8 Great Ways to Sell Your Stock Photos

The digital age has paved the way for thousands of people to whip out their digital cameras and join the world of stock photography. Online photography marketplaces called ‘stock agencies’ or ‘stock sites’ host your images with the intent to sell them to customers who might need images for personal or commercial reasons. You get paid per image with the stock agency getting a certain commission. It is a very convenient setup for everyone involved, and as such, has garnered immense popularity with stiff competition as the inevitable result. The challenge for the stock photographer is to capture the buyers’ attention for more potential of a sale. Here are some great tips to help you rise to the challenge:

stock photo leaf1 8 Great Ways to Sell Your Stock Photos1. Do not scrimp on resolution – most stock agencies have a required minimum resolution size for submitted images. Even if they do not have one, always provide the highest resolution your camera can handle. All stock buyers prefer high resolution images and if your image size is small, it will most probably be ignored. After editing your shot, use ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’ instead of ‘Save For Web’ because this will shrink your image size. Don’t upsize your image, either, since this will enlarge each individual pixel and make them appear visible (pixelation.) Cropping will also reduce image size so avoid it as much as possible.

2. Decide whether to sell macrostock or microstock – there are two kinds of stock sites, namely macrostock and microstock. Macrostock images can be resold to various buyers, with the photographer deciding the price, ranging from a few to hundreds of dollars. The tricky part is to know how to reasonably price the images. One image can earn you a lot of money but sales may occur only once or twice a month. Microstock images, on the other hand, are usually sold for a few cents but there is a much bigger potential for more buyers. Due to volume buying, an image being sold for 25 cents can quickly accumulate a lot of money.

3. Look at your images from a buyer’s perspective – you might believe that all the shots you are uploading as interesting and saleable. Before you begin submitting dozens of photos of your family vacation or your pets, think first if people would want to buy them. Just because you find them pretty doesn’t mean others will find use for them.

4. Check out what’s popular – go to the community or forum pages of well known stock agencies and find out what the current trends are. They usually post suggestions to members as to what the buyers are looking for and this information would be greatly beneficial. Browse over member threads who also often discuss what themes or categories are most often used. You do not necessarily have to be a member of the stock site to read forum threads unless you want to write a comment. Stock sites also regularly post the most popular images of members and you can learn about sought after images based on these.

5. Have a wide range of subject matter – a common mistake people commit when uploading images is to upload the same subject in angles or positions that look similar to each other. Another error is to submit the same image in different treatments such as black and white, full color or sepia toned. Buyers can get easily bored looking at these photos, especially when they are presented side by side. Prune your choices and try to submit only your best two or three of the bunch. Also remember that there are many image categories and you should not limit yourself to only a few. The more image variety you can offer, the more chances of a sale.

macaroons close up 8 Great Ways to Sell Your Stock Photos6. Have a specialty – with hundreds of subject matter and thousands of photographers to shoot them, it’s no wonder that competition in stock photography is intense. By finding your own specialty or niche, and concentrating on being good at it, you can build a name for yourself in that specific area. What this does is it makes buyers easier to find you and it also gives you an advantage over others in that niche. Whether it is baby portraits or abstract background images, once buyers know you are a cut above the rest, they will keep coming back for more.

7. Be critical of your work – it is only natural to be protective of your own images. After all, you conceptualized them and spent time and effort shooting them. However, you cannot afford to be sentimental once you decide to upload them for selling. Microstock agencies have reviewers who pore over every single image to make sure they meet the site requirements. If they reject your work, learn from the reasons they give. Some stock agencies might allow you to submit whatever image you like. If no one buys your image for months, learn from that lack of response, as well. Be objective with how you see your images. Buyers will not care how hard it was for you to get that shot or how much you love it. If it’s not good, be the first to acknowledge that and do something about it; either find a way to improve it or do not submit it at all.

8. Inspect your image prior to submission – always always (did I mention always?) go over your image with a critical eye before you submit it to the stock agency. Look for photographic imperfections such as the appearance of dead pixels and sensor dust, oversharpening, unintended noise or grain, and awkward compositions. Stock reviewers might reject your photo in the first instance, and buyers certainly are expecting perfect stock images. Anything less will put them off from buying your image.


