The 6th part in this ongoing tutorial about making money selling digital photos focuses on promoting similar groups of images all linked to each other. My experience is only with iStockphoto, as mentioned before, your ability to do the following promotional method with other stock agencies may vary.

In the photographer’s description section of an image on iStockphoto, you as a contributor are allowed to add more information about your file to help the buyer understand exactly what it is they are buying. This field also allows for UBB code, that is, code that can simply be used to create links or show images of related photos for sale.

So why would you want to use this? I often shoot the same subject on two or three angles, with people, different expressions. Even if two images have the same keywords, sometimes they don’t show up in a search next to each other or one becomes very popular and the other gets barely any views. Buy linking to similar images, you increate the chances that a buyer will see more of your work and the possibility that they will buy more of your work. Let’s take a look at this practice in action.

Recently, this photo of a pair of DJ headphones became really popular, but I shot a half dozen similar shots that weren’t doing so well. I wanted to tell the buyers about these other shots in hopes of boosting my sales and providing the buyer with the best choice of images. I could add everything by hand, but that is time consuming and UBB can be kind of a pain, luckily I found my answer in the iStockphoto forums.

Longtime contributor and admin Sirimo wrote a small script that he hosts on his website. The script is called iStockphoto UBB Thumbnail Link Generator. This is the script I used to generate the nice thumbnails for the shot of the headphones above. Please note, this script is not officially licensed by iStockphoto and using it is not guaranteed to work, but that is just the legal stuff that must be said. I’ve been using it for months and had no issues. It allowed me to quickly add linked images to the description field of existing images. Within days, the views and downloads increased on the images that I have done this for.

Adding similar file links is not guarantee to increase downloads, that is still somewhat based on how good your keywords are, but it will increase at least the views for similar files from a set. Well worth the small effort for your existing files as well as something to do for new ones as you add them.

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