Stock photography platforms are an easy way to make money. You can simply become a contributor, upload dozens of images from your archives to the website, and you have a passive source of income. However, there’s much more potential in working with stocks. You can become a stock photographer by profession or even create your own stock photography agency and turn your hobby into a full-fledged business.  

Whatever your goals are, at their core lies the need of understanding your clients, how they use the stock photography platforms, and the types of content they require. This knowledge will help you create more images that sell and make your name known among stock photography clients. We share the best insider tips to help you out with that.

Working with Stock Photography 101: Understanding Your Clients

 

Choose a theme when becoming a contributor to a stock photography platform

Whether you are already a contributor to a stock photography website or would like to become one, you’d better decide on a specific theme to work on. Think about your general photography experience. What genre do you find yourself comfortable to work in? What are your interests and hobbies? Are there new themes you’d like to explore in the nearest time?  

Based on answers to these questions you can come up with one or a couple of themes and start taking photos that will, with time, make your portfolio profitable and help you find  a pool of loyal clients. One safe bet with starting your stock photography portfolio is seasonal content. This type of content, based on holidays and events, is extremely popular amongst clients. 

Another option is to analyze the market and find out a niche and unexplored theme in stock photography. To do that, you should have an understanding of who are the clients of stock photography platforms and what types of content they need. In brief, in addition to freelancers and designers, pharmaceutical and tech companies, publishing houses, both governmental and non-governmental organizations are also searching for visuals on stocks that would perfectly fit their social media, websites, and other marketing channels. 

Pharmaceutical companies are looking for images of illnesses and diseases, technology brands need images that illustrate the latest innovations, while publishing houses are often in search of visuals for book covers. Taking into consideration the diversity of content that different companies need, you should delve deeper into the industry specifics to make sure that you and your potential clients are on the same page. 

Aerial top view on the beach.

 

Discover the industry specifics

We’ve briefly covered what types of content your potential clients might need but let’s face the truth, this knowledge is not enough to become a best-selling author. You need to find out much more information about the industry and its specifics. 

Approach it as a research project – make a list of questions you’d like to answer about the field. The simplest thing you can do is read a couple of articles on Wikipedia. But ideally, you should subscribe to thematic media, chat with industry professionals, explore studies and reports to be in the know. You can also visit websites of particular companies to find out about the products and services they offer. Keep an eye out for the types of images they use online. This will help you at the stage of planning and preparation when you’ll be choosing props and models, renting locations, and drawing image frames.  

In addition to getting a general overview of the industry specifics, you can also delve deeper into the details by visiting online communities or forums. There you can find news and insights, as well as get an understanding of your customers’ pain points and trending topics.

 

Follow industry trends

The fact that you’re not working in the medical, IT, or fashion industry directly does not mean that you don’t have to follow trends. In contrast, as you’re creating content that helps brands communicate with their clients, it is important to keep up with all the latest tendencies and innovations of the specific industry. 

Knowing the topics, colors, tools, locations, formats, and even trendy types of lighting will allow you to create appealing photos that your potential clients will gladly choose over less relevant ones. For instance, authenticity is one of the biggest trends this year. It implies shooting ordinary people in real-life situations instead of professional models in studios. In photography, authenticity is also about choosing daylight instead of artificial lighting conditions and applying minimal post-production to your images. 

Laughing happy women stock photo

Once or twice a year try to devote time to reading reports, discovering projects, or experts that introduce trends and help you choose the right vector of movement. For instance, if you’re working in the creative industry, you’ll find a lot of insights in our yearly Visual Trends Report and in the new project “Stock Photography Then and Now”. The first one is an overview of the biggest 2020 trends in photography, design, and marketing. “Stock Photography Then and Now” is a project that gives you an outlook on how stock photography has changed over the past 10 years but also briefly explains where the industry is moving in the future. 

In short, creative projects like these are full of industry insights. They also help you create quality but most importantly, relevant content that will be appreciated by your future clients and their audiences. 

 

Explore the mediums for which your potential clients will use the visuals

Having decided on a theme and found out industry trends you should also think about the formats of content you’ll be creating. Photos or videos? Horizontal, square, or vertical? Maybe VR? To finally decide on these things, have a look at the mediums for which your potential clients will use visuals. 

Content for websites should be horizontal as it is more convenient for readers to scan it. Companies usually use it as website hero images or backgrounds for landing pages. With horizontal images, they illustrate articles and create banner ads. Square and vertical content is a great fit for social media, apps, and other communication channels on mobile devices. It should come as no surprise that the world is going mobile-first, paving the way to an entire diversity of content formats used for various purposes. 

hands with cup stock image

 

Rule #1: Think like a client

In addition to the above said, there’s one more rule you should keep in mind when creating content for stock photography platforms – think from a client’s perspective. If you were an employee at a publishing house for example, what kind of visuals would you choose for your projects? Why would you choose it over others? What words would you type in a search field when looking for images? In other words, put yourself in the client’s shoes at every stage of content creation, from the planning to the keywording stage. 

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