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5 Super Quick Photoshop Tips That Can Dramatically Improve Your Shots

 

If you are in a hurry to edit your pictures, or just want a quick fix to make your photos come alive, here are some Photoshop tips that will spice up your shot in a jiffy. All these quick fixes are just autolevels1 5 Super Quick Photoshop Tips That Can Dramatically Improve Your Shotsthat, fast and sometimes imperfect since you are not fully controlling the adjustment settings. However, you can do any of these in the space of a few seconds and with just a few clicks of the mouse, and you can also get a glimpse of what editing can do for your shot.

1.  Auto Levels – the levels adjustment is used to fine-tune the brightness of an image. You can manually control how dark or light the picture will appear but Photoshop also offers ‘auto levels’ wherein the program will do it for you. It doesn’t mean that the outcome will be perfect all the time. But clicking on auto levels can quickly show you how your shot can brighten up with the use of levels.

autocolor1 5 Super Quick Photoshop Tips That Can Dramatically Improve Your Shots2.  Auto color – color can also either be manually or automatically adjusted. If you want full control of shades and hues, you can use a variety of adjustment options such as Color Balance or Hue/Saturation. However, clicking on ‘auto color’ might be all you need to remove a color cast.

3.  Add a border – aside from providing visual enhancement to an image, a border can also frame it by delineating the image from the background page, especially if the shot has large white or very light areas. To add a simple border, click on Image border 5 Super Quick Photoshop Tips That Can Dramatically Improve Your Shots> Canvas Size, then under the drop down menu (under New Size), choose ‘pixels’ and input a number (preferably divisible by two) in the width and height boxes. The numbers will be divided by two and will be the size of the pixels that will border the image on each side. For example, if you choose a 2 pixel horizontal canvas size, it means the left side will have a 1 pixel borderline and the right side will also have the same. To choose the border color, click on the black square beside Canvas extension color and it will open a screen where you can choose any color you want. If you want the border to match with a certain color in the image (like what I did for my photo example), after clicking the black square, move your cursor to the desired color in your image. Your shadowhighlight 5 Super Quick Photoshop Tips That Can Dramatically Improve Your Shotscursor will look like an eyedropper as you do this. After clicking on the color you want in your shot, press OK and this will be your border’s color.

4.  Shadow/highlight – removing a percentage of shadows can bring out details in the dark spots that were previously hidden. Clicking on this adjustment will decrease the dark areas of the shot by 50%. It will also open up a screen where you can then slide the markers for shadows or highlights and adjust them to your liking.

5.  Gradient Map – if you want to convert your colored picture to black and white, Photoshop again has many options you can use to get this result; from using desaturation, to tinkering with channel mixers, to clicking on the gradient map. The gradient map changes the image to grayscale and also provides a higher contrast between black and white compared to desaturation.gradient 5 Super Quick Photoshop Tips That Can Dramatically Improve Your Shots


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Photography Theme Ideas Using Color

 

Are you having a hard time figuring out what to shoot? In case you are running out of inspiration, look to color for help. Here’s a list of fun colorful theme ideas you can use for practicing your skills:

purple Photography Theme Ideas Using ColorMonochrome – this term usually implies black and white images in photography but it also means an image that shows only a single color in different shades. The image might show black or white accents but no other colors are included. By focusing on only one color, you can boost a certain mood which that color can evoke. For example, a predominantly blue image can give one the impression of tranquility while an image that is mostly bright yellow can make one feel energetic and warm.

Pastel – light or pale colors imply softness and tranquility. Look for these colors and try to capture the mood that they present. Diffused lighting usually accompanies pastel colors to accentuate the mood all the more. You can experiment with harder lighting on pastel colors and see what impact it would give the image.

Vivid –unlike pastel colors which can calm and soothe the viewer’s senses, images showing vivid colors can give off energy and excitement. You can capture the vibrancy of colors by choosing vivid colors themselves or you can make them appear vivid with the use of lighting. Backlighting, for example, can give a glow to see-through colored objects making them look like they’re glowing. Plastic objects, flowers and even fruit or vegetable slices might have the usual colors but place them in front of a strong light and the colors will suddenly become brighter.

