If you’re a photographer, selling stock photos is a great way to earn extra cash and gain exposure for your work. Stock photography, when done right, can turn into a lucrative career. Good stock photos are—and always will be—in demand. From websites and social media to marketing materials and publications, stock photos are valuable graphics.
Whether you’re a seasoned photographer looking to expand your stock portfolio, or just someone who wants to create their own personalized images for use in X, Y, or Z, the following post provides some handy tips when it comes to producing high-quality stock images.
Use a Great Camera
First thing’s first, right? If you want a great result, you’re going to have to use the right tools. For stock photography, you’ll want high-resolution images— images that can easily be increased in size and still look great. Shoot on as high a resolution as possible, and use a digital SLR for the best outcome. While good stock photos can still be achieved with other types of cameras, a digital SLR will make your job a lot easier— and is a wise investment (especially if you’re looking to turn photography into a career!).
Make Sure to Get the Right Light
The quality of a photo is determined by a variety of factors, but one thing’s for sure — if you don’t capture the right light, it won’t turn out as you want. Photos with too little light turn out grainy and dark, whereas pictures with way too much light can end up being overexposed and diluted. As a general rule of thumb, you want to ensure your subject is positioned in as well-lit of a space as possible, without shooting directly into the sun or light source. Look for locations flooded with natural light, but shoot away from (with your back to) that light source for the best results.
Ensure Your Subject Is in Focus
It may seem like an obvious reminder, but often you come across stock photos that are blurred or focused on the wrong subject. Define your subject, the focal point of your photo, by ensuring it is in-focus and sharpened. Most cameras will have a function that does this automatically; however, if you’re using an SLR, you can also make manual adjustments to fine-tune your image.
Hide All Brand Names
Stock photos should always be void of any brand names. It’s not only because showing brand names could get you in plenty of legal copyright trouble, but because you’ll want your stock photos to apply to a broad range of businesses. For example, if I’m an owner of a coffee shop and I go online to search for a photo of a steaming hot mug of fine-looking coffee for my new website but discover that my otherwise-perfect photo has the Starbucks emblem emblazoned on it, I’m not going to want to (or be able to!) use it. Of course, if you’re taking your photos for a specific company where the images are only going to be used for that business, this rule can be ignored.
Take Plenty of Shots
This tip boils down to common sense: the more shots you have to choose from, the higher the chance that one of those will be exactly what you’re looking for! Furthermore, potential buyers will love to see a good shot taken from a variety of angles (who doesn’t like a wide selection?) so having plenty of options is always appreciated. After all, you’ve already gone through the trouble of setting up and styling your subject matter— you want to take full advantage of it!
Shoot with Client in Mind
Before shooting, ask yourself: what would a client want to see? What types of photos would have mass appeal but also be unique enough to stand out from the troves of other stock photos? For example, lifestyle photos are very popular in the stock photo arena. There are millions of photos out there of friends doing things like eating dinner or enjoying a cup of coffee together, but you can distinguish yours by using unique lighting, shooting at different angles, playing with color, etc.
Edit with the Right Software
Regardless of how hard you try to create the perfect shot, sometimes your photos will need a little tweaking. Whether it’s just a simple issue of cropping or resizing, or something a bit more technical like color adjustment or saturation, you’ll often need to enlist the help of some quality image design software. Give your photos a flawless finish with ease by taking advantage of online editing software like Design Wizard.
Ready to try your hand at stock photography? The above tips will start you on the right path to some fabulous images!
About the author: this is the guest post by David Coen, a content writer at Pikwizard, which is the latest addition to the stock photography family with over 100,000 high-quality images.
Read 20 handy tips on black and white photography, the article about racism in design and choice of stock photos and the guide on how to make money submitting images to photo stock websites.
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