One of the best parts about stock photography and selling your photos is that you can incorporate it into your daily life.
In fact, Breakfast Stock Club reader Rosanne Tackaberry found a way to make hundreds of dollars in stock photo sales… simply by opening her refrigerator and getting creative.
Through this experience, she’s learned some great tricks for making her photos stand out to buyers.
I’ll let her tell you about it below…
Stock Photo Sales from My Kitchen
By Rosanne Tackaberry
Take one spoonful of yogurt, plop a fresh berry on top, snap a photo, eat, repeat. This simple recipe resulted in a $250 stock photo sale for me recently.
The instructor of a marketing course I once took told our class that food photography was specialized. You need to hire a food stylist, we were told, and only experts have a hope of making money this way.
Happily, I found that this is not true.
Tips from Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Photography Workshop and the Breakfast Stock Club newsletter have helped me learn to take saleable food shots easily at home on my dining room table.
The challenging aspect for me was figuring out how to create images that will be found by photo buyers among the more than 6 million food photos already in my stock agency, Alamy.
Here are the steps I take to make my images stand out from the crowd:
1. Search for the gaps
After looking at the contents of my refrigerator one day, a search of the agency website for “yogurt” returned over 83,000 images. Too much competition. However, searching for “Greek yogurt blueberries” only returned about 1,000 images, greatly improving the odds.
I saw many beautiful setups of yogurt with berries but few very simple images, so I opted for the latter approach. To illustrate the concept of a quick healthy snack, I shot single spoonfuls and plain bowls of yogurt with different types of berries.
2. Identify trends
Searches for food trends on the internet helps me identify subjects that are likely to be in-demand in the coming months.
When “non-dairy milk” appeared on a beverage trend list, I photographed milk alternatives in packages, in a glass, and as an almond milk matcha latte. Afterward, I enjoyed both the latte and the stock sales.
3. Go shopping
Shopping for props and backgrounds, as well as checking out food markets, is part of the fun. Travel souvenirs such as baskets, pottery and fabric are great for food stock photos.
Strolling through Victoria, Canada while on vacation, I came across an Irish linen store. I picked up a few odds and ends from their discount bin.
At home, I used one of these linen napkins as a background for fresh golden berries, and the photo was later licensed for use in a magazine.
4. Keyword thoroughly
The client who bought the golden berry image found it using the search term “Irish linen” rather than a food-related keyword, so always be sure to include all the relevant details in your photo as keywords. You just never know what a buyer might be searching for.
5. Eat dessert first
I’m currently “working” on a French macaron project. My husband accuses me of using this as an excuse to eat as many macarons as possible. (He’s not wrong.) Nonetheless, I can point to my stock sales and say to him with a straight face that buying and photographing these exquisite little cakes is serious business.
Warning: photographing handmade chocolates and other delicacies can cause weight gain. Next week, I’ll show you how I use stock photography to burn off the extra calories. Until then, happy shooting.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about getting started selling your photos online in stock agencies – no matter how much or little photography experience you have – in the Breakfast Stock Club e-newsletter. It’s once a week, and it’s free to join, here.]