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Make Money Selling Stock Photos

easy tips on selling micro stock photography

Stock Photography Community

Tip #15: Working with Themes - Think Seasonal

Saturday, October 27, 2007


When you decide to shoot microstock, you need to think differently. Instead of creating images that you like (although this is important) try to think like a stock photo buyer.

One way of doing this is to work with themes. Consider what themes are hot and what are not. Themes can be literal or conceptual. They can be based on your personal interests and hobbies or centered on a particular location.

How are themes different from just picking up your camera and shooting? A theme allows a photographer to visualize and accomplish. When you decide on a particular theme, you channel your photographic energies into laser focus. By cutting out the unlimited stimuli going on all around you and concentrating on one thing, you suddenly see a depth and breadth of a subject. Plus you become VERY, VERY good at photographing that theme because you keep pushing past your previous limit and expectations. Also - others will start relying on you as an expert in that theme. They will search you out for your theme specialty.

So how do you go about finding the themes that are sellable. (Remember that's the point - what do others want to buy). Here's one easy theme hint: think seasonal. Look at your calendar, make a list of potential holidays and develop ideas around those holidays. The trick with holiday photography is to get it posted early enough for buyers to find it for their holiday needs. This could mean 5 months in advance for Christmas or maybe just a few weeks before for Earth Day.

I've posted two of my Southwestern themed autumn photos, picturing Indian corn and chili ristras (yes chili is spelled with an "i" here in New Mexico). If you live in the Southwest, you know that these two things mean the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the holiday season.

So how can you photograph sellable seasonal themed images? Got a holiday that you love? How about photographing Christmas images this year and plan to upload them next August, ready for sale in 2008? If you get into seasonal/holiday themes, it can keep you very busy all year round.

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