A workflow for submitting photos to microstock photography sites.
Creating folders, transferring files from camera to the folder or hard drive, editing the photos, adding keywords and then uploading photos to the microstock photography sites – all these can be tiresome.
Preparing for this before the actual shoot can save much time and energy.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop is must for the digital era. Adjusting exposures, removing unwanted stuff, adding that extra element to otherwise mundane image, everything happens here! You should never overlook this aspect.
Don’t have Lightroom or Photoshop; don’t worry, there are many free and reliable photo editing tools available online. I will be soon doing a separate blog post on the free resources available.
This checklist has saved and served me well.
2. Hardware Checklist
You must be wondering why a hardware checklist?
Even seasoned photographers once in a while could have faced a “Memory Full” error or a battery has no charge issues.. A simple overlook can waste a life worth of time. This happened to the very best. So please check your camera bag. Make sure you have enough cards to capture the moment and all the lenses and spare batteries everthing is there.
A hardware checklist will be a life saver. Keep it inside the camera bag. Cross check before you leave for the shoot.
3. Folder Structure
Structure your folders for storing your photos. What I did when I started off is this.
a. A main folder “photos and videos”
b. 3 child folders “source” “stock” and “personal”
c. each month will get its own folder.
For every year I repeat the same process. See below
Always shoot in RAW format.
RAW format does not process the picture inside the camera, leaving total control of the editing to you, the photographer. RAW format is known as the digital negative.It can be edited and converted by Adobe Lightroom to JPG files
After the photoshoot, transfer the images to the Source folder. Check each image through the Lightroom. Press “P” to select and “X” to discard the rubbish ones.
Once the unwanted photos are cleared, rename the remaining ones and add keywords; Lightroom will handle this. This will come in handy when you search for photos in Lightroom. You may change, re-arrange or add more keywords while submitting to Microstock Photography Sites.
For photos, follow a naming standard “YYMMDD-event name-incrementing number”. For eg. photos taken in Masai Mara in February 26th, 2014 is named using 140226-masaimara-0001, 0002, 0003 and so on…
Edit the selected images for color correction, noise reduction and removal of all unwanted elements. Use Photoshop for the complex editing. Otherwise, Lightroom is good enough to handle the whole editing.
Once you are satisfied with the editing, export the photos using Lightroom as JPG to stock folder.
Submitting photos to Microstock Photo agencies
You can use the stock agencies website to submit the photos or use an FTP program to do it. It it is easier to use an FTP software to do this job.
Xpiks is a free and open source keywording and uploading tool for microstock photographers
You can click this link to download Xpiks or to see a short video on using Xpiks.
This workflow may not suit everyone’s requirement. In fact there is no “One workflow” that will suit every one. If you are not already using a particular workflow, then you can begin with this and make changes as required.
But the important thing is you definitely need a “Workflow”
What do you think? Share your story in the comments.