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Author Topic: Critique of an amateur photographer's port on SS Please and Thank You!!!  (Read 1382 times)

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« on: August 18, 2017, 17:20 »
0
Hi everyone :)

Sorry in advance!

I'm new to stock photography, & new to DSLR photography as well. I've only had my Fuji Finepix S1 about 20 months now (Christmas present) & been on a couple of trips, but mostly taking pictures in my backyard, so not getting a lot of the right kind of photos for stock yet. I just learned about stock about 5 months ago & spent more time reading up than I have so far of submitting. About 2 months since I got approved on SS. I have 86 approved pictures on SS & I think 5 on Dreamstime (I paused after getting some on there, to focus on SS). I've not had any sales nor views on SS (can you even see views there?) & no sales & only 1 view on DT the day I uploaded.

http://shutterstock.com/g/Crystalheartpix [nofollow]         

(I hope that's right & would love it if you could look at my port :) Hopefully it's not too bad.

I had to put all my questions (so so many, such a mess that I erased & cut multiple times) into a text file for anyone that has time to look at it? lol... it kept telling me too large, too large??

Thanks again, everyone, for all your time reading this (wasted? haha), and for any possible replies/comments/tips/critiques :) I really, really appreciate it.

Crystalheartpix


« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2017, 17:55 »
0
Seems everyone is too nervous to download unknown items here lol... sorry.

Hopefully it's ok if I reply to myself to put my questions here?!

I'm still unsure on the whole "don't do too many of one subject/viewpoint/color etc. Most of these flowers are different blossoms but look as if they could be the same one, a couple are the same taken in different growth stages... so where is the dividing line? I've seen some ports with the Exact same photo or vector with only one tiny change of a letter or number or color, often with 50 tiny variations. I chose each different flower, 1 in color & the same in B&W, and got approved, some people may say that's already way too many (some people love flowers lol, but do the buyers?!)


I know it can take months/years to sell if your pictures aren't the right kind for a certain agency, even if they are technically ok. I'm at about a 50% approval/rejected ratio with SS (it was worse until adding flower photos. I'm still learning & trying to look at people's ports to see what is good (but on SS, I don't know what has sold so I don't know what is "good" in a person's port!). I try to watch & learn from the popular tab & I just got the Shot List for what buyers want for September. I don't have any equipment besides the camera so far. So my questions besides some basics about SS are, how can I shoot photos for stock indoors without more equipment or do you have any other suggestions of normal things that an amateur can shoot to learn & also be sellable (I can't learn stock if I never sell anything?)

I appreciate any tips anyone can give, and I realize I need to keep working on adding many, many more photos for stock. I can try for approvals on my first editorial photos from travels? So far I've been a bit nervous about that... the model releases & rules have kept me from doing anything besides basic photos :)

I do very little post processing as I'm new to ALL the programs... I have PS Elements 12 on my PC and the free apps PS Express & Lightroom on my LGV10 cell. Mostly I only PS out my dates that show up on photos. Since I'm not sure on the whole metadata thing, and don't use any uploading keywording software or anything yet, I leave it turned on in camera. I edit out the date on all photos or crop it out (I only crop dates or other things I can't get rid of with the PS repair, blend, blur (I'm still learning all of those things as I go & don't know how to correctly use layers yet!). So I wanted to ask, do you keep your dates turned off in the camera? Maybe I can have it off with a fresh sd disk, or snap a first pic then turn it off, take my series and use that as a marker date change for when I save my photos later? Just trying to find a way to keep my dates for keeping track of things in case I can't get them uploaded on time (I've gotten some photos that have the dates so wrong they are years off, like saying 1969 on google photos for a pic for 2005?! hahaha). It's so frustrating when technology doesn't help me stay organized, yes I know sometimes it can't help all of us :) hehehe

I wasn't sure if I should make an Instagram account to load my photos as a place to link to show my work, since I've run into the long, questioning discussions about watermarking & copyrights and how to best do all of that. So it seems that if I just concentrate on SS only & link to my SS port if I need to show some work, that's good enough for now. I know I've got a lot of travel photos that aren't right for stock & probably not for editorial either, so can't be uploaded until I know more about what I'm doing :)

Again Thanks to everyone who took time to read this, and all comments are helpful & appreciated :) Thank you !!

Bad Company

« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2017, 18:00 »
+2
I don't usually promote books but you really need to read one of these before venturing into this business- you have a ton too learn.

 Here are the book links- both are written by members on this site.  After you read them you will know what you have to do to make any type of money.

https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Heap/e/B007II0408

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2017, 18:05 »
+2
Thanks BadCompany!

