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Author Topic: Microstock Photography - Beginners Guide  (Read 32316 times)

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« on: May 05, 2010, 14:19 »
+3
I just thought i would start a thread giving an introduction to Microstock Photography for the new members of the forum.  Hopefully this thread can be a source of good info and resources.

What is Microstock Photography
Microstock Photography is the term given to the business of selling your photos online through a Microstock agency.  Microstock Photography is very similar to traditional stock photography but sets itself apart by offering images for sale at a very low cost (typically $1.00-$40).  Microstock photography also has a very low threshold in regards to who can participate, unlock traditional stock photography agencies which often require a portfolio of several hundred or thousand images before you are accepted.
[Wikipedia Definition]

Microstock Agencies
There are many many microstock agencies which are willing to sell your images.  However not all agencies have enough traffic to generate decent sales.  The top 4 agencies are Shutterstock, iStock, Fotolia and Dreamstime.  You can check out the poll on the right side of the page for the full list.  The agencies are listed in order from highest to lowest earning site according to the monthly polls on MicrostockGroup.

Getting Started
Don't be mislead by the cheap prices - Microstock is a professional marketplace and is very technically demanding.  Even if you are already a professional photographer, don't be surprised if you have troubles getting images accepted when you first start uploading.  Take the rejections to heart and learn from them.  You can also post images in the critique section to get other users opinions.

Common Rejections
  • Noise - When starting out, play it safe and shoot at the lowest ISO setting on your camera.  Most microstock sites are very picky in regards to the amount of noise in a photo.  It is also equally important that you correctly expose your images when you are shooting.  If your images are dark and you lighten them in post processing you will be adding noise into your image.
  • Over-Sharpened - Sharpening is often a popular tool to over-use.  To play it safe, simply don't sharpen your images.  It may go against your gut instinct to not make your images 'look their best' but sharpening also sharpens the noise and will is a great way to get a reject.

Microstock Tools
Microstock Keyword Tool
Keyword List Comparison Tool

Blog Resources
MicrostockGroup Blog - the blog associated with this forum
MicrostockDiaries - a blog written by Lee Torrens,providing useful microstock insight
MicrostockInsider - Steve Gibson's microstock blog with loads of useful posts
MyStockPhoto - a blog focusing on the news side of Microstock Photography
Rasmus Rasmussen's Guide - A very informative group of blog posts with the option to buy an extended version of the info
Microstock Man blog and overview of various stock sites

Learning Resources
TutorVid - Brush up on your Photoshop Skills with these video tutorials

more to come...
« Last Edit: February 18, 2016, 01:36 by leaf »


« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2010, 18:18 »
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This is actually really awesome site.. I've been following this forum for 2 months now.. and just signed up now... how mind-less of me.. :D

« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2010, 21:59 »
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Thank you Leaf.
Smiling Jack

« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 17:42 »
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Really useful, thanks

« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2010, 23:13 »
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Well organized presentation of your information! I like it! I will pay you the highest compliment and learn from it. Thanks!

« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2011, 23:25 »
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Hi! I'm a photography buff. Oh well, actually I'm just a newbie to it but I've been checking on sites and this one came up. I'm glad I bumped into this site. This would be helpful to a newbie like me,


__________

newbielink:http://www.thebestblender.com/vita-mix-recipes/ [nonactive]
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 23:27 by edwardevans »

« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2011, 00:09 »
0
Rasmus Rasmussen's Microstock Photographer's Guide is filled with useful information. He has a link on his site to all the articles

« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2011, 04:52 »
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Rasmus Rasmussen's Microstock Photographer's Guide is filled with useful information. He has a link on his site to all the articles


thanks I added that link to the list on the first post

dannyhitt20

    This user is banned.
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011, 22:45 »
0
Nice guide...

« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2011, 02:32 »
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"more to come..."

Hey Leaf, you should say something about vectors too. I'm sure they are also vector newbies here, too...

