I just reached 1,000 images in my portfolio after ten months after discovering and deciding I should try this micro-stock thing. I must admit two things. 1. I didn't think I'd reach this point this soon. Who could imagine there were 1.000 things to photograph? 2. I thought I'd be selling a lot more at this point. Too much belief in the hype from the golden days of micro-stock when the competition was smaller. Here is a little time line of my though process as I built up to this goal.
July 2011 - 47 online. 88 refused. What is it that they want? Why are are all of these images getting rejected? What is this noise business? No sales? I'll try some other sites. How come that guy in the book just put up a photo of a Christmas tree and sat back and...
They say the micro stock world is a maturing market. But how mature can a market be when new players seem to jump in everyday?
It is a mature market in many ways but in a lot of ways the players still act very immature. I think the most recent debate about rate changes illustrates this. And I mean this in a economic, business, 30,000 ft view point and not as a disparagement of any individual, although some players do tend to shoot their mouths of before thinking from time to time (I include myself here).
Just compare the way many contributors deal with the concept of an agent. Some are exclusive with one agency while other are free range independents who have several agencies representing their work.
Going exclusive looks so tempting, when you look on extra earnings and other benefits.... But ... compared to other sites is my image acceptance one of the lowest on DT, earnings around the same (changes from month to month) and surely, some images not accepted here are doing great elsewhere. That's why I don't want to commit. BUT - I agree to have a same image over many sites is mass production for low cost and exclusivity (like Apple ;) is ideal. For that, I would like to have more exclusive images on DT, because I think, if you commit images to be exclusive, you don't have to sacrifice the potential and creativity of the photographer in areas not supported by the site. Saying that, I wish DT was giving little more appreciation to exclusive images (then 2.5% extra) to motivate me to lock image "forever".
I've wrestled for a year on whether or not to go exclusive. I contribute to three stock sites and I think it's very interesting to see how my best selling images vary from site to site. My highest selling image on DT has barely a couple of downloads on another site and vice versa. I like the changes that were recently made to Levels. Changes were recently made to another site which severely impacted my earning there for Editorial images. The scales are starting to tip towards DT.
I like the better pay outs being exclusive and I like the photos are getting more views, being higher up in the searches. I am still discouraged by the acceptance rate, the reasons seem really random most the time!
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With the need to keep costs to a minimum in the stock photography world, good models that will work for nothing or close to it are extremely desirable. When you find a good stock photography model you'll certainly know it but here are some traits to watch for:
10 Traits of a Good Stock Photography Model
1. They are willing to work for kibble.
2. When you say "sit", they sit. No whining, no lip.
3. They are naturally cute and adorable. Let's face it cute sells.
4. They don't give the photographer any grief over wardrobe choices.
5. They show up on time and don't try to charge you for mileage.
6. They don't fret about bad hair days, wrinkles or makeup.
Don't forget Mom on Sunday! You only have one Mom!
What to get Mom? Nancy Soriano, a lifestyle expert, says mothers want what they don’t have: time to themselves. But giving time as a gift needs to reflect a certain amount of thought and consideration on the part of the giver, reflecting mom’s personal passions. “Things that speak to moms’ interest make them feel more fulfilled,” Soriano says. “The really important thing is what they like and what is personal to them.”
What they don't want is breakfast in bed if it means cleaning up a messy kitchen afterwards.
There's been a lot of discussion about Pinterest lately here on the DT blogs and forums. Some feel its a great social networking promotion tool while others think its the spawn of the devil and yet another example of rampant copyright infringement on the Internet. Others simply don't know what to make of it yet.
Personally I'm kind of on the fence about Pinterest. When I first checked out Pinterest I thought - whoa boy this site is just full of copyright infringements. Unwatermarked images with no links to their source, obviously famous images of celebrities and all kinds of stolen images. Not unlike Google images which sells ads by serving up other people work. (Pinterest hasn't figured out how to make money from its site as of yet).
"You can now find a Pinterest button in the Flickr share menu to easily pin everything that you can share via Flickr, including photo pages, favorites, and groups. If you pin frequently, the Pin It button will show as one of the two shortcuts directly on the photopage.
Attribution appears below the pin’s description and provides a permanent link to the work, its author, and where they host their content. Because attribution cannot be edited, photographers can rest assured that pins and repins of their work will credit and link back to them.
We think simple and automatic attribution is a step forward for the sharing of content online, so we went even further than adding attribution to pins directly from...
In Ellen Boughn's book about microstock "Microstock Money Shots - turning downloads into dollars with microstock photography" she has a list of subjects to avoid.
One of interest to me, since I've been taking a lot of pet photos over the past few months, is "Your Pet". Here is what she has to say:
"Your pet, unless the animal is very ugly, really funny, and unbelievably cute or is a prop in photos with people. A photo of your sleeping cat is especially boring."
Its true, any subject be it a tomato or a pet that is accessible to many people is going to be shot to death so one has to bring something extra special to the table. This is what I've been attempting with shots of my dog and some of his friends.
I will admit it. Most Memorial Day's in my past I've taken advantage of the three day weekend and went camping, never giving the holiday much of a thought other than it was a holiday weekend.
The past few year's I've spent with my Father who served in Vietnam and watch proudly as he marched in the local parade with other veterans and listed to speeches by school children sponsored by the American Legion.
Typically these speeches come off kind of canned. (Kind of like the beginning of this blog). They typically are of the sort "I never thought much of the meaning behind Memorial Day blah blah".
Anyway the meaning of Memorial Day I get from my father is not so much to celebrate a soldier's service or sacrifice but to not forget the human cost of wars and to hold our...
I was glad to see President Obama's Memorial Day speech where he welcomed home our Vietnam Vets who never received a proper welcome back from that unpopular war. My Dad joined the army to pay for college and ended up making a career out of it. On leave from a tour of Vietnam to come home to meet me for the first time, he recalls having to change out of his uniform at the airport so he won't risk being spat on.
They say people photos sell the best. Specifically business people. But what if your portfolio is shy of, say, 30,000 people images? Do your people shots have much of a chance against the competition? What should you be concentrating your shooting time and efforts on? Landscapes, Travel, Studio?
According to the Microstock Insider blog there are three key features in all stock photos:
Three key features of all stock photos
A good stock photo can be broken down into three main components, all of which must be correct to make a high selling image.
1) Choice of Subject, be it an appropriate model or props, an object sat in a context that creates some kind of concept, something quite abstract that only really gains a meaning when...
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