Getting Increased Portfolio Exposure for Newbies

For those just starting out in stock photography, you know there are a lot of frustrating hurdles to overcome before it becomes rewarding. But one of the most frustrating things for me is how on earth is my small portfolio going to stand up against the thousands and thousands of photos? How on earth is the designer going to find my photo in the search engine? For most of us newbies our portfolio exposure is less than 1%.

One way is of course to have relevant keywords for your photo. Another is to participate actively in forums and writing blogs that are useful. Another is to submit to DT assignments. And of course there is always upload like crazy and hopefully your portfolio will have more exposure based on numbers. These are definitely ways to get some exposure. But there is another way that may give you even more exposure than any of the above mentioned that you might have not thought of...

What I found personally is about half of my downloads do not have a keyword associated with the download. Which means in many cases that the designer or buyer happened to buy my photo by just browsing through by portfolio. I think newbies have an advantage in this way over larger portfolios since it doesn't really take much time for the buyer to look through a small portfolio. So if your portfolio is small but the photos are of high quality, then as long as the buyer finds your portfolio, there is a likelihood of him/her looking through your entire portfolio and potentially buying a photo.

As I go through my portfolio, I find a pretty interesting trend. The photos with the most views seem to be Editorial photos. And the ones that get the most views the quickest is also editorial photos. More views translates to more exposure. And if you do produce a significant editorial photo, it may actually be placed on the homepage on DT which will give you even more exposure.

So here is my tip for newbies, go out and try to produce some editorial photos as well. Although editorial photos are not a broad in terms of audience and usage as RFs, it definitely will increase your portfolio exposure much easier than any other means.

The last photo on this blog is a photo of the streets of Shinjuku. I've had this photo online since Jan 30/09 and it already has 309 views as of when I wrote this blog.

If this strategy is working for you, please comment on this blog to help other newbies.


Photo credits: Retina2020.

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October 12, 2018


This is very useful tips, my portfolio exposure has been increasing. Also my editorial photo has more views but no sales yet.

October 24, 2017


Thank you for the useful tips!

November 18, 2016


Great tip have never thought of taking pics for editorial...will have enough to give it a try! Thanks!

February 01, 2016


That's a great tip! Do you have any suggestions for creating editorial images that do wel?

November 30, 2015


Thank you for the info! I'llhave to upload some editorial images!

November 26, 2014


Thank you very much for you r writing. I am with dreamstime, suddenly my portfolio exposuredrop 0.01 from 0.09. Can you please ssuggest me what is the reason ?

April 03, 2014


I had uploaded only two photos but when i got one sale , i got so motivated that I uploaded many more. I now have 33 online mostly editorials and still shooting n uploading.

January 15, 2014


I stumbled across this recently and have not thought about getting fully involved in the Dreamstime community to increase the exposure on my portfolio. Thank you for the tip!

November 04, 2013


thank you for your sharing

October 02, 2012


Thank you for sharing. I need to carve out some time to update my keywords!

January 30, 2011


Yes. Surprisingly my best selling are editorial photos.

January 29, 2011


Thank you fo sharing

March 15, 2010


Interesting tips! Maybe I'll have a try in the editorial field. Personally I never though at dt as outlet for that type of work.Cheers

August 13, 2009


Hi All, I am another "Newbie" and am having loads of fun with taking photos ... even more now that I am uploading and sharing them. I take my inspiration from my boss... Jon Le-Bon who has given me loats of advice on lighting and what to take and not to take. I now have 9 photos approved and countless rejected - but this will not drive me down. I am keen to carr yon and improve and share my newly found skills and ideas. Good Luck Everyone. Steve

February 22, 2009


Hi, I've been a member here for about a month, have only 6 images, and had a single download. Thanks for the tip, I've tons of editorial shots, and would upload some and see it it works! This, too, is my first comment here, maybe I should be a little more active... thanks again!

February 21, 2009


Hey Larry. Your welcome. I'm glad this blog was helpful to you. Many have stated in forums in the past that your active participation in Dreamstime does affect your search priority. BTW, your wedding ring photos are great. As your variety of photos increase, the downloads will surely come.

February 21, 2009


Hi everyone, I have only been with dreamstime for about 4 months with only 72 images online. I really enjoy closeup shots and have been trying some jewelry shots which are very difficult but fun. As of today I still do not have a single download which is very frustrating. So I am taking your advice and will try to participate in more forum talks. This is my first post in the forums because I spend most of my time reading and learning from you guys and gals. I will also try some editorials also. Thanks for the advice.

February 04, 2009


Thanks Ami for your additional comments to this blog. I think others will find it to be helpful.

February 03, 2009


Very good blog!! I will try some more editorial images, although the ones that I have submitted, like Carolyn's, were refused due to not being newsworthy.

February 03, 2009


Great Blog!!

I also uploaded some editorials. In addition to the many many views they get I even managed to sell 3 of them for very nice prices.

Great tip for us newbies!! :)

February 02, 2009


I also thought that N/A indicated that the buyer found your stuff by browsing, but it turns out that is not necessarily the case. In the original post by Achilles on this feature, it states:

"Also, downloads made through visual search features (such as collections, lightboxes, featured tabs, etc.) will not show anything (but n/a)."

The collection and lightbox ones are interesting to me, as these could still be the result of searches, but ones where the buyer comes back later to make the purchase. So really it is hard to know for sure how many of the N/A entries are the result of browsing.

I still think it is a good idea to make use of the features you suggest to gain exposure, but thought I would pass on this info as well.

February 02, 2009


I tried a few before the Super Bowl ones, too, but they got rejected. I guess I just haven't hit a topic that is something they are interested in yet. Maybe I'll have to just keep trying. Thanks!

February 02, 2009


Hey Jo - Your welcome. I think continued learning is also a key to stock photography. So one will never stop learning.

Hey Carolyn - I've been submitting more "editorial" related topics for the editorial section, rather than "news worthy" stuff. i.e. stuff that I thought will be useful for editorial things such as travel magazines, tourism information, etc. More iconic stuff that can be used for those situations rather than "event editorials" I hope that helps.

February 02, 2009


I tried the editorial, too. Unfortunately, it didn't work as well for me as it has for you. Living in Tampa, FL (SuperBowl hosted here), I took some pics of the interior of a local small airport that was going to be having private planes coming in for the Super Bowl. Thought it would be relevant to travel during this special one-time-a-year occasion. Also had a shot of a popular restaurant that had been converted to a Super Bowl Merchandise only store. Reviewers didn't find them "news worthy". That's where I'm really confused on this editorial topic. Your street scenes are gorgeous! But how are they "news worthy"? I don't mean this as a derogatory statement by any means, but rather a question as to "what makes an editorial image newsworthy" enough to be accepted as editorial. I was able to get two outside shots of the stadium accepted. But, overall, I have not had much luck with editorial. Wish there were some sort of more detailed guideline for editorial other than what is already here. You make a very valid point, though. Hey, Ellen, if you read this, maybe you could do one of your wonderful blogs to cover this topic in more detail.

February 02, 2009


Thank you for an interesting article,boy have I a lot to learn....:0)

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