The easy days of stock photography are long gone, so images of handshakes and calculators aren’t going to generate income and therefore would be a waste of your shooting, processing, and uploading time. However, there is still a great demand for business-oriented images. The trick these days is to provide new, unique, and fresh ideas and concepts.
That is perhaps the greatest challenge currently in the industry, which is figuring out what’s new and unique in a world where virtually every concept and twist has been done. It should be obvious what has been overdone and over saturated within the market.
So what opportunities still remain?
Topics such as failure, getting fired, changing careers, these are subjects you see very little being done. Bankruptcy, starting a business, getting financing, small businesses, these are even more topics that have been under covered. Everyone always focuses on success or photographs business people in front of computers.
You’re also going to have to work harder for less money. You can still generate a side income with business stock photography, but you need to produce images that are well executed. As mentioned previously, simple scenes of a pencil and a calculator are overdone and images like that are being given away for free. If you want to be a leader in the industry, then you really should purchase and learn photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
With Photoshop you can create professional grade images instead of relying on kitchen table shoots with the pencil and calculator. Chances are you’ve seen business people jumping across rocks or cliffs for “success” concepts. Multiple images are layered together in order to create these types of images. There will be the image of the business person, another for the rocks, and some kind of background such as mountains or clouds.
Even then, “success” ideas such as these are also overdone which means sales will be difficult to come by despite having the skill for producing these images when most others are unable to do the same. However, virtually no one has created pictures of business people falling off the cliff or coming up short. “Failure” is a valid topic but very little has been done in this regard.
Bankruptcy is a business topic that has hardly been covered. Many of the pictures you see for this are people looking at an empty wallet or pulling the pockets out of their pants. What kind of images can you create that will stand out from the others? Perhaps a piggy bank falling from the sky and onto a business person? How about a bank building that is cracking and falling apart? This is where your photo editing skills need to be at a high level but that’s what it takes these days to be successful in the world of online stock. Photographing someone pulling out their pockets is a waste of time, so your time should be spent learning your editing software and creating images that no one else can create.
Let’s stop here a bit and talk about photo editing software. If you are a true photographer with a passion for photography and learning the craft so you can generate an income on the side, then having editing software is just as crucial as it is for having a good camera. If you heard that there is money to be made snapping pictures of flowers in the park with your cell phone, then you’re not going to make it with online stock. The myth still persists that there is easy money to be made. That used to be true 10 years ago but not anymore. I know some of you will gnash your teeth over this and say “I know some someone” but earning $25/month and being able to say you’re selling pictures is not making it.
If you want to be a professional, then do what it takes to be a professional. It’s a tough business to be in and you have to rise above the competition.
One of the toughest things to do these days is to come up with new and fresh ideas. One thing you can do is to go to the various stock sites and do searches on business topics and see what’s selling well. The images with lots of sales generally are well executed and usually difficult to duplicate. You can also see what kind of images are overdone. A mistake that many amateurs make is to copy what everyone else is doing which is why there are so many pencil and calculator images out there.
After you’ve searched through the various business topics out there, you should have a fair idea of what sells well and why. You should also be aware of what kinds of images will be a waste of time, it’s no use duplicating what tens of thousands have already done and with virtually no sales to show for their efforts.
After doing your searches, you will see “success” is a well-covered topic. But how do you know topics like “bankruptcy” are under-covered? Discovering topics that virtually no one is doing is difficult to figure out. It’s almost like digging for gold and not realizing you’re standing on a silver mine. How do you know to look for silver when you’re looking for gold?
This is where you need to rely on your experience in life. You need to use your imagination. When you’re doing your homework and surfing through what everyone else is doing, take note of images and concepts you may not have thought of. You may see images that trigger new ideas and concepts in your head. You may see an image that was well executed but could be given a twist for another concept.
As you can see then, this blog is not a list of topics that you should cover. “Bankruptcy” may be an untapped idea but once you’re created a few images, what do you do next? What you should take away from this blog is to realize there is still many business topics that have not yet been created for the online stock industry. “Business” is extremely well covered so you need to look at how you can create quality images that will rise above the competition. If you want to be a professional in this industry, then purchase and learn professional grade photo editing software. And lastly, rely on yourself for discovering new ideas and concepts. Surfing through stock databases will give you ideas, but try to see what hasn’t been done rather than what everyone else is doing. Easier said than done but you will never find the silver if you only focus on trying to find the gold.