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I need a sincere opinion about my portfolio, I want to improve.


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Hi,

Guys, I'm new to ShutterStock, I'm an amateur photographer from Brazil, with very simple photography devices, and I really wanted to improve.

I believe that when people point out the points where we can improve, it becomes much easier to evolve.

Link to my Portfolio: https://www.shutterstock.com/pt/g/lasvenasabiertas?sort=newest
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Honest opinion, you have a tiny portfolio.  You need thousands or tens of thousands.

Compositionally and technically your flower photos are fairly useless.  They're just badly exposed snapshots of stuff in your garden.  Anyone can do that with a mobile phone for free.  They shouldn't have been accepted.

They're all underexposed, non-flower ones have sloping horizons.

Your captions are rubbish....  "A beautiful pink flower, image captured in a Brazilian city.".  What flower, what's its full latin name?  What city?  What else is in the image etc.

 

Keywords are so generic it'll never get found.  There's nothing specific at all.

Also look at your competition.  There are several million flower images (its one of the most popular topics), a huge number of which are far better, far more aesthetically pleasing and far keyworded.

For example, look here:- Hibiscus Stock Photos, Images & Photography | Shutterstock

Look at the quality difference, look at the keyword difference.  Why would someone buy yours over any of those?  There are 187,000 images of Hibiscus to choose from.

So basically you need to learn the basics of photography, exposure and composition.  You need to not just run around taking snapshots of random plants.

Then you need to correctly and accurately describe and keyword it.

*Always* do a search on Shutterstock to see the level of competition you're up against and take note of their descriptions, keywords, quality and so on.

Think of yourself as a buyer and ask *WHY* someone would want to buy an image.  Theres no benefit uploading things people wont want to buy or could duplicate themselves for free in 5 seconds with a phone.

Ultimately, SS shouldn't have accepted any of these and years ago, wouldn't.

You need several thousand *good* images to make useful sales.

 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Former_Poster said:

Honest opinion, you have a tiny portfolio.  You need thousands or tens of thousands.

Compositionally and technically your flower photos are fairly useless.  They're just badly exposed snapshots of stuff in your garden.  Anyone can do that with a mobile phone for free.  They shouldn't have been accepted.

They're all underexposed, non-flower ones have sloping horizons.

Your captions are rubbish....  "A beautiful pink flower, image captured in a Brazilian city.".  What flower, what's its full latin name?  What city?  What else is in the image etc.

 

Keywords are so generic it'll never get found.  There's nothing specific at all.

Also look at your competition.  There are several million flower images (its one of the most popular topics), a huge number of which are far better, far more aesthetically pleasing and far keyworded.

For example, look here:- Hibiscus Stock Photos, Images & Photography | Shutterstock

Look at the quality difference, look at the keyword difference.  Why would someone buy yours over any of those?  There are 187,000 images of Hibiscus to choose from.

So basically you need to learn the basics of photography, exposure and composition.  You need to not just run around taking snapshots of random plants.

Then you need to correctly and accurately describe and keyword it.

*Always* do a search on Shutterstock to see the level of competition you're up against and take note of their descriptions, keywords, quality and so on.

Think of yourself as a buyer and ask *WHY* someone would want to buy an image.  Theres no benefit uploading things people wont want to buy or could duplicate themselves for free in 5 seconds with a phone.

Ultimately, SS shouldn't have accepted any of these and years ago, wouldn't.

You need several thousand *good* images to make useful sales.

 

 

 

 

It was hard to hear all of that. It was a very bad feeling to realize that, even though I'm doing my best, my content is still not good enough. I will try to study more, and improve the quality of my equipment. Thank you for your rating.

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1 hour ago, las.venas.abiertas said:

It was hard to hear all of that. It was a very bad feeling to realize that, even though I'm doing my best, my content is still not good enough. I will try to study more, and improve the quality of my equipment. Thank you for your rating.

I think Former Poster is much too harsh. Your images are ok quality, in focus and correct exposed imo - but not outstanding. His other comments are right though. Just listen to him and carry on. Add a lot of ‘human interest’ images and photos describing your country and where you live - people, buildings, colors, scenery and so on. Get out of your own garden. If you want to shoot flowers the competition is overwhelming. Your port is better than many other ‘beginners’ in microstock.

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las.venas.abiertas,

It's true you need to work on exposure, composition, subject choices as well key wording.  Don't feel bad, we all did when we began learning photography.  Keep in mind that many of the photographers that submit here are professional or at the very least they have been shooting pictures most of their lives.  The competition is brutal, especially in the category of flowers, insects and other common animals. 

Stock photography was primarily established to provide retail and commercial establishments a source of inexpensive images to help promote their products, ideas and or area.  Images that don't lend themselves to this, won't be in high demand.  However anything can sell, it just has to stand out, tell the story better or just be exposed, composed or lit better than the competition.  

