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Start by quantity portfolio or trend portfolio?

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Hi, 

I am new to stock photography, basically because I like to learn a lot about photography, experiment, etc. and I thought why not start something that eventually throws out a few bucks. I am not sure if this is still possible from 2019 or if agencies took over and an individual amateur photographer has no chance at all to gain visibility. However, as a start I am asking myself the following question:

 

Should I focus on quantity (shoot/upload as many good photos as possible) or on trend by shooting only specific required photos?

 

Usually stock platforms even give hints on what kind of photos and motives are requested. What is your suggestion on that?

Markus

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My experience with Alamy is that images are sold for books, magazines and newspapers so if you can shoot images related to subjects in the news it is helpful. Quantity and variety count also, of course, but if you have any special access or knowledge about a subject make use of it. You'll need to have the proper name and latin name of your plants and flowers if you are to get sales. The same with any wildlife you shoot. You will probably not make more than those few bucks so be sure you are enjoying it.

 

Paulette

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12 hours ago, NYCat said:

You will probably not make more than those few bucks so be sure you are enjoying it.

 

I enjoy to take photos, learn, develop, get the best out of my gear I have, and eventually upgrade at some point again. However, I am not a big fan of editing and keywording, so that is for me actual work that should pay off at some point.

 

As a beginner it is difficult to estimate if it is still worth it to start with stock photography or just save this hours editing/keywording and keep it as a hobby only.

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42 minutes ago, markus said:

 

I enjoy to take photos, learn, develop, get the best out of my gear I have, and eventually upgrade at some point again. However, I am not a big fan of editing and keywording, so that is for me actual work that should pay off at some point.

 

As a beginner it is difficult to estimate if it is still worth it to start with stock photography or just save this hours editing/keywording and keep it as a hobby only.


For plants, best practice is common name and scientific name.  Basically, keywording is how people find your photos.   The pay offs tend to be dependent on quality, quantity, and variety.

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Quantity can be good but two much more important words are quality and variety. A million uninteresting, poorly exposed images with a lack of variety will do no favours to anyone.

 

As for making money, it's very unlikely that you'll earn a living from stock but if you get the balance of your portfolio right you  should be able to pay for your vacations and a few luxuries.

 

Alan

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@Inchiquin I believe that poorly exposed images will not be accepted anyway, but I see what you are pointing at. 

 

Perhaps a different topic: but are there recommendations on how many stock platforms to publish? I currently focus on the following platforms and started with my first 60 - 100 shots (depending on acceptance rate)

  • Alamy (0 downloads)
  • Shutterstock (25 downloads)
  • Adobe Stock (3 downloads)
  • Dreamstime (3 downloads)
  • 123RF (0 downloads)

 

 

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On 18/12/2019 at 17:42, markus said:

@Inchiquin I believe that poorly exposed images will not be accepted anyway, but I see what you are pointing at. 

 

Perhaps a different topic: but are there recommendations on how many stock platforms to publish? I currently focus on the following platforms and started with my first 60 - 100 shots (depending on acceptance rate)

  • Alamy (0 downloads)
  • Shutterstock (25 downloads)
  • Adobe Stock (3 downloads)
  • Dreamstime (3 downloads)
  • 123RF (0 downloads)

Hi Markus,

I am in the same boat as you. I'd like to sell enough to justify gear purchases, and to cover my photography as hobby expenses. So that would mean hopefully a few hundred a year. But I am way off that. I only have just over 200 photos, and only 1 sale here of about $5 (Alamy takes half).

I am also on SS, but for about 20 downloads pretty much most of them have been a quarter of a dollar. It is quite disheartening, and I do not find it worth putting the effort to uploads hundreds there just to inch towards a dollar.

 

Basically, I will try to stick it out on here another year, increase my upload rate in the next year and perhaps reach several hundred photos, and hope for some moderate success. Your gallery looks great, you have a good eye, artistic. I have some creative shots. Not sure they sell here much. Like mentioned above, I think some current events, popular places, buildings, restaurants seem to be in demand. And generally photos including people doing things, going on with their life.

