27 Aug 2007 4 Golden Rules of Contributing Microstock
Shoot for Quality over Quantity
Microstock is a classic 80/20 rule market. 20% of the photos earn 80% of the sales. The same is true within an individual portfolio. A handful of my photos are superstars relative to the others. Repeating the success of these images is more lucrative than just building the size of your portfolio.
In this context, quality extends past the technical aspects to also include the commercial appeal of the photo.
Create an Efficient Workflow
The process of getting your photos from your camera to the microstock websites takes you away from learning, practising and shooting. Do everything you can to get this process fast and efficient. Organize your photos with a commercial application such as Adobe Bridge or Apple Aperture. Use IPTC data so you don’t need to repeat it on every microstock website. Use automated uploading such as FTP or ProStockMaster.
Don’t make rejections mean anything. If your photo is good and commercially appealing it will be accepted at the majority of agencies. Don’t focus on the one image that was rejected by one agency. Even the best photographers are occasionally rejected. Manage your expectations by keeping the agency acceptance rates in the back of your mind. Learn what you can from the rejection reasons and move on.
Use care. You don’t need a massive list of keywords, but you do need to choose the ones you use carefully. Agencies use keywords with different limits and priorities. Make sure you understand the differences and choose your keywords appropriately.
Dreamstime’s Ellen Boughn has an excellent series of articles on keywording: The Do Nots of Successful Keywords; The I Hate to Keyword Guide to Keywording (part II); Keywords that Work (Part III).