- Stock Photography Success Tips: Planning and Research
- Stock Photography Success Tips: Best Stock Photo Sites 2020
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Stock photography is an excellent way for photographers to bring in money right now while they can’t actually participate in photoshoots.
But, stock photography is one of the more grueling types of photography. It can be tiring to work endlessly to build up your stock photography business before seeing much return. It’s like a game of sales where you’re repeatedly hearing the word, “no,” or worse yet, not hearing anything at all.
To give you all a little inspiration on your stock photography game right now, we’ve been building a huge stockpile of stock photography advice, including an article about how to sell stock photos, one about the most popular stock photography categories right now, and another about mistakes you need to avoid.
In this article, you can expect just a little more inspiration to ensure you don’t give up on your stock photography game just yet.
Stick to a Niche
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Once you’ve learned how to shoot for stock photography, your next goal is going to be to find a niche that you love and think you can stick with.
This is going to take some exploration, but it’s important that you pick something you can really put your heart and soul into, or else your photos are going to fall flat. Marketers don’t want photos with no artistic appeal whatsoever.
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Listen to Your Customers
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Depending upon the stock photography website you use, you will either get direct or indirect feedback from your customers. Direct feedback means they will be able to message you and let you know why they chose your work. This is easiest to understand.
Indirect feedback, on the other hand, means you simply need to pay attention to which of your photos are selling and try to figure out why from your clients’ perspective.
Put in the Hours
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The reason we’re doing this series of articles on stock photography tips is that it can be incredibly tiring to work for 60-70 hours a week on something without seeing any financial gains.
But, if you really want to succeed within the stock photography market, you need to build up your business. Treat it like a full-time job and you’ll be raking in the cash in no time.
Pay Attention to Trends
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I recently wrote an article all about different stock photography ideas that are selling right now. Obviously these trends are going to change, but if you can get on top of a trend before it hits full steam, more clients are going to choose your photos, which in turn means that stock photography websites will favor your photos in the future.
Trends can include holidays, which happen every year, or current events, like the pandemic.
photo by EmirMemedovski via iStock
Authenticity comes through in your stock photography. If you ever find yourself taking photos you don’t like or don’t agree with, then you need to reevaluate.
Keep Up with the Competition
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Just like you need to pay attention to trends in stock photography, you also need to keep an eye on your competitors. What are they doing that is different from what you are doing? Do you see them all doing something similar?
The way that I do this is I found a few people who are creating stock photography I really enjoy and I’ll check in on their work about once a month.
Create Photos for Everyone
photo by fizkes via iStock
You need to create diverse photos because there are a ton of people out there in the world who don’t look, think or act like you do. Are you really willing to lose out on their business because you couldn’t open up your circle a little bit?
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
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This is one of those stock photography tips nobody wants to talk about, but it’s really best to keep your day job (even if it’s in photography) until you can be certain your stock photography business will bring in enough cash.
Of course, during a time when very few people have jobs, building something for yourself instead of sitting on the couch is definitely the right move.
Ensure Each Photo Tells a Story
photo by AzmanL via iStock
What’s more interesting: a photo of a beautiful landscape or a hero shot of a person in front of a beautiful landscape?
People are drawn to stories. They’re also drawn to other people. If every one of your photos tells a story, you’re going to sell more of them.
Don’t Put Your Camera Down
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This sort of goes along the lines of don’t stop working, but the more times you have your camera with you, the more times you’re going to catch an image you never otherwise would have.
Whenever you’re commuting, playing with your children, or simply going on a walk, bring your camera. You never know what you might see.
Think About the Human Experience
photo by FatCamera via iStock
One way to be more authentic while you’re shooting is to capture things you think are funny, or sweet, or saddening. If something triggers your emotions then it’s more likely that it will also trigger the emotions of someone else looking at your photo.
While humans obviously have a lot of differences, we also have a lot of similarities that make us part of the same group.
Bring a Piece of Your Hometown to the World
photo by DenisTangneyJr via iStock
Not everyone can afford to travel all over the world for their stock photography business, but that doesn’t mean your photos are going to be any less interesting than theirs.
Try and look at your surroundings as if you’ve never seen them before and capture what it feels like to be a tourist in your hometown.
Think Like a Marketer
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Marketers are probably going to be your number one client in stock photography, which means you need to approach your body of work from their perspective.
photo by gorodenkoff via iStock
While all stock photography is obviously in danger of being overedited, your clients definitely don’t want raw photos either. If you aren’t well-versed in PhotoShop, then you should take a local class or teach yourself through YouTube.