Picture Library, Getty Images and mainly Caters News Agency. How it works: For each successful sale, the agency takes a percentage of the fee and pays the remainder in royalties.

Juan’s tips for taking images and videos that will sell:

  • Avoid gory photos. To most hard-core nature fanatics, witnessing nature at its wildest gives an adrenaline rush like no other, but the general public doesn’t want to see antelope covered in blood with it’s intestines hanging out.
  • Animal antics and cutesy animals usually sell well as they invoke that “awwwh, how cute!” emotion.
  • Take pictures that tell stories.
  • The more unique, different, emotionally and visually attractive your image, the more likely it will be bought and used in/for a story.
Cape Ground Squirrels that seem to be fighting photographed by Juan van den Heever
A unique photograph of a little bird walking on the face of a plant-covered hippo's face captured by Juan van den Heever
Two adorable sea lion pups photographed by Juan van den Heever