Regards,

Robert

« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 07:12 »
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I like this post very much. I will definitely be back. Hope that I can read more insightful posts then. Will be sharing your knowledge with all of my associates!

johnmessingham

« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 07:34 »
0
Some food for thought, thank you.

Shank_ali

    This user is banned.
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2011, 12:49 »
0
No-one seems to of mentioned the pleasure factor.If you really find photography enjoyable and stimulating you will certainly enjoy uploading your images to microstock sites and seeing them sell.It will encourage and inspire you and your work will get better and more productive.
You also need to view ALL your work at 100% before submitting to the various sites.It might be a PITTA but after a few months it becomes second nature with your post editing.
Also browse the microstock  collections to help you understand better what type of work  attracts sales.

« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2011, 15:54 »
0
great intro!

« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2011, 06:40 »
0
Nice post leaf, it was helpful.
loved this place. Amazing people here .  ;D

« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2011, 13:45 »
0
That is great!  I have been thinking for some years about writing a book on microstock, but it's been done so well by folks like you.  I am now thinking about a blog of something on the pet peeves of photo editors, posing models, and keywording.  (Maybe that is 3 blogs.)

:D

« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2011, 11:23 »
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Great thread!


« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2011, 18:44 »
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I have a great question

I am just starting to contribute stock.  I have a very large catalogue.  

I am starting to realise how tedious and boring all the different stages in the processes are.  Is there any software that adds descriptions, names etc to retouched images and can upload TO MULTIPLE stock libraries.  I want to find out which libraries work best for me without all the repetitive tasks for each stock library.  Something like DeepMeta, but for multiple libraries.

Many thanks

Rich!
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 18:47 by itsrich »

« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2011, 19:10 »
0
I have a great question

I am just starting to contribute stock.  I have a very large catalogue.  

I am starting to realise how tedious and boring all the different stages in the processes are.  Is there any software that adds descriptions, names etc to retouched images and can upload TO MULTIPLE stock libraries.  I want to find out which libraries work best for me without all the repetitive tasks for each stock library.  Something like DeepMeta, but for multiple libraries.

Many thanks

Rich!


I suggest starting a specific thread for this question. .. and maybe post a link here.  Also, check out the microstock services section
http://www.microstockgroup.com/microstock-services/

« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2011, 01:47 »
0
Hello everyone..
  I am new to this site as well as to the photography world as well. Its my hobby though after buying my 1st DSLR, few of my photographs have won few awards and prizes by local clubs and also state level contests. Still i feel I need a lot to improve my photography. However I wat to try my photographs in microstock sites.
   So can any one of you suggest me         "which microstock site/sites is/are best to start for a beginner and WHY ?"
I have been searching for my answers in the net and now i think I've come to right place.

               Thanking you in advance !

« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2011, 10:47 »
0
'which microstock site/sites is/are best to start for a beginner and WHY ?"
Dreamstime because there is no entry "exam". Just don't send too many at a time or it will bring down your acceptance ratio (and your sales). Honestly, the best would be to upload here a few images full size (you can watermark them) and ask for advice. There are some top microstock photographers around that will be happy to critique you.

« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2012, 10:48 »
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Thanks!  Just getting started and this helped.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2012, 19:31 »
0
Quote
"which microstock site/sites is/are best to start for a beginner and WHY ?"

Interesting question. I've always recommended CanStock as the first site. Why? Because their reviews are very fast, they are pretty fair in terms of standards - they reject poor images, but they don't have the "too many images" problem that Dreamstime has. So you can get a good feel for whether you are putting forward the right sort of images pretty quickly on that site.

I've recommended that to all the buyers of my eBook (and a few friends as well) without any negative views so far.

Steve

« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2012, 00:13 »
0
Quote
"which microstock site/sites is/are best to start for a beginner and WHY ?"

