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Just started. 2 weeks uploading 110 pictures online 0 sales


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Yes, I am afraid it is normal. Microstock is a touch business with lots of competition. Many people will probably now come here and say something like "You need at least 1000 photos to have sales!". But I don't believe that to be true. You can have sales with just 10 images just as well. But in microstock with search algorithms and millions of images added to the database each week, luck plays a big factor and the more images you have, the bigger is your chance of customers finding and buying them. Shutterstock has around 370.000.000 images in the database. 110 are your's. That's your overall chance of a customer finding your images. To be more concrete, let's take this image of yours.

pink-flowers-on-blue-sky-600w-1960589584

You have titled this pink flower. Shutterstock's search gives me 8.731.700 images when searching for "pink flower". So, 0,00001 % of the search results for "pink flower" are yours. That means your chance of a customer finding and buying your pink flower image is  0,00001%. (Actually smaller if you consider the quality factor. If I searched for "pink flower" the first thing that came into my mind would be a bouquet or flowers in a garden, not a fruit tree) That should give you an idea of how many sales you can expect. You can raise your chance by either uploading thousands of more pink flower images (do not recommend), or you can try to improve keywording:
 What pink flower is it? Is it a plum tree? What species? "pink flower" is too generic to really give you a chance of anyone finding that image. If you have the name of the tree, you have the chance that someone looking for that tree will buy your image. Without the name you only have a 0,00001% chance of someone looking for pink flowers finding it.
 

 

I think for most images your keywording isn't bad. You don't have all that many keywords, but I also don't believe in the  "add at least 40 keywords" some people say. For most images all the relevant keywords are there. There is no point in adding every color that is in your photo to the keywords just to artificially boost the number. It won't make a difference. The quality of your images is also decent, even though I think some of them are a bit on the dark side. As for topics, you have a few interesting ones, but most of them are very "generic" topics. Streets, trees, beach, plant, flower, desert. It's not that these generic things don't sell. Everything can sell on Shutterstock (I once sold a photo of a dumpster for almost 100$). But the more generic, the more competition you have and the smaller your chance of your photo being found and bought. This goes for both photo subjects and keywords.

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It's getting your keywords right, which is something you'll learn as you go along. As an example, if you submit a photo of a dog, don't just put 'dog'. Put its breed too, the colour and look of it's fur etc. If you submit a plant, don't just put 'plant', put what species it is, what colour the flowers are etc. If your keywords are too generic, your shots will get lost. There's also the matter that your shots have to be of a high quality too.

I've only been shooting stock for just over a year, and I'm still learning. I still have a comparatively small portfolio - only around 580 photos, but I've managed to get around 650 downloads, by putting more relevant and descriptive keywords.

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3 hours ago, Oskars Kupics said:

Hey, I am completely new to stock photography, started out of curiosity and so far 2 weeks uploading 110 pictures online 0 sales. Is this normal? Maybe I should upload different content? 

Its normal.

You need thousands of photos to get useful regular income and certainly much much longer than 2 weeks for anything to start generating sales.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Oskars Kupics said:

Hey, I am completely new to stock photography, started out of curiosity and so far 2 weeks uploading 110 pictures online 0 sales. Is this normal? Maybe I should upload different content? 

Some of your photos are really beautiful. The photography, so the craft, is not your problem.

But, as Firn has already written: The keywords are crucial for every search engine, for every database and therefore also for Microstock – almost more important than the images themselves.

If you upload a photo of the Teide on Tenerife, then the keywords must also include Tenerife, Canary Islands, Pico del Teide, Teide, volcano, landscape.

An oleander is an important symbol in the north for the south, for Mediterranean landscapes. The word oleander must be in the keywords, especially if it is in the foreground of the image. If Bellagio is seen with the Alps in the background, there must necessarily be Italy, shore, lake, Laggo di Como, Como, Alps, Mountains and so on.

You have to invest more time there. Anyone looking for a picture of Lake Como or Tenerife can't find your pictures. And therefore not buy them!

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You have a great eye, and a pleasing style, keep working on increasing your portfolio.

As was already stated, keywords are SUPERBLY important for buyers to find your images - the ONLY way they will find your work - so, put adequate time in keywording.

If you didn't already, use the SS keywording tool (top right on the submit content page), but make sure all your keywords are relevant to the image  - 

enter keywords that describe your image on the search line, then pick the images that are like yours, and then proceed to choose the keywords that are offered based on those images.

You can do it when you upload, OR, if you're going to upload images to other agencies as well, you're better off finding the keywords BEFORE you upload them, enter them in your image's metadata (description and keywords), save the image with the keywords, and when you upload your images, those fields are automatically populated from your metadata and you don't have to do it again elsewhere, just check. On Adobe Stock you will have to pick some "priority" keywords, but it's easier when you already have them in. Somewhat same on Alamy.

