Ten (wrong) advices given by microstock contributors

Ten (wrong) advices given by microstock contributors

There are numerous websites, Facebook groups, blogs, and communities where microstock contributors give advice to their colleagues. Even agency guidelines sometimes present advice to authors that is at least questionable. However, most of the time these pieces of advice are completely wrong. In this article, let’s debunk some myths.

Creating a Niche: Many suggest creating a niche market by taking unique and niche-specific photos. This couldn’t be more wrong. The images created should reach the widest audience possible. Certainly, taking specific photos, such as dishes or monuments known to a few, reduces competition but also drastically limits the potential customer base. A good microstocker should instead compete with major authors and create images of global interest.

Using the Maximum Number of Keywords Allowed: Using more keywords will actually reduce the overall relevance of each word. Search engines will favor images that have fewer keywords for those same keywords. The ideal number, after 15 years of study, is around 25, with a range of 20-30.

Quality Over Quantity: While quality matters, creating three photos a week when the agency accepts two million is like not creating any at all. Focusing on quantity over quality makes your portfolio unattractive. There needs to be a balance if you want to succeed.

Longer Descriptions are Better: Wrong. Most agencies have a 200-character limit for descriptions, and the rest gets cut off. The sweet spot is around 70-80 characters.

Group Shootings to Split Costs: This is the gravest mistake a stock photographer can make. The result is that ten authors end up with the exact same photos, with the exact same subjects.

Only Shoot at Low ISOs: No, most agencies don’t even consider ISOs. Certainly, lower ISOs result in cleaner photos, but a natural light photo indoors, maybe at 1600 ISO, is unmatched in its naturalness.

Promote Your Work in Microstock Groups: Useless. These groups are created by authors, not clients.

Real People Win: No. The client wants photos of good-looking people. The only certainty in a world of hypocrisies is that beauty wins. Always. At least in advertisements. Focus on aesthetics, always, even if you’re an illustrator.

Create Seasonal Images: While valid, once the holidays are over, those images are dead. Always prefer creating images not tied to holidays or occasions. They sell all year round.

Create Images with AI: Valid for some agencies (Adobe Stock, Freepik, Vecteezy), but remember, this flattens the level of authors. Anyone can produce impactful images without knowing how to take a photo or draw a vector. Learn to create things on your own.


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