Microstock Photography Forum - General > Newbie Discussion

Microstock Photography - Beginners Guide

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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...

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

Smiling Jack:
Thank you Leaf.
Smiling Jack

Really useful, thanks

Well organized presentation of your information! I like it! I will pay you the highest compliment and learn from it. Thanks!


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