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Author Topic: Who shoots artistic, who shoots for the sales and who changed his shooting?  (Read 3624 times)

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SVH

« on: October 08, 2021, 11:56 »
0
When I started with microstock agencies I was only shooting what I found interesting to shoot and liked but obviously that doesn't always sell well.

So, I'm beginning to think to shoot things I normally wouldn't shoot and upload stuff that doesn't meet my own requirements but might sell anyway. For example, somebody told that pictures of road signs were selling so I took photo's of them (which I never would have done otherwise) and put them up for sale.

I am curious if other contributors had this same thought and entirely changed the way they shoot to make more sellable stuff. Or if they sticked with their creative shooting, no matter the marketability. Or if they started shooting only for the salesto begin with.

Glad to hear your story and thoughts to learn from.



Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2021, 12:26 »
+3
I've considered changing my approach a few years back. I always created stock I liked to create (while taking into account certain trends) but I could have gone the route of creating loads of high-demand, generic stuff that buyers are always looking for.

But where's the fun in being an image factory? I mean, if I wanted to make loads of money, I would've become a lawyer or a banker or some boring but well-paid job. Not graphic design. And certainly not microstock. But I strive to have a balance between having a fun job with some freedom on one hand and making money on the other.
Then again, I don't rely on microstock, it's just side income for me.

Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2021, 14:04 »
+7

Yes, makes sense to shoot what should sell if you're trying to make a business out of this. I've shot plenty of signs and it's OK...many do sell.

Trying to find meaning and reward at the same time reminds of the Japanese concept of Ikigai. Ideally need to tick all the boxes, unfortunately what lacks in this industry these days is the financial reward.

I've managed to find joy and some success with creating book covers, so I'll keep at it. Oh and kept my boring corporate day-job, for now.

« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2021, 15:08 »
+16
You have to do both. You have to take what you love and then find a commercial use for it. Everything I shoot has a particular commercial use and buyer behind it. You need to research this as well. Who are your buyers? Where are they? What do they want?

My story: I started uploading in 2013 but only on a part time basis, and full-time in 2014 where I treated it like a full-time job, and planned shoots for every day. In the beginning I had no idea what to shoot so I started to experiment. I eventually found what sold (like crazy) by thinking about all the things I loved doing and how I could convert that to sales. I used to visualize the buyer when I set up my shoots.

Recently I reached 100,000 DLs on SS and more than double that across all agencies - probably close to 1/4 million of sales overall. My maximum number of sales in a day on SS was over 200 DLs. If someone had told me back when I started that I would do this, I would have fainted.

But I believe that you definitely need to find things that you love doing first - because you won't be able to sustain the long journey of microstock otherwise. And then it becomes fun. And then work out how to convert that to commercial use.

PS. I dont shoot editorials. Only about 200 editorials in my whole port of 10k photos - and they are mostly only illustrative eds shot with a specific purpose in mind. Someone told me in the beginning not to shoot editorials and to put that time and effort into commercial stock. I think that was great advice and it worked for me.

I don't shoot people, only some 'hand-modelling' by myself and my husband.

I use a lot of color, and I also put them through Viveza (via the Nik Collection) to make them pop and ensure I have the best dynamic range. I believe it helps them stand out on crowded search pages. Good dynamic range naturally attracts the 'eye' of buyers. 'Flat' photos (as per the histogram graph) dont sell as well.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 15:49 by Milleflore »

« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2021, 16:58 »
+2
You have to do both. You have to take what you love and then find a commercial use for it. Everything I shoot has a particular commercial use and buyer behind it. You need to research this as well. Who are your buyers? Where are they? What do they want?

My story: I started uploading in 2013 but only on a part time basis, and full-time in 2014 where I treated it like a full-time job, and planned shoots for every day. In the beginning I had no idea what to shoot so I started to experiment. I eventually found what sold (like crazy) by thinking about all the things I loved doing and how I could convert that to sales. I used to visualize the buyer when I set up my shoots.

Recently I reached 100,000 DLs on SS and more than double that across all agencies - probably close to 1/4 million of sales overall. My maximum number of sales in a day on SS was over 200 DLs. If someone had told me back when I started that I would do this, I would have fainted.

But I believe that you definitely need to find things that you love doing first - because you won't be able to sustain the long journey of microstock otherwise. And then it becomes fun. And then work out how to convert that to commercial use.

PS. I dont shoot editorials. Only about 200 editorials in my whole port of 10k photos - and they are mostly only illustrative eds shot with a specific purpose in mind. Someone told me in the beginning not to shoot editorials and to put that time and effort into commercial stock. I think that was great advice and it worked for me.

I don't shoot people, only some 'hand-modelling' by myself and my husband.

I use a lot of color, and I also put them through Viveza (via the Nik Collection) to make them pop and ensure I have the best dynamic range. I believe it helps them stand out on crowded search pages. Good dynamic range naturally attracts the 'eye' of buyers. 'Flat' photos (as per the histogram graph) dont sell as well.

+100 great advice!

