A basic guide to stock photography
Basic Photography
June 25, 2018

Stock photography is something we all have heard of. You may or may not be thorough with the concept. A stock is a collection of something. So, stock photography is nothing but a collection of images. These images are then managed by stock agencies and put up for sale, with watermarks. The prices are decided by the stock agencies themselves. On every sale, the photographer is paid some amount while the agency keeps some as their commission. The buyers are mainly companies looking for images for advertising and marketing purposes. Stock photography can be a very significant source of income for photographers. You need to have the knowledge of the type of images having the most demands. Here is a basic guide to stock photography.


1) Photography gear: You may think a lot of photography gear is required to do stock photography but that is not the case. A lot of stock photographers use their smart phones to shoot stock images. You need to know what you are actually shooting. If you are shooting images of a cyber café, get some close up shots of keyboards and computers. Get a shot of the customers, busy using the services of the café and so on. If you are shooting long exposure shots, you will require a tripod and ND filter.  Hence the photography gear will depend on the genre you are actually shooting.

2) Investment: Building a collection of stock photographs can seem to be a very expensive process. But there are several cheap ways around it too. For example, if you want to shoot some fashion stuff for your stock collection, you can approach budding models for free shoots. There are a lot of models who are ready to shoot for free for their portfolio and exposure. Get in touch with some of them and all you need to do after that is arrange for a cheap lighting setup.

3)Your interest versus theirs: You may be interested in shooting landscape images. However even after shooting a great collection of acclaimed landscape images, your stock page may not be doing well. This is because landscape images might not be the order of the day. The clients out there are maybe looking for something else. Hence stock photography is not always going to be about what you love to shoot. It is going to be more about the requirement of the clients. Do a proper research on what the current trend is. What are the kinds of images that are selling the most in stock photography sites? Shoot such images if you want to improve your stock photography game.

4)Product photography: If you want to get into stock photography but you are confused about the genre, doing product photography can be a great way to start. You will require a box lighting setup which is not very expensive. The single colour background of the box will help you great images of the products. There is a soft lighting setup in the box as well. Product photography can be a simple and inexpensive way to actually start stock photography.

5)The concept of photography and composition: At the end of everything, it is going to be your concept of photography that will determine the eventual outcome. Try to shoot images with unique compositions. One way to shoot high quality images is by using the lowest possible ISO. Higher the ISO, higher the chance of digital noise in your images. Once you have a collection of images, get them reviewed by a professional. You can also use your knowledge to review the images. Make sure the images are viewed at 100%. When you are viewing an image in your smart phone, some intricate faults may be missed. You may have an out of focus subject which will not be clearly visible when viewing on a smart phone. Be your own critique and you can reduce the chances of rejection.

6)Keywords: Keywords may not be a part of photography but they are highly essential in stock photography. Make sure you submit a detailed description of your image. This may include the story behind the image too. Think of keywords which suit your image perfectly. Include synonyms of that keyword too. Never include keywords that are not relevant to your image as they may initiate strict action from the agency.

7)Your style: Once you have built a stock photography collection of your own, try to develop a unique style. This leads to a lot of consistency in your images. This also makes sure that you are more visible and recognizable to the clients. Developing a collection and uploading it to several sites is a time consuming process. Do a research on the stock agency you are willing to invest your time in. Find out whether the stock agency is suited to your style of photography or not. If not, you should consider moving to a different agency.



1)     Selling potential: Here are a few types of images with the highest selling potentials.

i) Seasonal shots: Seasonal shots like that of any festival can be of great value. There is a lot of demand for such festive shots.

ii) Food: Newly opened restaurants and cafes will be strongly attracted to your style, if you can develop a good collection of food photographs for the stock market.

iii) People and profession: Shots of people conducting business meetings and deals have a high selling potential as they tend to be used a lot by several corporate for their marketing  banners.

iv) Conceptual: Think of creative ways to display certain objects. How can actually depict a conversation style without involving two humans? If you can find creative ways to do this, your photographs will have a good demand.

Stock photography may seem to be a very lucrative career option but it takes years of hard work to build a stock collection. With the amount of competition in the market, you need to innovate every day in order to keep up with the stock photography game.

Basic Photography
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