 

Happy holidays

Alex

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I'm in the same same boat too. I'm mostly using Alamy to up my game as a photographer and develop some discipline around it. I have found it very helpful as a way to learn, especially using this forum, as I knew nothing about digital photography until I bought my Sony a6000 last year. (I had studied 35mm film and filmmaking, but never used a digital camera other than a cell phone).  I still have a lot to learn, but it seems all answers can be found here. So for me, it's enough to experiment, ask questions, learn more. I try to upload and/or keyword a few images every day. I find it fulfilling. I just love working with images and it gives me an excuse to do so. I love taking them, editing them, pondering them, looking at others' images. I have sold three and earned $56 after Alamy takes its cut. It works best if money is not the motivation, I think.

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17 hours ago, AlexG said:

Hi Markus,

I am in the same boat as you. I'd like to sell enough to justify gear purchases, and to cover my photography as hobby expenses. So that would mean hopefully a few hundred a year. But I am way off that. I only have just over 200 photos, and only 1 sale here of about $5 (Alamy takes half).

I am also on SS, but for about 20 downloads pretty much most of them have been a quarter of a dollar. It is quite disheartening, and I do not find it worth putting the effort to uploads hundreds there just to inch towards a dollar.

 

Basically, I will try to stick it out on here another year, increase my upload rate in the next year and perhaps reach several hundred photos, and hope for some moderate success. Your gallery looks great, you have a good eye, artistic. I have some creative shots. Not sure they sell here much. Like mentioned above, I think some current events, popular places, buildings, restaurants seem to be in demand. And generally photos including people doing things, going on with their life.

 

Happy holidays

Alex

 

Hi Alex,

I think as a beginner we all understand that it's not about earning right. But then there is work that is not that much fun for many of us, e.g. key-wording, description, dealing with editing not to make the photograph look better but to be accepted in the means of retouching all brands, etc.

I think the challenge is to be patient enough and stick to it for 1 to 2 years to even reach the level to pay off your gear expenses. From my point it is even tricky to find the right stock platforms that are a good personal fit. All of this just grows over time.

 

I believe if you / we stick 1-2 years to it we will...

  • learn which stock platforms are worth it to take the effort to upload, categorize, deal with release forms
  • learn to improve photography skills and get the best out of the available equipment
  • learn to do better editing and become more efficient
  • learn to do better key-wording
  • learn about our individual niche
  • learn to take more photos that are actually worth and of value for a buyer (basically a higher shot-edit-upload-sell rate)
  • actually get some money paid out

However, I also understand that this means investing a lot of time and patience and with stock photography being such a mass market its a challenge to believe in oneself.

 

Happy holidays

Markus

 

 

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1 hour ago, The Blinking Eye said:

I'm in the same same boat too. I'm mostly using Alamy to up my game as a photographer and develop some discipline around it. I have found it very helpful as a way to learn, especially using this forum, as I knew nothing about digital photography until I bought my Sony a6000 last year. (I had studied 35mm film and filmmaking, but never used a digital camera other than a cell phone).  I still have a lot to learn, but it seems all answers can be found here. So for me, it's enough to experiment, ask questions, learn more. I try to upload and/or keyword a few images every day. I find it fulfilling. I just love working with images and it gives me an excuse to do so. I love taking them, editing them, pondering them, looking at others' images. I have sold three and earned $56 after Alamy takes its cut. It works best if money is not the motivation, I think.

 

I also thought about the Sony a6000 back then but went for a MFT from Olympus then as size mattered a lot to me (coming from a pocket camera). I am not even sure which other forums are out there and which are recommended to use for questions and discussions - I believe Alamy, Shutterstock, ... all of the popular stock platforms who offer online forums are a good place to learn. I am impressed that you manage to upload / keyword a few images every day. This part is for me more annoying and I would not be able to do it on a daily basis (not even weekly at the moment) but I understood it is essential to have steady upload streams. 

