Selling Stock Photos – Why Some Images Never Convert

Why Aren’t My Stock Images Selling?

Selling stock photos, and why some images sell and others don’t is one of the most popular topics at photography meetups.

A photographer friend, lets call him Tom, edited and uploaded 2,000 of his past images. After two months, he had a little over $100 from stock photography. I told him that pushing images through the agency approval process is only half the battle.

These are my top three reasons why images don’t sell. Each one is just as important as the others. There is no order to them at all.

Photos Aren’t Tagged To Sell

Obviously, if customers can’t find them, selling stock photos will be near impossible. It’s important to realize that you need to tag your photos. Add keywords, titles and descriptions.

Turns out Tom didn’t add titles or keywords to his photos.

This was my chance to compliment his photography! With ZERO search engine help, he managed to license his work. His photography was great!

Photos Are Too “Artsy” To Sell

Some images maybe too abstract or too “artsy” to sell as commercial stock photos.

Your customers are looking for images to build their brand, sell products and help demonstrate specific ideas.

Try not to edit only for YOUR taste. Rather, keep in mind your customer’s needs and vision.

You Have Competition

Not surprisingly, there are a ton of photographers out there. A lot of them are selling stock photos to earn income.

As soon as you start submitting images you have competition. You’re hoping that a customer chooses your image over your competition. You need to think of this like a business from the very beginning!

Picture two images. Image “A” and image “B”. Two talented photographers shooting basically equal photographs. One photographer edits smart, adds keywords and thinks about the needs of the customer. While the other photographer submits their image as is. Who do you think will win out in the stock photography business?