What is stock photography? What types of images do the stock agencies need, or perhaps more importantly, what types of images don’t they need?
What is stock photography
In short, stock photography is images that are ready to be used by someone who needs to illustrate an idea. When someone writes or magazine article, a blog post, an advertisment or wants to illustrate a presentation or pamphlet they need pictures to make it look good. Commissioning a photographer to capture images for these purposes can be way too expensive – which is where stock photography comes in. If a blogger needs a picture of a tomatoe to illustrate his post on growing tomatoes at home, he can simply log onto a stock photography agency website and purchase the image for $1.00. Being able to download a finished image and put it in use in a matter of seconds is much more effecient than the blogger having to take the image himself. With the arrival of the internet and the digital age the need for cheap digital imagry has exploded making it a profitable market for photographers.
So stock photography illustrates something. It can be an object, a situation, a location or a combination. A strong stock photograph has a conveys a simple idea that is easy to understand. If you can convey simple ideas using images, you will do well with stock photogrpahy.
- People – People pictures go out of date fast so new ones are always need. Additionally people pictures are in high demand. The nice thing about stock is that images are need for ALL types of uses. You don’t need to have a fashion model to pose for you. If you have a Grandma, Parent, Spouse, Kid that is comfortable in front of the camera – they can make a great model for stock. As the baby boomers begin to move into retirement – the need for ‘mature adult’ imagery is growing.
- Food – If you can shoot / and make attractive looking food this is a great subject. If you have someone eating / or making the attractive food – better yet.
- Concepts – If you can create a good concept you will have a winner. Concepts are generally a few objects / people mixed together to create meaning. A lock and a computer for example for a security concept. A dark looming hand taking a credit card for a fraud / theft concept etc..
- Christmas – The biggest retail event of the year needs image. Enough said.
What Doesn’t Sell
- Flowers – This one is actually on both sides of the fence because flowers DO sell actually very well. The problem is that so many people have taken pictures of flowers that it is tough to create something better. If you are just starting out with photography you will have a tough time creating betting flower shots than the pros who have been at it 20 years. Nonethelss if you have some stellar flower shots kicking around, give them a shot and try uploading them.
- Nature – Nature is another touch one. It sells OK and sells over a long period of time (because it is never outdated) but the sales are low. If you are a avid landscape photographer there is room for you in microstock as well, just don’t expect big sales.
- Your feet, your shadow, your computer, your pet … anything that you can see right now….. it’s been done before again… unless you have a TOTALLY original angle on the subject, you are best spending your time shooting other things.
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