If you expect to make a lot of money in stock photography, that's going to take a lot of work (especially now).  If you're willing to improve your photography skills the forum can be a good place to do it as long as you don't have a thin skin.   Learn from the comments you've already received but don't take them personally.  As suggested, check out the competition and review some of the past forum threads.  There is a lot to be learned here, in books and on line but it's going to take work, nothing comes easy.  Enjoy the process of learning and you will do well.

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6 hours ago, las.venas.abiertas said:








Hi,

Guys, I'm new to ShutterStock, I'm an amateur photographer from Brazil, with very simple photography devices, and I really wanted to improve.

I believe that when people point out the points where we can improve, it becomes much easier to evolve.

Link to my Portfolio: https://www.shutterstock.com/pt/g/lasvenasabiertas?sort=newest

Judging by the ratios of your photos, they are iPhone/smartphone shots aren't they?

iPhone shots do sell but they have to be par excellence to what the experienced photographers with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are offering. They need to have very unique content, are very well composed, and with great lighting. You need to understand all of these things to sell a lot nowadays.

 

Photography is the science of capturing light. Start there. If you can master light, you are 90% of the way to becoming a good photographer. I agree with Former Poster in that your photos are too underexposed for microstock. The reason is that they will get lost on crowded search pages.  

There's some really good books out there about lighting. This is one of the best that every photographer should have but it may be a bit too expensive for you at the moment. Its mainly for indoor lighting but it will teach you a lot:

Light Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting - Hunter, Fil, Biver, Steven, Fuqua, Paul | 8601422003499 | Amazon.com.au | Books

 

You have a lot of learn. Comments above from Former Poster and Steve Bower are very good and should take you in the right direction.

The only other thing I can add is that if you are walking around taking photos like you do, try and capture the essence of Brazil. Try and capture the color and brilliance of what makes Brazil so exciting. Eventually you could aim for the tourism market. But try not to have too many editorials because they will limit your buyer market.

Advertisers usually don't want people's actual faces in their photos without a signed model release. There are lots of creative ways of shooting people and crowd shots, without showing their faces. Creative cropping, shooting from the side or behind, long distance, silhouettes, etc. Study up on those. Here's a quick search of people shots that include a few of them. Scroll down the page to see what I mean.  

Lifestyle Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

 

Study and learn as you go. Remind yourself that there's a long learning curve to becoming a good stock photographer. 

 

But then - you will probably only earn 10c per photo until you can build a portfolio of very well executed photography with unique content, that is in demand by buyers. And that can take awhile. Its a very tough market. 

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If you want to go after the low hanging fruit, There are major news stories going on now in (Bahia State) Brazil related to the virus. Upload them as editorial and the dimes roll in. 

At least 1000x more commercially interested and useful than flowers and boring landscapes (which are terribly keyworded anyway so buyers will not find them).

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We had this discussion years ago. When someone (like me) said to new contributors ‘don’t shoot flowers’ some of the wise guys always said ‘BS - everything sells’ and someone could always come up with a flower image which had sold. But the wise guys are obviosly not in the forum any more to tell that everything sells.

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2 hours ago, oleschwander said:

We had this discussion years ago. When someone (like me) said to new contributors ‘don’t shoot flowers’ some of the wise guys always said ‘BS - everything sells’ and someone could always come up with a flower image which had sold. But the wise guys are obviosly not in the forum any more to tell that everything sells.

Flowers can sell (such as the two below that have done OK but as u can see they are within an interest context) but why would anybody in their right mind spend their time shooting them when there are a million other things that sell much better and easier. To me it's just laziness and pure comfort zone thinking.

Instagram likes won't translate in stock sales for the same images.  

 

flower bike.JPG

greenhouse.JPG

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3 hours ago, oleschwander said:

We had this discussion years ago. When someone (like me) said to new contributors ‘don’t shoot flowers’ some of the wise guys always said ‘BS - everything sells’ and someone could always come up with a flower image which had sold. But the wise guys are obviosly not in the forum any more to tell that everything sells.

Ole, I just had to tell you this as I like the idea of being a 'wise guy' 🙂

This sold recently. However ..... only the once, which is really the point ... flowers may sell, but not in the same quantities that other subjects do and multiple sales is what microstock is really all about.

Viola flowers of various colours in a vintage terracota bowl sunlit summer concept

 

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I hate to be redundant but "Anything can sell", even flowers.  The attached image has been on Shutterstock less than three years and has sold nearly 200 times and made me well over $150.00.  I have other flower images that have been here much longer that have done even better.  As I recall, the keyword "flower" is one of the most often used keywords.  Someone must be looking them up and buying flower images.

FS Purple and White Orchids sm .jpg

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More advice, keep learning and practicing.  If you can't find a good photography class to take, there are hundreds of free online tutorials for both beginners and advanced hobbyists.  This includes not only techniques in taking good shots, but also post processing of images.  Bright, vibrant images that "pop" will grab the attention of potential buyers.  Shoot  RAW so you can  have the most flexibility in enhancing your image.  Always be on the lookout for your next best shot and have your camera at the ready so you don't miss it.  Don't waste your time on the boring and mundane.  Some days you just come home empty handed.  Do it because you enjoy it.  If you don't love photography - the thrill of the chase, nailing the perfect shot, and then making it beautiful - then microstock is probably not for you.  

