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Make Money Selling Stock Photos

easy tips on selling micro stock photography

Stock Photography Community

Tip #3: Selecting Photos for the Submission Process

Monday, September 3, 2007

Each agency will have it's own set of criteria when it comes to the submission process. Some may ask for five images, others a few more. Read the submission process carefully to see what they are looking for. The agency wants to see your best work. They should be representative of what you can do with a camera. The images should also be high resolution and as sharp as possible.

Keep in mind that a microstock agency is looking for sellable images - photographs that are illustrative, tell a story, or clearly express an emotion. Concept photos are in high demand. They are usually created around an idea or concept, and may or may not be a composite, collage or include special effects. I have included one of my concept images above entitled "A World Thirsting" that you can view at Dreamstime. This image is a composite of two photos, digitally collaged to illustrate the concept of global warming and a lack of clean drinking water.

People photos are also very sellable - but make sure you have a signed model release for any recognizable faces in the photo.

Also keep in mind that any objects visible in your photos having "branding" such as logos, product names or insignias can not be submitted. An easy way to get around this is to digitally remove any "brand" information. If you are unable to do this, it's better not to submit the photo.

To get started you might want to try simple, uncomplicated photos with strong visual appeal. But stay away from subject matter that could be considered "snapshots" such as sunsets and flowers. Agencies get tons of these things, and unless they are truly unusual or spectacular - they won't be accepted.

Another good way to find out what an agency likes is to browse through their directory. Pick a topic that you already have photos of and do a search on the agency website. You'll see what others have submitted and can gauge the quality of your work against theirs. Also, you'll see an estimate of how many photos are already accepted under this category. If a category or topic has thousands of images already indexed in an agency's directory, there's less likelihood of having images accepted that use this topic. But if you find a category with few images, you can capitalized on this by aggressively pursuing this topic.

Once I was looking for photos of underground mining equipment to use on a client's website. I found virtually nothing listed under several agency directories. I thought, "Wow, what an opportunity for someone who has access to a working mine and permission to take photos."

For more understanding of how a submission process works, take a look at Dreamstime's guidelines: http://www.dreamstime.com/sellimages.

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