- Stock Photography Success Tips: Planning and Research
- Stock Photography Success Tips: Best Stock Photo Sites 2020
- iStock Review: How to Make Money Selling Your Photos
- Dreamstime Review: A Solid Choice for Stock Photographers
photo by Photo Collections via Pexels
Whether you are already an established professional photographer or considering entering the job field of paid photographic image creation, you could benefit from taking the time to learn how to shoot for stock photography.
As I started shooting for stock photography trends and selling stock photos, one of my biggest early lessons was to have realistic expectations. Outside of a very few outstanding stories, there are not quick windfalls of a year’s worth of income from a single upload.
In fact, that will be one of the stock photography ideas and tips today for how to get into stock photography.
Set a Shooting Goal
Photo by Candid Shots from Pexels
Photographers who know how to shoot for stock photography will all let you know that success probably won’t come overnight, but you do have to start somewhere. I like to set goals for myself for how many usable images to create in a week. Then, I can work that goal into my regular shooting schedule.
So, if I’m already at a location where I am taking landscape images for a commissioned article or to print and display at a gallery or local show, I will also set aside some time for adding to my stock image portfolio.
A word of caution here, don’t short change a current paying client for possible future stock income. Also, if my being at a certain place or event is based on the fact that I was hired to be there, I will avoid any conflict of interest. It’s a balancing act sometimes, but always strive to maintain good business ethics.
Pay Attention to Current Trends
photo by LeoPatrizi via iStock
Staying up to date with social media, advertising, and entertainment trends is another useful method for how to shoot for stock photography. Stock photography trends will show up all throughout the year, you can sometimes catch on to new trends by paying attention to what’s being talked about or shared the most.
Being adaptable and aware will help you in selling stock photos and is essential for knowing how to shoot for stock photography. It might also benefit your regular photography, knowing what people are looking at right now that maybe wasn’t at all popular just a few weeks or months ago.
Consider All Angles
photo by conceptualmotion via iStock
Having a fresh view is a large part of how to shoot for stock photography successfully. Everyone knows what a dog looks like, perhaps a non standard view might gather some attention. Same idea for trees, flowers, the L.A. skyline, and so on.
We talk a lot about moving around when taking pictures to get a better view, moving around when shooting stock photography ideas will enable you to present more than one opportunity for selling stock photos.
It is sometimes very surprising to see which pictures get chosen and which ones don’t as we consider our personal stock photography trends and how to shoot for stock photography that gets noticed and sells.
Editor’s Tip: Part of finding new and interesting angles to shoot common subjects is training your creative eye to see all the possibilities. The question is, how do you do that? Our 30-Day Creative Eye Course is a great place to start! Learn how to see creatively - just like the pros do - and harness that creativity to create compelling images. CHECK IT OUT and see what the 30-Day Creative Eye Course can do for you!
Shoot Multiple Processes
photo bysuteishi via iStock
Digital photography gives us such an incredible opportunity in how to shoot for stock photography. We don’t have to unload and reload film to shoot color, B&W, high ISO, or low ISO. We can simply adjust right there in camera and also later in post processing.
If we shoot in RAW digital formats, we can adjust a lot of our images for being in black and white as well as in color. Other changes we can do are to change the ISO from high to low to make use of our other skills such as creative use of shutter speed and lens aperture.
If we aren’t shooting in RAW, we can also adjust white balance to gain a different look which can be marketed differently. Personally, I shoot in RAW most of the time, but if recording JPEG, I will make sure to have the correct white balance first, then change it up for a slightly different feel.
Another method to use as an alternative process is HDR, high dynamic range, photography. The trend for extreme HDR was short lived, but HDR is usable for so much more than merely that artsy extreme result. Shooting HDR and processing for a natural look is very useful for selling stock photos.
Shoot a Series of Images
Photo by Adrianna Calvo from Pexels
An additional thought for how to shoot for stock photography is similar to the thought of shooting multiple angles, it can be an extension of that thought.
A series of images of the same subject will give buyers a variety of images to choose from and can also result in multiple sales of photos you took in the same session. Series images can also be used to show progression of an activity or a timeline which might catch the eye of a prospective buyer.
Leave Negative Space
photo by Weedezign via iStock
Another complementary idea of how to shoot for stock photography is to leave negative space open for ad copy. A huge part of the market we shoot for in stock photography trends is for online and print advertising.
So, as we shoot the series of images and look for multiple different angles, we can plan to leave negative space that can be utilized for whatever the art director has in mind. I like to vary where in the image area I will put negative space and how much space. That way, whoever is needing it will have a lot of options to satisfy their needs and thoughts.
Practice the Rules of Photography
photo by Nikola Spasic Photography via iStock
The rules of composition, exposure, and depth of focus exist for good reasons, using them tends to give results that are pleasant, balanced, and expected as normal and natural looking.
As we go out on our photo excursion with our expectations of how to shoot for stock photography, we can implement what we know and have experience in using. Placing objects on the Rule of Thirds lines, exposing properly, and choosing whether to emphasize deep or shallow focus all make images that people are comfortable seeing and that they would choose to buy.
Break the Rules of Photography
photo by RapidEye via iStock
Just when you thought you knew everything you needed about how to shoot for stock photography, along comes someone like me to tell you to break all the established rules.
As much as familiar and comfortable sells in stock photography, so does the image that is like nothing else out there. Sometimes, you want the composition to be different or you want the exposure to emphasize either bright highlights or deep shadow.
There is nothing wrong with subverting an established rule in order to get the image you really want to capture. The unique view you create can either turn people off from the image or suck them deep into an appreciation of it.
If you are already very familiar with the rules and regular methods of photography, then you are able to decide when and where to choose other options. You don’t just break the rules because of lack of experience or as a mistake, but because you know how to manipulate your craft and art.
Other Things to Know
photo by gahsoon via iStock
For this article, we pretty much kept to the subject of how to SHOOT for stock photography, in other words, the camera end of the ways how to get into stock photography.
Each of the stock photography sites have some specific rules and useful methods. Hashtags, labels, processing, and other essential skills will also help you with selling stock photos.