Stock Photography – 6 Cool Techniques You May Not Know


How To Do Stock Photography – Your Guide To Getting Your Foot In The Door

Wanna sell photos and get pumped about your photographs?

Think your photography's good enough to put in front of agencies? Cool. This guide's for you then, my friends.

Well, whatever your feelings are towards stock agencies, they're here to stay. By that, I mean micro stock agencies are here to stay.

how to do stock photography
Image by Daniel Robert

Quite a while ago I wrote an article as to why you can make money in the micro stocks, but despite their “pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap” appearance, getting accepted can be difficult.

So, once you are accepted, you've got to try and improve your chances of getting actual paid work.

In this guide how to do stock photography, we are going to look at 6 techniques to improve your chances in the stock photography business.

Further Learning

If you're seriously looking into stock photography, learning the Art of Cityscapes could be just for you?
Why? Because although there is no area or genre for stock images, it's a place to start. It can help build your abilities, confidence and just get 100% comfortable with your camera, so that when you're submitting your best work, it shows!

1. Meticulous Post Production

The Test

Ok, so before you run a mile because you're imagining a huge exam hall from your school days, relax a moment, it's not like that, at all!

All image agencies will require you to pass a quality test before accepting you. For this test, you will be expected to upload 10-20 images, fully prepared to the agencies guidelines.

Guidelines are there for a reason, and that is to ensure that when reviewing your images, they have their standard template to judge for themselves what they like and what they aren't so keen on.

Top Tip!

Before starting, pay very close attention to what the agency requirements are, they will vary.

Some might expect an sRGB color space, some Adobe RGB.
Some will have minimum pixel dimensions, an important factor if you crop your images.

As well as making sure your shots adhere to the guidelines you must ensure the images are both sellable and technically perfect. Sending 10 images of your cat will be an instant rejection (i'm sure you don't need me to tell you this).

You need to show you have a wide repertoire within your field.

  • For technical perfection your images must be perfectly sharp – don’t send arty out of focus stuff for acceptance, some reviewers will just not get it.
  • The exposure must be within the histogram limits, no clipping.
  • Color must look natural with no over saturation.
  • There must also be no dust bunnies or other blemishes in the shot. Look at each one at 100% view before sending them.

You will need to adhere to the same standards once you have been accepted to the agency.

Be meticulous with every image you upload. By Miquel C.

2. Know Your Niche In Photography

Learning how to do stock photography is about knowing your niche. What's your interest or focus?

If your thing is urban photography, stick with images from that niche, at least until you get established. Sending images from a field where you are out of your comfort zone will increase the likelihood of rejection. Just some common sense will serve you here.

Photographers! Think Outside The Box

In your chosen field, look through what the agency already has and try to be a little different.

Try to avoid the clichés – i.e. try to think of different ways of portraying the “clichéd” image. These types of shots can be big sellers.

3. The Ins and Outs Of Licensing

An increasing number of agencies now accept editorial images to their collections. Understanding the difference between editorial and commercial licenses is important as most libraries will require you to differentiate between the two for each image.

Commercial Images

Are shots that can be used to advertise products or services. This means that any person in the shot must have signed a model release.

Further than that, often the shot must not contain any trademarks, logos or even certain architecture and modern art unless you have permission from the owner of the intellectual property.

Editorial Images

Can be used for news, documentary and other non-commercial media. This allows images with non-released people to be used as well as trademarks and logos.

Each agency will have different rules and regulations about what is editorial/commercial.

For example:

Some might allow a commercial skyline shot where an IP protected building is in the shot but not prominent. Others might reject it straight away. As you submit to each agency, you will begin to learn what is acceptable and what is not.

About Author

Jason has more than 35 years of experience as a professional photographer, videographer and stock shooter. You can get to know him better here

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