You Can Lead a Horse To Water But You Can't Beat Any Sense Into It

How do I say this in a nice way?

It's my observation and opinion that virtually all the threads about lack of sales, poor sales, theories about views, post-a-blog-get-a-sale, etc., generally are started and bumped up by Contributors who have yet to understand the business of stock.

The real answer is to keep uploading QUALITY images and CONCEPTS. If you follow and observe particular Contributors, you will be amazed at how many small portfolios are pulling in huge sales on a consistent basis. That should be proof enough right there yet the "conspiracy theories" will never go away.

Stock is also a numbers game. The more you sell, the more credit sales fall your way. The trick is to get sales in the first place. And that's where it doesn't get nice: It's a hard reality not all portfolios are created equal and there is a reason why some are successful and some are not.

However, there is hope. If you work at it, you can improve and stand shoulder-to-shoulder (statistically) with the big boys.

And that seems to be the biggest issue for many: Improving. Those fixated on creating theories about Views, writing blogs for the sake of writing blogs, etc., just never seem to make the leap to the one single element required for carving out your niche in the stock world: Improving.

The online stock model is a fantastic opportunity. Other than a camera and/or software, you can start your own business with no start up costs. Everyone is welcome to join the community regardless of experience or credentials.

However, joining the community does not guarantee success. It's up to you to be successful. Many quit and give up; you can see this in the New Member forum. Search through the old posts and check out the profiles of contributors announcing their arrival. A great number of them have only a handful of images in their portfolio and hardly any sales one or two years after signing up.

As I've said before, failure is not a bad thing. In the end everyone gravitates toward endeavors they enjoy doing and can do well.

Many Contributors naturally do well with stock on their own; some figure it out quicker than others but they all eventually get to where they're going.

There isn't much need to address the two groups of Contributors who succeed or quit and move on to other activities. This blog is for the group that needs help. They are failing at stock but stubbornly refuse to either move on or makes excuses for not improving.

If you are in that group, then this is how you can succeed:

1. Admit you are failing. Once you stop analyzing Views, blaming the search engine, posting messages and blogs thinking you need more exposure, then you will be able to focus on the issues that are holding you back.


Yeah, OK, reading "Microstock for Dummies" isn't going to make you a stock guru after four hours of reading. Here are tips on how to get started:

1. Study the database. You have millions of images right in front of you to look at. Which ones get a lot of sales? Why? Can you do a similar concept? Can you EXECUTE the concept well?

2. Have no studio? No lighting equipment? No models? SO WHAT???? Again, study the database. Just browsing through it can give you ideas. Look for concepts that YOU CAN DO without models or renting an office building for a day. Sit down with paper and pencil and brainstorm.

3. Find portfolios of amateur Contributors who are successful and study their work. Can you tell if they lack resources like models and lighting equipment? How do they work around their limitations? You will discover that each individual has their own style of creativity which sets them apart from the rest. And they will have amazing sales with a small portfolio.

4. Find Contributors who are failing. Many images, very low sales. What do you find in common with these Contributors? Are you following the same path?

One of the greatest tools on DreamsTime and the most under-utilized is the POSITIVE CRITICISM forum. It can be a huge mistake to assume you know all the reasons why your portfolio is at the level it's at; doesn't everyone overlook the obvious at one point or another? It is not a bad thing to ask for help!

The real secret of the stock game is to keep uploading quality images in order for the sales to come. I did mention this is a unique community where Contributors of all skills levels are welcome. But we still compete with each other; therefore, it does not matter what level of skill you have, you have to improve and get better if you want to succeed or remain successful, especially as the stock industry evolves and changes.

Regardless, people will be people so the DT internet forums will always be full of people blaming the search engine, obsessed with View counters, or posting messages until their face turns blue hoping that will get them noticed.

So, the point of this blog is this: Do you subscribe to the various theories and excuses for not having many sales and/or quality sales? Or do you think your portfolio may perhaps have room for improvement? You would think the entire community would answer in unison for one of these statements, but the message forums indicate that is not the case.

I have essentially written a dissertation on the old saying of "Leading a horse to water..." May this blog be helpful to those who take the drink.

