Have you ever considered the potential of the objects that sit in front of you every day? With the high demand for photos in social media and online marketing, your images of even the most simple items have value. Here’s how to capitalize on this and produce an easy portfolio of stock images to sell.
Take a look around you. You can’t scroll through a newsfeed without being flooded with images. Every advertisement you see, blog you read, and news article you click on are full of them. The more you pay attention, you realize how simple these images are. How many times have you seen a picture of a cup of coffee or a pencil and paper? They are everywhere. And behind all of this are the photographers who are making money by selling the photos that you come across every day.
The need for quality stock photography is growing daily. This should make you excited! You are a photographer, which means you have the ability to capture these photos better than the majority of other people will be able to. Not only do you have that advantage, but I would guess that most of the items within eyesight of where you are right now have the potential to be photographed and sold if you have the skill to do it well. Pictures of these simple items are more valuable than you would first think. These are the type of photos that can be sold on stock websites multiple times. Not only that, but once they are uploaded, they sell without requiring any further work from you.
Finding what images sell most frequently is the key to all of this. The goal is to find something that will sell hundreds or even thousands of times. For example, there are several reports of single images making $10,000 or more on stock websites due to the vast number of sales. Even in my community, a photographer had a photo of an oil well perform at this rate as the media continually purchased it for their articles. Conveniently, Adobe Stock offers a simple way to find out what these items are.
If you visit their website, you can navigate to their stock images page where you can scroll through their full gallery of photos. This gallery provides a convenient filter, which if used correctly, will allow you to find images that have performed well in the past. When you navigate to the gallery, you will want to use the filter they offer to order the images by using the drop-down menu labeled “Sort by.” Two options will help us here, first being Popularity, and second, Downloads. These two options will allow you to gain a solid perspective of what photos you can submit that could potentially do well on a stock website.
The next option you should consider is under the “People” category. Here you will have the ability to find photos that either includes or excludes people. While pictures of people tend to do very well on stock websites, it also involves asking the person for a model release. I would prefer to focus my time on things that are easy to capture and still could perform well, so for now, I chose to select the option to exclude people. After selecting those options, a gallery of photos that have sold well will be ready to study.
Now you can put together a plan for your stock portfolio. When I searched the list of top sellers, I noticed several things. Many of the top photos surprised me, as they were pictures of everyday items. For example, there were several pictures of consumable items such as snack foods, coffee, or wine, and also things I interact with every day like computers, keyboards, and wedding rings. I noticed immediately how most of these items were in my office or my home. There were also quite a few common outdoor subjects such as photos of leaves, grass, skies, and clouds that did well. They were all quality photos but were still convenient enough to capture in a short amount of time.
When you get a good idea of what type of photos sell, you should also make a note of what keywords other sellers use with these photos. In Adobe Stock, if you select the image, you can see how it was titled as well as view a list of similar keywords. Take a look at several photos and note what keywords you should consider using. Keep in mind that you only want to label your images with keywords that are accurate descriptions of what your photos are. If you try to add keywords that are outside of the box, it will likely hurt your photo’s search ranking. For example, if your photo of coffee shows up when someone is specifically searching for an image of tea, it is likely to be ignored. If people repeatedly ignore your picture, then that will factor into how well your image shows up in searches. You will want a list of 15 to 25 keywords that allow people to find your photo with the most important keywords being in the first seven spots.
If you choose to include everyday items like this in your portfolio, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be aware that stock sites cannot accept submissions that show a company’s logo, trademark, or trade dress. Trademarks are the words, symbols, or designs that identify with a company. Trade dress refers to the unique design of a company’s packaging or products. What this means is that you need to create generic photos of the items you are looking to sell, without including anything that is company specific. It’s easier to do than you think! If one of your shots does have company information in it, there's always the option to clone it out in post-production.
Stock photography is the perfect way for a photographer to develop a passive income stream. You could get your camera out right now and quickly have the beginnings of a decent portfolio from shooting the things that are laying around your office or studio. If you have been looking for a way to make some extra money in your photography, now is a great time to give stock photography a try!