Online marketers often talk about just how important it is to find what the market wants, then sell them what they want. In other words, find out what people really want, and then provide the solution. Do you think this approach would work just as well with selling stock photography?
Let’s say you’ve created photos that, although they make great visual eye candy and tell a unique photo story, no stock agency wants. (A simple reason might be that they may have too many of these type of images already). You can choose to see this as a learning experience and ‘try a new approach,’ or continue creating similar stock photography that you hope will be accepted, one day.
However, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s better to work smarter than harder. This means that with stock photography you’ll need to be flexible and ‘bend your creativity’ a little, perhaps shaping it towards a more profitable approach. The good news is that this is very do-able. After all, you are in charge of what the camera sees and you decide on what pictures you want to take.
So, maybe it’s obvious, but if you want to sell more stock photos, find out what the stock agencies want (and need). Believe me, if you ask, they’ll tell you.
Most, if not all, of the stock agencies or micro stock agencies out there will have a ‘needs list or wants list’ at their website. Make that your first destination. Be diligent in your research and you will be on the road to success with selling stock photography.
Then you can create a theme of photographic work that’s tailored exactly to the stock photo agencies needs and wants and then submit these specific images to them. Obviously there’ll be themes that you won’t be able to shoot, but there will be some that will fit well with your own lifestyle, environment, location and photo style.
This should rapidly increase your chances of making photo sales.
A search on a few stock photo agencies websites revealed that they are keen for their photographers to “…provide something more unusual, or sought after… and it might make the most downloaded page.”
In other words, don’t create photographs ‘the same’ as every other photographer. Make sure your unique, individual style lets your images stand out, and at the same time be conscious of what the stock agency really needs.
Another simple way to realize selling stock photography success is by going to photo agency or stock libraries websites and looking at what types of images they have, promote, use and sell… on a regular basis.
Look for the type and styles of images that they prefer. Is there certain image themes that get downloaded (sold) often? What styles seem to sell regularly?
Check to see if there are images similar to what you create, or check the downloads section… the micro stock sites will usually show you how many times an image has been downloaded… of course, the more the better, that means it’s more popular (more money for the photographer). Just ask yourself this: “Could I create images similar to this..?”
Being honest with yourself and your abilities as a photographer is important… It’s a big time decision to submit images to stock photo web sites… you really do need to ask yourself how likely will it be that I can make sales through this? And, is it the best use of my images and time?
If you can stay open minded about what themes you shoot (especially with the great flexibility of shooting digital photography), and focus on tapping into ‘what the market wants’ then you might find that your unique little approach to selling stock photography keeps photo buyers happy and you in profit. Go for it.