Photo credits: Lincolnrogers.

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October 18, 2011



October 09, 2011


This blog should be required reading before people are allowed to post to Dreamstime.

October 08, 2011


Mainly agree....... helpful to think about your points. David.

September 30, 2011



September 16, 2011


Check the blog:)I agree that we must have symphaty for those getting started but,is not fair if i will help them by telling the truth?Much of the images send to DT(no offense)sucks!!No research,no creativity etc...Like i said...check the blog and you will see what im talking about
"New milestone...3000...images online(and only 2 sales) and the answer is always:"Congrats,nice images,great portfolio etc but nobody tell him that is something wrong on his work because he does not have sells.THIS IS A BUSINESS

September 13, 2011


It is a fair point, but one also has to have some sympathy for those getting started. The only real way to know you are on the right track is to get some feedback in the way of sales, but you need to be on the right track to get sales in the first place :) Feels like a classic Catch-22. Hence why people either want to hear they are on the right track or hear that their lack of sales is due to a slow month... It is a tough business with few rewards or feedback until you put in a volume of hard work - unfortunately there is no guarantee that the market loves your hard work...

September 12, 2011


Yes, refusals learn on much better, than approval of works. Thanks for the information.

September 12, 2011


I like your straight forwardness winsconsinart and I totally agree with you!

Personally I love to analyze and before starting something (anything) I like to explore things, analyze them and come up with a plan on how to handle things. This had always worked for me and I highly recogment people to invest more time in exploring, rather then just grabbing the camera and start shooting away.

September 12, 2011


This is a good blog.Is much better than those who want to know how are they doing and only get :Nice images(even if they suck),congrats(even if they dont give a crap)etc..The only way to know how are you doing in this business,is to tell the truth even if telling the truth sometimes is wrong.In my oppinion,,is better to know if my photos sucks then to have a lot of photos that don;t sell, that way i could improve myself

September 11, 2011


We all need a slap across the face with the reality 2 by 4 once in a while. Good stuff. No amount of blogging, counting etc will improve the saleability of ones images.

   White Hen Profile   

September 11, 2011


If someone does not follow right away your wise advice (apparently to be considered an order), it does not necessarily mean the person did not listen or think about it. Have good times with your blog and sales. :)

September 11, 2011


If your goal is to increase sales then perhaps you'd be interested in listening to the opinions of others. I am free to ignore individuals who only wish to argue and nitpick as others are free to devote their energy to counting views.

September 11, 2011


I see, you are really quick putting up labels in your own advantage and not listening to the points others to make...

September 11, 2011


I'm only reaching out to people who are willing to listen to an opinion on how to rise up in a tough business. Those who disagree, they may have their own points to make. Regardless of the merits of any opinion, no one can help those unwilling to listen.

September 11, 2011


Wisconsinart, did you ever consider a possibility that realizing the meaninglessness of view numbers as they are currently counted, on the background of repetitive topics on that subject, can be the sole reason for starting a thread with suggestion of alternatives?

September 11, 2011


Great blog!

September 11, 2011


There is no abbreviation to success. POINT.

It's not enough to have good photos. It's essential to have good keywords, too, otherwise buyers will not find them. Sometimes I see excellent photos with poor keywords, especially from non-native English speakers. Their sales potential is restricted just because of missing the good keywords.

A little bit marketing by some kind of "success" blogs improves sales. That's what I experienced.

Yes, of course, tomato photos don't sell well...

 Hungry Tortoise 

September 10, 2011


Spot on! I always wondered how being active on the blog and forum could lead to more sales. That was one tip I read here. I am also new at selling. Just 2 months now but learned so much from just looking at other portfolio's. Just search for best selling on different subjects works great and look for what is missing or could be better. And have diversity! I see portfolio's with only city views or all the same subjects. Some have 500+ portfolio's but very little sales.

Great article and I hope it Will help some people!

September 10, 2011


I could not have said that better.I decided a few days ago not to lose time by writing something i dont want to write.Instead i will try to revise my mistakes and correct them.Hope to get it right this time.Like always opened a new path for those who get lost on the forrest(So to speak)
   Global business   

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