Stock Photography: 15 Sources of Inspiration to Explore When You are Stuck in a Rut (or Not!)

At some point in their career, every creative person deals with the same issue – how to create inspired work? Lack of inspiration does not discriminate between writers (read our great write up about busting the dreaded writer’s block if you are a writer too), designers or photographers. So what is a creative person, who relies on his creativity to put food on the table, to do? Fortunately, the world is littered with amazing sources of inspiration! You just need to know where to start looking.

In this article we will get you started with 15 sources of mojo to capture the most inspired photographs that you ever took.

1. Check out the explore section of flickr

Flickr has an amazing feature called “interestingness” based on how viral a photograph is in flickr. Photographs with the most interestingness score land on their explore page. These are the photos that have been most tagged, favorited and commented upon and can be a great source of inspiration no matter what kind of a rut you are in!

2. Stop at the local library and flip through a bunch of magazines

The magazines need not necessarily be design oriented (though that would definitely help the creative juices flowing). Even boring business magazines can give you great ideas for setting up your next microstock photo shoot.

3. Discover a model by offering a TFCD

There are so many struggling models out there desperate to put together a good portfolio. Offer to do a photoshoot for free – they get the prints or CDs of their pictures and you get some great shots to add to your micro stock accounts. Don’t forget to get them to sign the paperwork and the release forms!

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Ten Tips for Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Stock Photos to Take Them From “Uploaded” to “Sold”

Out of all the money making ideas floating around online (and even on this website), stock photography is one of the most creative. You get to be creative with your photos, how you present them, and even how you sell them using keywords. Now that you’ve decided to earn some extra money with stock photography, you’re obviously interested in ways to maximize your profits. One way you can do so is through choosing the right keywords to describe your work.

What is a keyword? A keyword is the word (or phrase) your potential customers type into the search box as they look for images. Within mere seconds, they’ll be rewarded with a flood of suggestions. Your goal is to be one of these–the closer to top of the first page of results, the better your chances are of making a sale. If your pictures stay buried on page 18 of the search results, chances are no one will even bother to look, much less buy. To ensure that doesn’t happen to your photos, choose your keywords with care. Here are ten suggestions to help!

1. Avoid generic terms.

If you’re posting a photo of a Golden Retriever, don’t tag it as “dog,” and be done with it. The microstock photography business has grown over the past few years; you have plenty of competition. Chances are good that your “dog” photo will simply be overwhelmed in an avalanche of “dog” photos. Your buyer, who really did want a great picture of a Golden Retriever saving the life of a young boy who was about to go over Niagara Falls, is going to give up in disgust after scrolling through the first 5 pages of dog results, and buy a “good enough” photo of a wet spaniel. Make it easy for people to find your work.

2. Be Specific

You do this by being specific. Look at every aspect of your picture. In the example mentioned above, you could use “Golden Retriever,” “boy,” “child,” “Niagara Falls,” “lifesaving,” “waterfalls,” “heroes,” “rescue,” etc. Which season is portrayed in your picture? Is there a dominant color scheme? What is the orientation of the picture: vertical or horizontal (these things matter to a web designer)? The more specific your keywords, the more likely your photograph will be presented to the people most likely to buy it.
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Stock Photography: How to Appeal to a Particular Demographic to Massively Boost your Sales

As a microstock photographer, your number one concern is how to boost sales and maximize profits with creative money making ideas. Is it possible, for instance, to target a particular demographic with your photography?

Who Are Your Customers?

First, of course, you need to know who’s buying your images. Not the name, address, race, gender, age and occupation of each customer, but the purposes for which most people need stock photos in the first place. Typically, you’re selling to artists, web designers (professional and amateur), advertisers, graphic designers, and others in the publication business–whether they work for popular magazines or are in charge of putting out the weekly church bulletin. Because they are buying images for a work project, and not for personal use, knowing their personal information may not do you much good. After all, the seventy-something woman in charge of her garden club’s newsletter may adore photos of dressed up poodles wearing rhinestone sunglasses, but when she has her wallet out while preparing the newsletter, what she’s really looking for is a good, clean image of a trowel on a white background.

