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Author Topic: Has Microstock made you a better photographer?  (Read 15643 times)

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gbcimages

« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2009, 19:06 »
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I tend to agree  with Maidelaide, I personally think the agencies have gone to far on the noise  and focus thing.


« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2009, 19:56 »
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Well for one I have better equipment because of microstock because I've earned enough money to finally get a decent DSLR and lenses.  I'd say "better" on the technical end since I pay more attention to making sure my images are clean, sharp and well composed.  On another hand though I'd say I'm a "different" photographer because of stock and have even changed my outdoor pursuit habits as a result.
For example, I used to go on hikes just for the sake of going on hikes, but now I choose hikes and other destinations at least in part by their "stock value".
I used to do more fine art orientated photography, but now not so much anymore because stock pays better.

« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2009, 03:10 »
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YES  having picked a digital camera up 12mths ago and never shot any photos digested hours of photoshop tution online i would say i have learned a lot ,learned a lot off this forum too that has made me a better photographer.
The rejections helped me to get better ,compostion ,noise,what sells ,looking at objects as i walk round my locality as a microstock  image .so yes i think i got better .

« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2009, 09:15 »
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No. Actually I have my own brain and I do not follow sometimes really insane "standards" like no noise or CA/artifacts everywhere policies. These severely interfere with logical way and technical/physical aspects. Absolutely insane requirements on noise, CA, artifacts are very far from reality on micro.

Microstock reviewers are of very disputable irregurarly distributed quality and I think for ppl not really knowing real basics and real world printing, this could severely hurt they quality and artistic judgement. Also keywording is a big problem, while many agencies accept obvious keyword spam, they sometimes ridiculously reject properly keyworded pics. Requiring MR for silhouttes or general part of human body (hands, legs etc.) and PR for shots made obviously from public space is also microstock specialty. The biggest problem I see is spreding of these dangerous habits and insane "standards" to other agencies and public judgement. Technically great picture with bad compo and light is ok for micro, but overall its junk - greatly composed and lighted picture taken on iso400 is junk on micro, however it could be stunning picture. This is what Im talking about...

I agree with sharpshot - its not good to think about money anytime you touch camera...

« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2009, 09:44 »
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I tend to agree  with Maidelaide, I personally think the agencies have gone to far on the noise  and focus thing.

This is soooooooo true! And for this we are all worse photographers. To put such an emphasis on technical matters to qualifying photographic skills  is a misnomer. Grain is okay, a bit of blur can be nice, highly selective focus... all are tools and have a place in photography. Taking pictures makes you a better photographer, being evaluated (by a competent source) makes you a better photographer, trying new things makes you a better photographer. I do think microstock does this for a lot of people.

batman

« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2009, 10:40 »
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I tend to agree  with Maidelaide, I personally think the agencies have gone to far on the noise  and focus thing.

This is soooooooo true! And for this we are all worse photographers. To put such an emphasis on technical matters to qualifying photographic skills  is a misnomer. Grain is okay, a bit of blur can be nice, highly selective focus... all are tools and have a place in photography. Taking pictures makes you a better photographer, being evaluated (by a competent source) makes you a better photographer, trying new things makes you a better photographer. I do think microstock does this for a lot of people.

Naw, because of microstock, I can print one section of my image which is magnified to 300% and see no noise. I actually have one framed in my basement next to the pool table. It never fails to attract the comment, "Whatttt's that?"  I said, "microstock discipline, my buyers always insist I check for noise at 300% lol". ;D

Microstock is like being in a hospital... Nooooo germs !  ;D
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 10:42 by batman »

« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2009, 13:51 »
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It has made me a better stock photographer.

I think it has made me technically better, but has also brainwashed me a little too into thinking every image has to be technically flawless at 100% zoom.

« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2009, 14:24 »
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Like many other Yes and No!

Yes, I take a much better image from a technical perspective and have a lot to thank the forums for.

No, Shooting for stock has changed what I shoot and why, also how I interact with the subject, now I have stopped shooting stock as I want to build a collection of images that I took because I saw a good shot, and I wanted to take it with no stock agenda, in 18-24 months I will look at my collection again.

