Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Blueprint of how am I going to sell my stock photography

with 3 comments

Kosovo, pristinaCiao ragazzi!
I was writing about my estimation how am I going to make it in the world of stock photography. I realized that market is over flooded with royalty-free photography and although I could make pictures that would be competitive on the RF market, I just don’t feel like taking the path. I was taking a long and careful consideration about Istock and although I have no prejudice against selling my images very cheaply, I don’t think that this is the place for my photography since I really don’t like the kind of images is selling there. I mean clients buy there royalty free images that are far from my specter of work. (In Slovenia, among others, Osebnosti magazine is buying majority of images from Istock.) The same goes for Alamy and although it’s much more expensive it’s not necessary better. I see two major problems for me joining to this two stock agencies.
1) Majority of their clients are looking for Royalty free images, whereas my work is mainly editorial nature. I could start shooting more RF images or select them from my archive, but I’m simply afraid that my skill for photography would deteriorate and instead of constantly inventing new kind of images, I would look for more stereotype images that would sell more. I know… it sounds a bit paranoia, but I know that what kind of images you look for, that’s the kind of images you’ll see and produce.
2) Agencies on general are over flooded by images and it demands a serious and aggressive keywording and captioning to get your pictures on top of the search results. With few thousands of my images that I’m planning to offer to the market I just don’t find time to do that so massively.

For instance. Let’s say I’m trying to sell the image above that was taken in Kosovo. If I type KOSOVO in search engines of Istock, Alamy and Digital Railroad I see the difference immediately and I know where potential clients will look for images of Kosovo.
I like the muslim proverb, IF THE MOUNTAIN WILL NOT COME TO MOHAMMED, MOHAMMED WILL GO TO THE MOUNTAIN, just that my plan is just the opposite. If I’ll not go to the market, market will come to me. I’m planning to establish my own on-line photo archive and attract people to visit me.

All I need to do is make the archive attractive, so people will come to my site and search for images they want to buy. And I’ll do that in two ways. I’ll make prices much lower then they are on the market and secondly I’ll promote my images by linking them to my on-line archive. For instance I’m planning to use small res images on my blog and do everything that google would find them and from my blog there will be a link to hires of the image.

I need to go, but expect more posts on my pricing strategy and if you know for a tip how to get images on top of google search, please let me know.


PS: In a week time I already sold two images to Primorske novice and today a client from Yvi magazine is choosing images from my lightbox on a theme border. This dutch editor googled me on a keyword border!


Written by Borut Peterlin

4 June, 2007 at 07:52

Posted in Photojournalism

3 Responses

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  1. While i see your style of making images is not great fit with istock, Alamy has a wide editorial base and might produce a few sales from your archive. And while you caption and keyword your archive, why not send it to Alamy too? It doesn’t limit you with your other plans in any way.

    I was thinking some time if i should go with PhotoShelter (bit cheaper and i like interface more) or DRR, but DRR marketplace is probably a deal maker.

    Regarding pricing strategy – you have to think what costs you to produce images, how much post-production costs and how many you project will sell.


    5 June, 2007 at 12:31

  2. You can always try but there are weaknesses in your argument.

    First, you have a misconception of Alamy. they are primarily selling editorial and certainly not microstock.

    I believe that you also underestimate the difficulties of getting people to find you. Generally, in my experience, professional picture buyers don’t search for images to buy through Google. They go to agencies or photographers. It happens, but not much.

    It might work if you are in a very specific (and small) niche and relatively established.

    (This is partially out of experience. I have a very good Google ranking in a very narrow niche but sell very little directly.)


    6 June, 2007 at 12:02

  3. Very true!
    as I said I’m rookie in a stock photography, but a very passionate and fanatically optimistic one. Alamy is great and it was leading the trend few years ago, but now I think that trends are going in different direction.

    The flexibility and open market what offers DRR or spitfirephoto is the trend in which I’ll invest money and time.

    In my plan Google is meant to do the promotion, not selling images directly.

    We’ll see. It’s fun anyway!


    7 June, 2007 at 11:40

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