We hear a very common theme from professional photographers.
They all generally have a folder somewhere on their computer desktop or on a hard drive called “Stock’ and they dump images into that folder with the intention of getting the files prepped and submitted to One Shot … one day!
Let’s call this folder the BLACK HOLE OF STOCK!
Given they’re busy shooting a lot of the time, the black hole gets regular ‘dumps’ of potential stock shots. But the general approach is to wait till the folder is ‘finished’ which, as you’ve already figured, will never happen because new shots keep getting chucked in.
That’s right! Nothing ever comes out of the black hole – it just keeps on growing. No images go live / are added to their online portfolio… They don’t get seen, they don’t get licensed and as a result, these photographers end up missing out on potential revenue!
Got a black hole folder on your desktop too? Here are some tips to keep your stock submissions flowing and your collection building (and earning!).
SHUT THE DOOR ON DISTRACTIONS
Like most of us, you’re probably realising already that you are spending WAY too much time on the internet (You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, News sites and the like).
So first piece of advice: make sure you shut the door on distractions during your dedicated work hours.
No matter how you justify it to yourself YOU ARE WASTING PRECIOUS TIME… And you know it. So if you don’t have any other work to do that is positively adding to your bottom line, then you should be working on stock.
USE YOUR TIME WISELY
Most photographers we know are pretty precious when it comes to their work. We can of course understand this regarding Art, commissioned work or special projects. However when it comes to stock, the reality is that (and we say this with the utmost of respect) only a small portion of the work you create really deserves the level of attention you like to give it.
Why? Because stock images are generally not a finished product – they can’t be. You have no way of knowing what clients are looking for down to the smallest of details nor how they will want to use an image. They may want to crop it, take out some parts, apply a colour treatment to fit their campaign or use just a part of the image in their overall design. So how can you prep a file for an ‘end purpose’ when you have no idea of knowing what that end purpose may be?
So here’s our second piece of advice: use your time wisely!
Time is the modern photographers most valuable commodity and it’s important you spend every minute working as efficiently as possible. There is no point spending an hour or more on every file, endlessly tweaking the colour and contrast, trying to achieve ‘perfection’.
What should you do then? Read on!
When faced with a huge volume of work to get through, no matter what it is, most people shudder and find something else to do (read as drink coffee, check Facebook, watch YouTube etc.). They put it off because it is so daunting and this is particularly true for photographers who do not only focus on shooting for stock. Because in stock there is no deadline or obvious or immediate consequence of not doing it, it very often simply never gets done.
Third piece of advice: break your workload down into chunks.
The 80/20 rule applies here just as it does in so many other areas of life and work. Quickly edit your Stock folder to identify the 80/20 as follows:
Put the 20% of your BEST images into one folder. Can’t decide? Dropbox a low-resolution sub-folder of your images to us and we will send you back an edited folder of the most saleable shots.
Be your own harshest critic – is it really your best work? Is it better than other images already available on One Shot or any other stock site? Is it unique? Does it have a KPOD (Kiwi Point Of Difference)? Does it have high production costs/values? Would it cost a client a lot to go out and create themselves?
The remaining 80% goes into another folder. You will want to treat this folder as quickly as you can. Here are a few ideas how:
- Run a batch process over this folder so that they’re ‘acceptable’ in regards to the colour / contrast / balances etc.
- Done? Submit them. Now! Don’t wait. Don’t overthink or over analyse if they’ll be ‘good enough’ or not. Just submit them and let us make the decisions. The sooner these images are online, the sooner they can be earning. A lot of these will be suitable for our RF collections – but guess what? These collections are earning!
When you’re done with your 80% folder, time to tackle the 20% folder.
OK, so these are your babies. You’ve got an emotional attachment to them. BUT you want to make money right? So you have to let your babies go.
- First step (optional) you can share with us a dropbox of low-res images so that we can have a quick look and discuss with you if they’ll work for stock and which is the best collection for them to maximise their return.
- Then prep the ones we agree on. Make sure that here too you don’t spend hours and hours editing, tweeking each image. Even for your 20% folder, they will probably not be a finished product.
- Done? Submit the images.
Gone is the black hole!
GIVE YOURSELF TARGETS AND SET DEADLINES
Make a goal of submitting x images per week or per month. Or a goal of spending x hours per week working on stock. Without goals NOTHING ever gets done!
If you were able to submit 50 or 100 images per month you’d have a collection of 600 -1200 images in a year. Think what that could be earning!
REALLY? YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO TIME?
We are firm believers that you should focus on doing what you’re good at and what is the best use of your skills and time. You should pay other people to do other tasks such as the boring book work and other repetitive tasks that can easily be taught to someone.
Our last piece of advice… If you are so busy planning and shooting etc, consider ‘investing’ some of the profits you are making into employing a part-timer to help you out.
You can teach him/her your basic editing process and he/she can help you sort through at least your 80% folder and prep, upload and caption files to One Shot.
To sum up, remember that one day the phone may stop ringing… we know, it may be hard to imagine for some of you but trust us, we’ve seen it happen to too many photographers over the years.
It might be for a day, a week, a month, or even longer. And that will be the time that you will value some income… from stock that is. Waiting ’till the phone stops ringing will be TOO LATE. It will take you a year or more to build up a collection of sufficient size to earn reasonable income from.
So make sure you regularly submit new images and as usual, if you need help with anything, contact our team.
The One Shot Team