How to Caption Stock Photography So It Sells

August 8, 2014 Photography, General 0 Comments

If you're craving a new camera lens but can't afford new camera gear, make a couple of extra bucks by selling some of your photos to stock photography websites. In addition to uploading well-composed, clear images, you will be asked to provide a caption or description and a list of tags for each photo. If you aren't sure how to caption stock photography submissions, follow these steps to have your images found and purchased.

Harrington Blog How to Caption Stock Photography So It Sells Think Like a Buyer

It's easy to get personally attached to your artwork, but when it comes to writing descriptions for your photographs, you must think like the editor or social media manager who is searching for (and willing to buy) your images. Photographers often think in creative industry terms that aren't at the top of a buyer's mind.

For example, instead of mentioning the shallow depth of field or the type of telephoto lens you used to take the picture, say the background is blurred to leave text for overlay or additional cropping to meet the buyer's design needs.

Add Descriptive Words

Most stock photography sites will ask for captions that contain both a description in the form of a few sentences and a list of tags or keywords. These help categorize the images in search results.

When captioning stock photography, pretend you're describing the picture to someone over the phone. In addition to talking about what you see immediately, such as the subject matter or location, use adjectives that describe the mood or look of the picture. For example, for a sunrise photo, you might use words such as "cheerful," "bright," "insightful," "orange," "red," "yellow," "morning," "clouds," "sun," "sunrise," "daytime," "outdoors" and "nature."

More Text Is Best

So, how long should your caption be? If you have more to say, keep writing. The more text you include in your description and tags, the more opportunities your images have to show up in search results.

In the sunrise example above, someone might search for an image that conveys a feeling of cheerfulness but would never think to look for a sunrise picture. In this instance, your sunrise photo would show in search results and become a candidate for a buyer searching for the term "cheerful."

Have you had success selling stock photos? Share your tips in the comments below.

Photo credit: Flickr


What do you think?