Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Microstock: A guide to a simple workflow

Microstock is all about selling lots of images, so it's essential to have an efficient workflow when submitting photos for approval, especially if you're submitting to multiple agencies.  Below is a brief guide to the tools/steps I use, but it would be great to hear of other recommendations, as I'd love to keep my uploading time down to a minimum!
  • Take great photos (the really hard bit!), ideally with perfect composition, commericial content and great light.  Definitely take in RAW format and with as low an ISO as possible.
  • Download photos to a computer and get ready to do the RAW conversion and then any editing.  I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0, but for those with more generous budgets, Adobe have other products available:

    •  Do any necessary editing, which may include:
      • Cropping, straightening horizons and adjusting perspective
      • Removing any copyright/trademarks
      • Adding layers to adjust levels, saturation, etc.
      • Zooming in, then using the healing tools to remove spot marks
      • Sharpening
      • [adding keywords and captions, if possible - it isn't in Photoshop Elements 6.0 -grrr!]
      • Saving as a .jpg at the highest image quality
    • To help think about suitable keywords (essential otherwise buyers wont find your great photos), there are a couple of tools out there which can help.  I use the excellent tool developed by Yuri Arcurs, the legendary microstocker.
    • Rather than add keywords at each site individually, it saves a load of time to do this before submission.   I use Geosetter for this, if you can't do it in your editing software
    • Now for uploading... I use two approaches:
    Which tricks am I missing?!?