Stack the deck in your favor

Editing photos in Lightroom

Success with stock photography doesn’t happen by accident.

Most pro stock photographers would likely say that it’s a combination of building skills and being strategic.

If you can anticipate what buyers will want and build a strong portfolio around that, you will be well ahead of the game.

Here are some ideas for ways to stack the deck in your favor:

  • Bigstock lists their most popular photo categories here.
  • Shutterstock shows popular subjects, as well as trending search terms, here.
  • 123rf includes their most sought-after keywords right on their homepage.
  • Getty posts creative insights here.

The links above are a great way to get ideas and inspiration for your next photo project.

Once you’ve decided on a theme, the next step is to plan a photoshoot! This is where it gets fun.

Don’t think of it as some big production, but as a way to get out with some friends and practice shooting… with the possibility of coming away with a bunch of photos you can sell.

Here’s how to get started:

Get an idea. After looking through some of the links above, think about what you like to shoot, and how that might mesh with what’s currently in need. Do you like food? Could you invite some friends to share a meal and photograph it? Do you love spending time with family? What do you have planned this summer?

Pick a location. Where can you find the right setting to support your idea? With a little research, you’ll likely come up with some great spots in your area that you never knew about.

Find some models. Do you have friends or family that would be willing to model for you? Maybe someone needs photos and would be willing to trade. Keep things light and fun, and they may even want to do it again sometime!

Think about styling. What details need to happen to create your shots? Think about the color scheme you want and any props that are necessary to support your theme. Remember to tell your friends to wear clothes that are generic and logo-free. Keep it simple and un-staged.

A little planning goes a long way to building a successful stock photo portfolio! The key is to figure out where your photography interests intersect with current trends.

Try this out and let me know how it goes. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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