All posts by Doug

Editing Your Photos

Editing your photos for stock can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. Many people submit photos directly from their point and shoot camera, however you will see best results in both acceptance ratings and sales if you edit your photos.

Free Editing Software

Picassa: A nice simple program from google for editing and organize photos.
Gimp
: Probably the best free editing software. It is a bit complicated to used if you are new, but worth trying out if you are determined and can’t spare the $$ for an adobe product.

Cheap Editing Software

Adobe Photoshop Elements: A great program that is very close to it’s big brother Adobe Photoshop CS3. This is the software I would recomment if you are not going to pay the big bucks for CS3. It will get you used to the photoshop layout and provides tons of editing options. If you learn to use this program you will be well on your way.
Pixelmator: I can’t say I have tried it but it looks like a nice program for the mac.

Professional Editing Software

Adobe Photoshop CS3: Only one serious choice here really. Learn to use it and the power will be in your finger tips Smile.

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Keywording Your Images

Keywording can be a tricky job for beginners. It is tough to come up with effective keywords and important to embed them in your IPTC file information tosaveyourself a lot of time in the future.

Getting the keywords

Take this image for example:

Rock Climbing A simple way to make sure you don’t forget any keywords is to answer the questions who, what, where, why, and when.

who: rock climber, woman, female, girl, person,

What: rock climbing, sport,extreme

Where: cliff

Why:activity, sport, fun, hobby,

When: summer

Then you may also want to consider some concept keywords such as: risk, danger, dangerous, fear

Embeding the Keywords in the IPTC Information

To save yourself a lot of work in the future, you should imbed your keywords, as well as the title and description in the IPTC information. To do this you can probably use your favorite editing program. The most popular editing software such as iPhoto, Lightroom, Aperature, Adobe Bridge, and Photoshop all of resources to do this. If you are just starting out and don’t have access to any of these programs, another option is Microsoft PhotoInfo. It is free and works very well.

Here is a video tutorial on editing your keywords with photoshop from thesupe87

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Uploading Your Photos

How it’s done

Uploading of the photos is done in a variety of ways. When just starting out, it is simplest to upload your images with the online upload tool provided at the stock sties. However if you have a large number of images to upload the quickest method is using an FTP program. An ftp program transfers files from your computer onto the stock photography website’s server.

To upload your photos you will fist have to create an account at the various microstock websites. I suggest submitting to one or two websites at first to try things out and then later sign up with additional sites.

Which Sites to Choose

The earnings potential at the various stock sites varies significantly. There are currently 6 microstock websites which provide a decent return for your photos, an additional 2 or 3 sites that have OK earnings and a large number of microstock sites which provide very little to no sales.

dreamstimeTwo good sites to start with, are Dreamstime and Fotolia. They have reasonably simple upload procedures, have good sales and are don’t require test images to be sent in. These two sites are good for getting your feet wet and producing good sales in the long term.

ShutterstockOnce you have a few photos prepared, Shutterstock is the place to apply. Shutterstock is the top producing site according to the members of microstockgroup and well worth your time. Uploading to shutterstock is a simple procedure making the time invested in the site very little. Shutterstock requires a test submission of 10 photos so be prepared to show your best. If you don’t pass the initial submission you will have to wait 1 month to reapply

The remaining top selling stock sites are Istockphoto, and 123RF, and Veer

Istockphoto was the first microstock site in the industry and provides great sales for you photos. Istockphoto is owned stock agency giant Getty Images.

Veer (owned by Corbis) and 123RF (owned by Inmagine) both being back by large companies have proven themselves to be stable earners in the recent years.

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Quick Guide to Selling Images Online

Where to submit your images

There are hundreds of microstock sites with new ones appearing every day. Only a hand full of these sites actually give you any sales. There are 6 major sites that produce good income (Often referred to as the ‘Big 6′) and ~10 more sites that have lesser earnings and may or may not be worth your time uploading your images to. Other sites are simply not worth the effort of uploading. I have arranged the sites from most to least profitable according to the polls at microstockgroup.com

The Big 6 agencies are:

Shutterstock
Istockphoto
Dreamstime
Fotolia
StockXpert
123RF

The remaining agencies are:

Bigstockphoto
Crestock
SnapVillage
Zymmetrical

Yaymicro

Panthermedia

ScanstockPhoto

MostPhotos

CanstockPhoto

FeaturePics

I would suggest signing up with the Big 6 and see how you like it. Once you have all your images online with these agencies you can consider if you want to add more agencies to represent your work of if you would rather use that time to create more photos.

For more information on getting started with microstock photography be sure to get out the entire How-To section.

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