It will be 5 years in September since I joined Dreamstime. This site/agency inspired me to click more pictures, improve my photography and earn a lot of income through their great commission structures through the years. I was also a FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER at sometime. I recently completed 10,000 downloads of my images which consist of all kind of sales including one SR-EL sale and several other EXTENDED LICENSES. I had my own frustrations with royalty rates and other things like any other photographer but I thank DT and its team to be always modest, quick and clear for every query I had for them.
I would like to give some revised tips for everyone. I am aware that I might have posted them in earlier blogs, but still if there are newbies in here, this might help!
Rejections help you improve your photography and in the long run increase income. We do get frustrated but that is momentary in terms of finance.
Instead of researching best sold subjects and images, try to create a niche of your own which will make buyers visit your portfolio specifically.
Try not to repeat the type of images or have duplicate images. Too many images from the same shoot will result in lower levels of your images and hence lower commissions.
Be active on message boards. Even if you don’t post atleast make a point to read what is going on.
Keep upgrading your equipment whenever you hit a certain target of income from your photography sales. For contributors who don’t take this as their main source of income, they will find this easier! But remember that better equipment always doesn't mean better sales, better equipment only helps more in more approvals in my experience.
If you have lower end equipment, concentrate on photoshop tutorials on the internet and try to create magic through it. You will be able to give the results like high-end cameras if you manage to master photoshop.
In reference to the above point, according to me processing of the image has 60% more importance than composing it real time! Buyers don’t care to know whether it’s a unprocessed image or a processed one, they just want the final product worth buying. The photography part of the image shouldn't be in your head as a contributor who is selling it, just think the selling perspective and not the photography technicalities.
Neither should approvals enhance your ego nor should rejection break it apart. The approval ratio is nothing to do with your photography creativity. So what doesn't get approved here might fetch in any stock agency might fetch a great price in an exhibition.
If you have a best-seller, follow the same kind of subject of the image not more than 4-5 times, you might saturate your own portfolio.
If you are non-exclusive, try to identify and analyse the difference of the subjects that sales in various agencies. e.g if politics might sell more in here, entertainment might be selling more elsewhere. This will help you decide what to upload on which site.
Information is power! You should be aware of everything going technically in the photography market in terms of equipment as well as the market in terms of sales. You should know the trends that the world is upto. There are many blogs and sites that will help you understand microstock trends better.
Don’t go and ask anyone for their opinions on your photos. This might have proved to be a good process when you are a newbie. The best way of learning later is learning through your own sales as well as sales of other contributors.
Sale trends shouldn't be followed for the highest downloaded image ever. Rather follow what is the highest subject searched in last one year. After analysis of 2-3 years you will identify a trend that will help you predict what will sell in the next year.
Last but not the least. Thank God if you believe in one, other than that thank your equipment, models, those special moments that nature gives you to capture the perfect pic and be grateful to all those for being the 80% contributing factors in your income!
Processing files for noise reduction and other corrections is good, but not if the effect is applied globally. Always make it a point to select only certain areas to apply a certain effect like noise reduction to retain the sharpness and other important aspects of the rest of the image.
All the best!
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