Selective desaturation – by turning the image into black and white except for a specific object which stays in color, you can create dramatic impact to the shot. The eye automatically focuses on that one portion in the frame that shows color and if processed well, it can boost the viewer’s impression of the image. You must be careful with this technique, however, since it has fallen into the realm of ‘cliché’.  For example, wedding photos are constantly being selectively desaturated with the cd Photography Theme Ideas Using Colorbride and groom in black and white, while the bouquet of red roses is still in bright color. There is nothing wrong with this. After all, if it looks great then it doesn’t matter if it is cliché. The pitfall is if it isn’t composed and edited well, then it can look cheesy or just plain ugly.

Colorful – for this theme, try to include as many colors as you can without the image looking cluttered. It takes skill to do that since the colors can compete for attention and the point of interest might get lost in the process. Too many colors can also be an eyesore. Rainbows, patterned cloth, art supplies, flowers, iridescent insects, these are all very colorful in themselves. You can also set up the shot by grouping certain objects to show splashes of color. Using colored lights on your subject is another way to show off the color spectrum.

 


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Make the Most Out of Your Phone Camera

 

Remember when cameras used to be just cameras and telephones were used just to call people? These days, gadgets are designed to multi-task. You can now use phones to do many things such as take pictures, access the internet, and send written messages. One obvious advantage of having a camera phone is that it is very convenient for you to take a picture whenever you want to, if you’re the type who always has a mobile phone nearby. You don’t have to stick a bulky camera in your bag all the time in the off chance that you’ll see something interesting enough to shoot on the way to the store.

hut Make the Most Out of Your Phone Camera

Of course, the features of mobile phone cameras are severely limited. You won’t have much control since there aren’t much adjustment settings to play with, the resolution is lower than a regular camera, and the image quality might not be up to par. However, there are new models out in the market that are addressing these liabilities, and technology is evolving so fast that pretty soon mobile phone cameras will be able to compete with regular point and shoot cameras. 

At this time, the megapixels (MP) of camera phones can range from VGA to over 12MP. I must stress that the image quality is not necessarily proportional to the number of megapixels. Having a high MP count simply means your picture can be printed in bigger sizes. Of course, a very low MP such as 1MP means you will end up with a small sized image which you might not be able to satisfactorily post process without losing quality. A 3MP camera phone is sufficient in most cases (The two photos in this article were taken with a 2MP camera phone). 

To get the most out of your mobile phone camera, keep a few things in mind:

 Light your subject well – if it is well lighted, you won’t need to use the flash which may wash out your subject or blow out the scene. Your subject will also appear clearer and crisper with not much image noise or grain. Since you don’t have much control over exposure, try to have adequate lighting in-camera so that there will be little post processing needed.

Go closer – far away objects might come out blurred or too small to be recognizable. Avoid using the digital zoom (if it has this feature) if you can since this can reduce image quality by making pixels bigger. Also, try not to crop in post processing to make your subject look larger in the frame. This will also negatively affect the quality. Instead, go closer to your subject but not too close or again, the image will be out of focus.

Don’t move while you’re taking the shot – camera phones (at least mine isn’t) are not equipped with shutter speed adjustment settings. There seems to be no way to tell just how fast the shutter moves so best to keep still when you take the shot since there’s a possibility it will show camera shake.

garlic Make the Most Out of Your Phone Camera

 

Play with the camera modes – many camera phones have modes such as panorama, night mode and sequence mode. Your phone might even have a video mode. These are all very easy to use since they basically do the hard work for you. The panorama mode will stitch several pictures into one right then and there and the night mode can automatically illuminate dark areas.

Take lots of pictures – your phone screen might be too small to make any photo mistakes noticeable. If you’re used to taking five shots of a subject with a regular camera, take ten shots at least with your camera phone. Some of them might be blurry or pixilated and you won’t be able to tell until you upload the images in the computer. If you have lots of shots, at least there will be more options to choose from.

Take pictures with crazy camera angles – phone cameras can go where regular cameras might have difficulty accessing. No, I’m not implying that you become a voyeur. Just that you don’t have to stick to the usual ‘camera at eye level’ position. Camera phones are really small and thin compared to ordinary cameras and easier to handle. You can take a shot with one hand and play around by angling the phone in an unusual viewpoint. 

