Taking advantage of your computer keyboard

Like stock photographers, and actually as  almost every man in the modern world, we are using something on a daily basis – our computers :)

And guess what – all those handy machines have some nice keyboards! Concepts conveyed via computer keyboard is quite crowded stock photography topic but still… why not taking advantage of the fact that you already have one for sure and try to experiment a little bit?

I decided to do so with my laptop keyboard and here is the result – eight new images in most of my stock portfolios (123RF, DepositPhotos and BigStock accepted all images, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto accepted different subsets, and Fotolia and Dreamstime approval status is still pending as of writing this blog post).

Here are the shots. The first couple of images contains some additional objects that help to visualize different concepts:

Pen, notepad and laptop on the desk stock image

Pen, notepad and laptop on the desk

Credits cards on a computer keyboard stock image

Credits cards on a computer keyboard

The second couple of shots features a nice glass globe along the keyboard and some text and icons that help to define the topic (and acutally the text and the icons are the only differences between the two shots):

Web Search Concept stock image

Web Search Concept

E-Commerce Concept stock image

E-Commerce Concept

And here is the final batch of four images – frontal (top) view of the central part of the keyboard. The essence of  these images is acutally in the added text and icons:

Tech Support Keyboard Concept stock image

Tech Support Keyboard Concept

Black laptop keyboard with white e-mail buttons stock images

Black laptop keyboard with white e-mail buttons

Laptop keyboard with web search buttons stock image

Laptop keyboard with web search buttons

Laptop keyboard with online shopping buttons stock image

Laptop keyboard with online shopping buttons

The last four were accepted in most of the stock agencies, including the picky ShutterStock, but iStockPhoto judged they are mainly photoshopping and are not acceptable as such. Anyway, some (I hope nice :)) keyboard shots are now a part of my still small portfolios.

Have you tried to create some stock with your keyboard or other gadgets you have at home? You are invited to share them here!

Business concept images – shooting session and statistics

Shortly after sharing my experience searching for a niche in business images I got insipired to spend half day shooting some conceptual business related images.

Here are some statistics, gathered during my workflow, that you may find interesting:

  • the prelimiary step of discovering about 10 interesting reference images to inspire me took about half an hour, but actually these have been collected over several months (however keep in mind I do try to keep myself as far as possible from “me too” shots and would suggest everybody does so :))
  • shooting took about 3 hours and resulted in nearly 200 shots
  • after 40 minutes spent for selection only 30 shots were shortlisted for further processing
  • the next day I inspected the shorlisted shots in more detail and fully processed the 8 most promising shots (IMHO)
  • keywording these 8 images took me one hour and a half
  • uploading them to all 7 micro-stock agencies I currenly contribute to took about 2 hours
  • approving the images took between 1 and 5 days in most of the agencies (and some of the other agencies still haven’t inspected all images)
  • the approval rate of this set is currently between 75% and 100%, and the only case where two of images were rejected (the 75% approval rate) was bacause of potential trade mark problems for the used toy cars, a little bit paranoic maybe ;) but still somehow understandable.

OK, without further ado, here are the eight images currenly available as part of my portfolio at  Fotolia:

Elegant business suit stock image

Elegant business suit

Businessman tweaking his tie stock image

Businessman tweaking his tie

Businessman putting a dollar bill in his pocket stock image

Businessman putting a dollar bill in his pocket

Sales agent offering a car stock image

Sales agent offering a car

Sales agent offering a car stock image

Sales agent offering a car

Paper family in a pocket stock image

Paper family in a pocket

Paper family in a pocket stock image

Paper family in a pocket

Hand holding usb thumb drive stock image

Hand holding usb thumb drive

In this small set I tried to cover several business topics such as business look and clothes, selling cars, business-family (or work-life) balance, and the use of digital technologies in the office.

What do you (honestly :)) think about these?

And would you like to share your shooting statistics?

I’d be very happy to hear from you, so feel free (or acutally – invited) to comment below!

Searching for a niche in business concept images

Hi! After the anaylsis of my bestselling stock image so far I’d like to share my thoughts about another good (IMHO) stock image that is still not selling as much as originally expected ;).

