How To Market Photography
How To Market PhotographyPosted By Admin: 9/22/2011 3:25:51 PM
Posted To Photographers / Photos That Sell
Selling photographs online has become
big business in recent years: digital SLRs keep getting cheaper
and the images they produce keep getting better. It seems everyone on
the planet must own a camera by now. Given the recurring financial
crises of the last few years, it's no surprise that more and more
camera owners are looking to sell photography online for some extra
For professional photographers trying
to make a living selling photography online all this extra
competition from the hobbyists has made life pretty tough. Hundreds
of websites have sprung up offering photographers the ability to give
their work away for nothing more than small change and the thrill of
making a sale. The market has been flooded with cheap images and many
photo buyers have come to view stock photography as just another
commodity to be sourced at the lowest possible price.
It isn't all bad news though. In a lot
of ways we've now come the full circle, and an increasing number of
photo buyers are showing a renewed interest in features other than
price alone. For the savvy photographer, this offers a means to stand
out from the crowd and define a niche of their own.
There is such a thing as too much
choice, and specialist photo buyers have had enough of the massive
stock libraries with millions of images. Many of the photo buyers we
speak to are always looking for new collections that focus on their
interests, and will happily search 4-5 specialist libraries rather
than one mega collection.
Most stock photography articles
will tell you to start by applying to the 4-5 biggest stock libraries
for the maximum exposure but that's only half the story. Those sites
might get the most exposure, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll
get a share of it.
Rather than join millions of other
photographers at the big-four stock libraries, you'll do much
better to find 3-4 boutique stock libraries that you can submit to.
Pick one photo stock agency as your main web presence and use the
others to repost your content (photographic and written) and add
substance to your internet footprint.
If you look around, you'll find a heap
of experts who'll tell you the quickest way to make money with
microstock is to study the photos that sell best on the major
libraries, and copy them. It's quite possible this could work
for a while, but you only have to see the masses of weak images of
popular subjects to understand why buyers are sick of it.
Much better that you adopt a
Client-centric approach and think about your end user, who they are
and what they actually need the stock photos for, so you can then
set about producing images they can use.
The best thing about this approach is,
you can still check the major libraries to see what's selling, but
then, instead of simply copying what you see, you can identify the
messages and concepts that the buyers need associated with the
subjects, and from there create something new and unique that you
know your buyers will need..
In an industry where the buyers were
always racing to meet an impossible schedule, instant downloads must
have seemed a Godsend, for a while.
As one of the few stock photo libraries
that didn't offer instant downloads, we certainly felt the pressure
when we started out. We soon realised though that the photo buyer's
top priority was to 'find the image' and as long as a reliable
delivery followed, 'instant' wasn't really an issue.
In reality, photo buyers are creative
people who enjoy interacting with other creative people. These days
we're still finding plenty of high-end photo buyers who are happy to
take a little more time and enjoy the 'photo research' journey,
dealing directly with the photographers, as long as it's professional
So however and wherever you choose to
sell stock photos, make sure you make yourself available to photo
buyers. They'll appreciate it and once the connection is made, they
will come back to you time and time again.
Value Your Work & Your Time
When you approach stock photography on
this basis, you're actually positioning yourself as a high-end
provider, which helps you stand out from the crowd even further.
Without going into the whole
rights-managed vs royalty-free argument, there are millions of
photographers on the internet these days queueing up to give their
work away for peanuts, so it you follow the crowd you'll be facing
enormous competition for the smallest of returns.
By comparison, the rights-managed
market is much less competitive and pays considerably more, so if you
have the high quality, original content, then it makes perfect sense
to carve out your own niche there instead. Specialist photographers
have always prospered and in the current market place it's more
important than ever that you focus on doing a few things
exceptionally well rather than a jack-of-all-trades approach.
When you specialise your work
interests, you narrow your market and you're able to really get to
know your buyers. This in turn allows you to understand their needs
and create the unique high quality photography that will make you stand
out from the crowd. And if you then back every sales lead with
exceptional personal service, you'll soon build a Client list that
will come to rely on you as a creative partner they want to work with.
Looking for a platform to sell stock photography online? We offer a whole-business approach to selling photography and we're always keen to hear from talented new photographers. Please check out our photographer's information page, and if it sounds like an approach that could work for you, pelase register and submit an application.