Clean your lens – the phone camera lens might be tiny but it doesn’t mean you don’t need to clean it. It’s a common oversight not to wipe the lens properly and your shot might blurry not because of camera shake but because of the dried up sweat that has built up on the lens (yes, it’s a gross thought). We handle our phones all the time; we put them in our pockets, stick them to our ears, keep a firm grip on them as we walk, on place them on public tables or countertops. Can you imagine the dirt that can accumulate on the lens if you don’t bother to clean it? A cleaning cloth used for eyeglasses or sunglasses will do the trick.


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5 Useful Tips on Shooting Nature Macro

One favorite photo theme is nature macro. Nature is a willing and attractive subject and it does not take very much effort for us to get good shots. By using the macro technique, we can present nature in ways that others wouldn’t normally see, perhaps the furry edges of a moth wing or the cracked vein patterns of a leaf. Listed below are a few suggestions for getting great nature macro shots:

butterfly 5 Useful Tips on Shooting Nature Macro

Be observant – nature abounds with millions of fascinating details and chances of hidden beauty and all we have to do is look. It’s astounding just how varied natural patterns, colors, or textures are. The trick is to notice them. By capturing them in an image, you will have the opportunity to share with others a world that is seldom noticed and appreciated. When Mother Nature is your subject, there is no lack of something appealing to shoot.

Be patient – when taking macro shots of creatures such as insects, patience is a must since it can be difficult to make them pose the way you want them to. They fly, they crawl, they jump, they do anything it seems but stay still long enough for you to get a good focus on them for a shot. If you want to take a picture of a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower, you might have to follow it around and shoot as soon as it lands on a blossom. You will probably end up with a lot of blurry shots but with enough patience, you might find one or two gems in the bunch. 

Camera capabilities – most point and shoots have a macro mode which can take fantastic images. Some even have a super macro mode for extreme close up shots. DSLRs can be fitted with macro lenses that can take fine and crisp shots. Optical zooms can also make the subject appear much closer than normal. Whatever camera you have, find out if it is capable of taking decent close up shots. If you can’t get any closer to the subject without it becoming blurry, you can make a shot appear macro by cropping the image in post processing.

Get down and dirty – when photographing nature macro, there are two common ways to go about setting up the shot. One is in a studio with all the lights and umbrella stands and maybe a few special macro lenses. The other is down on your knees, hunting for creepy crawlies, flowers or leaf patterns. Although the second option will get you dirty, it might also be more fun. Shooting the subject in its natural habitat has its pros and cons. Although you will not have as much control as in a stanthurium 5 Useful Tips on Shooting Nature Macro udio, the subject (if a creature) will appear more at ease if shot in its surroundings. Flowers and leaves can also be photographed without you having to pluck and discard them after the shoot. Indirect sunlight is also one of the best light sources around and can beautifully illuminate the subject.

Capture color – one reason why nature is so visually appealing is that color plays a big part in it. Colors are used to entice prey or to ward off predators, and flowers are breathtaking in their display of colors, from the deep dark crimson of roses to the most delicate of lavender hues of, well, lavender. Solid colors, color blends, pastel shades, vivid hues, just look around and you’ll be amazed at the splashes of color that only nature can provide in abundance. Try to capture color in your macro shots, whether it is a flower petal or the iridescent wing of an insect.

 

 


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New Payment Method Option – Discover Card

We are constantly optimizing our service and making sure your client's shopping experience goes as smooth as possible. Something we would like to avoid is having your clients run through the order process only to end up at the payment stage with their prefered method of payment missing from the list. Happened to me online once and I have to say, I was far from enthusiastic settling for an alternative.

With prevention in mind, we have added an all new payment method option for your clients; the Discover card:

200910 discover card New Payment Method Option   Discover Card

210910 methods of payment New Payment Method Option   Discover Card

Of course, the 'standard' payment methods are available as well; Visa, Mastercard, Amex, PayPal. 

More updates and some great photography articles coming so stay tuned!

Ilan Artzy
President


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New 4×8 Card and 5×7 Folded Card Templates!

