Not many Sales or Sales are Decreasing?

posted on 29th of august, 2009

Are you wondering why you're not getting very many sales? Or are you an old pro with stock but wondering why sales are decreasing? I have some tips that will hopefully be of help.

I am new to stock but I have 30 years experience doing freelance art. It is always a struggle to be true to your creative self and to produce work that will sell. That is the first thing to consider: Are you creating images that you like and/or motivate your creative being or trying to produce images that sell? There is no need to compromise, you just may need to consider going the route of art galleries for what gives you personal satisfaction and change hats when you're doing stock.

OK... today we're going to work on images that will sell as stock. When this door first opened, you may have perhaps ran out and bought a hard hat to make some construction-worker images, took pictures of the salad you had for lunch, uploaded snapshots from your vacation, etc. Now they just sit there, not getting many view let alone selling. But they're good images, right?

Here's a little trick: Let's say you took a bunch of pictures of your cat and were thrilled when they were accepted. Go into DT's search engine and keyword CAT. Sort by images with the most downloads. Then sort again by least downloads. You can do this for any subject, BABY, CONSTRUCTION WORKER, etc. It's easy to tell the difference of what is selling and why compared to those that aren't. Where do YOUR images fall within this spectrum?

How about you experienced sellers? I've seen comments in the forums for how some seem to be selling less and less. I think the answer lies in this: The Golden Age of Online Stock is over. You signed up 2-3 years ago, made a lot of sales, and rested on your laurels. If you play with the search feature, you will find a lot of images from 2-3 years ago that would never be accepted today. Shadows from flash, poor composition, poor subject, etc. It's just back then there was less competition and the constraints for what would be accepted was more lax. You may need to consider updating your portfolio with images that can compete in today's market.

No matter how successful you are, you need to be your toughest critic. Could you have taken a picture better? Even the mildest of egos can hold you back. Here is a picture I submitted of the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was smug in thinking I had a winner because it was a unique image to DT; the image had no competition! When the image was accepted I let out an evil laugh and patted myself on the back for being so smart. The image got lots of views but no sales.

I ended up going back, took some more photographs, and submitted the other one shown here. BAM! Four sales! Can you see the difference between the two and why one is selling and the other isn't?

Essentially, this is almost like playing the "Stock Game." (Search for the Stock Game on DT if you don't know what that is). But what you're doing here is taking YOUR images and comparing them to equivalent images that are selling. Once you see the difference, you will know what to do. Allow competition and self criticism to make you a better photographer or illustrator. Discover the Sales within you! :-)

Comments (8)

Posted by Johnnierunner on September 01, 2009
I can't agree more. Competition makes us better.
Posted by Wisconsinart on August 31, 2009
i've only joined up in the past 2 months .. and keep wishing i'd stumbled here 3 years ago. do you think we're wasting our time now .. there are so many microstock sites each with thousands of contributors and millions of images ... forget about "the golden age" being over .. do you think we are in the "don't bother cause it just aint worth it now" phase? PD

I would say the "Golden Age" is over for making lots of sales from sub-par images.

Check out this DT user:


In his profile is a link to his web site; it appears he's been doing photography for a while. But he's new to DT and stock. If he keeps uploading he will go far. I see new contributors like this and it makes me think it's possible to overcome the obstacles that exist for the current market.

Photography isn't just having an expensive camera, it'...(More)
Posted by OnAir2 on August 31, 2009
i've only joined up in the past 2 months .. and keep wishing i'd stumbled here 3 years ago. do you think we're wasting our time now .. there are so many microstock sites each with thousands of contributors and millions of images ... forget about "the golden age" being over .. do you think we are in the "don't bother cause it just aint worth it now" phase? PD
Posted by Melonstone on August 30, 2009
Good blog - I look at pictures I only took last year & wish that I could retake them to improve on light, colour and composition! I do look at images already online before uploading, and in some cases decide there is little point in uploading mine as they just can't compete - particularly Grand Canyon pix....
Posted by Ponytail1414 on August 29, 2009
Very good blog, thank you. As for me, I just can't get any views though. Very frustrating. Some of my favorite images have 0 views and have been online for months. Or maybe 3 views. Or maybe they're getting views that aren't counted in the new system? Never mind I'd rather think it's 0 views haha. Your work is great.
Posted by Wildmac on August 29, 2009
Thanks for the great information. In the back of my mind I already knew this but it takes someone setting it down in black and white in front of you to finally make it sink home :0)
Posted by Goodcontent on August 29, 2009
Good suggestions
Posted by Conceptualcreations on August 29, 2009
Very informative! Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish you the best on future sales!

Comments (8)

This article has been read 1628 times. 8 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Wisconsinart.

About me

My greatest passion is landscape and fine art photography. However, stock does provide a challenge in itself. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and concepts and learning new techniques. In the end, each compliments the other. The things you learn from one can apply for another and you grow with the craft. I have over 30 years experience with different kinds of art and freelance endeavors and have yet to become tired or bored with finding new ways to exercise the creative side of me. Thank you for visiting my profile and I hope your time here will be a reward in itself. I am located in Wisconsin... [Read more]

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