Don't lose a sale with easy-to-avoid mistakes. Here are some of the most common ways you can put off an image buyer, so make sure you avoid them at all costs
Don’t lose a potential sale with silly, easily avoidable mistakes at the first hurdle. Here are some of the biggest culprits, so make sure you’re aware of these and how you can avoid them:
1 Leaving dust marks all over your images
It’s very common for dust to find its way into your camera’s sensor, resulting in ‘dust marks’ across your image (often in the form of small darker elements on your image, like the screenshot below). Still, it’s also very easy to remove them, both with paid and free editing software - so you’ve got no excuse to get rid of them. See our tutorial on removing dust marks here.
Images with dust marks all over them are extremely off putting, and it also makes you as a photographer, look unprofessional, and like you haven’t put adequate aftercare in processing your images. So avoid it by all means.
"Images with dust marks all over them are extremely off putting, and it also makes you as a photographer, look unprofessional..."
2 Using awkward crops and aspect ratios
Stick to the standard ratios such as 3:2, 4:3 and 1:1 for your images. While it may be tempting to create an unusual aspect crop for your image to make it stand out as different, it’s counterproductive as unusual crops are hard for a buyer to use; plus, often, buyers will need to apply their crop to your images for it to work in their project.
3 Selling Over-compressed, bad-quality images
When you’re uploading images to an online selling environment, whether for a license model, printed products, or both, ensure you’re only supplying the best-quality image file possible. Generally, that’ll be a TIFF or JPEG; upload them at their highest quality/compression possible. If resizing the pixel dimensions, ensure it’s as close to the image's original dimensions as possible.
A badly compressed image that shows artefacts or an image that’s too small or pixelated due to bad resizing won’t look attractive to a buyer. Or even worse, you don’t want a buyer to purchase your image only to ask for a refund due to bad quality - you may never get custom from them again.
"A badly compressed image... won’t look attractive to a buyer. Or even worse... you may never get custom from them again."
4 Quoting unrealistic prices
Gone are the days when picture editors had huge, multi-thousand budgets to work with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t earn a good amount of money from your photos, just be realistic with pricing. You don’t want to instantly put off a buyer by listing your images or quoting a price completely out of reach.
For example, if a book publisher, magazine or website gets in touch with you to use one of your images, don’t quote them in the thousands - as this is unrealistic. Generally, you don’t want to give a buyer the impression you’re unwilling to work with them because they cannot afford you. If you’re unsure what to charge, it’s perfectly reasonable to go back to a potential customer and ask what budget they are working with - there’s always room for negotiation.
"It’s perfectly reasonable to go back to the potential customer and ask what budget they are working with - there’s always room for negotiation"
5 Being overeager
It’s understandable to get excited when you’ve got an interested customer. Be friendly, but don’t overdo it - sometimes it can take a buyer some time to confirm a sale. This is especially true when it’s for editorial or commercial purposes, as several people will usually have to approve or sign off on the image use, and nobody likes to feel pressured into a sale.
So be patient, wait to hear from them, and don’t incessantly chase them up. If you haven’t heard from the interested party for a while, say a month or two, then, by all means, don’t hesitate to follow up with a polite email; it’s just about being within reason.