 

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You'll do fine once you fine-tune your keywords. It does take patience.

One note: you seem to upload images with an editorial designation for topics that do not need to be editorial (nature views without people or recognizable modern architecture, images of food). This will limit their sales potential.

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57 minutes ago, Oskars Kupics said:

What is the optimal number of keywords per image?

That’s an ongoing discussion. The truth is that nobody knows. I have always hed the maximum of 50, but lately I try to have 20 or less - as recommended by Adobe. But I’m certainly not sure of that. I try to eliminate some generic words and keyword spamming. My opinion is that it doesn’t matter how many words - as long as they are relevant for the image.

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Also look at similar photos.
For example, there are a lot of pictures of ducks. If you know the species, you should include it.
I also often look at similar photos or photos that are at the top of the ranking.
Your duck has a similar photo with a better description (Multicolored domestic duck). If I search for those words as a customer, that photo will be high on the first page and your photo cannot be found.

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I see you were in Lake Como, beautiful place. Unfortunately it's a saturated market and you need to capture content extraordinarily (you did OK actually).

Give you credit that it's not easy if you're just there for the afternoon. So it's best that you shoot locally, wherever you live, and try to become a reference for your town/city.

My best-seller from Lake Como...

Red garden arch on coastline leading towards the beautiful and historic city of Varenna on the edge of Lake Como in the northern Italian region of Lombardy

 

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7 minutes ago, Alexandre Rotenberg said:

I see you were in Lake Como, beautiful place. Unfortunately it's a saturated market and you need to capture content extraordinarily (you did OK actually).

Give you credit that it's not easy if you're just there for the afternoon. So it's best that you shoot locally, wherever you live, and try to become a reference for your town/city.

My best-seller from Lake Como...

Red garden arch on coastline leading towards the beautiful and historic city of Varenna on the edge of Lake Como in the northern Italian region of Lombardy

 

Thanks! Thats a beautiful shot, I actually haven't been in this particular place of Como seen on your picture. I agree Como is spectacular place. It's like live painting. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Oskars Kupics I think you are doing very good. Photography is on point, some really beautiful and interesting images in your port. Keep uploading, dedicate generous time to keywording. It took me a while to get the simple concept that if a keyword is not there, and the customer is searching for it, and it is related to your photo, you are missing out, your photo is just invisible to someone who could be interested in it. So indeed litteral description, involved emotions, related concepts, all should be included. Also use the title to include additional keyworks that you could eventually not fit in the 50 allowed, or to repeat some of the more important keywords involved. Keywords (and title) are THE ONLY way your photo can be found/seen.

As a more general workflow advice, do include the keywords and title into the picture themselves as exif data so that you can easily re-upload to other sites without too much work. I wish I had done that from the very beginning.

Good luck to you, I am sure that once you have the numbers (1000 and up) you will start to see daily downloads and some more serious money. Takes time indeed. Great general advice from Firn and others above.

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On 5/3/2021 at 5:56 AM, Oskars Kupics said:

Hey, I am completely new to stock photography, started out of curiosity and so far 2 weeks uploading 110 pictures online 0 sales. Is this normal? Maybe I should upload different content? 

Just remember, this is a marathon not a sprint.  In the grand scheme of things 110 pictures out of the millions on SS is small. I’ve been on SS for a few years, my port is small (and yeah, some photos are more snapshots, but I’ve also had photos be on here for a year or two before selling).

I might not be getting the quote quite right, but ~ 20% of one’s port will account for the majority of one’s sales (I think the original quote was 20%  of the photos here account  for most of the sales. So I might not be too far off on scaling that down, every thing else being equal in terms of image quality (exposure, composition, etc), keywording etc), so having a larger port will help. As will having images that are unique. Keywording is important as well. If you have a picture, say of a rare kind of rose, just labeling it “rose” or “flower” might not get you a lot of sales, but if you also label it with the kind of rose, those that are looking for a photo of the “rare red/green hybrid tea rose of tipperary” your competition goes way down.

For someone witih my port size, there are days I don’t make sales, though the # of sles/month varies a bit (one of the reasons my port is still small is that I’m not a professional photographer, and having a day job and a family with young kids, those take priority). When I have the time to look at what needs people are looking for in a given month and the subjects are things I can do uniquely here.. then perhaps I’ll be able to do more. I suspect you also have a life outside of photography and that limits travel/photography time and so forth. NOt that it’s an excuse... just saying they’re factors.

Give it time, think of things that are under represented here on SS, especially those that you can shoot near home, or plan to travel to anyhow and will have time to shoot, and keep uploading.

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