My first ever conceptual image sold!

posted on 30th of january, 2013

This was my first ever planned shot....and I had shot this especially for uploading on Dreamstime. And tonight it sold. :)
And this was also my 4th uploaded shot on Dreamstime. At that time I was finding this site TOTALLY frustrating. It was like there is no hope. I was getting rejections after rejections for poor lens quality and compression artifacts and a thousand other things I never really could understand. I had signed up just before I turned 18 hoping to earn big. (Now I have been on here for less than 6 months). Then I uploaded some files and got rejections...I didn't know what to do. I changed some settings and still got the rejections.

The most frustrating was "poor lens quality", "distorted pixels" and "uneven focus". I had accepted defeat. I didn't have enough money to buy a DSLR, I still don't. I have my SX30IS (Canon point-and-shoot). It has a 35X zoom which makes it unfit at every focal length. I don't have additional flashes, I have a tripod and this camera - that's all. Keeping up AR becomes a torture...I upload shots confident they would sell one day - only to see them rejected for technical reasons. It felt like having a barn full of seeds and no fertile land to plant them. Imagine, if you didn't have your DSLR, how would it be?

So I started reading about the camera optics. Being into advanced electronics and robotics from when I was 12, I already knew about JPEG compression, layered file editing and optics from when I was about 15. I decided I'd give it that last push. I set the target to upload 3 perfect files in a week. You'd laugh at this but that's how it is for a beginner with only a point-and-shoot.
And today, I can say I have come up with my own procedures to fix most of the problems without even resizing the files and using just a JPG (my camera has no RAW mode).

Tonight I was about to sleep and just felt like checking my account once. And surprise! I'd sold my fourth upload and the first conceptual photo. The buyer searched after "food shortage". I still clearly remember putting the leaf there and wondering on which corner to position it to go by the rule of thirds. Whether the leaf should point inwards or outwards the frame. Wondering if I should use F/8 or F/2.4 as the light was low and I hadn't bought a tripod then either.
It has been hardly a few months and the file actually sold. There was that night I was sitting on my laptop thinking my gear and my skills had all been illusion. That I stand no chance on a site where the world's top stock photo contributor too has his portfolio. But thanks to Dreamstime, now I see that even the top stock photographer cannot shoot what I can...because we both don't imagine the same and live the same. What he has more is the determination and solid planning and careful observation.

So I feel this 11th sale is a milestone. For me 100 uploads is no milestone, nor is a 1000 sales mark. I love this more. The feeling that I had the crude skills. They just needed refining. I'd not post about it when I reach those 100 uploads or sales mark - I sure will reach it though. Stock photography would live and be just as popular as long as humans can see things.

So just hang on. I have seen people who have left after uploading 17 or 18 files and they have the gear that I can only hope for. If you have even a Canon EOS 1100D, don't complain you don't have a super sensitive sensor with a 6 digit ISO. You don't need it. What you need is imagination and a stubborn mind.
Good luck to newbies and the big guys too. They have been a big inspiration throughout. I'll chase them down one of these years for sure. ;)

Comments (21)

Posted by Jordieasy on February 20, 2013
Congratulations Robin!
I'm also new at it, but I have 41 pictures uploaded (40%), a EOS550D and 31 years... But I haven't sold nothing yet!!!

Well done guy and keep on!!
You inspire us!!
Posted by Auenlaender on February 06, 2013
Hallo Robin,
I am absolutely new here and I sent my first pix last week (still waiting for answer...) and today I read your blog and must add a comment. It's so wonderful to read about your success and I can absolutely share your happyness with you. I am a mother of 3 children and photography is my passion, my therapy etc. but I still do it with a camera like yours and do not have really great expectation in selling something. My motivation is to share my work, my creativity and you are so right, when you say, that this is, what really matters. None technique equipment can't replace creativity and first of all: heart and soul.
I also must admit, that I saw photos here at DT that are really ugly and nothing special. nothing notable and I asked myself, why did they choose them...?
Anyway I wish you a great future here and elsewhere with your work!
Posted by Beyo1980 on February 06, 2013
Ive just read this and it blew my mind. Last night, I uploaded my first set of pictures. As we speak, they are still under investigation and I have no idea if they will be allowed. I thought I wasnt good enough, and not to sure if this is something I wanted to do. But you are so right. Its not the camera that makes the picture, its the few inches behind it.

Thanks you so much for your inspiration.
Posted by Bhutri on February 03, 2013
I really appreciate your spirit. All the best. It's always hard in the beginning but nothing is impossible.
Posted by Picstudio on February 02, 2013
Posted by Marieclaire66 on February 02, 2013
I can relate to every word you said. I've learned to shrug off the rejections (that's how it feels sometimes), and move on. Your little picture is striking with an excellent use of contrast. Wished I'd thought of it. It just shows what you can do with a little imagination. It's probably your most powerful tool, ahead of a fancy camera. It's better to upgrade your camera as your skills improve, not the other way around. Keep up the good work!
Posted by Mike2focus on February 01, 2013
Thanks for writing this inspirational blog! Keep imagining and keep uploading, you are succeeding. "Leaf on Parched Earth" is a perfect stock photo, good concept, negative area for text, simple and clean composition. Great job!
Posted by Py2000 on February 01, 2013
Posted by Suegresham on February 01, 2013
Congratulations - perseverance counts - I am getting a lot of refusals also, but hope to improve. Dreamstime have such a lovely attitude and give constructive crits.
I am sure that you will do well.
Posted by Elianehaykal on January 31, 2013
Posted by smartview27 on January 31, 2013
Congratulations !
Posted by Chanevy on January 31, 2013
Wonderful blog, thank you. You have the right attitude to go with your skills!
Posted by Celiaak on January 31, 2013
Very simple and beautiful! I love the contrast betwwen dryness and the leave.
Posted by Egomezta on January 31, 2013
Great blog, I really liked your image.
Posted by Miraclemoments on January 31, 2013
Good stuff....well done on finding ways around camera limitations.
Posted by Robinstockphotos on January 31, 2013
Bought one of the level 0 photos of Harshvardhan below. I felt like he could do with some encouragement. ;)
Lots of credits from my blogs...why not spend on people who want to see a sale real bad? Love this thing!

And thank you everyone. I'd probably not be writing as often if not for your encouraging comments and equally encouraging ports. :)
Posted by Baldas1950 on January 31, 2013
Great blog! and very useful suggestions and inspirations for everibody!
Posted by Harshvardhan on January 31, 2013
Thankyou so much prateek for sharing your insight! For the last few days i have been reading all your blogs, and it helps me to keep on trying to stick to stock photography as i have experienced the same thing. Earlier my only two files were selected but after reading your blogs, my 7 more files have been selected. I hope for the sale soon. thanks! and keep on inspiring all of us the so called beginners! thanks again!
Posted by Keki on January 31, 2013
well done!
Posted by Clearvista on January 31, 2013
Congratulations. You have done very well and are a great example and inspiration. Your attitude brings a big smile to my face and you deserve every success that will surely come to you. It is uplifting to see.
Posted by Positiveflash on January 30, 2013
Great story, it is really inspirational.

Also, congratulations on your sale. It is always nice to see perseverance actully pay off.

Great job, and good luck.

Comments (21)

This article has been read 1371 times. 3 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Pratik Panda.

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Combining digital imaging with careful post processing to produce the images you are looking for, my steadily growing portfolio contains a wide range of images from space backgrounds to still life photography. All the images are painstakingly corrected for all types of noticeable noise and chromatic aberrations, however minor.

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