Tips for Taking Stock Photos

Stock photography can be a great way for both professional and amateur photographers to make a little extra money or even a career. If you want to delve into the potentially lucrative world of stock photography, here are a few tips for taking stock photos that will sell.
You can also read: Best Places to Sell Photos Online

9 Tips for Taking Stock Photos

1) Don’t Take Stock Photos. Treat every shot like you’re a pro trying to make the image of a lifetime—that means, take it seriously. Don’t think “oh this would make a great stock image!” You can’t really prognosticate what the microstock sites or their clients want, except that it’s generally going to be commercial in nature.
2) Keep It Generic. Stock shots can’t have lots of brands and logos in it—images with copyrights or trademarks in it may also want to get paid.
3) Get Model Releases. Written consent from living people is a must. No one wants their stock image to become a worldwide commercial phenom and then have the person in the picture—even if it’s your dear ol’ cousin Gertrude—sue them for a cut. Even if their back is to the camera. Here a sample form from the American Society of Media Photographers. (You don’t necessarily need this if you’re shooting in public. But it can’t hurt. Some microstock services will ask not only for photo releases but even a property release.)
4) Stick to Microstock Sites You Like. If you get success with one image, chances are people using it will look at the rest of your photos on that site.
5) Keep Keywords Simple. Nuff said.
6) Shoot at Full Size. Stock sites prefer to offer multiple size options to customers—they can charge more for larger, high-resolution images. Make sure your device is shooting at the largest size possible. For digital cameras, that’s usually an uncompressed RAW image.
7) Don’t Over Filter. If you filter at all. People aren’t looking for something they can Instagram. They want professional-quality images. If they need any Photoshoppery, they’re paying for a license to do that themselves.
8) Accept Rejection. The sites are not likely to accept every single photo you offer. Get used to that. Not every picture is solid gold. But check out the microstock site’s offerings before you try to upload, then cater to what they sell.
9) Consider an Equipment Upgrade. While some microstock sites are happy to accept shots taken on an iPhone or a Galaxy, and even provide apps to help make that happen, not all will, especially big-name services like iStock. They prefer pro-quality shots taken with pro-level cameras.

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