What do clients want?
Clients need the right subject and a good image.
The right subject
Many new photographers make the initial mistake of asking, “What subjects are not covered in your collection? What topics do you need?” While eventually you may find some underrepresented area within our own RM age fotostock and RF Pixtal collection of over 800,000 images (plus approximately 8,8 million from other collections which we distribute on our website), sending us those “missing” images is no guarantee of success. We need good images of everything! We can talk more about what makes an image good later on.
Let’s talk about what is “everything.” We’ve already mentioned the diversity of the image needs of our press, editorial, and advertising clients in the section. Now you say, “So you need everything? Fine. But many of the images of “everything” that you send us and we accept, don’t actually translate into steady (or even sporadic) sales for you.
But, you insist. What photos really sell well? Ok, we can talk about top-selling stock images if you want. The general consensus across the industry is that people, lifestyle, and business/industry are stock’s all-time, consistent top sellers. In a recent survey of advertising agencies, these top three were followed by the following categories:
- Fine Art
- Military/Space, and so on
So, now you know the top sellers; but, you should keep in mind that for all of the stock shooters who are earning their living from the top sellers, there are others who are earning their living by meeting the needs of other, lesser categories. Finally, knowing the top sellers is not enough if you don’t know how to make good images.
A good image
After so much discussion of a good image, maybe we should talk about what we mean by a good image. A good image is one in which the photographer uses the “language” of photography to say something to a viewer. It involves using the photographic “vocabulary” of the camera, lens, accessories, Photoshop (or other program) and ideas in a harmonic way to visually present and express some aspect of the reality which surrounds us. It involves equipment, technique, an idea, and a successful graphic communication of that idea in the form of an image. The image is able to communicate something when it has a well organized composition and clearly presents its subject, which should be your idea, not a simple boring description of what is in front of your eyes. Clear communication and good visual impact, achieved using the tools photography puts in your hands, are two of the most important qualities for an image, especially a stock image, because they are among the top priorities of a stock image user/buyer.
If you don’t know how to make an image with visual impact and a clear idea, then don’t expect us to give you a magic 1-2-3 step process for getting there. We do not plan to be a photography school, at least not yet… because shooting images that communicate is a matter of developing a consistent style, and developing a style is a matter of time and lots of practice. You need to analyze good photography, choose well and properly use your equipment, consider what you want to shoot, and dedicate time to practice! And if you are an experienced stock shooter that was “very” successful in the past, you should consider updating your style to a more modern look that shows that we are in 21st century and not in those golden days of paper catalogs and limited quantities of good photography. Those days are gone, everyone can make good images with little training and the market is avid for new perspectives and styles. So, if you have been around for a long time, look around and adapt your style, the classic styles need a fast makeover.
Do you want to know a few of our “secrets” for making a good stock photo? Follow on to our Top 20!