We have seen 4×8 cards and 5×7 folded cards selling like hot cakes lately and so, we wanted to provide you with brand new themes for you and your clients to enjoy!

This brand new batch of templates which are now available focus on the 'birthday', 'hanukkah', and 'halloween' theme. Take a look!

 

5x7 comp w girl New 4x8 Card and 5x7 Folded Card Templates!

 

Hope you enjoy the new additions. We will be working on quite a few other goodies in the next little bit so if you haven't yet, be sure to follow us through Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe to our RSS feed for all of the updates!

Ilan Artzy
President


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2 New Storefront Templates Available!

It is important to constantly update and visually excite your audience through your photography but as a website owner, it is equally important to do so through your storefront and website. A simple template change can give your clients the impression of a complete website make-over when all you really need to do is click on a few buttons through your Photostockplus account!

We have added 2 brand new gold storefront templates for you to use for your next event gallery or storefront and dam do they look good!

 

New Gold Template – Artistic White

 

 Storefront White 160910 2 New Storefront Templates Available!

 

New Gold Template – Surf

 

 Storefront Windsurfing 160910 2 New Storefront Templates Available!

To change your storefront website template, simply log in to your account, head on over to "My Account", "Customize Website", and simply select a new template! The same can be done to any individual event gallery by heading to the gallery you would like to change and clicking on "Edit Event".

Hope you enjoy the new templates and stay tuned for a few more updates and goodies in a little bit!

 

Ilan Artzy
President


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Webinar Series – Photo Sales Training – Recordings Now Available!

During the past few months, we have been running a free online training webinar series hosted by our head of marketing and sales; Andrew Fishman. The series is comprised of the following 4 main webinars: 

  • Introduction to Photostockplus
  • Advanced Event Marketing
  • Stock Sales Training
  • Sel Fullfilment & Template Management

The response has been simply overwhelming and we thank you!

While we will keep providing these free live webinars which you may register for through our dedicated webinar page, for your conveniance, we have uploaded a few recordings of previous live webinars which you may now view at any time! These recordings are available through our webinar page within their dedicated sections as highlighted below.

200910 webinar recordings Webinar Series   Photo Sales Training   Recordings Now Available!

 

So go ahead, visit our webinar page, click on a video and see why our webinar series has been considered a secret weapon to many photographers who have increased their online photo sales!

If you have additional questions or require additional clarification on any feature of your account, feel free to contact us any time, or sit in a live webinar where you will have the opportunity to ask our presenter any questions you may have for a live demonstration.

Enjoy the new videos!

Ilan Artzy
President


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ISO and its Effect on Image Quality

 

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is one of the three elements that make up the exposure triangle.  The other two are shutter speed and aperture. In film photography, it measures how sensitive the film is to light and in digital photography, ISO measures the sensitivity of the camera sensor to the light.  Adjusting the ISO greatly affects the fineness of the image since it direct impacts how much film grain or image noise will be visible.

prawns ISO and its Effect on Image Quality

The principles of ISO are the same for both film and digital photography. ISO is measured with the numbers 80, 100, 200, 400 and so on. Some high-end cameras feature numbers as high as ISO 3200. When you lessen the ISO number, the grain or noise becomes less visible. This makes the image look finer and have a better image quality. The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive the camera is to the light and the more obvious the image noise. This makes the image appear grainy and it loses some of its quality. Graininess is not necessarily a bad thing especially if you're using it deliberately to create a mood. In this case, a very high ISO would be ideal.

Just like shutter speed and aperture, ISO is adjusted depending on the available light. ISO 100 is an ideal setting because your images retain their fineness and crispness. However, in low light conditions, you might need to maintain a fast shutter speed or a small aperture in which case you might be forced to increase the ISO settings in order to capture more light. The result is a better lighted image but the repercussion is a more grainy effect.

The common low light situations are indoor birthday parties, indoor sporting events or games, and night scenes. There are places which do not allow you to use flash such as galleries or theatres so to compensate for inadequate lighting, a higher ISO might be used.

A lot of beginner photographers use Auto mode, which does the job of automatically selecting the ISO settings based on the scene. It is advisable that you use Manual mode whenever possible so you can practice adjusting the exposure settings. You will then have more control over the outcome of the image. 


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