Welcome to "How to Stock," a short series of articles on how to do some stock basics. We'll ask the big names in stock for their tips and opinions on how to get the best out of your stock shoot!
How do you keep your gallery organized, concise, and well-representing of you?
I break down a description of each folder and what types of images go into it in this really long guide.
When I post an image, I try to brainstorm keywords. There's a lot of space for keywords in the submission form, so I try to come up with synonyms and phrases that artists may search for when looking for the pose I am posting. I also try to think about what kind of emotions the image portrays and include those, too. I tend to be a little playful with my titles, but it's also a good idea to put into the title what's actually in the picture. Something like IMG_85925.jpg is not going to be as searchable or helpful as "Young Sad Girl in a Big Blue Dress near the Ocean" (if that even would fit, haha).
When I do a photoshoot, I usually take anywhere from 100-400 images per shoot. After I transfer the files to my computer, I break the shoot up into folders with themes. This helps me space out the stock as I upload it to ensure I'm posting a variety of stock over time. For example, if I post an archer image with a bow and arrow, the next image I post might be something in the air with some extreme perspective, followed by a cute sitting pose. Mixing up the stock I submit keeps watchers engaged and interested and gains more exposure for each piece. I try to submit one to three new stock images every few days, but sometimes I have to space it out more due to being behind on messages. I used to upload dozens of images at once as soon as a shoot was done, but now I find that it's much better to focus on having an even, consistent flow rather than dumping a lot of images at once then going long spans with nothing. It keeps people more interested in the stock I'm presenting and allows each submission a better chance to be noticed in the many messages I assume most watchers get every day.
In each submission, I try to include some thumbnails to other, similar poses. So for that last, cute sitting pose I talked about, I'd go through the gallery and find 4 or 5 other cute sitting poses to thumb in the new submission to help people browse if the post I'm posting that day isn't quite what they need. I didn't do this with older images in the gallery, but the more I do it, the more it builds something of my own 'More Like This' to help artists navigate my large gallery.
Sometimes if I have a a few images that are quite similar, I will upload them as a set or a pack. The Choke Pack is an example of a few images that are visually pretty similar, though each has its own unique characteristics and a few have a different perspective. When I take photos, I try to think about what angles people might want. I don't always remember to do this, but when I do, I try to include those 'turn around' images of a pose in a set, like this staff pose.
Some other examples of similar poses in packs are this sneaking set and this table flipping set. When you do a shoot there are lots of "bad" photos that don't come out as you planned. But these photos might still have something in them that's perfect for what an artist needs! These images to me were not really different or strong enough to stand alone in the gallery, so putting them together into a convenient pack helps me stay organized and hopefully also gives the artist additional options.
Packs of similar images also makes the gallery look a bit more diverse and interesting because they are packed up together rather than spanning across one or many rows in the gallery. If you have or end up building a large enough pile of resources, watchers will appreciate being able to find what they need in a more concise way rather than having to scroll though lots of similar images which may not be what they need.
Sometimes with a pack, I will still upload a 'highlighted' image on its own because I find it to be particularly interesting or strong. Some examples of this can be seen in the stock I did with jademacalla. We did a lot of different themes during the shoot, but something like this over throw pose stood out as particularly awesome even though we did many others like it. By separating out this one image, I am highlighting what I find to be the strongest of the bunch, but not eliminating the other images which might still serve use to someone. If no particular image stands out as suitable for a solo submission, but still looks to me like the coolest one in the set, sometimes I will just make it bigger in the preview.
I think that just about covers the basics of how I try to organize things. If anyone has any questions, feel free to poke me.
I have learnt a few things that work for me- especially since I don't like doing packs because I personally feel that doing single images allows viewers to focus on one image at a time rather than trying to process 2 - 8 all at once.
I use my folders wisely. If a costume fits under two sort of general categories, I put the images in both AS WELL as going into features. This allows for the viewers to quickly access certain stock shoots if they like, or just browse my full gallery.
I also try not to bombard my watchers with images (key word is TRY). I always try to put up only clear images which do not look very similar to any if the others (ie. the exact same pose with as lightly different facial expression). I also learnt that you should only put up photos that you are happy with and "brand" you in a positive light. What I mean by this is I always ask myself these questions before I upload an image. They are:
- is this going to be useful for an artist?
- is this an image that I am happy for a stranger who doesn't know me to see and use?
- is this an image that I am happy for my 86 year old grandmother to see of me?
If the answer is yes to all three, I upload. If not, I don't.
The last thing you want is an image you to upload to come back and bite you in the butt (and it will!). It also helps with decluttering
I guess those are my tips
Thank you very much, Sakky and Kirilee!
And thanks for reading, everybody! Those were some long answers, but by the nature of the question, they needed to be! I hope you learned something you can go put into practice. Look for the next article soon!
How to Stock 1- Setting up a Shooting Area
How to Stock 2- Posing
How to Stock 3- Playing a Character
How to Stock 4- Costumes
CSS made with huge help from miontre's [link]