Adventures in Microstock/Handy Tips

Your new images have been approved and are probably online by now! You were up till 2am honing and polishing them, carefully keywording, and making sure there is ZERO DIGITAL NOISE BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO NOISY PHOTOS DON'T WE.

You go to Dreamstime to see them on the page of new stuff!

And you find them bumped to page four by 74 images of the same three puppies in a basket by user selfishmoron67.

You test their visibility by searching for them with the keyword "teen." And up pops two pages of businesswomen in suits swinging a briefcase in the air. If those women are a teen, I'm the President of the United States. And once again your new images are on page four. Or maybe FIVE. What does a person have to do to get noticed around here?

Welcome to the world of Microstock.

I'm not a major player in Micro, not with my little portfolio. Okay I'm not a player at all. From what I can tell, nobody ever even sees my stuff haha. There are people with thousands and thousands of images, and of course there's Yuri Arcurs, the Rock Star of Micro.

My day job of writing and illustrating humor for my publisher keeps me too busy for much else, but this year during the rare downtime between deadlines, I began investigating the world of micro.

I'm still learning the ropes, but here are some handy tips I’ve learned so far:


1. Models are all around you. Use your friends and neighbors! Just bug the crap out of everybody till you start to notice them all running in the house when they see you coming with your camera and model releases.

Or do as I do and tell your daughter, “There will be no mall until you put on a dorky sweater of my choosing and smile at the camera, missy.”

Or how about your pets? Does your dog eat furniture and small leather goods? Make him work it off in modeling fees. Here's my dog Domino, or should I say Jaws.

2. Make sure your child has plenty of friends with cute pets that you can exploit every time you go to their house to pick her up.

3. Make sure you have at least one hot friend who will take his (or her!) shirt off on demand.

4. If you’re tempted to take Interesting Closeups of tree bark, lie down till the impulse goes away.

5. The most everyday objects can make good microstock subjects.

© Mani33

Even though everyday objects are a mainstay of micro, they do love for us to get creative and think outside the box too.

They mean saleable creative, not Diane Arbus creative. Nobody wants grainy Tri-X pictures of the Lobster-Headed Boy from the circus.

4. Be timely! Start putting up Halloween and Christmas images in June. I thought of this one the day AFTER Earth Day. Duh.

5. Try to find your own niche. I’m sure you can’t wait to do that perfect shot of a dramatic sky, Mr. Ansel Adams, but if you search under that keyword, you’lll see it’s already been done better than you ever could. All they’ll do is reject yours saying they already have enough of that. Never mind how I know this.

6. And one last Handy Tip: Do not post in the forum, “Hello I am a newbie and I only have 7 ELs today. Is this normal?” Or “I’ve been here for 3 weeks and so far I have 1000 DLs. Is that good or bad?” (It’s bad because we all think you’re a horse’s patootie now.)

Now get out there and take a picture of your neighbors before they can get away.

Photo credits: Maen Zayyad, Ponytail1414.

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Thank you, Joezachs!


Ha ha .....funny but at the same time some useful tips here.


THank you, Claudio and Lensara! (Yep I have written 2 books!)


Me too, Komar!


HAHA Wisconsin you are funny. Awesom Egypt pics!!


I started getting sales after I asked DT to change my nick from SelfishMoron67 to what it is now.

Anyone want to buy my puppy pics? Just keyword BEACH ROCKS and you'll find them on page one of the search.


you are so funny, love your writing style. Wrote any books? lol


Very funny! Too bad it's true!


Haha Lol. I hate those horse patooties :-)


Thank you, Gary! Welcome to Dreamstime, a great site!


Thanks for the great article you wrote. I enjoyed it and I also had some good laughter at the end!


Thanks, Jonathan! Beautiful shots.


lol, you absolutely alright, lol


Haha thank you. Melonstone. Yep, that dog's every waking moment is dedicated to escape plans. Great work you have there.


Great blog Leslie - a good giggle and some good pointers earns you a "useful" click!

BTW - Is bad boy Jaws trying to escape from your car to avoid his repayment plan (aka known as modelling for mom)?


HAH Marilyn! If they looked back and saw you, they'd stop running all right.


Okay, I get it…those surfer guys that sprint past my home when the surfs up are NOT running to get the best wave; they are trying to sneak past me before I get my camera out! Thanks for some great tips and a good laugh looking at things from the funny side! :)


ohh well,don't really know what we could do to be noticed more;leave lots of messages around,comments,write articles...don't really know,but you're hard! :-)
anyway...have a good weekend!


Thank you, Preckas, and I like your new word. Welcome Heywoody!


Thank you Elitsa, my new Facebook Friend! Thanks, Fultonsphoto! And Irisangel, Miss $5000!


Wow thanks you guys! I've been moving so haven't been online. Littlemac hahaha you crack me up. George thanks for the useful click, you are adorable.


Haha, funny & nicely written! Here's a "useful" click from me!


I wish I had known that tip regarding tree bark... sigh.


I am still LOLing (is LOLing a word?) Nice article :)


Seems like lot of good advice for a newbie (despite advancing years) struggling to tell the difference between a good image and a good stock image. BTW, where are these forums - only see blogs?

Edit: That's ok, found it :)


Great blog! You have a wonderful way with words. Good luck with sales and thanks for the chuckle.


LMAO, great read.


LOL, Leslie, you're brilliant!
Lot's of useful tips, I really enjoyed reading the whole blog!


hey thanks, Stillfx, your work is brilliant. AND we have the same name.


thanks, Clayton! And no I am not mad at you! Just buried in work

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