I must say that since the beginning of my adventure as a micro-stock photographer, I was amazed by the speed at which people improve their skills.
The fact that every day you can see and study hundreds of new images many of which really stunning, seems to have an impact even if just subliminal, to the quality of photography at dreamstime and in microstock in general.
In the beginning I had no idea of how much would have been difficult to sell images with this new microstock business. In few months I learned that wasn't easy at all. I am speaking to be able to sell images as a profession, for living, not just for hobby.
If you shoot for hobby, you are obviously thrilled to see you images selling almost daily, also if at the end of the month you make just a nice extra income to buy some gear or whatever.
As I decided to try it seriously, as a profession, it wasn't that easy. I needed to be able to sell my pictures in quantity to allow me to sustain my living expenses. That said, I must say that it was a long steady learning curve for me, that I didn't knew anything about stock photography before joining Dreamstime.
The learning is twofold: first you learn what kind of images are saleable and second you learn how to make the right photos.
Along the path I have improved my gear. I started with a compact Canon, then had for a short time a Panasonic prosumer, finally came first DSRL Nikon followed by the jump to a Nikon D300 last year, and now I'm planning the next step to full frame format.
Also I have improved my skills with studio strobes (rarely used by me before, because I was a so called 'street photographer'), with models and with planning concepts from first sketch to final shot.
Another great improvement was in the skills with Photoshop, a software that every serious photographer must not just 'learn', but master.
I never stop to learn, in fact. This is the beauty of this profession, that is today very competitive surely, but also very exciting. Stimulating. Refreshing.