How can you start to make money with Microstock? There are so many big microstock websites out there and almost everyone has a high definition camera on their smartphone. That is why many people start wondering whether they can turn photography into a reliable source of income.
What is so difficult about taking pictures of beautiful and interesting people, things, and places? That’s how many aspiring photographers find themselves involved with microstock. Maybe you’re one of them.
So, you take a dozen amazing looking pictures and upload them to all the websites that you can find. You start getting really involved in the process.
Feeling excited, you go out and search for something to capture with your camera. You upload more and more pictures and wait.
However, miracles don’t happen overnight and money doesn’t start falling from the sky. You sell a few pictures but you don’t make enough to be proud to announce the number to your friends and family.
Do Your Research to earn Money With Microstock
It’s natural for you to start asking yourself, “Am I submitting enough photos to earn money with microstock?” On one hand, that’s a perfectly logical question.
If the probability theory has taught us anything, it’s that the larger the number of attempts, the larger is the possibility of a positive outcome. Therefore, if you have more pictures, there’s a bigger chance of you having something that a client is looking for, and of you making more successful sales.
Ask The Right Questions
However, this isn’t the question you should be asking yourself. What you should be asking is, “Am I submitting the RIGHT PHOTOS to earn money with microstock?”
Photography is one of those aspects where the quality of the product is a million times more important than quantity.
Take The Right Pictures for
More Money With Microstock
It’s not only the quality that counts. There are tons of photos that simply aren’t what the clients are looking for, even if there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them in terms of quality or technique.
Add to this the fact that there’s massive competition on stock websites, and a photo that you thought to be unique probably has a dozen doppelgangers shot by other people.
These two issues can’t be fixed by manically uploading more and more photos. Hoping that at least one of them will be what the clients want.
What Is Your Next Step
To start earning money, you need to find out which photos the public wants and give it to them. A quick search on a stock website will show you which photos sell better than the rest. This might give you ideas about the shots that you can make and sell.
Sometimes clients ask for specific photos. Don’t ignore these opportunities. Even though you’ll only get paid if the client chooses your photo out of hundreds of others.
You aren’t losing anything if your picture isn’t chosen. Instead of money, you’ll receive valuable experience and understanding of what you can do in the future to make your photos stand out.
Work Within Your Chosen Niche
When you know what the public wants, determine what kinds of photos YOU can or will be able to provide the buyers. Don’t try to please everyone by taking pictures of everything that you find in the “trending” section.
It’s a lot more convenient to find your area of interest. It would be perfect if this area was popular among the clients and there wasn’t a lot of competition. In other words, instead of being a generalist, be a specialist.
It’s also important to remember that, in the world of microstock, a “pretty picture” doesn’t necessarily mean a “useful picture”. A pretty picture of a sunset, flowers, or a popular tourist destination looks great hanging in a frame on your living room wall.
However, there’s a big possibility that it can’t be used for commercial or editorial purposes. For a photo to sell and bring you money, it doesn’t have to be pretty. It does have to be different from other photos, tell a story and have a clear and understandable concept.
With every photo that is unique, yet is focused on something that buyers are usually interested in, your chances of earning money rises. Still, there are many other things to be done to secure that it’s YOUR photos that are sold, not photos of thousands of other photographers.
Make It Easy For Buyers To Find You
For instance, you need to make sure that the buyers notice you, and this can be achieved if you use keywords and captions wisely. Describe everything that there is in the photo and wait for buyers searching for these particular keywords to discover it. No matter how pretty and useful your photo is, if it can’t be found, it can’t be bought.
Even with the best photos and keywords, at first, you’ll be getting about 25 cents per sale, only occasionally receiving a dollar or slightly more. So, you might have to swallow your pride and be prepared that you’ll get paid less than you’d expect for your masterpieces.
To start earning a significant amount of money with microstock, you’ll have to be very patient. Hard work and determination will start paying off eventually, but it will take a few months or even years.
Pick Your Uploads Thoughtfully
Certainly, you can be a photographer who uploads all of his works to a stock website, hoping that some of them will sell. However, this will mean that you’ll do tons of unnecessary work, uploading, capturing and filling in the correct keywords for those photos that probably won’t bring you a cent.
You’d also still have to edit them, even if they are your best photos. This is some more time and effort that will be spent for nothing.
The best thing you can do is submit only the photos that you can describe as “above average”. This way, your portfolio will grow and have a lot of quality photos that will potentially bring you profit.
Even if there will be photos that buyers won’t be interested in, there won’t be a lot of them. And as your portfolio is growing, you’ll observe which photos sell regularly, learn from your mistakes and find a niche that fits you personally.
Final Thoughts to Make Money with Microstock
Unfortunately, there is no easy formula for success. There is no correct number of photos your portfolio must-have, no general advice on what exactly you should photograph to make a decent amount of money.
Nevertheless, with patience, creativity, hard work and passion for photography, you will find your way.
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