4. Research the kinds of images that buyers want
The top selling photos on a stock photography website can give you shooting ideas as to what buyers are looking for.
Stock websites in their blog or news section sometimes recommend certain kinds of images for their contributing photographers to shoot.
Check out their forum or community pages where members often discuss ideas and tips, and may have educated opinions on many topics pertaining to stock photography. It is generally not necessary to sign up to be a member to enter these forums, although if you want to ask a question or contribute to the discussion, you may need to first become a member. (Note that you may even find some information gems in our own PhotographyTips.com Forums, where a variety of topics are discussed by some very knowledgeable photographers. If you don't see what you are looking for, then post a question and sit back to wait for responses that will likely come from experienced members.)
5. Offer variety
Try not to submit photos of the same subject in a hundred different angles or positions. Buyers can easily become bored looking at shots that are similar in all but a few minor aspects, and may move on from your sales page. Instead, choose two or three of the best ones from a group of similar photos. For variety, be sure to also submit pictures of subjects which are totally different from one another.
Buyers all have different tastes and the more people your images can connect with, the higher the chances of a sale. However, be careful not to go to the extreme by submitting a large quantity of photos of anything and everything.
6. Find your niche
A niche market is comprised of a group of potential customers with a very specific need. Your objective should be to make your name known in a particular field or for a specific theme so that buyers will know to look for you since you will have become an ackowledged expert in that area.
It can be highly advantageous to specialize in a particular kind of subject matter, be it shots that are great for backgrounds, animal images or food photos. It's likely that this will greatly improve your chances for repeat customers. Remember that there are thousands upon thousands of photographs available as stock images. The competition is stiff. If you want to be noticed, it's very important that you develop and promote your specialty.
7. Be objective of your own work
We often feel a strong connection with our own images and as such, might be overly subjective when it comes to assessing them and their appeal to others. Be brutally honest when deciding which photos to submit for selling. If you have a picture of a great looking baby but the image is underexposed, then do not submit it. This is the time to scrutinize every inch of your image for imperfections, since the buyers certainly will.
8. Notice the little imperfections
Buyers want clear, well-lit images that brim with vitality. Oversharpening, image noise, blur, lens flare, oversaturation, underexposure - any of these and other flaws could be a reason why your image is being rejected by customers. No matter how good your composition, no matter how fascinating your subject, the slightest photographic imperfection can be enough to deter a potential buyer.