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DPChallenge Forums >> Stock Photography >> Advice / roadmap for stock photo beginner
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03/31/2013 06:21:29 PM · #1
Hi, everyone!
I just discovered this site, and it looks like an excellent source of information.
I'm a beginner who would like to get into stock photography, and of course I have a lot of "newbie" questions.
I know the basics of photography, and I've done some commercial work with good feedback from clients (shooting houses for real estate, NYC buildings for an architectural blog, closeups of food for a gourmet magazine).

I would like to make this a weekend hobby kind of thing, but with the end goal of putting the images to some profitable use.

So, here are my questions...

1.) I currently have about 4000 photos of various architecture/cityscape/skyline scenes. Any ideas on what to do with them?

2.) What are the most profitable categories of stock images? I live in New York City, so I have access to everything from architecture/cityscape, to street scenery, to gourmet food, to flora & fauna (parks, zoos, etc).

3.) I have a (please don't laugh here) Fujifilm S1500 and a Canon Digital Rebel XTi... on a scale of "crap to 10", where are these cameras? Are they OK as a minimum requirement? If not, what would you recommend in the $ 500 - $ 1000 range?

4.) I've read that you can post the same image to multiple sites. Is there a way to automate this process? I.e. FTP upload + scripting? Or do any sites have a feature where they will scan a Web address periodically and "suction" any new content out of it?

5.) Do any/all stock photo sites read keywords from the JPG files themselves, as opposed to manually entering them? I would rather embed the keywords in the 1 file, and then post it to 100 sites, than have to copypaste the keyword list 100 times...

Any advice, constructive criticism, and warnings / pitfalls, would be much appreciated!

Message edited by author 2013-03-31 18:22:44.
03/31/2013 08:55:22 PM · #2
I am on the road right now but will answer your questions tomorrow when I don't have to use my smart pads keyboard. I have been doing stock for over a year now and have had quite a bit off success.
04/01/2013 11:22:40 AM · #3
Okay more time now I will do my best to answer your questions:

First of all stock is has very different requirements than most photography so you before you try to submit anything to any stock sites I would post some examples on Shutterstock critique forums. Read their instructions on how to post. You will get some good advice on whether your photos will make the cut or if you need to improve in some areas before submitting. 90% of the photos I shot before I started shooting for stock would not have made the cut. Focus and Noise are huge things that must be spot on or they will be rejected. Shutterstock is the best site try to get on there first. Other places are easier to get on but you won't make very much money on any of the other sites. I submit to 7 different sites and make money on all of them but nothing even compares to the amount I make on shuttertock.

Here are the answers to your questions below:

1. your photos will need to meet the focus and noise requirements. Otherwise they will just get rejected. Other important factors are composition and commercial value. They must stand out from the crowd. You also may run into copy right problems many building require a property release. Again post examples on the shutterstock critique forums and you will get a better idea if any of your 4000 photos will make the cut.
2. What is most profitable varies for most people but in general the most profitable shots are going to be shots with business or professional type people in them. Shots of just every day people doing things are always good too. Food can be good if you are good at it and holiday shots are always big sellers for me. Animal shots can be good if you get things that are unique. Street shots are no good since you would need a model release for all the people in the shot. Landscapes and cityscapes must be really well done and unique to sell well over the thousands already out there.
3. I have a canon 7D it is a good camera for stock for around $1000. I know people who do fine with their rebels. With any camera you just have to know what you are doing really its more about the person using the camera than the camera itself.
4&5. You can post to multiple sites as long as you don't go exclusive. Each site you will have to upload separately (some are easier than others) The main thing that will help things go quicker is to tag keywords to your image so you don't have to keyword them on each of the different sites. This saves tons of time. You can tag your title, description and keywords in photoshop under file info. Then the only thing you will have to do for most sites you upload to is pick the category and attach model and property releases
if needed.

here is a good site for keywording: //arcurs.com/keywording/index.php

but none of this matters if you don't get accepted so don't go to the trouble of keywording until after that. There are some images that wont make the cut and there is not sense in wasting time until you get an idea of what will and wont. Don't try to get accepted to shutterstock without help from the critique forums. Most likely you won't get accepted the first time around without some help. And if you don't get accepted you will have to wait a month before you can try again.
04/01/2013 01:44:31 PM · #4
Originally posted by sjhuls:

1. ... You also may run into copy right problems many building require a property release. Again post examples on the shutterstock critique forums and you will get a better idea if any of your 4000 photos will make the cut.

Here is a partial list of buildings which require a special property release before being used as stock images.
04/10/2013 10:41:52 PM · #5
My apologies for the delay in response, real life intruded :(

I would like to thank sjhuls for all the advice, it's very useful and definitely "brings the picture into focus" for me!