SVH

« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2021, 01:45 »
+1
Thanks Noedelhap, Brasilnut and Milleflore for your insights, very helpful. I much appreciate the good tips! Also love the Ikigai :)

« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2021, 16:41 »
+3
When I started with microstock agencies I was only shooting what I found interesting to shoot and liked but obviously that doesn't always sell well.

So, I'm beginning to think to shoot things I normally wouldn't shoot and upload stuff that doesn't meet my own requirements but might sell anyway. For example, somebody told that pictures of road signs were selling so I took photo's of them (which I never would have done otherwise) and put them up for sale. ....

as so often, take the middle way!

most of what I shoot has potential as stock; most of what I shoot has personal interest.  i rarely shoot solely to produce stock.   i do shoot a lot of editorials (street scenes, markets, etc) where releases are impractical. and these account for a substantial portion of my sales.

micros are still useful for me as i'm not looking for another 'job'. instead stock income pays for several intl trips each year, which produce more images, which fund more travel...

the Ikigai is interesting and useful, but needs to be adjusted for each person, as we don't all share all the goals and can find satisfaction w/o hitting the absolute center



« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2021, 22:43 »
+3
I hope to just start shooting what I love more and more.
Stock does not pay enough to do otherwise.

« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2021, 08:24 »
+4
I hope to just start shooting what I love more and more.
Stock does not pay enough to do otherwise.

That's what I do. I enjoy my travel and immersion in nature, the shooting I'm able to do with the gear I already own, and whatever revenue comes to me from it. Stock royalties help pay for my travel.

But I do feel terribly sorry for those who depend on stock for their essential income.

« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2021, 13:24 »
+4
Quote
I enjoy my travel and immersion in nature

yes, Marthamarks.  I tend to photograph close to home for many reasons but same. 
I have actually been getting in touch more with my art roots from past and might start exhibiting again.  Stock has helped me improve my technical skills as I moved from film to digital and it has opened me up to shooting things I might have not seen or thought of photographing before, keeps me shooting, but I do not have the joy I have doing it as I do with my art. 

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2021, 07:47 »
+3
I hope to just start shooting what I love more and more.
Stock does not pay enough to do otherwise.

I think many of us see shooting stock, in different ways.

I tend to be more like what you wrote. I do this because I love doing what I do and shooting what I shoot. I don't expect much payback nor do I work hard at making money.

Others see this as income and a business and they need to work along those lines. Like Milleflore says for example, it takes study, planning and hard work.

How much do you want to make? = How much do you really want to work, like a business?

In my case, this is enjoyment and a hobby, and that's my goal, to have fun and enjoy the experience.

It's very difficult to achieve both, as one is financially driven and the other is entertainment driven. Of course when I make sales, I'm double happy.

Oh and just in case, there's always plop and shoot, which is triple happy when it sells? Shoot, Eat before it's cool and then upload...



« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2021, 09:42 »
+2
I do the same on my food shots--- I always have my batteries charged and ready to shot a moment's notice thus perfect to run out of the kitchen with the food and do a one minute photo session and bring the food back to eat!

« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2021, 10:01 »
+1
I do the same on my food shots--- I always have my batteries charged and ready to shot a moment's notice thus perfect to run out of the kitchen with the food and do a one minute photo session and bring the food back to eat!

I'm starting to think I'm playing the wrong game!

The cook-shoot-eat routine that you and Pete engage in is a whole lot cheaper and less time consuming than my travel-huntcritters-shoot routine.

Unfortunately, I no longer cook much of anything, so your game wouldn't work for me. Sad.

« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2021, 10:02 »
+2



Pete, your french toast looks good enough to eat! Mind if I stop by some day for breakfast??? :D

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2021, 11:58 »
+2



Pete, your french toast looks good enough to eat! Mind if I stop by some day for breakfast??? :D

Sure thing if you are passing through almost nowhere near anywhere, rural Wisconsin, I'll tell Valerie to "get in the kitchen woman and make some French Toast" because she cooked that, not me.

If it was mine you might expect burned, or at the least, misshaped. I do the manly cooking like burning steaks or chicken on a grill, out back.  ;) I do frozen pizza and stuffing from a package. My most special cooking is Microwave Popcorn.

She bakes some fine bacon also. I never heard of baked bacon until she started doing that a few years ago. We both love it much more than greasy frying pan bacon. (eggs were mine, over well like I do them) quick before the butter melts?



To be honest, this is one of my old, I mean a 1976 recipe, modified for this year because I started having vegetables in the garden again. Zucchini Pie. Before Internet we had to pass around recipes on note cards. I searched for this one and found it online, nearly identical, so there goes, Pete's Vintage, top secret recipe? Lucky me, I altered it to my current tastes and available ingredients and it's better than ever. (he says?)



But I want to say, Plop and Shoot can be anything. Just always have a camera handy and ready, and when you see something, take a snapshot. I have an EOS-M first version as a grab cam, on the back table. Not the best, because it's not great for action, but with a crop sensor, small and the lenses are reasonably good, I have some interesting results.

Yes, I'm just having fun.

« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2021, 18:26 »
+1
I hope to just start shooting what I love more and more.
Stock does not pay enough to do otherwise.

I think many of us see shooting stock, in different ways.