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8 hours ago, Steve Bower said:

I hate to be redundant but "Anything can sell", even flowers.  The attached image has been on Shutterstock less than three years and has sold nearly 200 times and made me well over $150.00.  I have other flower images that have been here much longer that have done even better.  As I recall, the keyword "flower" is one of the most often used keywords.  Someone must be looking them up and buying flower images.

FS Purple and White Orchids sm .jpg

This is a great example of how anything can sell. But this image has nothing in common with 95% of the flower images in the database.

I can crop this image in a few minutes and use it for many purposes. This is microstock. And yet, the image would probably only get a 7/10 rating from the artificial intelligence because the artificial intelligence doesn't understand what's in the image and what I can use it for.

If you - the OP - want to improve, you have to keep such examples in mind, compare them with your own images, understand the differences. If you internalize that, you have chances to earn a few dollars in the microstock sector.

If you can't do that because you don't have the technical know-how, then you have to photograph flowers that no one has ever photographed before. Then it doesn't really matter how good the images are in terms of technical or photographic quality, because you still have a chance to make a sale. If a buyer can find this special flower through the keywords – they must be correct! But that brings then maybe 5 sales in 5 years – no more. That is then only good for science or botanists. But not for the sale in the mass.

If you want to improve, you must – and this has never changed – always ask yourself the question first: Why should someone buy my images? What can he need it for? How can he use it? If you can't answer that question, the image may get sales. But not many.

 

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Here are some other ideas/suggestions, on top of what’s already been suggested. I’ll probably end up repeating a suggestion or two:

1) take a look at this thread (there may be other similar ones) where people post their most recent downloads so  you can get a sense of what sells: 

 

 

2) Take pictures of things that are unique to where you live - whether is plants and animals native to Brazil to man made objects. Just be aware that some places have restrictions on whether they can be photographed and then used for above and beyond personal use (eg, vacation pictures). the list is here: https://support.submit.shutterstock.com/s/topic/0TO3Z000000N2IyWAK/known-image-restrictions?language=en_US 

The statue “Christ the Redeemer” in Rio De Janeiro is on the list.

3) Keywording is important. If the main subject is of a plant or animal, put in the common name (in english) and the scientific name as well. Both in the title and keywords as I’ve done here: https://submit.shutterstock.com/catalog_manager/images/1734921209 (and this one has sold).

4) Don’t be afraid to take and post a few editorial photos. They do sell, but usually not quite as well as those that aren’t editorial. The description has some additional requirements in terms of needing to start with the date/location: For example “March 12, 2020 - Rio de janeiro. A member of the _samba school here_ prepares to join the carnival parade”. There is an article here on shutterstock about the description requirements for editorial.

5) There’s a rule, and I hope I’m quoting it correctly, that ~ 20% of one’s port will account for the majority (80% I think) of one’s sales. I know this is true of my port that ~20% of the photos have been downloaded, some more than others. Some who have larger/more diverse/better photos than mine might have a higher percentage. You’ll need more than 15 photos to start seeing consistent downloads. And to quote an oft used line here on SS, this is a marathon not a sprint (It’ll take time to build a port. Some photos may take a year or more to sell for the first time. Other photos may take only a few days).

6) to add to #5 above, it is likely you’ll need a few hundred photos before you’ll start seeing some (consistent) downloads, and probably thousands before the number of downloads per month is significant. However, some folks, from what I understand, have had consistently good download numbers with just a few hundred (600 or so) photos in their port. Those folks are the exceptions. An old discussion here on has been about what’s more important, quality or quantity. The answer is both: a port of 2000 poorly exposed, poorly executed photos is probably going to sell fewer photos than a port with 800 well exposed, well done photos. Even with similar kinds of photos.

7) try and find a few things that aren’t as well represented and see if you can add to that subject. For example, a search for  the keyword “rose” brings up +5,300,000 images for roses. The key word “favela” brings up 7,700. OThers might only bring up a few hundred. 

 

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1 hour ago, Alexandre Rotenberg said:

Speaking of flowers, here's a nice vlog of @Andrew Balcombe photographing flower fields in the Netherlands :) 

 

Brought me back good memories. 

When I cycle for 10 minutes, I can already see the first flower fields. Not close to the shot on the video. They are late this year due to the cold weather. I'll check it out next week.
However, there are already thousands of good photos of the Dutch flower fields. My photos of the fields with ornamental onions Allium globemaster sell slightly better because they are lesser known flowers.
I also have some pictures of the work on the bulb fields before they bloom. I don't like it that much in contrast to all those tourists. 🙂 I enjoy the English gardens much more. Bodnant Garden is my favorite.

stock-photo-field-with-the-ornamental-onions-allium-globemaster-a-cross-between-allium-cristophii-and-allium-1741216019.jpg

stock-photo-field-with-the-ornamental-onions-allium-globemaster-a-cross-between-allium-cristophii-and-allium-1741216022.jpg

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