5 TOP TIPS to SELL FASTER stock photography on Shutterstock

Ahoj! This is Zdenka Darula. I have been
shooting stocks since 2007 and if you look at my portfolio, you will see that I
have about 13,000 photos there. In those years, they are rare 5 very important key
steps I kept doing over and over and over again to get more sales and bring
more passive income. And today I thought it would be a very good idea to talk
about those steps. I’ve been making videos about stock here on YouTube for a while now. And I’ve been reading all your comments, I’ve been always responding and I’ve been reading comments such as my photos are not good. I am not selling
anything. I have uploaded my photos to Shutterstock 2 months ago and I keep
uploading but I don’t see any sales. I gotta say I ready do understand and I
hear you. First of all, if you upload photos to stock, their library is so huge,
it will sometimes take it even 3 months before you start seeing your
first sales from that set you just uploaded. And just like any other
youtuber here, youtuber says about YouTube. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
The same thing applies about stock. It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint. If you just
take some random photos with camera or phone or whatever you’ve got, upload it to stock and you think that overnight you’re gonna generate income,
you will be very, very disappointed. You have to take it as a job. You have to be
willing to work hard, upload constantly and you mainly have to be willing to
improve on daily basis. And these words my friends are taking me to step number
1. Master one thing, never stop learning, always improve and become a
perfectionist. Now, I know I’ve said a lot of words here, but they all really are
combined together. When I started taking photos for stock, I was a terrible
photographer. Terrible photographer. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know
how use camera at all, I had no idea what to
shoot. I didn’t understand what stock market really wants. Just take a look at
my first photos. I had it on automatic mode, I was just snapping photos around
and I thought that you know I’m taking photos and I’m gonna be selling it.
Obviously, they were zero commercial value. I didn’t sell anything. Those
photos were not sellable. Because of my modeling background, naturally, I started
taking photos of other models. I felt comfortable with it. That’s what I really
wanted and that became my niche, my direction in photography. I started
looking at other stock photos of models. I started studying them. What is it, that
those photos sell? From my own rejections I was getting better and better because
I had to get better. I was learning. I was improving in order to get accepted. And
over the years, I’m the photographer I am today and here are the photos I shoot
these days. I rarely get any rejection and these photos sell. Every one of you..
even you, you….. think. What do you like to photograph the most? Did you just say
anything? Narrow it down. Is it people? Is it pets? Is it nature? Is it objects? What is it? That one thing or two things will become
your niche and study that niche. Type it into Shutterstock. See what sells and
just study those photos and think. Do your photos look like those photos there?
If the answer is no, then definitely there is room for improvement. You need
to improve. But that should not stop you from uploading right now. That should not
stop you at all. Practice makes perfect. You will improve as you go and you will
start seeing sales. Once you master that 1 niche, then you can get another. The
worst thing you can do though is try to copy somebody else’s top selling photo. Why? The chances are, it is not good look good at all. How many times I’ve
seen people trying to copy my flower splash shot. How many times I’ve seen
people trying to copy the same blue-eyed baby shot I did. The same blanket, the
same pose, everything. It never looked that good. The best thing would be to
just let go. Be creative, come up with something new
and unique. You will come up eventually with your own top-selling shot. Don’t you
think I tried it too when I was starting out? Guilty. I tried to copy too and it
never never looked the same. It was never the best photo, it just never looked
great. Step number 2. Trends come and go. Fashion. What’s popular these days will
be probably forgotten in next few years. Technology. What is hot popular trendy
today will be old tomorrow. So when you are taking photos of models and you’re
picking their outfits, try to use something very general looking. Something which is timeless. Nothing really fancy and popular. The same thing applies to
technology. If you’re taking photo of a model holding a phone, just use some
generic looking phone. Don’t use a very trendy phone. If you’re shooting stock
for a very long time, you can shoot for sure something trendy here and there to
kind of pop your sales. The buyers usually if you have one very popular
photo will look at the rest of your portfolio and possibly pull up more
photos from you. But if you only shoot trendy photos, your sales will look like
this…… If you shoot timeless photos, your sales will look like this…..
and that’s what you want. Step number 3. Authenticity, real expressions and
real models. Authenticity has never been more requested ever like now. No more
fake stuff. Do you remember those commercials when they were just kind of
like doing the full smile and just selling stuff? Well, that’s gone. Just look at TV commercials. Look at the people they are using. Look at how they are acting. Look at their faces, their skin tones,
their hair color. When you’re casting models for stock, they should not look
like a supermodels. They should be just very generic looking
people with friendly face and beautiful smile. It will also depend on the scene
shooting. Here is a perfect example. I wanted to photograph a woman in the
kitchen so I just grabbed a model. Well, the photos don’t sell. Why? She doesn’t look like a cook. She doesn’t really belong to that scene.
She’s also more of a fashion model in the face, so that’s why they don’t sell.
And then I called my friend, which is a cook. Well, she’s a chef. She’s an amazing
cook. She loves to cook. Let’s take a look at her photos. Her photo sold well and
still sell. Let’s compare both women. My friend was the better casting choice. She’s authentic and real. When you pose your
models, don’t be afraid of doing real acting, real expressions. And not just the
positive expressions. Negative expressions sell really well as well.
Step number 4. Recreate your own top-selling photos. Whenever you get a
photo which sells, which kind of pops, study it. What is it about that photo that really sells? Is it the model? Is the location? Is it the lighting? What is it
about that photo? Make more of those. Maybe change something little. Add
something extra, shoot the whole set. Here’s another example. I took a photo
with the splashes right and it started selling well, so next thing I took all
kinds of flowers of different colors, took photos of them added the splashes
and I created the very big set. Or I took photos of a model to yoga. It sold well so
we shot more yoga. Step number 5. Keep simple, be bold. Lose the clutter, make it
very, very simple. Make sure, that the message comes out very clear of the
photo. For example. If I’m taking photo of a person’s face and I want to show an
expression I zoom in close on the face to show the expression. Or if I am taking
photo of a relationship of a mom and daughter, I choose very simple kind of generic background because I want that
relationship to pop from the photo. If you keep doing those five steps over
over over again you will be on a way of generating your own passive PJ income. If you would like to learn more about stock photography I included links to all my
other stock videos in a video description below so please check them
out. Give it a thumbs up if you liked today’s video, subscribe to all future
videos. If you have any questions, comments, want to say hello or maybe
suggest a topic for the next future video please do so in a comment section
below. I always read them all and I always respond. Thank you very much and I’ll see you in the next one. Cau… Ahoj..

