12 May 2008 Microstock ClichÃ©
Certain photos are a right of passage into the microstock market. You know them. They pop up everywhere and everyone seems to have one or two in their portfolio. They are microstock clichÃ©.
Most agencies already have too many of these subjects, so they often just reject all new submissions regardless of quality. Reviewers cringe at the understatement when they press the we-already-have-enough-similar-images button.
Some become clichÃ© because you see them in use so often so you know there’s buyer demand. Others are just so easy to create that we microstock contributors can’t resist the easy portfolio padding.
Here’s some examples.
The Isolated Apple
The clichÃ© of clichÃ©s, driven more by the ease of shooting than any evidence of buyer demand.
An Isolated Laptop
It’s the obvious thing to start shooting after you’ve discovered that you can sell photos online.
A Person with Laptop
Sales of the isolated laptop aren’t meeting expectations and a little research shows that people photos sell pretty well. Add people.
Businessmen Shaking Hands
All you need are two right hands and two suits. Simple!
Customer Service with a Smile
“This headset looks just like the ones they use in call centers, yes, yes it does.”
It’s the internationally recognized gesture of all good things, the thumbs up.
Who would have thought you could demonstrate so many concepts with just a goldfish?
Young Plant in Tender Hands
Nothing says “care” better than a delicate young plant in a small lump of dirt held tenderly in otherwise perfectly clean hands.
Who Shoots Microstock ClichÃ©
Follow the links in the images above to see which contributors created the photos. You’ll see many of the top microstock contributors have shot most of these clichÃ©s. This could be interpreted in many different ways, including the fact that many of today’s most successful microstock contributors were early adopters, and that they are successful because they shoot what their research shows will sell well. One thing is certain: it is a beneficial learning experience to shoot clichÃ© photos, particularly as there’s no shortage of comparisons.
Where to Go with a ClichÃ©?
ClichÃ© photos clearly have a lot of competition. Shooting a plain replica isn’t going to serve your earnings growth. Looking through the searches for these clichÃ© images it’s apparent that there’s scope to expand on the concept. Shoot the same image in a different context, with a different setting or a different message. While the microstock market has created massive duplication, it has also created massive variety. For these clichÃ© photos, it’s too late to win sales by being first-to-market. However, opportunities still exist through creating original variations of the themes.
What About You?
How many microstock clichÃ©s are in your portfolio? After seeing the caliber of contributors who’ve shot them, it might not be a bad idea to add some more. I plan to do so, but remembering to create a variation that will get passed the we-already-have-enough-similar-images button.