When initially submitting to a stock photo agency, it’s best to concentrate on a theme. Photos should be related to each other in a general way. For example, all of the pictures don’t have to be landscapes, but they could be images of various aspects of nature, including wildlife, flowers, landscapes, insects, etc.. Or, they don’t have to be limited to shots of Europe, they could be travel from all over the world. Of course, if you had extensive coverage of just Italy, that would be fine, too.
To combine shots of India with pictures of businessmen in the U.S., for example, will confuse an editor as to who you are as a photographer and what you want to contribute to the agency in the future.
However, once you’re accepted, you can submit other types of images that have nothing to do with each other. Just last week, I submitted a group of photos and I wanted to share with you a few of the ones they accepted into their files. It’s always interesting to me what they want and what sells at an agency, and I thought you’d find this informative. I’m not suggesting you shoot the same thing, or even similar, but it allows you to see that once you are in, you don’t have to limit yourself to a style or subject matter.
How do I know what to shoot? Stock agencies will guide you as to what they want, what sells the most, and what the latest trends are in color, fashion, shooting styles, and so on. But ultimately you never know for sure. It’s largely a series of educated guesses. Sometimes you guess very well and sometimes you don’t. But the more submissions you make, the more pictures end up in the website of your agency. Over time, this turns into a very good income.
In my Making Money with Your Photography course at Betterphoto, stock photography is one of the subjects I address because it’s a wonderful way to market you work – actually, the agencies market your work for you – and if you have patience and long term thinking, the royalties from stock can free you from being dependent on your day job.
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