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TFCD: An Insider Secret For Building a Stellar Modeling Portfolio for Free

There are many aspiring models out there, but only so many modeling jobs available. One way to rise above your competition is to be able to present a stellar portfolio. Unfortunately, the professional photography sessions you need to accomplish this can be prohibitively expensive. So should you give up your dreams that modeling may be one of money making ideas perfectly suited for you?

Well, don’t give up your modeling ambitions yet. It turns out that there is a way to build your portfolio for free. The method used by insiders to circumvent portfolio costs is through a practice known as TFCD–and it can work for you too.

What is TFCD?

TFCD stands for “Time for CD.” It’s also known as TFP (Time for Prints), TFDL (Time for Downloads) or, most simply TF. It’s a practice in which models pose for photographers in return for free photos from the session- either or a CD or prints or available for download. Both parties benefit. The photographer gets a model for no cost, and the model gets his or her portfolio-quality shots for free. Win-win.

Choosing a Photographer

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself While Getting Your Picture Ready for Submission

You’ve signed up with one or more stock photography sites. You’ve taken a slew of photos and they’re sitting there on your computer, waiting to go out and make you some money! Woohoo for money making ideas that let you continue doing what you enjoy most! Before you send your babies out in the world though, ask yourself these 6 questions –

Got the Instructions?

First, and most importantly, read and follow the instructions provided by your stock photography site. Each company has its own requirements and procedures. If you do not follow them, chances are your submissions will be rejected immediately, so it is a good idea to get real familiar with those instructions.

Got the Right Topics?

Ideally, you researched popular photo subjects, or targeted a particular niche, before you went out shooting. But just in case, or if you’re trying to get that old photograph on your hard disk to make you some money, make sure you’re sending images clients are interested in buying. Check each agency’s “bestseller” list, or examine each site to see if any subject areas are lacking.

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Stock Photography: A Definitive Guide To Turning Your Pictures Into “Money Making Shots”

As a novice stock photographer, you’re anxious to make that sale. You’ve got decent equipment, excellent skills, and devote time and effort to your work. You’ve even had several photos accepted. But will they sell? What can you do to ensure that every shot you upload will deliver? There are, of course, no guarantees, but here are some ideas on how you can choose pictures with maximum profit potential, since profits are what we’re looking for when it comes to money making ideas. So, here we go –

1.  People are Popular

When a designer punches in a search request, chances are she’s not looking for great shots of monarch butterflies. Photos of people outsell those of buildings, nature, and animals, simply because they’re so versatile!

Take shots of people in groups and alone, working, playing, arguing, praying, wearing all sorts of clothing, displaying every imaginable emotion, and from every conceivable angle. Try snapping both natural and posed photos. Ask neighbors, friends, family and co-workers to serve as models–people of every age, background, gender, and style sense.

Just remember: it’s imperative that you get a signed model release from every person in your pictures. Get in the habit of carrying a few copies of your release around, along with a reliable pen – money making ideas often require that you cover your butt for legal reasons.

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That Photograph Sitting in Your Hard Disk Could Be Making You Money

If you’re looking for great money making ideas for your spare time, you’ve no doubt come across the subject of stock photography. Stock photographers turn their best shots into cash by selling them online through agencies such as BigStockPhoto, ShutterStock, iStockphoto, and others. Designers, webmasters, and graphic artists search these images for pictures they can use on their projects. They buy the license to use each photo, which they then download, and the photographer gets a percentage of the sale. (That picture to the right – nope, not me.  I downloaded it from BigStockPhoto to pep up this article a bit, and a photographer just like you, made some money. See? It works! 🙂 )


So, what will you need to begin?

  • A high-quality digital camera. Even though you could use a basic “point-and-shoot” model, it is not recommended since these are more likely to produce photographic “noise,” meaning colored pixels appearing where they should not. Stock photo agencies look closely for noise. To take pictures that sell, you’ll need, at minimum, a 5 megapixel camera; the higher the resolution, the better. A digital SLR model with changeable lenses is ideal.
  • Photo-editing software, such as Photoshop or NeatImage. You’ll need this to edit out the blemishes, and other less-than-desirable parts of a photo. [Read more…]