Before you start stock photography
You’ve decided to sell your photos with the help of a stock photo agency. You have a lot of photos on your computer, so you can upload them straight away to that agency, right? Wait a moment – are your images ready for approval, or even for selling? Did you consider the most important steps?
What sells are only photos which are:
- your best photos
- suitable for the chosen stock photo agency
- technically flawless
- perfectly titled
- perfectly keyworded.
Only your best photos will sell
Having success in selling stock photography means that you offer a reasonable selection of photos to customers. Your photos must have a clear message, they must have a visual impact on the customer’s eye.
Good photos are rarely created en masse. They are created with consideration, care, and time. If you look through any pile of photos, no matter whose or what photos these are, you will always find superior ones and inferior ones. The inferior ones won’t sell good or at all. Nobody wants to spend money on photos they could have made easily on their own.
So be honest to yourself and check your chosen photos again. Are they really all that great? To get some help, let other people sort your photos, because they don’t have an emotional relationship with your photos and can be more rational.
Submitting to the suitable stock photo agency
You want to sell your photos. You should sell them at places where your customers are, places, where customers know they can find what they are looking for. If you want to sell your food photography, do you try to sell it via a model photo agency? Or a agency for pet photos? No, you will sell them via a food stock photo agency. This is where customers are looking for food photos.
Once you have found a special stock photo agency, take your time and look through their photos. You quickly get a feeling what they want. This will save you from being disappointed by rejections of your submitted photos, and it will give you the chance to sell your photos.
Be honest: Nobody wants to spent money on blurry, unsharp, underexposed photos. Always take tremendous care that your photos are flawless in terms of image creation. A salable stock photo has to be sharp, well exposed and free from any distracting imperfections. So choose carefully.
Stock photo agencies receive hundreds, thousands of photos each day. These photos have to be reviewed manually. This is time consuming. For you, it is easy to do the agency staff and – most important – yourself an invaluable favor and do not submit any imperfect photos.
Make sure that your photos are sharp. Make sure that the horizon line is even. Make sure the exposure is right. Use the right equipment, the right photo techniques and post-process your photos. You think this is goes without saying? Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
Each and every photo must be titled. Search engines can “read” text, they can’t “read” images. The database of your stock photo agency can “read” text, it can’t “read” images. When customers are looking for photos, they do a text search for locations, subjects, colors, moods. If you want customers to find your images, make them searchable, set proper titles.
Titles must match the image. They should be descriptive but brief, contain names of the depicted location, area or country. Titles must be unique. You cannot sell a photo in a landscape stock photo agency by setting the title “Beautiful Landscape”. Tell customers the name of that landscape and if it’s a sunrise or sunset. Set unique titles that fit your image.
By the way, remeber that no photo agency will accept images without a title.
Why do stock agencies need keywords if you set a proper title? Because a perfect title is brief, but your photo shows a lot more customers could be looking for. Keywords are literally a key to get your photos presented to customers. Keywords enable customers to look at similiar photos that contain the same keyword. They enable customers to search for specific terms, names, regions, countries, people, moods, colors, seasons, you name it.
So always make sure that your photos come with lots of proper keywords. You do customers and yourself a big favor.
If you want to sell your photos, you will only have success if your photos are well chosen, technically flawless and perfectly titled and keyworded. Check thoroughly if each of your photos meets these minimum requirements.
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