I now have slightly over 50 images here at Dreamstime. During my time here, I've learned a lot, but I know that there is much to continue to learn and improve. I figure that 50 images is near the minimum needed for any sort of useful portfolio review, so I've decided to put it out there and see what others think. Please be honest; I value your feedback and trained eyes, and I will strive to improve from your comments. Thanks.
You have some good pictures in your portfolio. Especially those isolated will for sure sell. Also that you try to make photos for buyers on request is a good thing! But think of adding to pics of vegetables, flowers and animals also the latin name in title, description and keywords. It helps! For example to your pics of the pumpkins you could add at least the word "Cucurbita". In case you know what kind of pumpkin it is be even more specific like "Cucurbita maxima" etc. Wish you much success!
I see you as struggling to really understand the business of stock. For example, TEXAS TORNADO. Storm damage makes for good stock but there is nothing in those images that suggests, implies, or gives reference to TEXAS. The damaged houses could be located any where in the world. TEXAS is not relevant. The images do not communicate TEXAS. Instead, emphasize what the image communicates; what is outside the frame doesn't do you much good.
It's the same for LAMB IN A BOX. OK, fine, a toy lamb in a box but where the heck does PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE come into play?
Look it this way: If you have a model who is black but has a tiny bit of Irish blood from generations ago, yet still looks like a regular black person, it doesn't do you any good to include the keyword IRISH. You are emphasizing the RHETORICAL in your images and you can lose sales by failing to highlight the LITERAL concept. In other words, if you go to a store to buy a pair of shoes you don't look for the toy department; you're looking for shoes. Make it easier for your buyers to find shoes, not toys, by using relevant keywords and terms.
You're also following the same path other amateurs take when first starting and that's photographing the generic world around them. Plane at the airport, a building, etc. These are not strong images and the database is over-saturated with these subjects. It's tough when you don't have resources for a studio and models but there is much more around you than you think. Weeds in the back yard is a good example of that but I think that image could have been executed better. What else is there? How about a lawn mower sitting in the yard? Perhaps the grass is long and the mower cut one row. Landscaping and gardening around the house? Any home improvements? Does the home need repairs or updates?
Is the baby yours? You're sitting on a gold mine if you have a baby but not if you keep submitting cute baby pictures. Well, don't stop submitting cute baby pictures, they're easy to do though they are poor sellers. People forget this is STOCK; Buyers don't want cute baby pictures. They want scenes of baby engaged in a learning activity. Diapers being changed. Baby in a car seat. Baby in a high chair. Baby in a crib. Subjects that communicate baby development, learning, safety, and details of care are what Buyers would like to see with BABY. Buyers already have their own pictures of food smashed all over baby, they don't want one of your baby doing the same. You need to think in opposites in this regard; you don't go to work and show everyone pictures of baby getting strapped into a car seat, you show them the one with food all over the face. In STOCK they don't want the food/face, they want strapped into car seat. Are you seeing the light here?
And, speaking of seeing the light... You have a picture of a chain. It's a dumb picture on its own but that's what stock is in many cases; a dumb picture of something you normally wouldn't take because it's not what you would call photography. It's a good example of where you are trying to THINK stock rather than taking normal photographs. But then later you decided to remove the background and now you have the same chain isolated on a white background. THAT image has two sales. And that says a lot about the business of stock; normal, every day dumb things that a photographer would never waste time with shooting, but these simple images COMMUNICATE A CONCEPT. I don't think the isolated chain is going to shoot up to Level 5 any time soon but what else is there around you that is stock oriented and doesn't require hiring models and renting a furnished business office for a day?
Dieniti, thanks for the feedback. I often spend a couple of minutes looking for the scientific name of plants and animals in my images, but if I can't find it quickly (and with certainty) I usually move on to other things. Thanks for the genus for the pumpkins. I'll see if I can find the specific species as well.
Good point, Alexandre. The image you mention is fairly weak in other ways as well (limited target audience, strong shadows, and very little conceptual usage). When water is actually flowing through the system, there should be more opportunity for summertime children's play concepts, and that may be the time to reshoot the image with different framing. Thanks.
Wisconsinart, thanks for the review and the food for thought.
In regard to the "Texas Tornado" images, you make some very valid points -- especially if the images were RF. However, at the time I took the images I wasn't sure if I could (or should) use pictures of other peoples' homes for commercial purposes with-out a property release. However, I thought the images might have editorial value so they were uploaded as such. Since I was targeting editorial usage, I figured that it would be best to provide as much information about the date and location of the storm. Months later, I still am not entirely certain if these could (or should) be allowed under an RF license. If they are, then performing some photo manipulation to clean them up a bit and bring attention to certain details might make for some much better commercial images. Once RF, the term "Texas" really is irrelevant and certainly doesn't belong in the title or description.
The lamb and box series was actually done as a response to a customer request for images depicting prepositional phrases. Thus, the terms are highlighted strongly in the image titles and descriptions. I may make a collage of these (and a few other images from the series), label the prepositions that are depicted in each image of the collage, and then remove those terms from the title of the current images. The concept certainly is stronger when the images are grouped.
Your other points about thinking stock are also very true. I have found myself beginning to think stock more and more over the last several months, but I need to implement and follow through on those thoughts. It's interesting that you pointed out the isolated chain image. On another stock site, that is currently my most downloaded image with over 30 sales.