Richard Chalmers started out capturing event and portrait photography. He then moved out of his comfort zone and started his adventure in stock photography. Learn what it takes to capture stock photography by reading this article!

#1 Get Ready For Stock Photography

One of the first challenges is getting accepted as a stock site contributor. Depending on which stock site you approach, this can be easy or hard as they all have a different approach and client base. Join different sites as one site might accept a photo when another may not.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF16‐35mm F4 IS USM | f/6.3 | ISO 100 | 1/80s

Bring a range of gear, and avoid getting weighed down. My travel kit includes Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF16‐35mm F4 IS USM, EF24‐70mm f/2.8L II USM, a speedlite, tripod, spare batteries and some lens cleaning gear. The HDR of the EOS 5D Mark IV makes a big difference when you’re taking shots and moving quickly.

#2 Know What Buyers Look For

Stock images do not sell if it is not what buyers are looking for. Capture photos that have a unique story, sharp and balanced histogram with no clipping. When shooting, think about the type of shots that sell – for example, textures, details and cityscapes. Technology and industrial shots might not be exciting or fun, but are in demand.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IVEF16‐35mm F4 IS USM | f/6.3 | ISO 100 | 1/80s

Sunset images are competitive, but getting some location details in the shot make it a little more unique.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IVEF16‐35mm F4 IS USM | f/18 | ISO 100 | 1/10s

Landscape shots are competitive but popular for editorial and commercial use. Also, be aware of copyright issues – an example of avoiding copyright issues is to capture only part of the architecture. Sometimes, photos which I thought would not sell turned out to be popular. Take note that some sites also accept editorial work, which means you can submit copyright material without a release.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IVEF24‐70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/3.2 | ISO 100 | 1/320s

Buyers want a well taken photo so concentrate on taking a well‐framed, properly exposed photo. When checking through shots, quickly flag as ‘picks’ or ‘rejects’ then make minor edits only when necessary. Avoid using filters, but if necessary keep it natural.

#3 Organise And Tag Accurately

Depending on the stock site, you may upload photos in a batch or by category. Stock sites will usually either accept the photo straight away, or reject with a given reason. If rejected, you may choose to re-edit and try again. The final step is to tag your photos with keywords. Tagging is important as using more keywords increases the likelihood of your photo being found. Don’t repeat keywords, but instead tag accurately.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IVEF24‐70mm f/2.8L II USM | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | 1/1000s

Want to see more of Richard Chalmers’ works? Follow him on his stock photography journey at