We were thrilled to be invited to talk at the first ever Adobe Photography Jam in London, an inspiring gathering where contemporary photographers and industry professionals come together to discuss the latest developments in photography. Our presentation focused on what we know best: how to make shooting stock photography pay.
What is happening in the world of stock photography?
Social media has created a drive from clients for more ‘authentic’ photography similar to the images you can find on Instagram. Despite the new found belief that ‘everyone is a photographer’ we believe that there is still a high demand from commercial clients for professional quality images fully model and property released.
Image buyers are changing and are no longer limited to the traditional picture editors and researchers of the past. Nowadays buyers are just as likely to be designers, writers, ad execs and bloggers, and most are multitasking and working to tight deadlines. To accommodate this there is a need for a pricing and licensing revolution, to move away from the old time consuming categories of Rights Managed and Royalty Free, and create more streamlined, easier-to-understand systems.
How do you choose the right agency for you?
While the larger platforms are more visible, stock photography expert, Jim Pickerell says that customers are turning away from these giants and moving towards the specialist, tightly curated niche collections.
Research the agencies thoroughly and look for ones that represent the type of subject matter and style that suits your work. Also, a good agency gives you help and support, advice and feedback. At robertharding we try to support our photographers by advising them on what to shoot in each destination, giving feedback and organising events where they can meet us and other photographers. In addition we attend trade shows and industry related events where we promote our contributors. On our website we provide templates for model releases, and we have a new easy to use upload portal where feedback is given on all submissions.
How to shoot commercial images
At robertharding we feel it’s important to look at images that have been successful, and to see what kind of images get published in your genre. Think about subject matter, light, colour, atmosphere and space for text. We particularly love images that can be used to illustrate a concept.
At robertharding we look for work that fits the following categories: adventure, observational travel, portraits, details, nature, travel and lifestyle.
What are the three strengths of a successful stock photographer?
Unique visual signature – find your own niche and style that sets you apart from other photographers and plays to your strengths
Compelling Aesthetic Vision – pursue subject matter that is current and in demand, and become the authority on it
Adaptability and Persistence – making money from stock photography requires that you continually build up content and find new ways of working to adapt to a continually changing market