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Tip - One Key to Success is Diversification

"Don't put all of your eggs in one basket" is an old saying that rings true with micro stock photography. At least in my limited experience.

Basically there are two schools of thought when it comes to your portfolio:

One is that you should concentrate on what you like to photograph. If you like taking pictures of trains or flowers or the stars, then develop a stunning portfolio that covers the subject from all angles. The only downfall of this is if your subject matter is not in demand of potential buyers.

This strategy is appealing to those who really love a certain subject and use photography to express this love. But in the end you might have the most amazing portfolio of 500 images of paper clips (if that's what gets your creative juices flowing) but there might only be six buyers looking for paper clips.

The second school of thought is to create a diversified portfolio of many subjects that will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. I think this strategy appeals to people who have a love of photography and will take on any subject as a challenge to bring their talents and creativity to that subject.

It takes a lot of thought and skill to create new ways of looking at subjects that have been done to death or are inherently boring. But somehow good photographers can take a boring everyday object and bring it to life and make the viewer see it in a whole new way.

Either approach is valid. Concentrating on one subject that you love is sure to bring about some amazing photographs although it might not lead to many sales.

Diversifying and covering a variety of subjects is my strategy and it has led me to a level of success in a short amount of time while seeing some of my peers becoming frustrated that their sales are not forthcoming from their narrowly focused portfolio.

Keep in mind that the designers do not stick to single subjects. The designs they work on come from the variety of clients they serve and they never know what kind of image they will need next. By provides a wide range of images and subjects, it ensures that your portfolio has a chance at being used.

These images are my most recent sales and give an indication of how diverse my portfolio is at this point:

Photo credits: Peanutroaster.

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December 26, 2011

Xiaofeng123

I have big problem with too many rejections.

December 25, 2011

Thevegetable

nice tip ,, Thanks for sharing :)

December 25, 2011

Kharyadi

Great tips. Thanks for sharing!!

December 23, 2011

Windease

Thanks for sharing your nice tips.Merry christmas and happy new year!

December 23, 2011

Vwimage

Yes very true. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas.

December 22, 2011

Onime

nice tip :)

December 22, 2011

smartview27

I agree .

December 22, 2011

Furotamasmark

I try to do this as well, but I tend to shoot the subjects that are happening around me. So what I do is what I shoot. What I'm trying to say is that my portfolio is getting as diversified as I am.

December 20, 2011

Davidwatmough

Your philosophy is right............ it works. David

December 20, 2011

Jdanne

Thanks for sharing! Diversification and concentration are general economic principals. Concentrate on topics you are good but don't get too niche oriented! A mixture of both is necessary!

December 20, 2011

Silent47

I always think"Diversification".You are so much right

December 19, 2011

Bradcalkins

DT seems to favor diversification by rejecting too many similars. I tend to agree - if you have the definitive photo of a particular subject, how much can you increase your sales by taking more? You end up competing with yourself. In stock some do make a name for themselves with a specialty, but it tends to be a very wide ranging specialty like 'lifestyle' or 'business'. I'm obviously someone who believes in diversification :) One big advantage in stock is that you stand a better chance of finding out which subjects will sell well for you - and then you can decide how to focus more in those areas.

I welcome this as an interesting direction to grow my photography in - but some lament the loss of their favorite subject. I say that one needs to keep doing the favorite subject for personal projects, but stick to what is earning you revenue for stock...

December 19, 2011

Ewapix

Ewapix - Cool! Ive been shooting a lot of macro with mine although its tricky - a tripod is always recommend. Be sure to set the camera up with a low ISO to keep noise down. Hope to see lots of examples of accepted photos from you.

Thanks for your encouragement! I have already noticed the twitchy ISO. Now it's all Christmas festivities (proceded by much shopping, cooking and present wrapping!) but I am promising myself a lot of good productive work in January (hope there will be some snow to photograph too). I will definitely keep you posted! Ewapix

December 19, 2011

Peanutroaster

The closest thing I have to a specialization is photographs of barns. After this summer I've been thinking of changing my name to "Red Barns" ;-)

December 19, 2011

Nikon4004

ALl true. There ARE a few photogrpahers that have mde a living specializing in one subject, but if you talk to them, they started with a diversified portfolio, THEN when after the specialty. It takes a lot of self promotion, and they are either using their own website or are with many agencies.

December 19, 2011

Gmargittai

This is a similar problem as with investing. Will you put all your savings in that hot stock you really believe in? Or will you try and diversify, in all kind of index funds ETFs etc.

I for myself would like to do more portrait work but I rarely have the opportunity, and I am still working on building up courage to walk up to a stranger and ask him if he/she would agree to pose.

December 19, 2011

Peanutroaster

Ewapix - Cool! I've been shooting a lot of macro with mine although its tricky - a tripod is always recommend. Be sure to set the camera up with a low ISO to keep noise down. Hope to see lots of examples of accepted photos from you.

December 19, 2011

Mariaam

Great blog article!

December 19, 2011

Ewapix

Another great blog from you, Ed, thanks. By the way, my amazing husband got me for my birthday that Lumix LX5 that you recommended. Only yesterday! Oh, what a joy it is. Thanks for recommending it. i hope it will bring me many sales :-)

December 19, 2011

Picstudio

Good blog.

December 19, 2011

TMarchev

Great:)

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