Guest Post, Part 2 of 4 By: Chamira Young
When an unforeseen crisis strikes it’s never convenient, be it personal or economic. Now more than ever it’s vital to have multiple streams of income for your photography business, including sources that actually vary from the typical photo session. And given our current challenge with conducting in-person sessions with clients, now is a great time to explore other means of revenue generation.
Yes, that means taking a break from hunting for that ever elusive roll of toilet paper. Let’s focus on something a bit more important, shall we?
Enter stock photography. Sure, the industry’s changed over the years and no, it’s not easy money. However, if you apply yourself it can eventually become a viable source of additional income that can help ease the financial strain of an unexpected crisis when it arises. Today we’re going to take a closer look at the potential for stock photography to improve your business, as well as the nuts and bolts of how you should get started. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig in!
Do your research beforehand and keep the potential buyer in mind
First thing’s first: do your research. When you initially get started, the possibilities for stock will seem endless. Should you start with nature, wildlife, business, food, or architecture photography? Consider what you enjoy doing most. Don’t be afraid to browse stock sites to see what other creatives are submitting. Additionally, you should find out what categories specific stock agencies are currently hungry for. What trends are hot right now? The majority of stock footage users are businesses that encompass various sectors, so try to put yourself in their shoes.
And remember, stock users are looking for images that are both high quality and authentic. Gone are the days of posed, stiff visuals that look fabricated and contrived. Today, people want images that convey emotion and feel real, as if a scene is unfolding naturally before their eyes.
The good news is most stock agencies include tips and guidelines if you search their site. In fact, here are some helpful resources to get you started:
- Adobe Stock publishes an annual trends report (https://theblog.adobe.com/adobe-stock-2020-creative-trends/) and user guide (https://helpx.adobe.com/support/stock-contributor.html)
- Shutterstock lists their popular categories and search terms (https://www.shutterstock.com/sitemap/topics-trends-stock-photography)
- Dreamstime has a helpful guide on file requirements, guidelines, and earnings (https://www.dreamstime.com/sell-stock-photos-images) as well as current trending searches (https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos)
- IStock/Getty has a helpful guide about their process and suggestions on what you should shoot (https://www.gettyimages.com/workwithus)
Know the Technical Requirements
One of the most important things you can do is research a given stock site’s technical requirements. This includes details like file format, color space, and image resolution. They always include these details, although you may have to search for it.
Use What Ya’ Got
After you understand the technical requirements, don’t be afraid to go through your archives. Have some photos of the trees blooming from last spring? Stumbled on some great photos from a past vacation you never used? Time to resurrect those assets and put them to work. Utilizing your existing archives is a great way to gain some momentum and get your creative juices flowing. Make sure you choose high quality, authentic images and have permission to use them. Sometimes a model and/or property release is required.
Mind Your Metadata
After you’ve chosen a stock site and started uploading your photos, be sure to put thought into your metadata and keywords. If you don’t use accurate titles and keywords, they won’t show up in search results. Don’t let your hard work go to waste!
Don’t Forget Video Footage
Did you know high quality video footage often pays more than still images? For example, Adobe Stock currently pays 35% for video, as opposed to 33% for still images. While this may not seem like a huge difference, consider the fact that the price of video stock costs more than still images, which means you make notably more when it sells. And video footage doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated: many companies are simply looking for high quality b-roll footage. Check the respective stock agency’s video requirements. It may be the perfect time for you to learn a new skill!
A Final Word: Consistency!
Let’s just make this clear: stock photography is not a get-rich-quick scheme. As with anything worthwhile, it takes hard work and persistence. But it can be rewarding if you stick with it. A great place to start is to simply use the physical space you have available to you to right now. Even with the current limits dictated by social distancing, you still have your backyard (if you have a backyard) or the local park. In many parts of the U.S. spring is blooming and flowers are beginning to bud. Don’t let opportunity pass you by!
About the author:
Chamira will readily admit it: she’s an art nerd, Photoshop geek, and photographer with an obsession for productivity and creativity. Through online teaching and podcasting, she loves helping other creative minds become more successful by empowering them with the knowledge and inspiration to up their game. Currently, ChamiraStudios.com is the hub of her creative mischief. It branches out to her other projects, and allows her to be an artist, photographer, podcaster at ProPhotographerJourney.com, and online course creator. You can also find her on Twitter.