I do blog a lot about stock photography and include lots of free tips on my website if you feel like reading that.http://www.backyardsilver.com

Steve

« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 18:15 »
+2
I have actually been watching and reading Steve's site for a few months now and had also found Alex's as well. I haven't bought any books or programs since I'm still so early in the process of learning about my camera and the simple process of just taking the pictures. I felt like first I needed to crawl (a lot) before I could walk (walking being maybe making a few hundred dollars on some stock sites or with photo sells or blogging or something in the future) or running (running actually being going gung ho on stock sites & making it a real job instead of dipping my toes right now).

I'm slowly picking up information from so many places that it's been a bit jumbled in my mind (as badly as my pictures have been just sitting on sd cards and flash drives in total disorgization). So yeah I have a lot to learn :) I'm trying to get photos into a more organized process as I slowly test the waters.

I did sell one picture today on SS :) Just found out after I posted here !! So I know that though I have a lot to do, I am not on any time frame and can learn as I go. Things sometimes take me a while to really stick, and remembering all the things about photography isn't going to happen in a year, even within a book or two at a time :)

I really appreciate you responding though! Thanks for linking those two as they would have been exactly the kind of thing I would have been frantically hoping someone would show me if I hadn't already found them on my own for once :) I'm still in the researching stage before jumping in with any expenditures geared towards possible future earnings :)

Thank you!

Crystalheartpix

« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2017, 18:22 »
+1
I'm excited to have you respond on one of my posts Steve :) Like meeting a celebrity to me hehehe :)

You have so much great info on your site, my daughter has been saying for months, "Mom, why do you have so many tabs open on Chrome!?"

I told her it's because I keep finding things to read, and I do bookmark them, but then there's maybe a paragraph or a sentence I want to remind myself of and then I worry I'll forget where I found it hahhaha.

My first photo that sold today was of a trash can with a plastic liner, taken in downtown Montgomery, Alabama... I had just put it up last night, and I was like that's the first one to sell, really??!! It reminded me of one of your photos that was of a pot of food that you thought wasn't too great but sold... and you said sometimes stock sales are surprising hahaha.

I'm sure I'll be buying your book in the near future, I'm just trying to process all the free data you've already got swirling in my head Steve!!

Thanks again for commenting :)

Crystalheartpix

Brasilnut

  • Author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2017, 18:33 »
+1
Thanks as well Bad Company

------

Hi Crystal,

Welcome to the microstock :)

I can see you're eager to learn. You've come to the right place!

Quote
I did sell one picture today on SS


Did you sell the salt flats? That's a nice shot / location...looks like barren Siberia. If you live close, I would recommend to try to get many shots but be careful with the heat! Better if you can find a friend/relative to be a model on your shoot.

Keep in mind that the search engines are basically blind and that buyers won't find your image if you don't include accurate keywords (of which you've included 15):

I would add the following 35 more keywords/phrases:

alkali, arid, crusty, death valley, dried up, dry, evaporation, flat, geology, global warming, heat, hot,  lifeless, salt, saltpan, sand, sediment, smooth, canyon, mineral, reservoir,  salt river project, scenery, sky, exploration, extreme, post-apocalyptic, salt dunes, mineral, mountain, ww3, plain, scenic

There's a lot to cover but I thought best to focus on just that one image which is nice and shoot more of these and less of flowers and dogs.

Check out more of my tips in my blog at:

www.brutallyhonestmicrostock.com

Welcome again.

Alex





steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2017, 19:03 »
+1
Meeting a celebrity? Well, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance as well! I'm glad you are finding my blog useful - although the articles are obviously in the order that comes to me over time. In a book you do spend more time structuring the "lessons" which might help.

A key thing that I have been saying a few times recently. When you think about a photo, ask yourself - why would someone pay good money for this? What is it about that is of interest to people and how can I make it more interesting and useful to people? How can you see it being used?

If you can't answer those questions, then the chance of that image selling is very poor.

Steve

« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2017, 19:44 »
0
Hi Alex :)

Thanks for the welcome! Wow, seeing you and Steve on here... you guys probably have most new people not know who you are, but since I read up before trying things, you are celebrity status people to me heheh so it's very cool to have you say hi & comment on my crazy posts!!!! I haven't known about your site for as long, but I've already got a ton of tabs saved for yours as well, and the link for your book for when my brain has more room hahaha. I'm smiling like an idiot lol :)

Yes I'm here to learn... I tried to get a question in on SS's critique forum...but couldn't get that to even allow me to post my question hahaha. I've been looking at critiques here on this site over the past couple of months, and I've seen a lot of different things in people's ports when they've asked for critiques, but some are from years ago, and I don't know what has sold, so that's why I've no clue as to what's good or not. I just know I searched peach rose and see lots, so figured well mine are pretty nice too hahah. Yeah I knew chances were they wouldn't sell anytime soon, if ever, but I had read enough in forums and from sites like Steve's before I even registered to SS to know to NOT send 10 rose photos in for my first submissions test to SS ;) Lol

I sure wish it was a photo like the salt flats that would have sold, it would give me some hope for most of my mess of photos hahha. No unfortunately that was a trip out west so I don't have the access to those beautiful views anymore. That was taken on a cell phone ! I wish I'd had my new camera then, even though I'm still an idiot with it hahaha. For my one sale, I had hopes it'd be something halfway nice with the new camera, but no it was the trash can, just taken last weekend after I found out I was making a trip to the city. I was thinking ok, gotta take at least some photos that might be stock and not just touristy :) Well at least it WAS the new camera and not on a cell phone, so that at least makes me feel like my Christmas present now has a value... $.25!! hehehhe.

