With stock photography, as with many things in life, getting started is the hardest part.
If you’re still stuck at the starting gate, check out the Kick-in-the-Pants Guides I’ve sent you over the past two weeks, here:
- Kick-in-The-Pants Guide Part 1: Get started in 20 minutes a day
- Kick-in-The-Pants Guide Part 2: Attract more buyers
And now it’s time for your third and final guide…
The Snap & Sell Photo Club Kick-in-the-Pants Guide
PART 3: SUPER-SIZE YOUR SALES
It’s fun to have a beautiful online portfolio in different stock agencies, but the ultimate goal is to make an income from our photos.
Beyond taking and uploading great photos, here are some things you can do increase your sales:
Find out what buyers want. Many stock agencies feature a “photo request forum” where buyers can request different photo subjects. For example, on the iStock photo request forum, one buyer is always in need of photos of pets wearing collars and tags. Peruse these forums to see what buyers want, then see if you can take those kinds of photos.
- iStock’s Photo Request Forum
- Shutterstock’s Photo Request Forum Some agencies will also publish information on which photos are selling best in the past year, month, and week. This can be helpful for identifying trends and getting ideas of what to shoot next. The ideas you cull from these lists will apply across agencies, too.
- Shutterstock’s “Most Popular Images” page (Must be signed in to Shutterstock)
- iStock’s “What We’re Looking For” page
- Pay attention to your keywording. No one will find your photo if it isn’t well keyworded when you upload it to your agencies. Here’s an article with some keywording tips from stock photographer Shelly Perry to get you started.
- Graduate to bigger agencies. When you’re first getting started, it’s a great idea to submit photos to Bigstock, Fotolia, and Dreamstime. Those agencies can be easier to get into than iStock and Shutterstock.
Once you’re in, though, take some time to find out which of your photos get the most views, and use those as your application images at iStock and Shutterstock, which have larger customer bases and can possibly make you more money. Shutterstock, in particular, can be tough to get into. It took me three tries. It’s worth it, though, as it tends to be a consistent money-maker.
Whatever you do, always remember to keep it fun for yourself. Burn-out is real and can hit you before you start making sales if you’re not careful.
Take the kinds of photos you like. Explore. Find your passion. Then follow it.