How To Shoot Stock Photos That Sell. Sell Your Photos Online

No matter what photography field you work in, if you want to make money selling photographyyou'll have to follow some 4 simple rules:

Shoot photos that sell

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That's by far the most important point. Would you pay for an image of your neighbors mother-in-law? Or of his dog? Of course not! No one would, perhaps not even your neighbor himself.

Likewise professional photo buyers who search for photos don't care for 'snapshots'. What they are looking for are photos that illustrate concepts, like career, relationship or retirement. Business related photos generally sell very well. Photos of handshakes sell well because shaking hands is a universal, widely understood idea that can be used to illustrate negotiations, contracts, treaties and even things like breaking-up or divorce.

Travel photography can sell well if it can be used to illustrate concepts. For example, a photo of the Houses of Parliament in London can be used to illustrate democracy or governmental topics.

Avoid legal pitfalls

Most stock photography agencies have strict rules regarding images of people (if the people in the photo are recognizable), property (if the image of the property can lead to its owner, e.g. a license plate on a car), and trademarked logos or items anywhere in the image. If in doubt, don't submit such images.

If you want to sell images with recognizable people in them, all agencies will require you to provide so called “model releases”. A model release is a document with which the photographed person permits you to sell the image without need of compensation. Obtaining a signed model release from ordinary people is next to impossible, buy pohtos so you might be better off to either weed those images out or hire professional models.

Keywording is the key to success, literally

No matter how good your photos are, they won't sell you photos if no one can find them. All stock sites let you tag or keyword your images. A good approach to keywording is to answer six simple questions for each image: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

For example, let's suppose you have a bunch of nice healthcare related images, shot in a hospital. Answering “Who?” you might find “doctor”, “nurse”, or “patient”. Answer “What” to come up with “lancet” or “stethoscope”. Answering “Where” yields “hospital”, “waiting room” or “theatre”, while “When” gives “morning”, “afternoon” or any other time of day or year. Ask yourself “Why” to evoke concepts like “sickness”, “comfort” or “patience”. Finally “How” can refer to the photographic technique involved: It could be “black and white” or “monochrome”, it might be “blurred” et cetera.

Keep the noise down & filesize up

Always keep in mind that the end user of your image may want to print it out. Commercial printing is normally 300dpi, so you neeed ot capture yourt stock images at the largest possible size. Storage is cheap … always capture RAW if possible, or at least 'uncompressed' such as TIF.

The larger the print size the more noticeable noise will be. Noise is induced by your digital camera's sensor and is something digital photographers have to live with, much like traditional photographers had to live with film grain. Generally speaking the smaller (area wise) the sensor size and the higher the ISO sensitivity the higher the noise will be.

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Stock photography can be very lucrative if you shoot photos that buyers need. Right now the demand for quality stock photography has never been higher. The real trick to sell stock photos is to avoid taking snapshots and instead, get in the buyer's head and create marketable stock photography. Matt Brading

Matt prefers to sell stock photos through GlobalEye Stock Photo Agency and the OzImages Stock Photography Library

Matt publishes photography articles on his PhotoSite Secrets blog where he shows you how to make your own profitable photo web sites in a weekend!

Matt Brading
Matt prefers to <a website stock photos through GlobalEye Stock Photo Agency and buy images the OzImages Stock Photography Library
Matt publishes photography articles on his PhotoSite Secrets blog where he shows you <a website to make your own profitable photo web sites in a weekend!

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