Stock pho­tog­ra­phy

Al­ready got hard drives full of im­pres­sive im­agery? You could make a killing with stock pho­tog­ra­phy...

Digital Camera World - - COVER STORY -

WHEN pa­pers, mag­a­zines and web­sites need an im­age, they of­ten don’t have the time or bud­get to com­mis­sion a pro

pho­tog­ra­pher. In these in­stances, ed­i­tors of­ten turn to stock web­sites, where there’s al­ways a wide se­lec­tion of im­ages for spe­cific sub­jects. For ex­am­ple, if a story calls for an im­age of a spe­cific flower, stock sites such as Alamy and Getty will have a strong sup­ply of such sub­jects. Most stock sites al­low in­stant sign-ups, while oth­ers re­view your work be­fore pub­lish­ing im­ages on their sites.

1 Per­cent­ages

Be aware that stock sites take a per­cent­age of any sale, which cuts down on prof­its. It can cer­tainly pay to do some re­search on dif­fer­ent stock sties and work out which gives the best deal for the pho­tog­ra­pher. Per­cent­ages range from 60/40 in the pho­tog­ra­pher’s favour, to 80/20 in the stock site’s favour. In re­cent years newer stock sites, such as 500px, have of­fered bet­ter rates.

2 Hig h qua lity

Stock sites all have strict qual­ity con­trol pro­ce­dures , which may force you to change how you work. Re­quire­ments for min­i­mum im­age size mean you can’t sim­ply crop in on an im­age, as it could well fall be­low the ac­cept­able file size quota; so if you’re the sort of snap­per who shoots fast and loose and fixes the com­po­si­tion in Pho­to­shop, you may have to change to a more dis­ci­plined work­flow.

3 Ex­ces­sive re­touch­ing

Like re­stric­tions over file size, many stock sites have guide­lines over how much re­touch­ing can be done to an im­age. In the main, colour, con­trast and sharp­ener en­hance­ments are tol­er­ated, but ef­fects like drop­ping in a new sky are sim­ply not al­lowed.

4 Cap­tion info

When it comes to stock pho­tog­ra­phy, a great im­age is not enough. To ac­com­pany the photo, you must also add key in­for­ma­tion about the sub­ject, where it was taken and other de­tails that will make it easy for a buyer to source ex­actly the sort of im­age they need.

TOP AND Abo ve The skill in cre­at­ing ef­fec­tive stock pho­tog­ra­phy is find­ing cre­ative ways of com­mu­ni­cat­ing top­ics that af­fect lots of peo­ple. This ‘cap­tion­ing’, as it is known, can take a long of time, so it must be fac­tored into your work­flow. One use­ful tech­nique is to set up a num­ber of key­words in Light­room, which can be added to each im­age as you im­port it. Once added, they be­come part of the im­ages’ meta­data – info about the camera, lens, ex­po­sure set­tings and so on.

Stock im­ages need cap­tions, so pho­tog­ra­phers look­ing to make money from this genre of pho­tog­ra­phy need to be aware of the ex­tras stock web­sites de­mand from you.

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