It’s easy for beginners to confuse the concepts of niche and portfolio collections. Both of these are important to understand as you start and build your microstock portfolio.
The Difference Between Niches and Collections
Creating a niche is a strategy for focusing your energies on what to shoot. It defines you as an expert in a subject and the market for that type of photo. For example, it enables you to say “I shoot winter sports” or “I shoot holiday scenes” or “I shoot conservation and green subjects”. Niches can be narrow or broad. You can certainly have more than one niche, and you can shoot outside of them as well. But the point of using niches is to establish your credibility in a style or topic, and to set you and your photos apart from all of the others out there in the mind of the buyer.
A collection on the other hand, is a strategy for presenting your photos to buyers in a way that engages them by style or subject matter. You start a collection by grouping similar photos into a collection lightbox or folder. The power of this strategy is that by continuing to feed and grow your collection, buyers who are interested in that topic will keep returning for more.
Examples of Niches and Collections
Let’s take a look at some examples of niches.
Veteran iStock exclusive artist sdominick, has uploaded nearly 7,000 images. Within her portfolio, she has created a highly recognizable niche. She shoots individual people with different clothing and props, depicting different emotions, isolated on a white background, and shot close-up with a fisheye lens. She started with a handful of these creative characters and they became so popular that she has continued to grow this niche over the years.
Sdominick uses the strategy of a collection to share her niche photos. In this collection, we can see that she has over 1300 images. By adding fresh new ones regularly, she keeps fans of these photos coming back over and over again.
Contributor username Janulla joined iStock late in 2010, and now has 1600+ images out there. He’s proving that since most microstock sites accept anything in jpg format, non-photographer media artists can benefit from these strategies as well. He has created a unique niche of human anatomy-type composite digital images. Like sdominick, he’s pulled them into a collection housing over 700 of these images. This collection allows buyers to easily browse all of his anatomy images, many of which have sold in the 100s in the short time they’ve been out there.
Embrace Strategies To Increase Your Success
Your sales can be significantly improved by embracing strategies in the areas of what to shoot, photo technique, and marketing photos to buyers. Look for more microstock strategies in our upcoming blog posts. We also dive deep into a number of these microstock strategies in our group and individual training programs.