72 Replies to “5 TOP TIPS to SELL FASTER stock photography on Shutterstock”

  1. Thank you very much for watching. How is stock photography going so far? What do you love to shoot, what are your tips and what are your frustrations? Let us hear it….

  2. Between Adobe and Shutterstock, I'm up to 1.71 so far! Need to upload a lot more photos and ones with more commercial potential.

  3. I just started uploading. It took a long time but 3 out of 5 were accepted. I use to be a photo researcher in the 1970s, calling stock agencies for photos for books. I remember thinking that the best advice to a photographer is to not take any rejection personally. My question is about video camera shooting. Can you use the 4K camera on your phone? Is there a video camera you recommend. I have a Nikon D750 which doesn't shoot 4K.

  4. Thank you very much. Such a useful information.

    But I would like to know one thing, is it necessary to pick a particular niche for stock photography? Because, one of your colleague Nickol Glass, you had a collaboration video with her, I also watch her profile on Shutterstock. But she uploads different variety of photos. She does not stick to a particular niche. Most of her photos are editorial content. But she is making outstanding sales on Shutterstock.

    So, what you say about it? Is it necessary to pick a particular niche? Kindly inform me

  5. Love this video because you are so spot on. Everything you mentioned about stock is so true. It’s actually happening to me as I continue to work at it daily. I started in August of last year and my first sale was within a week of posting, but it was a slow start the first three months and now it’s selling daily. Some of the content that I photographed in September is selling quite well now and did not sell when it was posted. So it tells me that it’s in season now. So what I photograph this week my not sell until its in season. Although I have had items sell the day it was live on the stock site, because I post 2 to 3 times a week and keep my quality very high. Thanks for sharing such good valuable tips.

  6. Hey Darula, thank you for your motivating video! Your hints and tips are very clear and easy to understand. I'm looking forward to finally starting. Greetings and ahoy.

  7. Thank you for Great guilde line. I really love the concept of " Timeless " . I will figure out how I create my own timeless photo. Thank you very much ^_^

  8. As always great information. Like many things in life, trial and error is a huge part of learning. I like your analogy…it's a marathon not a sprint! I have to remind myself that I'm still learning and my photos are getting better. I really appreciate your encouraging words and insight. Thank you!

  9. Best best best ever stock photography advise I've heard / seen to date , play to your strengths and go the long haul. Clearly you modelling back ground gives you a huge advantage in posing and working with models combined with your understanding of the photographic process its win win. After eight months of learning and shooting random stuff ( fishing for my thing ) I'm just starting to get some regular sales thus enabling me to hone in on where I need to take my stock photography . Thanks for all the valuable info, love the posts, keep it up.

