This is the third of a series of blog posts about microstock photography. In this post I will be giving you a few insights into the workflow I use to get my pictures successfully uploaded to microstock sites.
There are essentially three stages to the process and my objective is to balance ease and speed with results. After all, no one wants to spend hours preparing and submitting images to each microstock site and then adding keywords and a caption – better to spend your time out walking and capturing some great pictures along the way.
Let’s start by assuming that you have taken some great photos and catalogued/processed them with something like Adobe Lightroom - indeed I would recommend Adobe Lightroom and I will discuss the merits of this software and why I have now plumped for the Creative Cloud version (in a package with Photoshop) in my next post. If that is the case we are ready to go.
Stage 1: Getting the image ready. Before starting the process of submitting an image to a microstock site I ask myself three questions.
- Is this the sort of picture that will sell on microstock sites and will I be able to describe it?
- Have I finished cropping the image and managing exposure, balance, tone, vibrancy, etc?
- Have I checked for noise and reduced it to an acceptable level?
If the answer is yes to all of the above, then you are ready to get into the core of the submission process.
Stage 2: Creating your meta data - caption/description and keywords. Maybe in a later post I will add some tips about how to write a good caption and keywords – but to be honest I would not say that I am good at this and I am always looking for better results. But I do know a trick that will help with keywords – it results in a good set of keywords and is fast and simple.
All you do is pop along to Shutterstock, login and visit the Keywords Suggestions page. Add a couple of words that describe your photo, such as a location, into the search box and you will see other pictures that have been submitted and approved for sale. Click on a few of these and go through the process to collect the keywords. You can add some new keywords into the box too so that you have a full set of words that will help people find your great picture.
This feature on Shutterstock is also great if you want to take a quick look at what others have been photographing before you go shooting. It is not advisable to just copy a particular viewpoint, but it is good to see what others have achieved on their shoots.
Stage 3: Uploading the images to the microstock sites. As I mentioned in a previous post, whist I have tried and used about 10 microstock sites, I have three favourites; Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Fotolia (now Adobe stock). I have given up on other sites for a combination of reasons including poor sales, difficult submission processes or too many rejections.
Whether you want to upload to three or ten sites you can, of course, upload your images to the microstock sites by logging into each site and visiting their upload pages. But, the good news is that there is a simpler and faster method using the website picWorkFlow.
The beauty of picWorkFlow is that it allows you to add your image to a single depositary, where you can easily add the caption (description) and keywords (that you put together in Stage 2) and then uploaded your image to more than 20 microstock sites all in one go.
There is a little bit of preparation work but it’s all worthwhile. Once you have set up your picWorkFlow account and managed the logins for your chosen microstock sites (they are not always your login details, so you need to do a little work here to make sure that you have them right), the process is fast and robust. Low volume distribution is free (you get some free credits added to your account every month). You can also employ picWorkFlow to create a set of keywords for you and store your images on its servers should you wish.
The ease of using picWorkFlow does not stop there. If you are using Adobe Lightroom to catalogue your photos, you can use the free picWorkFlow plugin to export your images directly from Lightroom to picWorkFlow – there’s no requirement to store your processed images on your hard drive.
So, there we have it, a three-stage process to simplify and speed up the submission of your photos to multiple microstock sites. You will, of course, now need to visit each microstock site and finish off the process. This normally involves adding the category, checking that all the keywords and the caption are correct and pressing the Submit button. Then all you need to do is sit back and wait to celebrate when the microstock sites approve your images for sale.
Future blog posts will include:
Software – how to manage and process your lovely images without breaking the bank.
Equipment – the essential and the not so essential.
You may also like to check out:
Are Your Walking Photos Good Enough to Sell?
When it Comes to Microstock put Copyright and Quality Before Composition
27 April 2017