Initially, when are first accepted the tendency is to submit everything you shoot to the library. Not a bad idea to quickly build up your portfolio and start earning. However, pre-judge each image for size, quality and content. In other words edit you submission carefully. Then once you have uploaded every saleable image on your hard drive start to think about making your mark by creating a niche.
What you have to do is simply take stock of the images that you can shoot and they will sell. The more clearly defined the niche the easier it is to establish. From my website you will gather that I shoot property. Basically because I came from a construction background and the subjects were all around me. And they are fairly good sellers.
Landscapes is a niche, but it is oversubscribed. You need to specialise further. I know a photographer that specialises in Steam trains. Another photographer I know, shoots amazing landscapes mainly in the Yorkshire Dales. After a while, because they make regular submissions on the subject, they are classed as experts in their field. I have had request for interior images from buyers after they have viewed my portfolio.
So you need to assess you interests, potential sales and how easily you can shoot the subject. I’m not going to tell you shoot only subjects for your niche. But shooting for your niche gives your photography a direction. Instead of sat there, with a mental block, wondering what to shoot today, you will have an idea based on your niche. Of course whilst out shooting fresh images you will then come across photo opportunities to add to your portfolio.
So how do you decide your niche?
Well I looked at the picture opportunities around me. I have always worked in construction, so that an obvious choice I suppose. So the first thing to do is to look at the niches already available to you. Look at your other hobbies and interests. You may have a neighbour, friend or relation that has an unusual hobby or occupation. You may be a collector of antiques or live in a large city.
The best thing to do is sit down and make a list. And I don’t me a general list, I mean a specific list. For example don’t write landscapes, write down ‘North Yorkshire Moors’. You may know a Dentist; this would be an excellent opportunity. Medical subjects always sell well.
Once you have a good idea about your niche, make a few searches in the Libraries. I tend to search iStock as it gives you an accurate number of views and downloads. You can also put them in order of popularity so you can see instantly the best sellers.
Developing a niche will improve your photography as you will focus on the chosen subject and come up with more creative ideas. But that won’t stop you shooting and submitting other subjects and allow you to build up your portfolio. You can also develop more than one niche and see what subjects sell the best. Personally I find it better to test your ideas before throwing yourself into one particular subject.
The beauty of the Microstock Market is that you can test and experiment and it costs nothing to try. So sit down and make that list. It’s amazing what subjects you will come up with!