Sexy, gorgeous young model soaked from head to toe, tropical ocean sunset, lighting stands weighed down in a rock pool and makeup artist/stylist warning me of large swells – what more could you ask for from life as a photographer? Well certainly more than 35 cents! Come on, 3 lots of heart and soul went into creating that stunning 21MP masterpiece!
We’ve all been there I suspect and you wonder why we carry on? Then you catch yourself really chuffed with a $2.40 sale and a few moments later realise how sad it is you are now celebrating $2.40 for all that work. I went through constant phases of being grumpy about every sale, feeling exploited and undervalued. But niggling away at the back of my mind was the fact that so many people were doing it and so many were having a good time, so perhaps I was missing something and should hang in there just a little longer. Grump, grump!
After 2 and half years I have only in the last 6-8 months discovered the secret that now allows me to sleep easy and enjoy being a microstock tog. Basically I learned to detach myself emotionally from the pictures.
To do this I thought back to when I worked as an IT tech for ADT fixing 3 broken PCs a day from security branches all over the country. I was really good at my job, not only fixing the faults but giving each machine a careful health check, spotting/fixing things that might become a problem later on and sending the equipment back out to the field engineers.
I never got emotionally attached to the computers or the work I had put in to each one, all I needed was my salary on time at the end of the month and I was as happy as Larry!
So basically, I now apply this mindset to microstock. My camera is one of my work tools, models become my work colleagues, my pictures get sent away once they are ready (just like the PCs) and end of the month I get paid, just like any other job. The upside is I absolutely love my job, working on shoots gives me such a high and unlike any other job I can easily do this 7 days a week without complaint. I’ve learned to look at my portfolio as a whole rather than individual works. At the end of the month I just say “my portfolio has earned me X dollars”. I don’t get hung up on how many 35 cents made up the X.
So now I work happy and free to enjoy every shoot. I am able to ignore single sales and drop the grumpy and instead look at the final total and know I’m in a job I enjoy. I can still feel proud of my work but at the end of the day it is work. In my opinion, that’s the secret when you get into bed with microstock! Hope this helps others who are still struggling with the concept of the 35 cent sale!!