Stock photography sites have made it easy for photographers to sell their photos online. However, just because you take photos doesn’t mean that a stock photo site, like Istockphoto for example, will accept them in their marketplace. In order to sell your photos on a stock photo website, the website must believe that your images can sell. Fortunately, photo blogs on the Internet provide advice on how to sell your photos. Here are some helpful tips:
Narrow Your Focus: Yuri Arcurs, a well-known professional stock photographer, writes a blog full of interesting facts about how to sell stock photography. In his blog post “What should I photograph and what is selling well?”, he tells his readers to carve out a niche of their own and pursue it relentlessly. I think this works with anything you do. I really love food photography and felt much better once I realized that this is where I wanted to direct my focus. And guess what? My photos have improved. The better you are at your subject, the more competitive advantage you will have within the market. And he remembers, if you’re going to develop a niche, make sure you’re honest with yourself. Is this something that really matters to you? Do you love to shoot? If you’re dedicated to your subject, you’re more likely to spend the time to make your photos compelling and genuine.
Add some edginess: Arcurs also suggests having a selection of photos in your portfolio that have an edgier feel (for all the details, check out their ‘I See With My Little Eye’ article). This edge feel can be achieved in a way that still allows you to sell your photo. Arcurs calls this adding a bit of ‘clutter’ to the photo of him. In the photos featured throughout your article, there is always a distracting element. A portrait is taken through glass or grass, for example. By adding a bit of “clutter” to a photo, you make it visually appealing and inspire curiosity in your viewers. Done right, this is a recipe for increased sales.
Research the marketability of your theme: Is your theme in demand? Are there already a lot of people photographing your subject? Do a search and see if your potential topic is something people are looking for. If you see there is a market for your subject, but there aren’t that many photos available to buy (like fewer than 10,000 images), it’s probably a good subject to start shooting.
Plan your shots – professional photography doesn’t just happen. Plan your shots in advance. First scan a location or theme. Get an idea of the type of lighting you want by visiting it at different times of the day and remember to take notes. Don’t forget to bring proper releases for models or property owners to sign.
Keyword Selection – Make sure you spell your topic keywords correctly so that other people can find you online. Use stock photo keyword tools to properly describe your photos. Another helpful tip is to test keyword popularity through the Google AdWords keyword tool to determine the most effective combination that buyers might search for.
Sell your photos on multiple stock photography websites – Most stock photography sites are non-exclusive and allow you to sell the same photos on more than one site. The more exposure your photos get, the better your chances of selling them and increasing your monthly income.
Many of these bloggers make it clear that photographers should focus their efforts on producing photos that will be sold on these stock photo sites. Unfortunately, this does not always encourage creativity. Most stock photo sites expect certain types of photos to sell and often reject many good photos in the process. I think things would be better for both buyers and photographers if the stock photo site’s standards for selecting photos were less strict. As time changes, you never know what kind of images buyers will be looking for. I think it’s problematic to assume that buyers aren’t interested in more creative photography. Why not try putting it on the market and see if it sells? If you offer buyers more options, they may use them.