Stock photography can be a great way for both professional and amateur photographers to make a little extra money or even a career. If you want to delve into the potentially lucrative world of stock photography, here are a few tips for taking photos that will sell.
1. Lose the Clutter
When you frame your shot, make sure that your subject stands out. Something like a speck of dirt to scratch on a table might be fine in some photography but will stand out like a sore thumb in stock photography. Declutter your images and remove anything from the shot you think might be distracting to your viewer, or move the focus away from your subject.
2. Think like an advertiser
Stock photography is often used in advertising. That means advertisers might want a space on the side of a subject to add text or be unhappy if there’s another brand name featured in the shot. Look at your photo, think about how it might be used, and cater what’s in front of your camera to match that particular need.
3. Take a Few Different Shots
Take the same photo from a few different angles and with a few variations. An advertiser might really love a photo you took of an old man reading the paper but really wants the focus to be on the coffee cup beside him rather than the paper itself. The same photo might also be a great fit for a reading glasses company that will instead want the focus on his spectacles. If you have a model posing for photos, try to take as many as you can. The more variety you can get, the better. You’ll sell more photos and get the most out of the time you’re sending with models.
4. Look for Imperfections
Your images might look great when scrolling through your photo album, but blow them up to full size and you’ll see a whole lot more. Before sharing any photos on a stock photography site, give them a detailed look over to make sure there aren’t any issues with them. Even the smallest issue can make a potential buyer decide not to purchase your picture.
5. Pick a Focus Topic
While it can be tempting to upload tons of different types of photos to stock photo sites, your best bet is to focus on taking stock photos of a particular subject. Focusing on a particular type of photo can help you get noticed on the site and can turn single image buyers into repeat customers.
6. Go Large
Advertisers will often need very large versions of your photos so they can edit them and use them as they need to. Be sure to take your photos at the largest resolution possible, and upload those high-res photos to the stock photo site you’re working with. Your potential clients will appreciate having the choice of buying several quality levels of the picture, and this small touch may end up helping you see more sales.
Be advised that this does not apply to all of your content. You are free to photograph or shoot whatever you feel like photographing and shooting. But in some cases, you might need a proper release form for the model or the property release form for the place of the shoot. You have to understand that in most cases those releases would be troublesome to find and when that happens you're always welcome to submit your content for editorial use. To learn more about the difference between editorial and commercial licenses, please, follow this link to our other blog post about the subject.
Here are some great examples of popular trending photos on various stock agencies. Think you can do better? :)