Stock Photography for Beginners
It is hard to sell your photos as stock easily, you have to learn what people are looking for, and what editors like to accept. If your images are desirable, of good quality, and large enough to be useful for different applications, you can make some pretty decent dough selling them as stock photos.
I will be the first to admit, I am far from a professional photographer. I started off using a small, cheap, well…crappy 35mm film camera. I used to take pictures of flowers and landscapes, and they were anything but good. But still I persisted. One day I found out that I had won a contest, the first and only thing I have ever won. The prize was a small, 3.5MP (if I remember correctly) point and shoot digital camera. It was definitely not what the professionals were using at the time, but it worked just fine for me.
I started taking more creative, artistic shots. My photos began taking on hidden meanings, different compositions, and a slight sense of lighting. While I thought I was becoming a professional photographer, I soon started to realize that my images were not only very far from the caliber of the greats (Ansel Adams, David Muench, Dorothea Lange) but as I started to submit them to different stock agencies, I began to realize that my images were not very valuable as stock images. What they lacked? Desirability. Marketability.
A stock image must be something that a designer can use. Most designers don’t just find a pretty picture, slap it on the website, magazine, brochure, or billboard that they are designing, and call it a day. No. Most designers manipulate the images they purchase to fit the situation. Therefore, they want images that are somewhat “generic” in composition, so they can incorporate them more readily into their designs. Designers are looking for objects standing alone on a solid background, a unique lighting and depth that they can use to enhance their creations, but as for the unconventional composition, if they want to crop the image, they can do that on their own. You don’t need to crop images because you think it is artistic and desirable, because what if the designer wanted it cropped differently? You just lost a sale. (Strangely enough, being a designer, it took me a long time to learn this.)
The three main points I want you to take from this article:
* Designers want marketable images, something they can incorporate into their design, and personalize it to make it their own.
* Don’t try to be too creative with composition. If a designer only wants to use part of an item, that is their call. It is your job to provide them with a whole shot of that object.
* Don’t get too smug with yourself just because you bought a fancy new Digital SLR camera, it doesn’t automatically mean you are a professional photographer. Try to think about what a customer might want.
Some of my images:
Photo credits: , Jamiet757.