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Are They Coming to You?
It’s one thing to get recognition for your photos; it’s practical and helpful to also get paid for them.
I’m not talking about the $5 or $10 you receive for generic images from an online micro-site. Photobuyers purchasing specific-content photos will pay ten times that, if they can find your photos – and they can find them, if you put keyword descriptions of them on a photo-textcentric * Internet site.
Join the photo-textcentric movement.*
Photo editors now look for the images they need by doing text searches on the Internet instead of plowing through numbers of actual photos.
They narrow their search down by using faster and precise text search, then contact the photographer for a selection of images to review.
Next time you’re on a vacation, take a lot of pictures, but also take notes. What is the name of that historic site (spell it right), that nightclub, or baseball park? What about other landmarks, scenic locations, recreation specialties, in the town you are visiting?
Using a brochure from the Chamber of Commerce as a guide, or the post card counter in the local drug store, capture your images with your digital camera. If it’s 8 megs or above, the images are eligible for magazine and book reproduction.
Again, take notes, the more the better. Who? What? Why? Where? When?
The answers to theses questions will be required as captions by many of your clients, photo editors, and researchers. And the details and identifying descriptions surely will be needed when you “keyword” each of your images to upload to your personal site, and/or to a photo-textcentric site like www.photosource.com/bank . (Hundreds of photobuyers visit the high-traffic PhotoSourceBANK every day to search for the photos they need.)
Making your photos accessible to buyers in this way (listing them on a textcentric site) is much more efficient than the former way of doing business, where you waited for a photobuyer to eventually find and view your website, on-line store, your exhibit, or Internet catalog, looking for a specific illustration for one of their projects.
If you specialize in one or a couple specific interest areas, the textcentric route is the way to go to make sales.
Commercial on-line stock photo agencies rarely accept images that may be arcane, obscure, and too specific to promise multiple sales. However, photobuyers in the multi-million dollar editorial stock photo industry are always seeking hard-to-find images for their magazines, textbooks, brochures, TV documentaries, and book publishing projects.
Textcentric searching – which has
become the search method of choice
within the last two years -- means
the buyers come directly to you. And
you receive 100% of each sale.
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“Photo-textcentric” is not a word
you’ll find in today’s dictionary,
but next year you might. It’s a
term that's been coined recently
to capture this speedy method for
finding the source of a photo
by searching by means of text
rather than pictures.
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When you list effective descriptive keywords on a search site on the Internet, you position yourself to sit back and reap an extra revenue stream proportionate to the numbers of photos and keywords you use. For photographers with a small promotion budget, your investment is negligible.
This method of finding photos and of selling photos has become possible thanks to advances in search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.
Buyers who come to you directly will be in great need of your photos and they are willing to pay $100 to $200 for one-time use of your images (all photo rights return to you). You can sell the use of your photos again and again.
The Internet has allowed the independent stock photographer market to expand. It’s not uncommon for stock photographers to corner their personal local market, and then branch out to sell their photos worldwide, thanks to this new photo-textcentric approach.
* PHOTO-TEXTCENTRIC: Search engines are at the forefront of this new way to market your photos on the Internet. Looking for a photo? For example, a photo of ‘elephants taking a mud bath in Kenya’ (a typical listing)? You need only to type a search phrase (text) using the key words of your choice into the search bar of Google or a similar search engine, plus the word “photosource”. You’ll find the photo (and the photographer) in seconds.
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Q: You might ask, "Keywording photos is boring and time-consuming. Why should I go through that drudgery? I'm a photographer, not a librarian!
A: YES keywording is important – it brings you sales.
And there’s another prime reason that can motivate you to keep churning out those keyword descriptions (captions): they keep your images alive and saleable.
If when you retire you want to sell your collection, or donate it to a museum/university – your entire body of work will be of no use or value unless your photos are equipped with written identifiers. Even more compelling, if you want to leave a legacy through your work to your spouse or children, likewise for it to be of practical value to them, make sure keywording is part of your every day work process.
THE REALITY: In the near future, if you're not available to consult with the owner of your photos, a photo collection worth $150,000 would be considered worthless if they are not properly keyworded. Who's going to know the name of that country school house or the small creek that runs by it? -RE
As an editorial stock photographer you are going to find much more enjoyment when you are photographing subject matter that you like to take. Learn more about how to sell those pictures at PhotoSource International and the PhotoSourceBANK, Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. Rohn Engh is director of and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 1 715 248 3800; www.photosource.com