Building a Stock Digital Photography Portfolio
First ask yourself: do you like to take digital photos? I know it might sound like a stupid question, but it is the proper question to analyze. To break it down further do you have the patience, time and attitude to make a successful stock photography portfolio. To clarify the term stock photography sites, they are places where people can buy and sell digital photos. Buyers need stock photos in order to make their webpages, advertisements, art mediums, and anything else. These sites help independent companies, personal business, and pretty much any business that does not want to hire a photographer(s) or do you have the resources and funding to hire a photographer(s). More importantly stock photography sites help freelance digital photographers make money or earn a living selling their pictures. How much money? depending on how much you work, you can make a $1 to $500 a month from each site, with payouts around 25 cents – dollars per photograph. In order to make around a $500 dollar a month per site salary your going to need a good digital stock photo portfolio.
Why I ask the question: do you like to take pictures? is because you will be taking a lot of them. Were talking hundreds and eventually thousands. Because I know that snapping pictures might be funner than flipping burgers but when it comes down to it, you really have to love taking them in order to do hundreds. Let me paint a picture, you take out your digital camera and start to take pictures of a sunset. So you put it on a stand and take a picture, the picture turns out too dark. You change the exposure to a couple of seconds and you snap the picture again, the picture is way too bright. After adjusting the exposure one more time, you take the picture again to find that you didn’t like your angle. So now you got 4 or 5 bad pictures and 1 good one, only a couple hundred more to go.
I don’t mean to sound like this is a horrible task because obviously taking pictures is the funnest and most rewarding part of photography. But now that you have answered: “Yes, I love photography” you can start to build your own portfolio.
How Many Pictures You should Have
First set a goal for yourself, a reasonable one, lets say 100 freelance photos with no more than 3-5 repeats. In order to obtain your goal think about shooting your pictures before you do it. Before you go to sleep think about where you will go tomorrow in order to shoot your photos. Then take about 20 to 40 pictures per day and only pick out 10 to 20 pictures. Everyday you should find that you will be analyzing what you want to envision in your pictures, you will start to see better angles, lighting and concepts for your freelance photography.
After you have about 100 pictures taken, maybe in the span of about a week, go back and look at the first ten photos or so and see if you find improvement compared to the last ten, you should be getting better. If you stay consistent with your photography taking sessions you will get dramatically better and have hundreds of original photos to show for it. After you have taken hundreds and hundreds of photos you might find that you wont even want to keep your first hundred and that feeling is normal. It will take a while, but soon you will have the ability to take a hundred photos in one session and only throw out ten. Ideally you want somewhere between 400 to 800 photos in the beginning, but you will build up thousands after a long while of doing this.
What You Should Take Pictures of
Some pictures sell better than others, but what really sells a picture is its quality. That’s why shooting things you will enjoy will naturally sell better due to quantity and quality. If you don’t like shooting pictures of water fountains then your probably not going to take the best and most pictures of water fountains. After taking your first hundred photos think of which ones you like taking the most and expand upon that. Try taking more of the same type and see if that subject truly sparks your photographers niche. It is recommended for your first set of pictures is to choose one or two niche(s) for you pictures. This will limit the competition, because if just take random pictures they are likely to be washed out from other photographers with more direct keywords.
Try to think of what the person would use your pictures for: an advertisement, a graphic design, or maybe a brochure. Graphic designers want simple objects they can manipulate but a brochure maker wants full detailed digital photos. Also try to think of more ways to describe photography, not just ways like macro, geometric, portrait, or cityscape but other ways like decadent, blue (colors), futuristic, noble or sensual. This will bring anybody looking for your particular niche straight to you.
Other Things you Should Know
Remember when taking all your freelance digital photos to have enough space on your computer/camera. After taking thousands of pictures at 6 to 10 megapixels each it can fill up your space quicker than you think. If you start to fill up on space burn a DVDR or find a alternate hardrive/memory storage.
If you are taking any modeling pictures make sure the model signs off on submitting the photos to be sold.
Don’t include any signatures, marks or logos on your picture to confine their ownership.
This is purely an overview of getting a proper stock photo portfolio, you still have a lot of research to do. Technical ideas like keywords, conversions, uploading, saturated photo niches, and so on cannot be learned by yourself. Talk to people with the same career interest as you or get a eBook to help you get started, just keep your mind open and keep learning.