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21 Tips for doing Stock Photography

The Post 21 Tips for Doing Stock Photography first appeared at Digital Photography School. It was written by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

As a stock photographer you are a bit like in a band. Not many get the status of rock star, but they love what they do and enjoy earning extra money on the side.

Producing photos to sell through stock photo agencies can offer more focus to your photography. It can help you focus more and develop your skills than when you do photography purely as a hobby.

21 tips for Stock Photography Back packer on the train

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The digital stock photography industry has undergone many changes over the years. In the past it was arguably easier to earn decent money, even very good incomes. But the percentage of contributors who lived full time selling stock photos was relatively small.

Approach stock photography with a healthy attitude and without great expectations. You may be surprised how much you learn, how much you enjoy it and even how much you can earn.

Here are a few tips for doing stock photos that I've compiled. They will encourage those of you to dig in the stock photography market.

1. Treat it like a business

The more businesslike you handle stock photography, the more successful you will be. An informal approach ensures a no-obligation return. There is no problem with this if it is what you want.

If you are serious about making real money from stock photography, you have to set up a business from the start. Make a plan and stick to it. Keep a record of your expenses and income. Regularly devote time to focusing on the mechanics that make it work.

The lack of a plan and a relaxed attitude towards producing stock photos won't take you far. Maybe you don't have the time or the inclination to turn it into a full-time job. Having a plan in place and a business attitude to what you do will still help.

21 tips for Stock Photography Merlion park, Singapore

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2. Choose your niche

One of the biggest challenges you face is getting your images noticed. The stock photography market is so saturated that it can be difficult to get your photos to buyers.

Choosing your niche, a few topics and concepts to focus on can help this. Choose a number of topics that you are passionate about. Purposefully becoming an expert in photography. Build a portfolio with photos that attract attention.

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3. Study design trends

Designers buy stock photos ' s. Study current trends and stay informed as they change. View styles, colors, and image usage to see what buyers need.

Browse magazines. Browse websites. Watching television. You see stock photos ' s everywhere. Write down the ones you like best and copy them.

21 tips for Stock Photography Boy with a Note book

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4. See what worked before

Spend time on stock photography websites. Look at the best-selling images and think about why they are so popular. Why do they work? Why have so many people bought them? How can you improve them?

Trends and modes change. Consider how you can rework older stock photos that were very popular to make them more up-to-date.

21 tips for Stock Photography Tropical Palm tree sunset

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5. Target the market

Know your market. Discover what people buy. Fill the gap with what is missing.

More information about the potential market for your niche. Study it and give the kind of images that will be popular. You may have to try out different styles and ideas for a while before tackling part of that work. Experiment until you have a breakthrough.

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6. View the masters

Find rockstar stock photographers. Look at their wallets. How did they make it a successful business?

If you can find successful stock photographers who work in the same niche as you, this is great. Search for trends and patterns in their work. Search for new ideas. Do not copy, make sure you add your own flash.

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7. Polish your technique

Having technically strong photos means that more of them are being accepted by the stock offices. Standards seem to have slipped in recent years. This is still no excuse for not submitting technically correct photos.

Modern cameras, even on telephones, and new software make it very easy to take high-quality photos. The higher your standard, the higher your sales will be.

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8. Use a lot of light

A trend that has never gone out of style in stock photography is photos with an abundance of light. Well-lit images often convey positive emotions. Advertisers like this and will buy feel-good photos.

Be sure to take some photos of each session that are more light than you would normally use, especially if your photos are often dark and moody. There is room for that image style to sell as a share, but clear photos often sell better.

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9. Make sure it is sharp

Good sharp images will always sell. Clarity in your photos is important for buyers. Too many images in your portfolio with a shallow depth of field make the subject to a limited extent attractive.

Also be precise with your focus, especially when using a small depth of field. Your photos must be sharp in the right place or they are unlikely to pass the inspection process.

