Stock Photography: A numbers game?

I can once recall having a conversation with my friend Gary Roebuck about stock photography, its highs and lows, whether it was worth bothering with or not?

However one conclusion we kept returning to was that it had to be a “numbers game” and that it may not really be down to what you have on a library but how many images you supply to it. Gary is a prolific photographer and whilst stock isn’t his main business these days, it acts as a good financial buffer if things fall quiet.

Now we all know how that can happen being a freelance web/photography person like me. There are periods of time that you are rushed off your feet and wished you had employed some colleagues…. then the following week you are grateful you never have!

It is important as a freelance anybody to be able to make good use of all of your skills in some way. You can earn income from all of them if you are smart and dedicated enough. So how can you increase your image count with a stock library? How can you boost sales?

Let’s start with the disappointing bit first and then build you back up for success from a low point. Sounds mean but in many ways, this is how people succeed. Well, the bad news is, it takes time, yeah, doesn’t everything? So don’t drop everything else in eager zest of embarking on a swashbuckling career of stock photography on a whim.

You should take your time, photograph anything, shoot subjects that you can envisage as being  used somewhere, think of a reason why. Take for example a rather dull and boring photo of a satnav mounted on a windscreen, a finger tapping on it, the car clearly parked outside an office, looks like the person is working out how to get to their next location. It is not exciting, it isn’t a photo of two Gorillas fighting over a female, a Formula One car crashing or Paula Radcliffe breaking a world record back in the day (see yesterday’s post) – It’s a boring photo that tells a story, not an exciting one but it works from and editorial point-of-view. It has also sold multiple times.

So if you approach any subject as though it could be useful, has some kind of context, supply it and many more to your stock library, you will see how this works in terms of making an investment in time and using a little bit of imagination.

Tell me about your crazy stock image ideas and success stories! I’m always interested to know!

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