GeneralE, thanks for the list - good heads-up as well!
04/11/2013 03:06:22 AM · #6
Advice: Avoid microstock e.g Shutterstock etc if you value your work!
04/11/2013 03:46:03 AM · #7
Originally posted by Chinarosepetal:

Advice: Avoid microstock e.g Shutterstock etc if you value your work!


Only one argument against that:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45000-49999/49109/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1063783.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45000-49999/49109/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1063783.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
Cumulated income to date from this image at Shutterstock, iStockphoto and fotolia:
$ 3,890
04/11/2013 04:03:34 AM · #8
Originally posted by h2:

Only one argument against that:
Cumulated income to date from this image at Shutterstock, iStockphoto and fotolia:
$ 3,890

Gosh, that's quite impressive. how long did it take to accumulate ? (if you don't mind my asking)
04/11/2013 05:05:47 AM · #9
^ First upload 10/2007

(BTW, I didn't account sales at dreamstime, bigstock, stockxpert (RIP), corbis, panthermedia)
04/11/2013 02:33:34 PM · #10
Originally posted by h2:

Originally posted by Chinarosepetal:

Advice: Avoid microstock e.g Shutterstock etc if you value your work!


Only one argument against that:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45000-49999/49109/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1063783.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45000-49999/49109/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1063783.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
Cumulated income to date from this image at Shutterstock, iStockphoto and fotolia:
$ 3,890


It would take a bit more than that to impress me ;)
04/11/2013 03:12:31 PM · #11
I don't need to impress anyone. That's just one of the good things in stock photography.
04/11/2013 03:19:16 PM · #12
Made over $300 on this image alone, only had it up since first part of February this year. Also not trying to brag but I do value my work and make money off of it with micro-stock. There are some images that I just would not put up on micro-stock sites because it is more fine art and not meant for stock but this one was specifically shot with stock in mind and I am glad to be making money on it instead of it just sitting in my computer doing nothing:

' . substr('//image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/924437/125915102/stock-photo-easter-eggs-in-nest-on-rustic-wooden-planks-125915102.jpg', strrpos('//image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/924437/125915102/stock-photo-easter-eggs-in-nest-on-rustic-wooden-planks-125915102.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

04/13/2013 06:38:34 AM · #13
shutterstock since 2005 jan up to today $1282 in photo downloads and $4968.00 from referrals. now all my refs have been canceled with the new SS policy

sucks

from bigstock and dreamstime I have $1123

so yes it paid form my equipment

Message edited by author 2013-04-13 06:38:58.
04/16/2013 07:01:25 PM · #14
Tommyjensen, take a look at the link list "What type of images do sell?" at //stock.hlehnerer.com/Resources.html Take some magazines and see what images are been use in the ads. The category business, sport, health and health care, fitness, holidays are probably some of the best selling. Think of greeting cards. I see quite often stock images been used for that. Look at billboards or any other places with advertisements. Look at website like //www.msn.com/ what type of images are been used. You will get very fast a feel for what sells.

Most agencies allow you to upload via FTP. I use //www.picworkflow.com/?by=303 to automate the upload.

Almost all agencies read out the IPTC meta deta from the image file. So yes edit the IPTC data and then uplaod the images. This will save you much time.

You can upload the same file to many agencies as long as the file is not anywhere exclusive. Also do not mix RF and RM licenses. If you upload a file for example to Shutterstock ( that would be thn RF license ) then you cannot uploaded anywhere for sale as RM.

Message edited by author 2013-04-16 19:11:05.
04/16/2013 08:33:30 PM · #15
Originally posted by Tiberius:

shutterstock since 2005 jan up to today $1282 in photo downloads and $4968.00 from referrals. now all my refs have been canceled with the new SS policy

sucks

from bigstock and dreamstime I have $1123

so yes it paid form my equipment


The new referral policy is really awful, but it's especially annoying when you've been doing so well.
04/17/2013 01:07:21 AM · #16
Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Originally posted by Tiberius:

$4968.00 from referrals. now all my refs have been canceled with the new SS policy

sucks


The new referral policy is really awful, but it's especially annoying when you've been doing so well.


I did work hard to get those referrals.

They shouldn't have implemented the new rule for the existing accounts. Of course legally is OK but ethically sucks big time.
04/18/2013 10:41:59 AM · #17
Originally posted by Tiberius:

Originally posted by GinaRothfels:

Originally posted by Tiberius:

$4968.00 from referrals. now all my refs have been canceled with the new SS policy sucks


The new referral policy is really awful, but it's especially annoying when you've been doing so well.


I did work hard to get those referrals.

They shouldn't have implemented the new rule for the existing accounts. Of course legally is OK but ethically sucks big time.


I am not sure that it is legally that sound. When we did get the referral connection, Shutterstock was saying that these are lifetime connection. Where is it written that they can change that for existing referral connections? But nobody is doing anything about it, because Shutterstock still brings us the best income.

Message edited by author 2013-04-18 10:43:38.
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