  10. Velice pravdivé video, ostatně jako vždy 🙂 Já sama za sebe jsem od půlky listopadu, kdy jsem začínala se stockem prodala 41 fotografií v rozmezí od 0,25-7$ . Jako nejlepší na stocku je, že se prostě naučíš fotit a to je ta nejdůležitější hodnota. Osobně si myslím, že cena jedné fotografie by se měla pohybovat min. od 1$, spíš těch 1,88$, protože čistě pragmaticky pro některé fotky musíš nakoupit propriety, musíš si to naaranžovat, nafotit, následně editovat a pak ještě nahrát a označit správnými keywords… a to vše stojí čas, potažmo peníze. Mě třeba baví fotit, je to můj koníček a beru to jako "learning experience", ale vůči fotografům, kteří se tím živí, mi ty ceny přijdou docela sprosté, zvlášť, když si vezmeš, jak jsou nastavené licenční ujednání… Moje sestra právnička, když to viděla, to komentovala slovy: "To se jako pos**li?" Mluví fakt sprostě 😀 No, holt, se musíme snažit dělat něco jinak a pak si nechat za to královsky zaplatit jako někteří "slavní" instagramers 😀 A teď mě napadlo, co děláme my "holky" nechci říct "blbě," ale jinak než ti kluci (e.g. Peter McKinnon a spol.), že o "nás" není tolik slyšet?

  11. thank you for your tips and advice I will start and get into it but that flower explosion of yours woooooow stay safe and enjoy yourself see ya

  12. great advice Zdenka! Perhaps an idea for a future vid is to take us along on a family or family + pet shoot?
    All the best

  13. Nice and wise advice Zdenka ( I am a bit hooked in photographing for stock with my mobile instead of using my slr 🙂
    Do you also contribute to Alamy? They seem to look for images a bit different from Shutterstock (as an example).

  14. Now I know why alot of model on shutterstock use plain basiv t shirt
    Thanks for your tips, it's help alot

  15. Is there any way to sell my photos without selling websites? Or selling my photos but get the whole price for me ?

  16. wow! This is a fresh video ! Thank you you seem to be a sweet person and very kind, Im doing more research on getting into stock phtography and I thank you for your honest, simple and kind explanation. but with footage videos, can videos with people turned around (no face showing, or people not recognizable from a long distance, ) be accepted, without release ? YìThank you

  17. One more great video of you . I am using nikon d3300 and one vintage lens 50mm 1.4 …Now want to take better camera ? Do you have some advice? Greetings 🌸

  18. Hello again. I've just finished watching your video after having watched the video by Rachel Welch on the same subject of Stock Photography. Hugely contrasting views between your apparent success and optimism and Rachel's more measured, seemingly more "authentic" critique. My own view is that prospective contributors to Stock Photography would best be served by the fact that Stock Photography might well constrain creativity than enhance it, and after all the hard work, comes the realisation that the market for this genre of photography shows little sign of stagnation but the photographer, the creator, the worker, the contributor, is increasingly being squeezed by the competition. And one might well ask, what's wrong with healthy competition. Nothing, I hasten to add. Just remember that it is the users of stock photographs, and the stock agencies, that make the bulk of the money, and for doing very little. As for the photographer, a piece of advice; enjoy your hobby, learn, and aim high. Personal satisfaction comes from excellence, achieving one's goals, and not from sales albeit the latter can be satisfying too.

  19. Can everyone sell their pictures or videos on Shutterstock?
    If yes,how
    I have opened their mobile app.. signed up up also.but there is no option to add my pictures to it.

  20. Your video is looking inspiration. My English is not so good. However I tried to understand your video. Four to five times more need to watch your video for complete understanding. I also created a account on shutterstock. Wish to earn a lot by photos…may you please share your portfolio how you maintain it. Thanks.

  21. Hey i 80 photos uploaded 6 days ago on shutter stock and 48 select but no one download my photos, what should i do?

  22. Have you got like…..private training or something? and mhmm…I'm 21 but no lie, you really attractive..had to say it.

  23. i had try 30 picture but stock doesnt accept my photo…maybe because im using phone and that cause huge noise…maybe

  24. Thanks for the video. I was puzzled when few of my photos got rejected due to focus issues. Nope I got the direction.

  25. Hi Zdenka i have few questions to ask from regards to shutterStock
    1. If i use 2 models to my photos do i have to get model release from each of them.
    2. If i photograph a private property or city buildings from far (miles away) still do i have get property release.
    3. Is it possible upload my rejected photos under editorial
    4. Where can i get model release document, if there is any link to download
    5. Why photos get reject regards to reason "your subject not in focused"
    6. In my country (Sri Lanka)PayPal is not support to received cash. are there any payment gateways to received cash such as "Skrill" / "NETELLER"
    7. Is it possible to transfer the cash direct to bank account.
    8. Have you using stock like Adobe, deposit photos and pond5 and whats your opinion regard using those sites.

    Appreciate your value support.

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