But why couldn't the city signs have sold or maybe the bell? Why the trash can?! Is that supposed to tell me something about my photography skills?! HAHAHA

I'm sure that you both have very useful info in your books, but right now, I've seriously got so much info from your sites that I'm trying to read up on... if I bought books to try to do it all, I'd go into a coma !! Lol. I'm trying to keep a rein on myself and take baby steps, research mode is what I'm in... if I purchse books right now, I'll feel like I HAVE to have instant results (which I can't get without having the photos in my port to get those results & I just don't have the time to add more to my plate than I'm trying right now hehehe. Right now, I can keep a bit of control on myself as I'm just "looking into things, not purchasing" hahah, almost like investing in a new car lol.

As to anyone purchasing my photos on SS so far, I'm definitely learning quickly by reading online that photos are like art, and so it's a person's perspective, whether they want to buy it or just enjoy it that makes their viewing what it is... I can't tell them ok, here's a trash can, it's great in the sunlight so buy it hahhaha. But as to buyers, since I'm not one, I've not learned what they want, and am going by what I've been told (read) more than what I've actually seen, because I can't go on to everyone's ports and view their exact sales & get a good look at the break downs. I have sites like your blogs where you show certain photos and say this is going to micro, this to mid & this to RM, and see photos you've shown that have sold, but I don't have the experience to know the WHY as to all these things...yet.

So, right now I feel like I'm just teaching myself in the most hands on way I can (I wish I could find a local stock seller who was willing to sit down with me in person and SHOW me... hands on, because sometimes people learn that way so much better), so that things will start to actually stick in my head :) I'm forgetting things faster than I'm learning because of so much useful info I'm finding :) hahhaha. So, I'm kind of slowly learning a bit of what the reviewers want to see, what the problems are if I didn't recognize them myself and had them pointed out, and that if it's online, that maybe someone will see it and comment to just say, that's a nice picture, even though it will probably never sell for stock, that it gives me maybe just a tiny spark to keep going & keep learning. I could just throw my pictures on FB or make an Instagram or something then make myself nuts worrying about copyrights & watermarks & all of that... or since I'm already here, I can try to gain skill for the future. Maybe it won't make sense to some stock sellers. But for the moment it makes sense to me :)
 
Well, no worries, I was prepared for harsh criticisms but I wasn't going to cry if I got any because my excuse is, I'm very new to my DSLR. I love technology but it doesn't always love me. I haven't even made it off AUTO on that thing YET!! But I will :) Baby steps :)

Thanks for the tips on the keywords!!! That's one thing that takes me so so long doing each photo one by one. And OMG... my raging when it gets rejected for something I can fix, and need to fix & re-submit, but SS doesn't keep that info (and then my stupid PC screenshot decides to NOT keep a new picture but instead 15 of the same one renamed screenshot (2), (3), etc that was supposed to keep my keywords just in case for me hahaha. So often when I have to redo some photos I spend hours of redoing the same mess, after the initial hours. Ah I know you guys have talked on your blogs about things you do to speed up your process, and everyone has to get into their own rhythms, find the right software or apps etc. I'm still working on all that. I'm also fighting this PC because it's telling me it's hard drive is running out from too many photos taken this year hahaha, and I'm scared to delete anything from disks, hard drive, google photos... I'm always worried I'll lose it all !!

I'll keep following you guys and learning more every day :) And I'll keep working to submit photos I have whenever I can't get new ones... the housewife life doesn't seem too exciting lately, even to find photos for stock lol. I'm still adding old photos and going through & trying to organize, but yet trying to add some at least every few days so I don't get stuck in a rut of saying, oh I need better photos, equipment, excuses and then never doing anything !!

Things I dream about (for the near future, daydreaming... oh man oh man, how I wish I knew what I was doing, and had the equipment like some of you for that solar eclipse coming up Monday... it's been 99 years?!! I can't wait to see the pictures that show up soon :)

No, really... in the near future, I just plan to keep taking photos of things I enjoy, and if I can find places to make a little money off of them so that I can get a macro lens, that'd make me very happy right now :) I'll keep asking questions, and probably doing things in a backwards, roundabout, slow and crazy manner hahahha. And then, one day maybe all these hours spent keywording will be forgotten and will have been worth it, if not financially, then at least in terms of meeting new people and making new friends :)

Thanks again for all the replies. Every response is valuable to me, because I truly believe that you can never, ever know too much or ask too many questions...even if others don't agree :)

Again, so sorry for the super long questions, answers, rambling... I could never do a blog, I'd starve to death before I got to the point hahahha. Thanks again guys :)

Crystalheartpix

« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2017, 20:26 »
+5
That was far too long a post.

