If you’re trying to make some side money by selling photographs as microstock — or are trying to do it full-time — it’d be wise to heed the advice of one of the most successful players in the industry: Yuri Arcurs. He has published an interesting “state of the industry” report with his thoughts on the types of photographs that are currently in demand with stock photo buyers.
As all active microstock photographers must have noticed, we have seen a constant decrease in sales in terms of our return per image over the last few years. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to shoot great images and profit from it in the same way as it was 5 or 6 years ago. Many critics have claimed that the microstock industry is almost entirely devoid of artistic sensitivity, and is instead only concerned with making an easy profit. But surprisingly, this harsh criticism seems to have had a positive effect on the industry as a whole, because although the return per image has decreased a lot, I have also witnessed an interesting tendency: To make sales now, it’s about getting back to the roots of photography. More artistic, less processed images, and a more naturalistic style, which I, personally, fully endorse. It’s great to see some more artistic and natural images making their way up on the “most downloaded” lists as opposed to the more conventional microstock images that are always overly retouched, overly bright and overly clean.
He also writes that many of the concepts and images that were once popular are now stagnating due to the fact that photographers flooded the industry with them, highlighting shifts in four huge categories: lifestyle, business, medical/health, and spa/wellness.
What sells in microstock anno 2012? [Yuri Arcurs]
P.S. If you haven’t seen it already, check out this interview we did with Arcurs last year.
Image credits: Photographs by Yuri Arcurs/PeopleImages