Stock photography is one of many ways that professional photographers can earn money. These photos need to be of the highest quality so they can be sold to a variety of consumers and used for various purposes, from print media to websites.
If you're ready to dive into the stock photo market, though, be aware that making a lot of money can be difficult, especially with all of the competition out there. With the helpful tips below, you can take steps to ensure your photos will stand out from the rest.
Submit Photos That Will Sell
Although you have a lot of freedom in terms of the subjects you can take photos of, it's not a good idea to take pictures of anything and everything. This approach may lead to a lot of work that doesn't result in profits for your business. To make the most money possible, submit photos that consumers want to purchase and that stock agencies are also interested in offering for sale.
(Success Tip #1: Sell people your photos of them without a high-pressure sales pitch.)
It's best to look at what each stock agency recommends, not only in terms of quality, but also with regards to subject matter. Even just browsing the top 100 or top 50 best sellers on a stock photo site could give you some clarity in terms of what types of photos you should be submitting to gain the most success.
Bear in mind, too, that photos containing people do best. This means that abstract, nature, or landscape photos don't do as well in the stock photo world.
Work with Multiple Stock Agencies
Rather than restricting yourself to one stock agency, work with a few. Each will have its own set of requirements that you'll need to study and adhere to, but they'll also have different consumers visiting and searching for photos to buy. This means you can increase the number of people who encounter your photos. And if they all search for similar keywords and you notice that one of your photos is selling really well on one site, you can add it to another and increase profits.
Another bonus to using more than one stock agency is the fact that you can submit the same image to a different site if it's rejected. Again, each agency has its own rules and expectations, so what works for one may not work for another.
The biggest stock agencies include iStockphoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Stockxpert, BigStockPhoto, and Fotolia.
(Success Tip #2: Improve your photography skills with a great challenge every week.)
Use Keywords and Descriptions Wisely
It's important to write a detailed description and include multiple keywords that consumers would use as search terms to find each of your photos. Avoid keyword stuffing or using keywords that aren't related to your photos.
To come up with the ideal keywords, consider descriptive ones rather than conceptual ones. For images of animals, insects, and plants, include scientific names. And, of course, always check that the spelling of every keyword is correct.
When it comes to descriptions, stick to 2-3 sentences rather than lengthy descriptions. Mention the location, be specific, and essentially capture what the photo is illustrating, such as the mood and objects within the image.
Practice to Get Better
When you first enter the world of stock photography, things may be a bit confusing, especially as you get to know a particular stock agency's requirements and make changes to your shooting or editing style to accommodate their needs. But don't get discouraged. The more you practice and submit, the more likely it will be that you'll make money selling stock images.
To take your photography skills to an advanced level so you can submit higher quality stock images, join the PT community. You'll gain access to valuable courses and training sessions that can lead to greater stock photo profits.