I tend to be more like what you wrote. I do this because I love doing what I do and shooting what I shoot. I don't expect much payback nor do I work hard at making money.

Others see this as income and a business and they need to work along those lines. Like Milleflore says for example, it takes study, planning and hard work.

How much do you want to make? = How much do you really want to work, like a business?

In my case, this is enjoyment and a hobby, and that's my goal, to have fun and enjoy the experience.

It's very difficult to achieve both, as one is financially driven and the other is entertainment driven. Of course when I make sales, I'm double happy.

Oh and just in case, there's always plop and shoot, which is triple happy when it sells? Shoot, Eat before it's cool and then upload...



Hey Pete! Thanks for the pm. Yes, all is well here but we're both really tired. Hopefully will get some time off in November.

As for your french toast above, following on from what I said above: who are your buyers, where are they, what do they want?

A quick google showed that they are mostly people posting recipes. Mostly food bloggers. A lot use their own photos but this is not always the case. I had an Aussie ice cream company use my photo for ice cream plum pudding for an ad and put their own recipe to it - even though it was a bit different to how I made mine. lol

A quick look at what's on SS and there's 1,000 pages of french toast pics, but there's only 61 pages of 'french toast copy space'!

As we know buyers love copy space. This may be a problem with contributors keywording - but if you want to make yours more saleable, then I would shoot it next time with a whole lot of copy space to the side and don't forget important keywords such as copy space, copyspace, and negative space.

Cheers & good luck!!

« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2021, 18:55 »
+4
PS. Another thing you can do is shoot the ingredients that make up the french toast before you make it. Spread them out evenly on the table and shoot top down as a flatlay.  Food bloggers often want pics of the ingredients as well. Do one shot of the ingredients taking up the whole frame and another with copy space to the side.

Now you have a few shots, together with the finished one, that may also sell as a series.


« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2021, 19:19 »
+3
I've been shooting a lot of garden produce this summer:

..

..
while listening to Simon & Garfunkel:

« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2021, 19:22 »
+3
I usually shoot while cooking since i dont have the patience once i plate it:

shrimp curry:


stir fy:

« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2021, 01:09 »
+1
I usually shoot while cooking since i dont have the patience once i plate it:

shrimp curry:


stir fy:



Steve, your images look good enough to eat right off the page!

They're making me hungry.

« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2021, 02:57 »
+1
I've been shooting a lot of garden produce this summer:

..

..
while listening to Simon & Garfunkel:



Scarborough Fair: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

Love that  :) (Both your clever allusion and the song)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 03:29 by DOP »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2021, 11:46 »
+2

As for your french toast above, following on from what I said above: who are your buyers, where are they, what do they want?

A quick google showed that they are mostly people posting recipes. Mostly food bloggers. A lot use their own photos but this is not always the case. I had an Aussie ice cream company use my photo for ice cream plum pudding for an ad and put their own recipe to it - even though it was a bit different to how I made mine. lol

A quick look at what's on SS and there's 1,000 pages of french toast pics, but there's only 61 pages of 'french toast copy space'!

As we know buyers love copy space. This may be a problem with contributors keywording - but if you want to make yours more saleable, then I would shoot it next time with a whole lot of copy space to the side and don't forget important keywords such as copy space, copyspace, and negative space.

Cheers & good luck!!

Three straight up good points for any image, even plop and shoot or my Crapstock.

Who are the buyers, what's the competition and how can any image stand out and be more desirable to a buyer.

Food bloggers, 5,377 french toast with syrup and butter (I didn't even try to find mine on page whatever), Copy Space!  8)

I don't expect it to sell, ever. But I did have fun eating it?

This one did pay for itself. $5.16 so far. And it only cost me $3.50 at a race?



I don't know who or why anyone would buy it. Wrong bun, wrong mustard, P&S natural Sunlight.

5,845 Grilled Bratwurst sausage mustard stock photos, I used the top words used to find it.

Back to answer: Who shoots artistic, who shoots for the sales and who changed his shooting?

Not artistic, not for sales, and maybe I did change some for anything intended for Microstock. Things like copy space, isolated, overhead that I wouldn't shoot for myself if I WAS looking for artistic. And I still shoot things for fun that are not suitable for stock. AKA No Commercial Value that I can see. Brighter colors and copy space. (yes I know I repeated that...) I think that's missed the most, by many people.

SVH

« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2021, 13:32 »
0
Thanks all. Good advice Pete!

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2021, 10:25 »
+2
Thanks all. Good advice Pete!

Thanks, I try but there's always the personal interest and opinion factor.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE MOST, because you'll be enjoying the time.

If this is a hobby or side interest, for extra money, that especially applies. If this is a business, and for income, and someone can shoot what they love, that's wonderful, and unusual. Usually when it's work and a job, the goal is sales, not personal pleasure.

I know for a fact, what I like to shoot and enjoy photographing, is not top stock and won't be making me much money.

I guess what I'm saying, is everyone needs to decide for themself.

« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2021, 10:15 »
+3
I thought I was shooting (mostly) for stock - but my sales don't reflect it  :-[

Having said that some of best selling stuff is dead boring.


 

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