Stock Photography Tips: What are Buyers Looking for?

Stock photography has moved on considerably in the past few years. But don’t worry, we got you covered with some great stock photography tips!

There was once a time when you could have shot globes of different colors and hope to make a decent buck at the end of the day. If you still pin your hopes on shooting poor globes you would be living in the age of dinosaurs and the competition will have moved ahead of you…

Stock Photography Buying has Evolved!

Earlier it was a time-consuming process. You would send albums/printed catalogs and the photo buyer would select the ones that he needs. That process still does work though, and since not many people do it, has a bit of novelty attached to it. However, a majority of stock photos purchases are being done online and that is where you should look to concentrate.

Related Post: Stock Photography Guide: How To Make and Sell Stock Photos

1. Look for ways to Project Diversity

Institutes of graduate and undergraduate studies look for foreign students every year to fill their student quota. Each year they throng to educational fairs held at developing nations to promote themselves.

Do you suppose their online and print advertisements would look really representative of what their marketing strategies are if they only show faces of smiling Caucasian students? Wouldn’t it be apt if they show more Asian and South Asian faces?

Tip: Look for something not everybody is already doing. Think different, be diverse!

2. Hire a Model and Make the most of a Session Booked

Model's closeup. by kaybee07
Model’s closeup. by kaybee07

Hiring a professional model may not be financially viable for you when you are just beginning your career in stock photography. Money is hard to come by and with a limited pocket strength you have to be more adaptable, so ask people who can pose for you.

You could hook up with them and in the spirit of the old barter trade offer to take portfolio images for them in lieu of their service to pose for you. There are bound to be aspiring models in your area who are looking to have their portfolio images taken. Get in touch with them.

Anyways, if you do manage to book a session with a model try to shoot in different poses, with different props and wardrobe. Shoot it like a story and try not to repeat the same pose as much as possible. Sometimes stock buyers look for a series of images from the same shoot to choose from.

Shooting just one image and then moving on to a different backdrop/background or different wardrobe may just be a deal breaker because a buyer just did not find the right image. A series of images gives the buyer much more options to choose from.

3. Adhere to the Compositional Rules

One of the aspects of successful stock photography is your inclination to stick to the basic rules of photography. If not all then certainly a few; e.g., the rule of negative space.

Negative space is the area of the photo which is not occupied by the main subject. Stock photographers have experimented with this by keeping oodles of space left or right of the frame and keeping the subject at the other corner. That has a key advantage when it comes to their commercial applicability and that is the possibility to use advertisement copy. At the end of the day, these images are bought so that companies can promote their products and services.

With a cluttered image and no space to put content, the whole purpose is defeated!

Related Content: 3 Photographers Making Good Money with Stock Photography

4. Simplicity is the Key

Pequeños Bramanes by jose pereira
Pequeños Bramanes by jose pereira

Speaking of simplicity, always try to keep the images as clutter-free as possible ensuring that the inherent meaning is as simple as possible to understand. Images whose meaning is not as simple to understand are hard to sell. Simplicity refers to a lot of things. It can mean a non-cluttered image, again, it can mean a theme which is very easy to understand in spite of a cluttered composition.

A picture of a bathing ghat in Varanasi, despite the fact it is a cluttered composition, is easy to discern. Keywords such as ‘religion’, ‘spiritualism’, ‘Hinduism’, emanate from such composition and can be used by a travel company to showcase their India oriented tours.

Recommended Ebook: How to make your first $1,000 selling stock photos online

5. Images that can have multiple Use Cases are More Likely to be Purchased

Notwithstanding what has been detailed in the above paragraph images which can be used to promote different products and services stand a better chance to be downloaded. An image of a young girl with a dog with their backs facing the camera can work for a pet products company or for a company selling children’s clothing.

6. Stock Photography Tips: Post Processing

Post-processing is an integral part of stock photography. You need to realize that the images you upload are going to be used for commercial purposes, for banners, advertisements, both online and offline. Thus, printability is a major factor. If the images are not up to the mark they don’t have a chance of getting downloaded.

The first thing you need to do is to take care of the exposure bit. This starts right on the camera. Master the zone system which is a real advantage when it comes to ascertaining the right exposure for outdoor scenes.

Once the images are taken using a subtle post processing routine which takes care of noise (if any) and does not introduce artifacts as a result of over-sharpening.

Related Post: Tips to make Better Stock Photos