Tips on How to Sell Stock Photos

Stock photography sites have made it easier for photographers to sell their photos online. However, just because you take photos does not mean a stock photo site, like Istockphoto for example, will accept them into their marketplace. To be able to sell your photos on a stock photo website, the website must believe your images can sell. Fortunately, photo blogs throughout the Internet are providing advice on how to sell your photos. Here are some helpful tips:

Narrow Your Focus: Yuri Arcurs, a well known professional stock photographer, writes a blog full of interesting facts on how to sell stock photography. In his blog post “What Should I Shoot and What Sells Well” he tells his readers to develop a niche of their own, and pursue it endlessly. I think that this works with anything that you do. I really love food photography and felt a lot better once I realized that that was where I wanted to direct my focus. And guess what? My photos got better. The better you are at your subject, the more of a competitive edge you will have within the marketplace. And remember, if you are to develop a niche, make sure you are honest with yourself. Is this something you really care about? Do you love shooting it? If you’re devoted to your subject, the more likely you are to invest the time it takes to make your photos compelling and genuine.

Add Some Edginess: Arcurs also suggests having a selection of photos in your portfolio that have an edgier feel (for the full details check out his article ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’). This edgier feel can be attained in a way that still enables you to sell your photo. Arcurs calls this adding a little ‘mess’ to your photo. In the photos displayed throughout his article, there is always a distracting element. A portrait is taken through glass, or through grass for example. By adding a little ‘mess’ to a photo you make it visually engaging and inspire curiosity in your viewers. If done right this is a recipe for increased sales.

Research the marketability of your subject: Is your subject in demand? Are there already a lot of people shooting your subject? Perform a search and see if your potential subject is something people are looking for. If you see that there is a market for your subject, but there are not that many photos of it available for purchase (such as less than 10,000 images) chances are it’s a good subject to start shooting.

Plan Your Shoots: Professional photography doesn’t just happen on it’s own. Plan your shots in advance. First scout a location or subject. Get an idea for the type of lighting you want by visiting it during different times of the day and remember to take notes. Don’t forget to bring appropriate releases for the models or property owners to sign.

Selecting Keywords: Make sure to appropriately keyword your subject so that other people can find it online. Use stock photo keyword tools to properly describe your photos. Another handy tip is to test the popularity of keywords through the Google AdWords keyword tool to determine the most effective combination that buyers might search for.

Sell your photos on multiple stock photography websites: Most stock photography sites are not exclusive, and allow you to sell the same photos on more than one site. The more exposure for your photos, the better your chances are of selling your photos and increasing your monthly revenue.

Many of these bloggers make it clear that photographers need to gear their efforts towards producing photos that will sell on these stock photo sites. Unfortunately, this does not always encourage creativity. Most stock photo sites expect certain types of photos to sell, and often reject many good photos in the process. I think things would be better for buyers and photographers alike if the stock photo site’s standards for selecting photos was less strict. As time changes, you never know what kind of images buyers will be looking for. I think it’s problematic to assume that buyers are not interested in more creative photography. Why not try putting it in the market and see if it sells? If you give buyers more choices, they may use them.