It’s a business concept image that I titled “Business success concept – wealthy“. Actually the business and finance image collections are among the most populated niches in micro-stock photography. There are various reasons for that and I guess the main is that business is something that’s always trendy and newsworthy, and thus the constant demand for appropraite visual illustration of various business concepts. The conceptual value of this type of images is quite high, and sometimes they are even  funny :).

Now back on my image, here it is:

 Business success concept image

Business success concept - wealthy

The idea seems to be quite clear ( at least to me :-) which unfortunately is not enough ) – it illustrates the concept of a wealthy man or high-value business. I tried to think for a smaller niche that is still not that occupied and evenutally lacks the typical smiling people shaking hands and growth charts ;)

However, for almost an year it has generated less than twenty sales in total, across all agencies where I upload. Why is this so? This is the hard part… as we naturally tend to like what we’ve done so much. Anyway, let’s try to analyse a little bit:

  • The framing is probably not the best pissible fit - it looks like there is too much white space at the top of the image, which actually is not intentionally left blank as copy space, and seems a little bit useless. I’d cropp it a little bit more at the top if I were to upload it now.
  • The money amount in the meter may seem too binding – it’s nice to have something particular in this area to help illustrating the concept more clearly, but on the other hand the chnace it will the fit the exact idea of the customer is low. For example if they want to put a particular word, or another amount, or another currency there. I currently think it’s a good idea to either leave this field blank or create multiple versions with predefined content. What do you think?
  • The are some artifacts such as the dark-blue linear area at the top of the weighing machine – it’s actually a natural effect as the material it’s made of is some good quality glass. But it still may look a little bit strange if you can’t easily percieve that this is a glass.

Probably there are some more reasons, though I still think it’s a good stock :-), and it’s keywording is also appropriate.

But what do you think? I’d be happy to hear that! Is this a good stock according to you? Would you buy it for a project? If you were to shoot it what would you change?

Analysis of my best-selling stock photo so far – House key in a lock

I’d love to start this blog by sharing a few  thoughts about my best-selling micro-stock image so far – key in a lock with house symbol on it. I’m very proud that for less than year and a half  it alone generated about 1000 downloads in total acrooss several micro-stock sites! This photo is part of my still very small portfolio of about 30 images (depending in which agency we measure its size).  Here it is:

Key lock and house icon image

Key in a lock

I’d like to share what I think is the reason for its success. Or more precisely – what’s the mix of reasons that makes it sell well. Here are few of my suggestions:

  • House and home related topics are quite hot when we talk about stock photography. There is a lot of demand about house imagery that can be used in almost every type of advertising material that a real-estate agency would ever need. (But also there are lots of images in this topic already available in the stock sites).
  • The color tones of the image give eye-pleasure to the viewer and easily provoke the feeling of comfort, family atmosphere, and warmth. It’s amazing how a small change in the color tones can make a huge difference! I have almost identical shot to the one above but its sales are ten times less, due to different color tones.
  • Clearly conveying the message and the story behind it – it’s obvious in a glance that this image is about getting a new comfortable home. As stated above – the colors tell the “comfort” part and the house symbol tells the “home” part very directly.
  • In a thumbnail view, even in the ~ 160 x 120 version, it’s visible enough what the image is about and its particular details (or actually the lack of too many details which is almost always the right choice when you think “stock”).
  • Appropriate keywording is vital if you want to make your images more findable, but you need to keep it relevant as well. In this case I’ve used 35 keywords which is a little bit above the the good balance between incompleteness and spamming. Of course most oftenly the searches that lead to sales are via keywords and phrases such as “house”, “home”, “key”, “house key”.
  • The best-match algorithms in the agencies’ sites? May be or may be not… Nobody really knows actually (even the agency guys, in case they’ve made the algorithms too complex ;-)). Why I somehow doubt the search logic matters that much is because of the fact that this image is my best-seller in every agency where I upload (currently six) and I bet none of them share the same algorithm :-)

OK, that’s it for now! I’d love to hear what do you think and share your observations why some stock shots sell well and other don’t…

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