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A Guide to Shooting Stock Photos

Quality Over Quantity is Key to Shooting Stock

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The idea when taking stock photos is to get quality photographs that people are looking for. It is not necessary or constructive to just keep shooting. Most stock photography agencies will not accept more than 2 or 3 photographs of the same theme.

For example, say you have set up a small table of fruit as a theme. Take a few pictures, but only submit 2 or 3 of the best. Ensure that each photograph is different and not just a slight variation of the last.

This could take ages!

It is much more practical to take your time and submit less, high quality photographs than hundreds of poor quality ones. They will only be rejected and your work will have been in vain!

It can be a lengthy process, but a solid, quality filled workflow will ensure your pictures are kept for years.

It also helps to get a name for yourself if all you submit is high quality stock photos. Please note though, it can take years to build up a good portfolio of stock images. You may never earn enough money to live on but you could make a nice bit on the side. Every month, for a long time! The idea is to enjoy your photography and submit as many as you can for as long as you can.

It is better to have all your hard work sitting on an agencies hard drive as well as your own. You will undoubtedly sell them and make some money. Obviously the more photos you have the more you will sell.

Set a target

Ideally you should be setting yourself a target in the thousands rather than the hundreds. This is a numbers game and the more you submit, the greater chance you have of your stock photos being used. Simple. You never know, by the time you retire, or stop taking photographs, you may have secured a nice steady flow of cash from your work.

Some of the larger agencies will include you in their monthly newsletter. This will normally include a "wants" list of all the photographs that their customers are crying out for. It can be a good idea and fun to use this list to motivate yourself to get up and get out there! Sometimes the agencies release information on some of the bigger sales made that month.

If I remember correctly, one of the amounts that springs to mind relates to an American photographer. He earned somewhere in the region of $54,000 for just 4 stock images! This just goes to prove that if you have the photograph that someone is looking to use in a massive ad campaign, you just never know!

Keep your camera with you

As I have said before, always keep your eyes open and take your camera everywhere. Look out for things that stand out, or are a bit different and shoot as often as you can but remember to just submit the good ones. Whichever agency you decide to go with, they should have a submissions guideline for you to follow. Make sure you follow it.

As a final point, if you already have a few (or a lot) of quality photographs that you think might be suitable, go through them to check for quality. Crop them, enhance them, clean them up and get them to the required standard needed for submission. That little gem could just be in there somewhere.

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