Getting good metadata in captions, keywords and gallery titles help people find the images they want to buy
This is the story of a photo on my site.
It was shot back in the midwest on a trip I made a few years back, with a very cheap camera, and doesn’t do the bridge justice. It’s an amazing old railroad bridge, since converted to auto traffic, with history and even tales of the supernatural to add interest. And I happened to be in the neighborhood, and managed to get a couple of quick shots before having to move on, due to time constraints.
I posted it and promptly forgot about it. Till one day I got a notice from my web host, SmugMug, that I had sold a stretched canvas of it for $150. Not bad for about an hour’s work, including processing and posting.
It was bought by someone whose grandfather once owned the bridge, and whose family had close connections still to the place, as a present for her parents. Since then, I’ve made a tidy profit on this image, from people who used to live in the area, and people who used to drink beer whilst driving on country roads, and would make a special detour to cross Purple Head Bridge.
Soon after I sold a couple prints of a country road in the midwest, which happened to be near the location where the buyer had his first amorous encounter. I’ve sold prints of graveyards where the buyer’s had ancestors buried. I’ve sold prints of woods where the buyers used to roam as children. In short, most of my prints sell to people who have a strong emotional connection to a particular place. They might not be my most striking images, nor my most popular images. But they outsell the others by far.
Every town or city has these places. Every rural area has them as well. And most photographers have several amongst their images. Granted, most will probably sit unnoticed. But one can never know which photograph will strike a chord with the viewer, and result in a sale.
How to make these sales?
Tags, gallery names and titles. Be specific, use the real name, the nicknames, the locations, the town, the county, the road name. Mark the location online on Google Earth or Wikimaps. If the place is popular enough, or just the right person is out there, eventually they’ll find it.
And the great thing about these places is that they search market for them isn’t already saturated. For the bridge above there are only ten pages or so of results. For the lonely spot where the young man first got frisky in a car, there was only two. And I own those results, with little or no effort.
So dig through your files, use your imagination, and when you hear people longing for the good old days, get out there and take photos of the places they talk about.