Tips for Microstock Photography

1. Keywording: if you want your pictures to be found, you need accurate keywords to be associated with. Instead of thinking about them, there are many sites that can help you. Picniche is one of them. You put a Keyword Phrase in the search box and it will come out with several words. Pay attention to select only some of them, because they may  not be pertinent  to the context. Stocktagger is another great site and it's more precise than Picniche

The principle is the same and you have to experiment a little bit to extract good keywords. Here you type a word in the search box and it will come out with pictures of your subject. You select the ones that are most similar to yours and click on “accept chosen images and proceed to the selection of keywords”, sorted according to their supposed relevance. Now select the ones you think are right and it’s magically done.

2. Pictures Cleaning and Improvements: first of all, your photos must not contain any people or trademark object. So with Photoshop or another software like Gimp you have to remove these potential problems. After that it is better to improve your pictures as much as possible, so they can stand out from the mass of millions. Obviuously, it’s up to your creativity and imagination but there are a couple of Photoshop filters that may be useful. You can save some of your files with Noise Ninja from PictureCode (smoothly removes noise) and Topaz Adjust from TopazLabs. The latter must be used with attention because it could generate too much altered pictures. The trick in this case is to apply the filter and then fade it afterwards with the Ctrl-Shift-F keyboard shortcut. Try it and you can really improve your shots.

3. Uploading: the last step is to submit your pictures. Basically you can do it either from your web browser or through ftp (istockphoto doesn’t allow ftp for all and is the only exception among the main sites). The second option is by far the best and allows you to transfer a great quantity of files without having to follow the transfer. You just put the files on a queue and make the computer do the hard work. 

At the end you’ll find your files on the destination site, ready for the final refinements. There are a plethora of ftp client softwares, some of them even free. Filezilla is of of the best option for the free branch, it is well known and continuously updated. In the shareware branch, there's a great software called SmartFtp. You can try it for 30 days and then you pay about 50 bucks to keep using it.

4. Finish Submitting: after you upload your file to the variuos microstock sites you have to make the final refinements directly on site. Typically you have to choose the right categories for each image, as well as assign permissions for sale and upload a model/property release. Each site has a separate approach to this last step and if you decided to submit your files to several agencies you could find trouble remembering the whole path. Here's a table where for each site there is a quick reference of the last steps to complete. 


SHU Images stats, Waiting to be submitted
BIG Uploads, Pending your edit
CAN My portfolio, Submit images
CLI Media management
DEP Files, Unfinished files
DRE Contributors area, Management area, Select commercial pictures
FOTO My works
MOS My profile, Upload, Publish
POL My profile, Edit image
123 Sell images, Upload, Continue, Ftp settings / Check upload results
CRE Upload images, Attach model release-Review and submit
CUT Uploads, Process ftp uploads, Submit
FEA Manage portfolio, My new images, Look for not submitted pictures
GRA My account, Manage portfolio
MOO My collection, Edit every single image
MYS Portfolio, Process ftp files
PAN My Panther, My images, Image overview, My images, Image Upload Ftp/Psm
PIXM Sell photos, Unfinished
SCA Photographers, Upload images, Transfer files from my ftp account
VEE YourName, Profile, Contributor, Workspace, Prepare and submit
YAY YourName, Uploading

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