 

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38 minutes ago, markus said:

 

I also thought about the Sony a6000 back then but went for a MFT from Olympus then as size mattered a lot to me (coming from a pocket camera). I am not even sure which other forums are out there and which are recommended to use for questions and discussions - I believe Alamy, Shutterstock, ... all of the popular stock platforms who offer online forums are a good place to learn. I am impressed that you manage to upload / keyword a few images every day. This part is for me more annoying and I would not be able to do it on a daily basis (not even weekly at the moment) but I understood it is essential to have steady upload streams. 

 

 

A friend referred me to Alamy because they had a friend who made half his living off this site. Others on here said it was the best one with the best payout and you can keep copyright of your photos. So I never explored other stock sites. That feels overwhelming to me since this is already a major job. However, I am exploring sites like Fine Art America and Art Storefronts where you can sell your work as art to consumers. It's an uphill learning curve for all of it, for sure. I had an aversion to keywording and still do. However, some of my photos require research in order to keyword properly and I find this process is rewarding. I enjoy learning the history of a building, bridge or church, the former routes of California steam trains, the origins of an Aztec dance, and the science of contrails (those white streaks in the sky that airplanes make).

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On 18/12/2019 at 00:39, markus said:

 

I enjoy to take photos, learn, develop, get the best out of my gear I have, and eventually upgrade at some point again. However, I am not a big fan of editing and keywording, so that is for me actual work that should pay off at some point.

 

As a beginner it is difficult to estimate if it is still worth it to start with stock photography or just save this hours editing/keywording and keep it as a hobby only.

Unfortunately editing and keywording are probably more important on here than photo quality.

To sell on Alamy your images have to get seen by customers - among the 185million other images here.

To make sure than happens, your captioning and keywording have to be done well and consistently.

There are endless photographers who can take a good photo - a lot fewer who spend the time (or have the inclination) to do all the boring work that comes after uploading.

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11 hours ago, Phil Robinson said:

Unfortunately editing and keywording are probably more important on here than photo quality.

To sell on Alamy your images have to get seen by customers - among the 185million other images here.

To make sure than happens, your captioning and keywording have to be done well and consistently.

There are endless photographers who can take a good photo - a lot fewer who spend the time (or have the inclination) to do all the boring work that comes after uploading.

 

Thanks for your feedback Phil!

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On 24/12/2019 at 17:13, markus said:

 

Hi Alex,

I think as a beginner we all understand that it's not about earning right. But then there is work that is not that much fun for many of us, e.g. key-wording, description, dealing with editing not to make the photograph look better but to be accepted in the means of retouching all brands, etc.

I think the challenge is to be patient enough and stick to it for 1 to 2 years to even reach the level to pay off your gear expenses. From my point it is even tricky to find the right stock platforms that are a good personal fit. All of this just grows over time.

 

I believe if you / we stick 1-2 years to it we will...

  • learn which stock platforms are worth it to take the effort to upload, categorize, deal with release forms
  • learn to improve photography skills and get the best out of the available equipment
  • learn to do better editing and become more efficient
  • learn to do better key-wording
  • learn about our individual niche
  • learn to take more photos that are actually worth and of value for a buyer (basically a higher shot-edit-upload-sell rate)
  • actually get some money paid out

However, I also understand that this means investing a lot of time and patience and with stock photography being such a mass market its a challenge to believe in oneself.

 

Happy holidays

Markus

 

 

If you are serious, approach it like you would approach any new business opportunity.

 

identify the market that you want to supply to. Study that market: how large is the market, what kinds of images it needs, demand/supply balance? Identify agencies/distributors that supply into that market (particularly important if you specialize in anything other than "shoot what you see/find")

Shoot for that market/agency.

 

GI

 

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