Interesting question. I've always recommended CanStock as the first site. Why? Because their reviews are very fast, they are pretty fair in terms of standards - they reject poor images, but they don't have the "too many images" problem that Dreamstime has. So you can get a good feel for whether you are putting forward the right sort of images pretty quickly on that site.

I've recommended that to all the buyers of my eBook (and a few friends as well) without any negative views so far.

Steve

Hello steve..
 Thank you for your suggestion. i am almost a regular reader of your articles in your site and they have been beneficial for me. I do find them interesting specially the data regarding your sale. Thanks for sharing ideas. Keep it up ! :-)

Microstock Man

  • microstockman.com

« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2012, 19:05 »
+1
Hi Guys,

Hope it's ok to post this here Leaf, just thought it relevant to the topic.

I have created a website with agency reviews, tips etc specifically to help out beginners in microstock, as I needed something like this when I began a couple of years ago.

You can see it at...

http://www.microstockman.com

Yes, it contains referral links (got to pay for web hosting somehow!).

Hope it's of some use.  :)

Cheers

Tim (THP)

« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2012, 02:35 »
0
Nice guide thx man

Microstock Man

  • microstockman.com

« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2012, 00:43 »
-2
Nice guide thx man

Hey Curve, no worries. Glad I could help. If you could take moment to +1 / facebook like the site or share it in some way that would be really appreciated.

Cheers

Tim (aka Microstock Man)


« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2012, 10:23 »
0
Nice guide, thanks  :)

Microstock Man

  • microstockman.com

« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2012, 18:50 »
0
Nice guide, thanks  :)

Hey Leighh, glad it helped. You have some nice shots - the glowing boots is weirding me out! :)

« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2012, 19:14 »
0
Nice guide, thanks  :)

Hey Leighh, glad it helped. You have some nice shots - the glowing boots is weirding me out! :)

it does look cool :D

I guess it is a flashlight going around the boots etc, many people do it drawing love you on the air and such around a person

ApertureFNumber: f/16.0
Model: Canon EOS 30D
ExposureTime: 30/1
ISOSpeedRatings: 100
FocalLength: 17/1

(from DT)

« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2013, 09:16 »
0
Thank you, leaf

Ron

« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2013, 18:09 »
-1
For those who want to get some more details on microstock agencies I have written up some information

http://semmickphoto.com/2013/06/19/top-8-microstock-agencies-explained/

might be useful

« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2013, 18:14 »
-1
.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 12:50 by Audi 5000 »

Ron

« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2013, 18:45 »
+1
Cheers, the article is for photographers...as if that wasnt clear

« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2013, 21:35 »
-1
.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 12:50 by Audi 5000 »

« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2013, 20:59 »
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another thanks for the post masta.
i just join  a minutes ago and learn many thing from this group  ;D

« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2013, 21:21 »
+1
Looks like another spam account.


« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2014, 13:39 »
0
Hi,
I am also very new to all this, I find this website very helpful.
Any chance to get a beginners guide to the various letter combinations...Ss? El?...all of them  :)

Forgive me for any mistake with my English, not my native tongue.
Lior.

« Reply #38 on: March 13, 2014, 23:57 »
+1
I'm not sure I agree entirely with the advice to always shoot at the lowest ISO. I guess it's different for everyone but I've found that camera shake and too narrow a depth of field have been more of a problem for me than grain in my images. There were plenty that I thought were great until I starting routinely viewing at 100%, at which point I found out that they weren't sharp enough, for the reasons above.

I was an obsessive ISO100-no-matter-what guy up to that point. These days, I go for f/11 - f/16 and 1/1000 - 1/2000 in a lot of my daytime work whether it's fast-moving or not, and I let the camera set the ISO to match. This means I'm often at ISO640-800 but it's not a problem in decent light, and certainly not when I run the images through noise reduction software. Bottom line for me is, software can often remove noise to the point where it isn't visible at 100%, but nothing is going to fix a blurry or wobbly image.

« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2014, 01:44 »
+1
I'm not sure I agree entirely with the advice to always shoot at the lowest ISO. I guess it's different for everyone but I've found that camera shake and too narrow a depth of field have been more of a problem for me than grain in my images. There were plenty that I thought were great until I starting routinely viewing at 100%, at which point I found out that they weren't sharp enough, for the reasons above.

I was an obsessive ISO100-no-matter-what guy up to that point. These days, I go for f/11 - f/16 and 1/1000 - 1/2000 in a lot of my daytime work whether it's fast-moving or not, and I let the camera set the ISO to match. This means I'm often at ISO640-800 but it's not a problem in decent light, and certainly not when I run the images through noise reduction software. Bottom line for me is, software can often remove noise to the point where it isn't visible at 100%, but nothing is going to fix a blurry or wobbly image.

You certainly have a point.  Camera shake is probably one of the worst things to have in an image.  I like to stick to low apertures for how it looks but the shutter speed still needs to be reasonable.
Also remember that the first post was made in 2010.  4 years ago.  Camera tech has come a ways since thing and ISO performance improves a lot with every generation of camera.

« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2014, 06:25 »
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Microstock Man and Semmick photos both sites were very informative and helpful. Thank you very much for sharing!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 06:33 by ehrlif »

« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2014, 00:39 »
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Yup, thats what I've started to feel too. Btw what software are you using for noise reduction?

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2


« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2014, 02:50 »
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> Yup, thats what I've started to feel too. Btw what software are you using for noise reduction?

I use Dfine (one of the Nik Software tools) most of the time. When that won't do it, if the noise is in some background object that doesn't matter too much then I'll blur it.

« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2014, 22:15 »
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I'm the newbie here! Thank you for the excellent guide! :)

FlowerPower

« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2015, 08:38 »
0
Nice guide thx man

I'll come back and give Leaf a + when I can. Nice guide.

« Reply #45 on: September 28, 2015, 10:29 »
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Just joined Microstock today on a recommendation. As I have never sold any of my work this Beginners Guide will be very useful. I will no doubt have many questions to post on the forum.

« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2015, 18:24 »
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thx for the links. I have recently started in stock sites, mostly with editorial pictures. The site and topics are really helpful


« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2015, 22:06 »
+1
I've been here for some time and its now that I'm starting to realize how much the message of the photo matters. Stock seems to love pictures with a in your face kind of message. Do that well for an in demand topic and you will have sales pouring in

« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2015, 11:08 »
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Yep its not about Subtlety and its not about art! ;)

« Reply #49 on: December 05, 2015, 14:03 »
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This is helpful information... I have been wanting to get into stock photography for a while, but what I think I didn't realize as an inexperienced individual is just how much I really need to learn to be successful in this field. (It didn't take long to recognize that there is A LOT to learn!) I am hoping that I will be able to learn from those with more experience than me.

« Reply #50 on: December 05, 2015, 17:22 »
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I'd add: rejection reason "Focus"  ;)

« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2016, 05:07 »
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Greetings to all.... Am new here n new to Microstock...I find this useful :)

« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2016, 21:37 »
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Welcome to the club. Where all have you already started selling

« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2016, 22:43 »
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Love that you (quite generously) gave IS exactly what they give contributors....15%!   ;)

« Reply #54 on: September 05, 2016, 14:39 »
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I'm a newbie. This is a great intro article and awesome site!

« Reply #55 on: September 12, 2016, 10:29 »
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Thanks for making this post a sticky post so newbies can read them.
The links are all very helpful, there is a lot to learn but am feeling more informed now after reading them :)

« Reply #56 on: September 19, 2016, 05:41 »
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Thank you very much for taking your time to give this usefull information!


« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2017, 09:21 »
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Very useful thread!

Bad Company

« Reply #58 on: July 09, 2017, 16:54 »
+1
OLD THREAD ALERT...


 

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