How could you make money through stock photography?
If you are interested in making a living with your camera, the realm of stock photography could be rather profitable. A stock photographer could pick the subjects and niches he captures and the schedule he works, and it is a more flexible choice than becoming a wedding or portrait photographer. Stock photography is a cutthroat industry, and you need to produce high-quality photos with a creative and unique approach.
Photos look different when seen on the internet, and there are a few steps you need to take to ensure that they look as bright and sharp as when you view them on an external monitor or a camera screen. The photographer likewise needs to be careful in protecting his photos and mitigate the risk of copyright infringement. Here is a 4-step process that could help you make sure that your stock photography images have the best chance of selling:
Get It Right in the Camera
You can avoid making basic oversights when snapping stock images. Make sure that every picture is composed and captured for maximum effect, and pay close attention to exposure and focus. You could create minor modifications in Photoshop or other photo editing tools and software later, but it would be better to do it right the first time.
You could rely on your camera’s automatic shooting modes if you are working with a more advanced digital SLR camera. Nevertheless, don’t be lax in your work and expect flawless results each and every time. Tricky lighting conditions could confuse a camera’s metering capabilities, and spectacular images could be spoilt by under or overexposure. Capturing photographs with a tripod could help ensure the highest sharpness and could draw the line between a neophyte and a seasoned photographer.
If your professional camera has the functionality, always shoot in RAW mode instead of the more popular JPEG. Shooting in RAW format offers you more flexibility to rectify exposure, sharpness, and color balance of photographs. If you are committed to making a living with your camera, you have to learn how to shoot and process in RAW mode to create the best quality photos possible.
Adjust Contrast, Brightness, and Exposure
Even the most seasoned stock photographer does not get it right each time, and stock libraries and websites would only accept impeccably exposed photos. Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom is excellent for making the essential adjustments, and it doesn’t take too much time to adjust and correct contrast, exposure, and brightness. Know how to utilize the levels readings to recognize the best way to adjust and modify an image.
Sharpen Your Stock Photography Images
Photo editing software and tools offer various capabilities to sharpen pictures, and this is also an important step in prepping them before submitting them to stock photography websites and libraries. If you have captured in RAW mode, it is then very easy to enhance sharpness and clarity with the help of the filter options.
Go Big or Go Home
Advertisers would typically need large versions of your images so they could edit and use them as they need to. Ensure to shoot your images at the highest resolution possible, and upload those high-resolution pictures to the stock photography library or site you are working with. Your prospective clients would be glad to have the option of purchasing different quality levels of the image, and this small touch might even end up helping you boost more sales.
Lose the Clutter
When you set your scene, ensure that your focus subject stands out. Trivial matters such as a speck of dust to a scratch on furniture might be okay in some other kinds of photography but will stand out in stock photography. Make sure to declutter your photos and take away anything from the shot you think could be distracting, or move the attention away from the subject.
Adjust White Balance and Color
Color casts are among the major reasons images are rejected by stock photography websites and libraries. You could depend on your camera to always automatically regulate white balance, but it is still necessary to get involved manually in some circumstances. If capturing photos indoors, take note of the artificial lighting color and how it mixes with the light from open windows. If you couldn’t find an appropriate camera calibration, consider processing the photos in the digital darkroom to rectify and fix unsightly color casts.
Look for Imperfections
Your photographs might look amazing when browsing through your photo album, but enlarge them to full size, and you would see a lot more. Before uploading any images on a stock photography library or site, scrutinize your photos first to ensure that there aren’t any problems with them. Even the most negligible issues could make a potential client decline from purchasing your photo.
Choose a Focus Topic
While it could be tempting to post a lot of different types of images to stock photography libraries and sites, your best course of action is to concentrate on shooting stock photos of a specific subject. Concentrating on a specified type of image could help you attract potential customers on the site and could turn single image purchasers into repeat customers.
Think Like an Advertiser
Stock photography is usually used in advertising. It means advertisers may want some space on the side of the image subject to add texts or logos. They might also be unhappy if there was another brand name shown in the shot. Review your photo, consider how the photo might be used, and tailor what is in front of your camera to satisfy that specific need.
Take a Few Different Shots
Take a similar photo from several different angles and with several variations. A promoter could really love an image you captured of an elderly man reading the newspaper but actually wants the focal point to be on the coffee mug beside him instead of the paper itself. If you have a scene with many different elements to it, try taking as many photos as you can. The more variation you could get, the better.
A lot of stock photography websites and libraries would apply their copyright protection to your photographs, but make it a point to always confirm this before submitting or uploading your photos. If the rules and regulations aren’t clear, you could add a watermark using Watermarquee to make sure your photos aren’t saved and used without attribution.