21 tips for Stock Photography Thai sunset

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10. Compose for copy space

Stock photos are often used in advertisements or design layouts that contain text. If you leave some space in your compositions, they can become much more practical for designers.

Experiment with your compositions. If you leave more space on your subject, the photo may be more useful for a designer.

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11. Take a series of photos ' s

When you take a new set of photos for the stock, make sure you take a whole series. View your topic from as many different angles as you can. Vary your compositions and focus on variety for the buyer.

Don't just take the first corner you think. Consider how the photo can be used and view it in different ways. Producing a series of photos is more practical for buyers because it gives them more choice.

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12. Be productive

The more photos you take, the more you can upload. The more you can sell.

Make sure you deliver a good variety of images from a topic or concept as often as you can. By building a strong portfolio of photos, you will give buyers more options.

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13. Be practical

Don't imagine taking photos in a hospital or commercial kitchen if you don't have easy access to such locations.

If you want to take product photos, set a good studio space so that you can easily take this style of photos. The more trouble-free you can work, the more pictures you can take with less costs. Your profit will increase.

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14. Develop your own style

Style takes time to develop. Have a plan and a goal and a clear idea of ​​the type of photos you want to produce. This will lead to the development of your own personal style.

Don't stress about this. By making it sound natural, it will become distinctive. When buyers see that your style is consistently reflected in your portfolio, they will look more often at what you do and buy from them.

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15. Post process consistent

The appearance of your photos taken during post-production has a lot to do with the development of your style.

Presets can make this easier. Using the same set of preset actions to control the way your images are displayed helps to bind your portfolio together.

21 tips for Stock Photography Sad young asian woman

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16. Diversify the agencies to which you upload

If you have time, it's a good idea to send your images to more than one or two stock photo agencies.

If you start, this can take a lot of time. By uploading too much, you can see which sales and which do not sell so well. View the statistics, not only for your sales, but also for the number of views that your photos receive on each platform. If your images are not viewed, consider uploading less to that site or not at all.

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17. Stay at one desk to save time

If your time is limited, you may find it best to enter into an exclusive contract with one agency.

Some stock photo agencies offer incentives if you only upload to them. This may mean that they pay you a higher percentage of each sale.

21 tips for Stock Photography Young couple

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

18. More information about copyright

Understanding copyright helps you when you decide what you want to photograph. There are two basic types of photo prints. Commercial licenses restrict photos that are subject to copyright. Editorial licenses are less restrictive, but the use of the photos is more limited.

Each photo with;

  • A trademark,
  • design made by someone else,
  • commercial corporate identity
  • or recognizable people

means that you need a property or model release to sell them with a commercial license due to copyright laws.

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19. Use model release forms

Have each person you photograph sign a standard release form. This means that you can sell these photos with a commercial license. Making model releases makes photos ' s of people more practical for buyers.

These forms are directly available on stock photography websites. A good generic release form can be used when uploading to multiple agencies.

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20. Keyword correct

Good keywording of your images is essential. It makes no sense to upload photos if you do not add suitable keywords. Your photos will never be seen without these.

Spend some time researching how to add the right words. Do not upload your photos with too much, but sufficient relevant information about them so that they appear in the search results.

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21. Upload a little and often

If you upload a few images every day, your portfolio will stay fresh. Stock agencies reward constant uploaders by floating their photos to the top of the search results.

If you upload only occasionally, you will not sell as much. If you have had a large photo session and have taken many photos, distribute them when you upload them. When you are going to rework them, upload them in batches instead of waiting for the entire project to be completed.

21 tips for Stock Photography Close up table setting

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Conclusion

Experimenting is essential to find out which of your photos are best sold. Try different approaches using the tips I described here and find what works for you.

Stock photography is not a fast-paced scheme. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to be very successful. The more methodical you are in creating images to sell, post-processing and keywording, the more you will sell.

Do you have any other tips for doing stock photos that you want to share with us in the comments below?

21-tips-for-do-stock photography

The Post 21 Tips for Doing Stock Photography first appeared at Digital Photography School. It was written by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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