OK – this is really about my sort of stock photography, which focuses more on travel, outdoors and some still life studio shots rather than people, but hope you find it useful. Counting down from number 10:
10: Spend time on keywording
Too often we enjoy the photography but not the mundane keywording. Don’t over-stuff keywords, keep to the facts of who, where, what type of questions but outlining some conceptual words is OK if that is what the image is all about.
9: Remember the vertical shot
Too often, we hold our camera in the standard position, but forget that all magazines are vertical. Take those vertical shots when you are in every location! That works for both travel and studio shots.
Mormon Temple in Washington
8: Upload to as many agencies as you think are worth your time and effort
It is sometimes a toss-up and you will find there are some agencies you just don’t like – Fotolia is my bete-noire. I listed the stock agencies I currently support here.
7: Don’t forget those editorial RM type images with people and famous buildings
Newspapers, magazines and websites are always after current views of buildings and even stores. Your image will contain copyrighted or trade-marked items so add some people doing normal things around the location. Newspapers in particular like to see a person striding past the entrance to the Federal Reserve for instance. These images need toeither be editorial on those sites that support that, or you can just submit them as RM to Alamy and Zoonar and confirm that you have no releases. I’m currently doing the latter.
Wegmans Grocery Store
6: Re-use those images
Again, a favorite topic of mine covered in this post. Always remember that you can create new stock images from existing shots – add something in the foreground like these surfboards. Add a background to a mundane image of a lamb composited into a nicer landscape.
Composite of a lamb and landscape
5: Tell a story with your image
This is perhaps more appropriate to editorial shots where the viewer needs to understand what you are trying to say with the photo, but the same applies to studio work. Don’t just take an isolated shot of a product and leave it at that – take a shot showing how it is used.
Story of some dangerous work!
4: Watch for new products and trends
Sometimes we think every possible shot has been taken and uploaded – after all Shutterstock now has 50 million images! But new trends appear and you need to watch for those and get your images online quickly. I hadn’t heard of chia seeds before, but here is a new superfood in the making!
Black Chia Seeds
3: Predict what will be required
This is a little harder, but look at upcoming events and try to get some good shots uploaded months in advance if you can. Some things come round regularly – Christmas is an obvious one, but anniversaries (150 years since the end of the US Civil War) usually mean a bump in sales if you have the right images.
Appomattox – Site of Civil War surrender
2: Get the best light possible
If you are in a lovely location but the weather is not great, by all means take some artistic photos, but stock shots tend to be bright and sunny. It is not often a travel magazine leads with a cloudy image of a beach…
Anse Marcel beach on St Martin
1: Keep them bright and contrasty
This is the key one, linked to the previous idea. People like images that jump off the page and yours need to stand out even as a thumbnail so that the buyer chooses yours to enlarge. Look at your shots in thumbnail view on the agencies – check against similar keyworded images and see how yours look compared to the competition. Make them bright, make them contrasty and make them colorful!
Shutterstock Popular Images