Photography in all its professional forms, has been massively disrupted by technology over the last ten years or so.  The swift succession of the internet, digital sensors, and camera phones has quite literally turned every other person you meet into a photographer, and as the price of “good” cameras has declined, we’ve seen a great influx of new photographers, some of whom aspire to professional photography.  Perhaps you’re one of them.

If you are trying to make a buck in photography, it would be helpful to size yourself up against your competition.  Be forewarned: it’s formidable.  With these new photographers flooding the market, there are bound to be some good ones, and that’s certainly the case here.

Among the various genres of photography, stock photography might be the hardest-hit of all.  Not so long ago, a photographer could make a few bucks here and there selling stock photos, but the massive supply of photos has driven prices down to laughable levels.  As if to add insult to injury, stock photo sites can now be pickier than ever before.  If your stuff isn’t up to par, there is quite literally a line of photographers waiting in the wings with great material.  I stumbled across an online guide for contributors on iStockPhoto, and although I’m sure this wasn’t their intent, the thing that struck me most is that it’s really, really difficult for a new photographer to not mess up something on their list.   In fact, I still mess up quite a few of these things on a regular basis.

If you’re looking to improve your photography, this guide is an excellent place to start.  Think of this as a bare minimum set of requirements before you’re ready to go pro – if you’re not producing work that clears that bar, you’ve still got some work to do!