Stock photography refers to the mechanism of supplying the photographs licensed for specific use. Stock photography is the simplest and effective form of marketing the professional photographs. It is a medium for professional photographers to make money online. Stock photography websites specialize in maintaining user-generated stock of photos (and illustrations, videos, audio files); to drive the demand-supply chain of stock photos online. Stock photography serves as the platform for both, the buyers and the sellers. Stock photography websites accept the photographs (from artists) to make them available to web designers, entrepreneurs and advertisers; searching for the images to communicate the idea or promote the business. Here are 10 tips to help you get involved and make the most as a microstock photographer.
Know What Is In Demand
Stock photography is a mechanism of striking a trade-off between the buyers and the sellers of stock photos. To become a successful microstock photographer, you need to assess what kind of photographs are required by the designers, advertisers and art directors. Stock photographs are meant to be used for commercial purpose, therefore you have to be particular about what is in demand and thus offer the required concept, subject or scene.
Good Photographs Make Way To Stock Photographs
Stock photographs are used for advertisements and online designing; it is thus an implicit requirement that the photographs which you submit as stock should be good and unique. The underlying qualities of a good photograph as stated by the stock photography websites are aesthetic composition, sharp image, proper focus, optimal exposure and an appropriate crop & size.
Offer The Photographs Illustrating Unique Idea / Concept
The advertisers and the web designers often choose the photographs which either tell a story or convey a message or express emotions. Such photographs help in communicating the idea & ethics of the business and assist in the brand building process. One of the most effective example of this is the twitter bird, which communicates the idea behind Twitter.
Shoot In RAW
The most suitable and preferred format for stock photographs is the RAW format which offers the flexibility of fine-tuning the images to a greater extent. The digital RAW is analogous to the film negative. It stores the meta-data of the image, camera & lens information and allows you to have a greater control during post processing the image. Shooting in RAW enables you to alter everything except for light and composition.
Post Processing Adjustments
Stock photographs are professional photographs. There is no acceptance for images lacking sharpness, contrast or carrying a color cast. To provide the professional touch to your photographs, you need to make some crucial post processing adjustments like correcting the color-cast, saturation, contrast and sharpness. Also, selectively resize and crop the images to the required proportions before submitting the photographs to the stock photography sites.
Use Keywords In Caption
Stock photography websites are nothing more than online database, for storing and retrieving the stock photos. The designers and advertisers search the photos using some specific keywords to suit their requirements. It is therefore of utmost importance to be very careful about the caption of the photos. Provide suitable and relevant keywords to the photographs which you upload as the stock to make the photographs search efficient.
Effectively Use IPTC Tagging
IPTC tagging enables you to embed the information such as the photographer’s name, copyright information, image caption, description and meta-data in the image file. The stock photography sites extract this information and store the fields along with the image file. IPTC tagging saves a lot of time and effort involved in providing the required information manually, especially when uploading to multiple sites. IPTC tagging also helps in making the images search efficient by attaching keyword-rich meta-data (which comes in handy for refined searches).
Stock Photography Is The Number Game
“Bigger the better”, the adage holds true for stock photography. The more you offer as the stock, more is the choice for the buyer, more are the chances of sale. Quantity and quality are the two things which help in enticing the customers to buy more. Be consistent and upload regularly to expand your portfolio. This serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it enables you to keep the stock updated which in turn offers a great variety of choice to the buyers and secondly, it helps in observing the requirement (and buying patterns) in the market.
Upload To Multiple Stock Photography Sites
Think it as an advantage or a drawback, but it is a true fact that online marketing is pervasive in nature. The buyers of stock photographs search for the best images all over the internet to get hold of desired stock. They don’t stick to some particular websites or portfolios only. The same applies to the sellers. Follow the buyer’s pattern and upload the images to multiple websites, the best ones, free ones, subscription based websites. Some of the most popular names for stock images are iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, GettyImages, Corbis, Fotolia and Dreamstime.
Make The Most From The Training Manual
Almost all the stock photography websites provides training guide for the sellers. The training guide is framed with the intent of teaching the potential sellers what sells. The training manual offered by these sites comes in handy for understanding the quality standards of the photographs. The training guide also offers the suggestions and tips to the contributers to provide them an overview of what makes the good and acceptable stock photos. The training manual also discloses the facts like type of images required for stocking, undesirable / prohibited activities, copyright issues and requirement of model releases for portraits.