Jun 17, 2016
To make the choice of what to shoot for stock sales is one of the most difficult stages of the process. However, your photo project should not begin with it. For a start, which agencies do you work with? You need to study their portfolio and understand which categories are congested, which do not have enough content, which are of a higher quality than you can provide, and which are of a lower quality. Which ones are on demand and which are not. Also, it is a good practice to study the relation between availability, demand and quality. The most perfect and rare case is when in a certain category there are few images with low quality and a fairly large demand.
Of course, it's not easy to find such a category, however, there is a great tool http://research.picworkflow.com Here you will find super simple interface where you can type in a keyword or phrase. As a result you get the number of files on stock sites with this tag, the number of hits on the file, the number of downloads (this is all on average) and the rating which tells you whether it is worth shooting images with this keyword. The higher the rating, the more it is reasonable to do so. Icons on the right show using which systems the information is collected.
Consider the following examples. The word woman has a rating of 0.0. Because there is an ocean of photos on this subject and there is a clear congestion. In order to sell photos with such a keyword, you will need: a known name among buyers, very good photos taken with top-end equipment and lots of shootings and effort. Let's have a look at the word vaping, which means the now popular trend - electronic cigarettes. Here we have a rating of 9.2. Hits per image - 6.7 and downloads - 1.4, what tells us about the lack of quality and the presence of demand in this segment. Therefore, if you make several different photo stories on the theme of vaping, there is a very good chance of sales. Furthermore, in order to improve your stories and find more accurate checkpoints we type in vaping woman, for example, one of the words having a super low rating, and the other a higher one. In the end we get a rating of 16, 8.6 hits and 1.9 downloads. Obviously, if you make a story about how girls vape electronic cigarettes, buy them, and so on, you get good sales. Now, in order not to do a photo project in a promising segment and not get sales, we need to think how to do it.
Think about who will buy the pictures. Magazines/online publications, many shops which sell vape products. What would they want? Stories, telling people that vaping is better than smoking, that it is not harmful to their health, that you can vape right in your office or almost any building, you can try different tastes, there is more “smoke” and as a consequence the process is more fun and more meditative. It could be whatever. On this basis you can write down a plan for your next shootings. This is the basic method which is suitable for most stock sites, especially microstocks. If you work with more serious agencies like Stocksy or Getty and so on, analytics will be a little different, but that's another story.
Let's continue. The method is certainly cool, but how do you know where to dig? After all, searching through all the words in a dictionary and millions of possible word combinations is not fast, right? First of all, pay attention to what you like. Perhaps, your hobby or some activity, which you are quite familiar with, is precisely the niche that you can occupy on stock sites. Again, if you vape electronic cigarettes, you are probably good with all the dripping atomizers, coils, tanks, modes... It will be easier for you to organize a more realistic shooting. If there is nothing new and trendy among your hobbies, then refer to general trends. Pay attention to magazines, online publications and blogs, popular instagram accounts, movies, people around. What is fashionable now? Vaping, wearing a beard, stylish glasses, travelling, awesome bodies and a healthy lifestyle... Make a list of words and phrases for the trends you find. Type them into the tool in various combinations and you will definitely find what you need. Make a priority list according to the rating and shoot. This method can be called the way for closing gap holes. Because, in fact, you are looking for what buyers are lacking on stock sites and close the gaps with your works. On the one hand it is good and it can give you relatively quick income. However, fashion changes, sometimes rapidly, it might soon be cool to smoke pipes with good tobacco. Maybe soon it will be cool to drink horchata, even in Russia. There will be horchaterias everywhere ( Horchata is a drink from Valencia, Spain. It is made from chufas, almonds and other ingredients. There are different varieties, but there is one thing they have in common - it is simply a divine drink! ) So when trends change, so do your sales. They will fall before you even notice.
Therefore, in order for seasonal and quickly-changing trends not to affect your portfolio too much, you need to think about filling it with traditional and classic shots. In this respect, to choose a theme you need to listen to yourself. What will you do with pleasure? What acquaintances do you have? What is available in your city? Perhaps you love to shoot the business category and you have lots of friends with different companies, beautiful offices and so on. Then, of course, it will be easier for you to do it and you can become a professional of business shots. If you have doctors in your family, then surely it will be easier to organize a medical shooting. Anyway, select mainstream themes, which are most suitable for you in every way and try to create a harmonious portfolio, at the same time filling in the trend gaps. Harmonious means that almost any buyer is able to find whatever they need. Good luck shooting! :)
The author - Kirill Kedrinski – CEO Milles
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