Pre-holiday Stock Photography Preparation

Tomorrow I’m off to the south of France for a week, which is only a short hop from Milan. I’ve headed to the same place for the last three summers and although I have captured many spots in this beautiful part of the world, I’ve still yet to crack that market.

My most successful image, captured two years ago in Cannes, has earned me a disappointing 51 downloads and $32.47 in commission.


Albert Einstein is broadly credited with defining insanity as:

“Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

Therefore, I’m committed to try something new…what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll earn 36 cents for a sub download, that’s what.

Using Alamy Analytics

One method I’m using to anticipate which types of images buyers will find interesting is by using a tool called: Alamy Measures. This clever tool developed by the Midstock agency, Alamy:

“Tracks the search habits of a core set of customers by recording their searches, the number of images they looked at, images they clicked on and searches that result in sales in a single session (search, click, buy).” – their words not mine.

The value of this tool comes from it being updated daily, which is great for spotting short-term trends. However, I’m looking for longer-term trends with certain specific keywords during the past year (this tool only searches back as far as one year).

Selecting the keywords

I explained my workflow on a previous post, which you can see here, but I don’t mind repeating it below.

I’ve selected the following keywords:

  • Antibes
  • Provence
  • South of France
  • Cote d’Azur
  • French Riviera
  • Èze (which I’ll be visiting for the first time)

Then I added the last one due to what’s happening now in Europe

  • Terrorism France

An Example

I’ll use “Antibes”, since that’s where I’ll be staying the most time and getting the most pictures. It’s a quaint medieval town with cobblestone streets and a nice marina.

3 sales in the last year for someone who searched for “Antibes”

I’ll click on that keyword and it shows me the most popular images. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show which image was sold, but I can suspect that it’s one of the most popular images in the “relevancy” tab.

relevancyThis gives me an idea of which types of commercial and editorial shots I should be focusing on and I’ve circled some above which I believe I can improve. It helps that I already know where the image was taken and I’ll have the luxury of a week to be able to set up my tripod for the best light.

Especially high-quality editorials of the provencal market can be highly profitable. Here’s one from last year:


Checking the most popular images on Shutterstock

Shutterstock doesn’t have as sophisticated a tool as I don’t know which keywords lead to how many sales in a certain time period. They do have a “most popular images” search, which I’ve gone ahead and searched for “Antibes”:

antibes shutterstock

The above most popular images for this keyword are dominated by one contributor! I must say that he’s got some really great shots with his wide angle lens. In any case, I won’t be submitting editorials to Shutterstock as I much rather have them priced higher at Alamy & other Midstock, but I can certainly use many of these angles to submit to Alamy (which appears to be lacking these types of images from my previous search).

I’ll submit my commercial images to Shuttertock and Adobe Stock which seem to be lacking high-quality commercial images, which is understandable since they aren’t easy to do in a busy city centre at the height of the summer season. I’ve written extensively about the value of turning editorial images into commercial: tutorial one, tutorial two, and tutorial three.

Terrorism Fears

France is on high alert for terrorist attacks, so it’s only natural that such images relating to terrorism would feature heavily on news pieces. Last year I captured some images related to security and France, but they really bombed (sorry for the pun).

Here’s one such example:


Strangely, there doesn’t appear to be too many specific searches related to security and France on Alamy, although it’s intuitive that such images are of high demand just from watching / reading the news. I’ll keep capturing these types of images and making sure I keyword them properly using the tool so buyers can find them.

Woman in a burkini

The cherry on top would be capturing a woman in a burkini! This image would go viral, especially since local French lawmakers banned the burkini last summer!


I’ll keep you all updated while I’m there how I get on with capturing some of the above.

Do you use a similar workflow? Please comment below!

Bonne voyage!




Author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography


Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography





  1. […] I’m halfway through my holiday in the beautiful south of France (Cote d’Azur). The weather has been kind with a soft late-summer light doing wonders. I’m so far quite happy with the shots I’ve captured and today I’ve been post-processing, keywording and thinking about where to submit such images to maximise commissions. These have been broadly in line with my stock photography preparation for the trip, which I’ve written here. […]


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