How to Keep Track of Your Stock Photos

“How do you keep track of your stock photos?”

That’s a question I hear a lot from Breakfast Stock Club readers who want to remember which photos they submitted to which agencies.

Different photographers have different systems, of course. And most of the experts we have on-hand here at BSC only submit to one agency, so it’s not really an issue for them.

Here’s what I do: Nothing. I do not have a system in place for keeping track of what I’ve submitted.

Here’s why:

  1. When I have a new batch of photos to submit as stock, I submit all of them to all of my agencies at the same time. So there’s no question about which ones went where.
  2. If some of them get rejected from one agency but accepted into another, I don’t bother tracking it. Why? Because I don’t plan to try re-submitting them anywhere, UNLESS one of them is a real stand-out image that I KNOW will sell and it got rejected for something I know I can fix. That is a single incident I’ll take care of right away, rather than “keeping track” of it for later.
  3. Finally, I like to move forward, not backward. Instead of continually looking back through my existing photos for something I could submit, I try to keep taking new photos. When something gets rejected, I read the rejection reasons and move on, trying to learn from it, and always trying to improve.

Also, many agencies give you a list of everything you’ve submitted, showing whether an image was accepted or rejected.  Some even include rejection reasons.

If you absolutely need a system, here are some things you can try:

  • Lightroom. Use labels and keywords in Lightroom to show which photos you’ve submitted, where. For example, you could make a new “collection” for each agency, and put each photo you submit to that agency into the collection, then label them green if they’re accepted, and red if they’re rejected.

Or, each time you submit a photo to an agency, put that agency name in the keywords of that image in Lightroom.

  • Tracking Software. Try out the online program Lightburner, which distributes your photos to multiple agencies at once, and also tracks your sales for you, for $10 per month.

Another program is called Microstock Analytics, and it’s a bit cheaper, at $30 per year, but doesn’t distribute to agencies like Lightburner, and doesn’t support as many agencies.

  • Spreadsheets. If you’re meticulous and consistent, you can easily make an Excel or a Google Doc spreadsheet to track your submissions and sales. Make a new line for each photo with the file name on it, then have columns for different agencies and mark in the columns whether that photo was accepted or rejected... how many downloads is has... and how much money it has earned, too.

Do you have a system to track your stock photos?  I’d love to hear about it.  Share it on the Breakfast StockClub Facebook Page.

By the way, what are you cooking this season? Got big food plans for the holidays? Put together a small shoot in your kitchen and make some extra income from the photos! And Premium Members, submit your favorite photo to this month’s Breakfast Stock Club Premium Challenge, “In the Kitchen!” The Challenge ends next Friday, November 22, so get shooting!

-- Bonnie

Bonnie Caton
Creator, Breakfast Stock Club

P.S. Breakfast Stock Club Premium members, check out your newly improved member page, with easy, one-click access to over 30 guides on how to shoot the most stock-worthy subjects, all written by today’s successful professional stock photographers.

And if you haven’t tried Premium membership, yet, now’s the time to get a head start on your stock sales for next year with monthly motivation and mentors by your side. Give it a try for a month and see how you like it, here.

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