Stock Photography Tips
Taking and submitting stock photography is a great way to make some extra money. But only if you do it right. Here are a few quick tips to taking the right kind of photos and submitting them in the right kind of way to help ensure you’re earning income, not wasting time.
1. Quality comes first. Stock photo sites receive a lot of submissions and you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle by not giving them something high quality enough. Check your photos closely for focus, noise and dust. If you know your way around Photoshop, use its tools to help you check for and remove imperfections.
2. Look at and follow the advice and guidelines shared by stock photography sites. Sites like Shutterstock and Big Stock Photo have submission guidelines, which also includes lots of advice on how to increase your chances of getting your photos accepted and then downloaded. Do your best to stick closely to whatever the stock site recommends: remember, they’re on your side because they want to sell your photography too.
3. Before you start taking photos, have a look at what’s already doing well on the most successful stock photography websites. If you’re good at shooting a particular style of photograph – for example, flowers, vistas or social situations, have a look at the most downloaded photos in these categories. There’s no point simply copying what you see there (it’s way too competitive), but you should get some ideas about composition and style.
4. As you start taking your photos and submitting them to stock sites, think about who would purchase your images. Make sure you get across what each photo’s message is. Try and put yourself in the mind of the buyer and his or her audience. Although they might interpret your work differently and use it for a different purpose, it’s still useful to have this audience awareness front and center.
5. Lighting is very important in stock photography. Learn how to do it properly! Make sure you’re lighting your photos according to best practice and don’t waste your time submitting shots that are too dark or have inferior shadow/light transitions in them.
6. When it comes to submitting your photo, take the time to add keywords and categories your photos properly. Avoid a thesaurus: people will be searching for stock photos using common and recognizable words and phrases. Bear in mind that many buyers will use categories to guide their search, so it’s worth making sure your photos are sitting in the right place on the site.
7. If you’re submitting photos with subjects that have a technical name or description, be sure to use it (as well as tagging it with more common language). Be specific, even scientific, particularly when it comes to naming objects from nature, such as flowers and plants.
8. Check your spelling. If you accidentally mistype or misspell your photo’s name or keywords, it stands a far smaller chance of being found, liked and downloaded. Double and triple check your spelling.
It can take time to build a decent income from stock photography, but playing by the rules and persevering will help get you there. You will learn quickly how to get your photos approved for stock sites, and it’s just a small jump from there to learning how to take the kind of photos that buyers find irresistible!