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Getting Started in Microstock Photography



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How to get started in Microstock photography


Here is a simple guide to help you get started in Microstock photography and sell stock photos online.



Step 1: Open an account with the Top 5 Microstock sites. Take the time to browse these sites and read the Terms and Conditions and other small prints. It's particularly important to understand what photos you can and can't upload.



Step 2: Copy all the photos you took in the past years into a folder. Then, delete the photos that have no commercial value. You should also make sure to delete any photo that contains a brand (for example a photo of a Fedex truck, even if the Fedex truck is not the main subject of the photo). You should also delete any photos containing copyrighted items such as painting, sculptures etc...


A model release should be uploaded along with all photos containing recognizable human faces. If you don't have a model release and can't get one, then you should delete the photo.



Step 3: Edit the IPTC tags of the photos you intend to upload on Microstock sites. To do so you can use an IPTC editor such as iTag. Make sure to write descriptive titles, descriptions and keywords, else it is less likely that buyers will find your photos.



Step 4: Upload your photos to the Top 5 Microstock sites. They are considered as the best earners by most Microstock contributors. Some of these sites will let you upload your photos right away. Other request that you first get approved by submitting a sample of your best photos and/or passing a test. It's usually fairly easy to get approved but if you are turned down, don't get discouraged. It also happened to me. :( Try to understand why you were not approved and try again later on.


If you have a large number (several hundreds) of photos, it's probably better to divide them in several batches of 50 or 100 photos and upload one batch first, see how it goes and then upload the other batches one by one.


The most convenient way to upload photos is by FTP. For that purpose, you will need a FTP software. I recommend that you use SmartFTP.



Step 5: Once you are done with the Top 5 Microstock sites, you can upload your photos to other Microstock sites. Sales will probably be comparatively slow on these sites; however if by adding a few bucks there and there, you might end with a nice additional revenue and it could therefore be worth the extra time.








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