For anyone who has ever dabbled in the world of microstock photography you quickly would discover how imperative it is to be organized. Often times those lacking organizational skills will quickly fall out of the commercial photo field. Along with the stress of coming up with creative ideas that will translate into profit you also are working around the clock to improve the speed at which you produce these high quality images. As the old saying goes, “Time is money.” In the stock photo world this couldn’t be any truer.
So how does one create a workflow? This isn’t a question a single person could answer; we each do things differently and tackle each task from a unique perspective and in a unique way. What I suggest is to simply find out how other photographers do things and try out various methods until you piece together one that suits your personal needs. A lot of what has made me so weary in producing more stock images is the lengthy process of uploading, naming, describing, keywording, and submitting each batch of photos on multiple sites. The more I do this the easier my work flow becomes; most importantly the higher my profit margin.
There are a ton of tools and guides out there that list ways to make your life easier, so I definitely suggest setting some time aside to research and take notes; get a feel for various methods and apply them in your own routine. One important bit of advice I can offer that most overlook is that you must look at selling stock photos as a secondary job. For those of you with self-motivation troubles (We all know that feeling) you really need to organize yourself, put the time aside, and most importantly remain determined. Since you essentially are your own boss it is your responsibility to create a work schedule that you must strictly stick to; imagine if you spent 3-4 hours each day producing images and uploading them by the end of the week. If you work 5 days in a row you are putting in 15 hours worth of productive work that essentially will turn into profits.
Anyways, I hope this post can be found useful to some in a very similar situation as I am. If you have any questions feel free to ask! I love collaborating and sharing ideas; you can always expect a quick response.
It’s been a while since my last post, I don’t see the point of updating too often because then it just means I have less to talk about. Anyways, I go back from my trip this past Tuesday and had a wonderful time! Just to recap for those who don’t know or had forgotten I took a week long trip to Milan, Vicenza, Venice, and Verona, Italy; and up into Garmisch and Munich, Germany. It was wonderful seeing everything that I did; the change in culture, language, and way of life seen from place to place is interesting to see.
I have finished pulling the photos off of my camera and did any small necessary edits so the next step is just to upload to Flickr. Since I shoot in RAW it always takes a little time to adjust the whitebalance and colors to exactly what I feel fits the image best; then I have to save it has a PNG. Doing this a few hundred times can be tiring, especially since I also am sorting through photos I like, hate, and don’t necessarily need. So what can you expect in the next few days? The photos I want on Flickr should be up tonight, then I’ll post back with a link to any stock images I’ve decided to upload. I didn’t focus too much on stock photography on this trip and made it easier on myself by worrying about just taking good photos for everyone to see. Thinking about stock photography concepts while walking about a foreign city essentially lost or busy seeing things can be quite overwhelming. I’m sure there are a few candid travel photos in there that will make it online to some agency. Anyways, take care everyone and thanks for reading!
It has been quite a while since my last post but I do have my excuses, I promise! First things first, I started my online college a few weeks ago and I have been taking the time to get adjusted to a new schedule. So far I really am enjoying it, and finishing school will be extremely easy!
We also had our internet speeds upgraded from a measly 2.5Mb/s to 24Mb/s with a 1Mb/s upload rate; this means I can now upload huge photos without spending all day waiting for a small batch of 10 photos to upload. 1Mb/s is still generally slow but it’s more than double of the previous speeds. I definitely won’t have any complaints there!
Now that my workflow can change I will focus more on taking stock photos over the upcoming summer. I will be traveling a lot next month, but do expect to see more photos online before then. I also plan to figure out what I want to do with my YouTube channel, but I’m in no big hurry yet; these other things need to be sorted first. Anyways, I’ll keep this short, and wanted to let anyone who reads this know that I still am working on stock photography.
This is a question I’ve been hearing a lot recently from people so I decided that I’d write out a post explaining exactly what stock photography is and how it differs from other forms of photography. The first thing to note is that stock photography is all about commercial value. When a stock photographer does a photoshoot he/she’s going through all of the normal steps in producing a high quality photograph(s) (settings, subject, composition, lighting, etc…) but the most important question that dominates all others is, “How much commercial value is this photo(s) really worth?” Like any other entrepreneurial work, stock photography is all about providing what’s in demand on the market, otherwise you may spend time taking great stock photos that just aren’t in demand.
So what exactly is a stock photo? As I said earlier, it’s a photo that has some form of commercial use. Have you ever gone to Wal Mart and bought one of those picture frames that already have a placeholder photo in them? You know, ones with smiling families, or a happy old couple, and even flowers? Those are examples of stock photos, and they can be seen literally everywhere you look. Almost every advertisement has some form of stock photo, as well as websites and other forms of media. So who takes these photos? Ordinary people like you and me take stock photos and upload them to stock media websites, from there each photo is reviewed for quality and if it happens to be good enough it will be approved and put on the market for buying.