Bad Company

« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2017, 20:46 »
0
That was far too long a post.

Heck, maybe they should have written a book after reading the last two page post  :-\

« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2017, 21:09 »
0
Sorry :(
I can't see how long it is in the small post window, and I tend to get caught up and go on when I'm excited about something. I'll try to tone it down a lot !!

« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2017, 21:11 »
+1
That was also being ready to reply to one person and hitting reply and it telling me another person had added to the post... I then added INTO that message my response, so it made it twice as long (to 2 people at once). I won't do that anymore :)

Brasilnut

  • Author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2017, 02:48 »
+1
Quote
That was also being ready to reply to one person and hitting reply and it telling me another person had added to the post... I then added INTO that message my response, so it made it twice as long (to 2 people at once). I won't do that anymore

Love your energy. Hope we can help you to channel it into creating simple & useful content that buyers will find useful.

« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2017, 03:15 »
+2
Not a photographer but here's my two cents... Selling stock is a lot like selling on a flea market (have you ever done that?). Just upload whatever and see for yourself what sells. If you are not good enough now, you'll get better later. It's a process. It's no more art than a lemonade stand is fine cuisine, no reason to get nervous over it. Noone's judging.

« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2017, 03:24 »
+1
Not a photographer but here's my two cents... Selling stock is a lot like selling on a flea market (have you ever done that?). Just upload whatever and see for yourself what sells. If you are not good enough now, you'll get better later. It's a process. It's no more art than a lemonade stand is fine cuisine, no reason to get nervous over it. Noone's judging.
But you haven't tasted my lemonade.....apart from that I think you are totally correct. Theres a lot of judging on this site with some harsh critics some of which can be helpful but not as much as learning from your own experience.

Bad Company

« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2017, 08:44 »
0
Not a photographer but here's my two cents... Selling stock is a lot like selling on a flea market (have you ever done that?). Just upload whatever and see for yourself what sells. If you are not good enough now, you'll get better later. It's a process. It's no more art than a lemonade stand is fine cuisine, no reason to get nervous over it. Noone's judging.
But you haven't tasted my lemonade.....apart from that I think you are totally correct. Theres a lot of judging on this site with some harsh critics some of which can be helpful but not as much as learning from your own experience.

Well stated!  8)

« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2017, 22:28 »
0
Hahahha thanks guys :)

Btw I love lemonade, but how bout that Kool-Aid, you know y'all want some ;) rofl

I've been to flea markets, I've even bought things there, but never sold anything, though one of my sisters has... it sure looked like alot of work for little reward & no fun to me...gee, it's NOTHING like this stock photography thing is it? nahhhhh! :) hehehhe

But as to being nervous, well that's partly just me being my typical self. I want to be good at things...lots of things, though I also know I'll never be the greatest at lots of things, some because I don't have the aptitude, or the kind of skills I can ever learn, or the energy hahaha. But taking photos is something I can enjoy, so I'm doing that a lot. Of course I have some that I think are pretty good, not pro quality of course, but I also know that sometimes there are people out there that see things just like a non-pro like me does and also might like it :) I just hold out hope that some of those people are buyers hahaha. Maybe I'll be selling to bloggers more than corporations, and I'm okay with that, because I don't expect to make a million dollars here...but it sure would be nice ;) I bet you all agree :)

I'll keep taking pictures, maybe I'll even brave some more critiques in the future, hahaha. I could be nuts enough to ask for a critique every time I near a new 100 mark... say the next one at 200 photos lol. Keep myself down to earth that way :)

I do actually really appreciate everyone taking time to comment though. I know sometimes because I don't go slow & ask one question at a time, people just don't really hear me past my ramblings and just try to calm me down hehhehe. So if any of you ever pop in and just have a picture here or there that you can comment on, so that I know what/where to improve, I'd definitely appreciate it :) I'm slowly going back and trying to add more keywords to my first submission photos, as well as add more photos (which I think is probably more important due to my first photos either being not as much for stock, or just that there's already way too many on SS already...like the flowers).

I am going to work on adding my first editorials right now. If anyone has any tips on ways to speed up keywording or how to work on metadata when you have a series of photos you want to add, I'd love to hear it :)

Thanks again everyone. I'm glad I joined the forum and asked for a critique and started meeting people here at SS!!

Crystalheartpix

Brasilnut

  • Author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2017, 18:00 »
0
How are you getting on, Crystal? :)


 

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