posted on 16th of february, 2007

Dreamstime has asked me to write a blog to share my knowledge of the stock photo business. First a bit about me. Before I found myself in the business of editing, marketing and producing images, I was a schoolteacher. Thus the art above. I hope to both teach and learn in this effort.
I studied zoology and that informs some of the imagery that I personally favor.
Cat Eyes
Lizard silhouette
One of the first images that caught my eye is the one on the left. The simplicity of the composition emphasizes the majesty of the animal. The lizard image does just the opposite. By not focusing directly on the animal but filling the frame with the leaf, the image gives a sense of place. It works for any use requiring the illusion of the tropics whether for destination images or otherwise. (And without focusing on animal directly the image eliminates the "distaste factor" non-zoologists sometimes feel for creepy, crawly things.)
Woman diver pointing light at Caribbean soft coral
Just prior to getting into the stock photo business, I was a writer, most notably for the French oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau and his son, Jean Michel. While working for the Cousteau team in NY, I decided to return to Los Angeles and start a picture agency. The Cousteau team used a lot of stock photos but none from West Coast photographers. There was not a contemporary agency in LA at the time.
My agency was called After-Image. After 14 years, I sold it to Tony Stone, the British founder of what are now the Stone collections. I remained as President for nearly three years. I "retired" for a few years but then licensed the collection of a famous Life magazine photographer to Corbis Images. I joined that company as Executive Editor and since then have moved mainly from start up to start up as I really enjoy the entrepreneurial experience.
As a hobby, I am a painter. So I also have a great interest in the illustrations that I find on the site and will include them in all that I write about.
Career Concepts -- Graphic Artist
Landscape Painter
I come to Dreamstime filled with enthusiasm for the business model. The microstock phenomenon is the most exciting development in the business since I became a part of it. I met Serban and Dragos and Jeff at a PACA meeting in Key West last Fall. I was very impressed with their integrity and commitment to the contributors. I am delighted and honored to be part of the Dreamstime team.
Some of the topics that I will be covering early on are about what and why to shoot certain subjects, composition, market needs, wardrobe, color trends, demographic research and formats. I don't pretend to be a digital photo technical expert nor a Photoshop whiz so I will leave most tips in those areas to others with more experience and stick to what I know best.
I'm excited to start... so let's get going.
The Start of a Long Trip
Comments (8)

Posted by Viphard on April 08, 2007
thanks for shareing
Posted by Viphard on April 08, 2007
great blog man
Posted by Benglim on February 23, 2007
Thanks for sharing, Ellen.
Posted by Maigi on February 23, 2007
Great blog! I love it!
Posted by Joegough on February 21, 2007
Superb series Ellen __ keep 'em coming!
Posted by Brebca on February 21, 2007
Unfortunately I can not see the article because of error message 'page not found'...Was it already deleted?
Posted by Korat_cn on February 20, 2007
Great idea this blog!
I began to upload my illustratons on DT without illusions. I didn't think DT can be a real part of my illustrator job. Then I see my images sells well! So I began to create illustrations expressly for DT. But finding ideas to illustrate is very difficult! What sells? What DT users need? Thank you very much for helping us in finding an answer.
Posted by Songbird839 on February 19, 2007
These are the kind of articles and the kind of information contributors need more of. The creative end(photography, photoshop etc.) is well covered but seldom do I see business oriented articles like these. As someone who has also enjoyed the entrepreneurial experience several times already myself, I really enjoy and find invaluable, this kind of information. Thanks Ellen!

Comments (8)

This article has been read 5134 times. 13 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Keith Livingston, Andres Rodriguez, Ally Sullivan, Cornelis Opstal, Mel Gama, Mypokcik, Dawn Hudson, Stevies.

About me

I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at

Bainbridge Island, US

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