A big question is whether or not stock photographers make a lot of money from this. It all depends on how creative you are combined with the proper equipment and the effort you put into it. Some people might disagree with the equipment aspect of things, because sure, having the greatest camera body and expensive glass (lenses) to go along with it, you might get amazing quality photos but if you lack a certain creative originality you will not be able to go very far. Stock photography is all about watching market trends and providing the best photos you can on that subject in order to get a nice payday. That’s fairly hard though, coming up with creative ideas for general subjects is almost impossible to do. Try it yourself; think up a great idea for stock photo and then search for it on Shutterstock. Chances are you’ll notice that the concept has been done thousands of time.
It is very possible to make great money from this, most people use it to cover the costs of new camera equipment and are more or less hobby photographers. Some use it as an extra income for the family, or save it for a special occasion. Although it’s very difficult there are still a good handful of people who strictly make a good living off of stock photography. These people tend to be the Bill Gates’ of the stock photography world. There’s something about their work that people enjoy enough to keep buying over and over again. What it all comes down to though is how much effort and creativity you put into this with a slight side of luck. Anyways, this was just my quick explanation in short about what a stock photographer does and what stock photography is.
It has been a while since I’ve last posted, so pardon for my negligence. With the holiday season finished up and people’s lives returning to their normal routines I can also get back to work and stop being so lazy. What’s in the works? Well right now I’m just sorting out some college admissions things so I’ve also been tied up with that. I begin my classes in early February so that will definitely be keeping me busy 15 hours out of the week, while the rest of my time can be spent doing other productive things.
As for my stock photography people may be wondering why I haven’t uploaded more photos other than the original batch of 10. My excuse for that is the internet here; although you’d think uploading 10 photos (times 4, since I upload to different websites) wouldn’t take long, but I will assure you that it can take anywhere from one to three hours depending on my wireless connectivity quality. So what does this mean? What I plan to do now is batch around 50-100 great photos over a week-two week period, then spend a day uploading them and filling out keywords/descriptions. Most stock photographers would probably disagree with this workflow since it’s not exactly the most efficient, but for my current conditions it’ll have to do. Especially since uploading steals a lot of bandwidth from the rest of the people in the house, so if I sporadically upload photos no one would be very happy. At least this way they’ll know when the Internet will get to crawling speeds.
Now onto good news! You know that tradition when someone starts a new business it’s customary to frame your first dollar? Well the other evening I decided to check the progress of my current batch of photos on Dreamstime and noticed I had made my first sale! It wasn’t exactly a whole $1.00 and by no means did I expect to hit the jackpot with my first sale; but heck, $0.41 is definitely something to be proud of. I can say that I reached my goal of selling stock photography, even if it’s just one at the moment; now it’s time to set an even higher goal.
Anyways, I’ll finish this post on the high note of being happy I made a sale; stick around and expect a ton more stuff!
I’ve been contemplating on what to do with my YouTube channel for the past few days; so far I’ve got a few general ideas, mostly dealing with photography and travel. Anyone with any suggestions as to what you think would be enjoyable to watch will help me out a ton. If I plan to do something with this channel I want to create useful and entertaining content that everyone will look forward to see more of. Over the next few days I’ll keep brainstorming ideas and come up with the best ones I like; if anything is good enough I’ll work out a first “episode” and see how people like it and decide to go from there.
As for other things I’d like to wish everyone an early happy holiday season! I’m working on some more photos to put up on Flickr and various stock agencies, so once I sort myself out a little more I’ll provide links and such. Thanks for reading! Hope everyone is well, and feel free to check back often for updates.
Last night I finally got home from Italy; it was quite an amazing time and there is so much I could talk about, so excuse me if I jump around a bit. The first five days were spent in Rome; I walked for about nine or so hours each day taking photos along the way. Rome is a huge city, so covering it in five days hardly did it justice, if I had my way I would have been there for two weeks. I hit all of the usual tourist hotspots from the Vatican to the Spanish Steps and even made my way down the shopping district boasting the high quality products of all of the highly popular designers. As for my favorite place in Rome I haven’t any one place in particular; it’s a beautiful city that everyone should have a chance to get lost in. It’s true too, getting lost and following your own path let’s you see a ton more than following a tour group.
The next city I went to was Florence, the home of the Renaissance. It too was a beautiful city, but the cloud cover from this season made some photo opportunities a bit drab so I had to make do with the natural lighting I had. My only complaints with that is with the lighting and overcast clouds made the gorgeous city of Florence look very dreary when that was hardly the case at all. Most of the time there was spent walking through the small streets and seeing beautiful Catholic churches and Cathedrals. For those of you who are interested in a slower city to tour I definitely suggest Florence; it’s got a very home like feeling and the people are very friendly while Rome is like the United States’ New York City.
The rest of my trip was spent walking through Lucca on a rainy day and seeing Pisa on the day before I left for home. Going to Pisa was quite a thrilling experience since seeing the leaning tower of Pisa has always been on my mental to-do list. It was such a fun adventure and incredibly amusing watching fellow tourists pose as if to be holding the tower up. Once you see it in person you really can take in how amazing the whole thing is and how far the tower is really leaning; in fact, it looks as if it may topple at any second!
There is a ton more I could write about, and in the coming days I’ll be posting some of the thousands of photos I took, so keep checking back if you’re interested! I really appreciate the feedback I’ve been receiving, and for those of you who have been to Italy feel free to tell me what you thought about your stay in the lovely country. I’d be very interested to hear your experienced!