Just as a idea of what I mean about stock affecting the interaction with the subject, I went to the coast with my daughter and grandchildren at the weekend, my 4 year old grand daughter was playing in the waves, I lifted the camera to take a shot, she looked up, stopped, grinned and said "Smile!", this took a snap of a family member to a stock style image, and a good reason to change direction.

David  ::) 

« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2009, 14:34 »
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I have become hyper-critical so I would say no, I am not a better photographer.  Many times I have to remind myself that my clients (non-micro) are real people and not design firms and not to throw out so many shots that have too much shadow or a little specular highlight.

tan510jomast

« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2009, 14:36 »
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I don't think that asking "did it make you a better photographer" is as valid as "did microstock makes you lose the passion of being a photographer".

I say this because, if you're a rotten photographer at this time, you won't stand a chance in the world to succeed. In microstock or any form of photography.

But I question the passion, or the loss of passion, or the lack of passion in microstock photographs.  That is why it's important for me to only put on my microstock or trad stock cap only 2 days in the week. Still this is not 2 days of 48 hours , it's more like 4-6 hours on a sat or sun. And this is on top of my day stint as a freelance working photographer. So what else is left for me to keep passion?

I don't know about you, but for someone who has adore the great masters, I would never give up trying to shoot like Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson,
Cecil Beaton, Karsh,etc... just to be successful in stock photography.

My motivations are different , though, as I mentioned in another thread. I don't live for stock photography, I have an option. But certainly, I can relate to those who do, as I have made friends with some successful people here, as it does require some form of focus (no pun intended) to succeed in this business.

I just don't think I could do it 24 / 7, I would give up shooting , like I did music when I was told to play rock instead of jazz for money in the 80's. I bought a house and a home recording studio, but all in all, it was quite wasted, in the sense that I no longer feel a passion in my music. So I quit that in the 90's.

I don't want to commit the same mistake as a stock photographer.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 14:38 by tan510jomast »

« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2009, 16:05 »
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I too have become a much better at Photoshop.

I've taken several photography classes at a local college as well as had many photos win awards.

The difference with microstock (like others have mentioned) is you really have to be proficient in Photoshop (or with whatever photo editing software you use) to get your files accepted.

Once of the last advanced photography classes I took really opened my eyes to this when my instructor told us NOT to use photoshop at all. My first thought was, my pictures are going to be terrible without "Photoshopping" them. To the contrary, my instructor told me I was one of the best students he ever had.

From that I can see there is a big difference between shooting for microstock and shooting for other situations (artistic, weddings, events, editorial, personal, etc.).

I guess what I'm better at overall is knowing what I'm shooting for and how to set it up to limit the amount of time I spend in Photoshop.

« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2009, 21:49 »
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It's definitely made me much better at shooting 'stock', plus a lot of other business skills like time management, patience, planning, technical photography skills, marketing and more,

Not certain it's been a big improvement on my creativity an composition skills. In fact feel that i have become stuck in my ways sometimes. I have to fight against the urge to shoot 'stock style' when I'm taking photos of holidays, friends or for pleasure. I look back at my work from years ago and its a lot more 'interesting' to look at, I took a lot more time to set up those photos too - now everything seems to be a race

I can see why some photographers slowly move their focus between stock and fine art or portraiture.

Milinz

« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2009, 07:07 »
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As I am concerned, microstock tought me (and I will learn all time I live) that there are differences in Stock photography... So yes, I've learned the difference in Stock and microstock types of images ;-)

Better photographer? No! You can't become that on microstock except to comply some rules in microstock photography. But, that is something what is not enough for you to be better photographer in general.

Being better is process which goes through years of practice and different categories and subjects used as your inspiration.

« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2009, 10:21 »
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I don't think microstock has made me a better photographer, unless you mean better in the technical sense, then I would say perhaps yes. I now know what most microstock sites want, good isolated images and they are boring, dry...and you can crank them out with little or no creativity...it is a business to me (and they pay pittance for all that effort) that is the only way I look at microstock now.

I now do photography more for my own creative pursuit. I no longer think about stock when I shoot, most days, I leave my digital camera behind or I bring along my film cameras/and the Holga as well and I would shoot mostly film/slide. I enjoy it a whole lot more and am much happier with my photography


ShadySue

« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2009, 09:37 »
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No; my acceptances have shot up, so that makes me a 'better microstock photographer'. I now look at purple fringing and CR etc which I never noticed before, so better much technically (moot point as to how much that actually matters, in the real world). And I'm better at cloning out logos, intruding people etc. But I've lost out in creativity, fun and some of the 'joy'.

« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2010, 15:29 »
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Since I was really ignorant ... Microstock help me to understand my errors
However one actually learn from the colleagues
Bye  
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 15:31 by aperitivi »

« Reply #41 on: October 16, 2010, 15:42 »
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Microstock most definitely has made me a better photographer. I have learned so much in the past 5 years.

I am doing the opposite that some of you have done. I am taking a Photography I class at college now and we are shooting black and white film with a camera and 50mm lens. It has an exposure meter...that's it. Everything else is manual. I am learning even more about the relationship between f-stops and exposures. I have learned how to develop my own film, make prints on the enlarger, use dodge and burn tools and next week we will be learning how to double filter an image. I think that this will be a tremendous help when going back to digital and shooting stock.

« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2010, 16:26 »
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The biggest change for me, going from amateur to microstocker, is making images rather than taking images. My understanding of lighting and composition has improved enormously.

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #43 on: October 16, 2010, 16:42 »
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Definately not. If someone grew up having art training, especially if in an enviroment that had a lot of influences toward good taste and aesthtetics, it's just a pain in the ass.  It's likely to be pushing anyone away from what would make photography actually great. It's not hard to deliver what they want, but it's severily restrictive without those restrictions having much point - more freedom wouldn't get in the way of business at all, actually it would improve it because it would improve real quality and variety. The whole things screams of being created by blockheads, who's closest experience with visual creativity before getting into managing images, would be something like watching barney the purple dinosaur : )

« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2010, 16:56 »
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Definately not. If someone grew up having art training, especially if in an enviroment that had a lot of influences toward good taste and aesthtetics, it's just a pain in the ass.  It's likely to be pushing anyone away from what would make photography actually great. It's not hard to deliver what they want, but it's severily restrictive without those restrictions having much point - more freedom wouldn't get in the way of business at all, actually it would improve it because it would improve real quality and variety. The whole things screams of being created by blockheads, who's closest experience with visual creativity before getting into managing images, would be something like watching barney the purple dinosaur : )
Microstock photographers tend to shoot what buyers buy. Perhaps you could direct your comments to the buyers. Photographers who wish to produce more artistic work are probably exhibiting that in galleries rather than in stock portfolios.

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2010, 17:00 »
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No. Actually I have my own brain and I do not follow sometimes really insane "standards" like no noise or CA/artifacts everywhere policies. These severely interfere with logical way and technical/physical aspects. Absolutely insane requirements on noise, CA, artifacts are very far from reality on micro.

Microstock reviewers are of very disputable irregurarly distributed quality and I think for ppl not really knowing real basics and real world printing, this could severely hurt they quality and artistic judgement. Also keywording is a big problem, while many agencies accept obvious keyword spam, they sometimes ridiculously reject properly keyworded pics. Requiring MR for silhouttes or general part of human body (hands, legs etc.) and PR for shots made obviously from public space is also microstock specialty. The biggest problem I see is spreding of these dangerous habits and insane "standards" to other agencies and public judgement. Technically great picture with bad compo and light is ok for micro, but overall its junk - greatly composed and lighted picture taken on iso400 is junk on micro, however it could be stunning picture. This is what Im talking about...

I agree with sharpshot - its not good to think about money anytime you touch camera...

agreed on just about every word! I would add the lighting thing: they generally want most things 'floodlit' and overexposed, especially models... they demand least creative, flat, dull lighting that kills character. At least it's easy to do, you can do it stoned braindead, just blast from left and right, from slightly over and slightly under. Sometimes even shots where the moody lighting and strong shadows obviously compliment the setup and the modell get rejected, that's when it's easy to see that they have total amateurs sitting in as reviewers. The good part is they almost always accept those kind of shots at the next submission, which tells me there's a percentage of reviewers that are at least not totally clueless

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2010, 17:05 »
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Definately not. If someone grew up having art training, especially if in an enviroment that had a lot of influences toward good taste and aesthtetics, it's just a pain in the ass.  It's likely to be pushing anyone away from what would make photography actually great. It's not hard to deliver what they want, but it's severily restrictive without those restrictions having much point - more freedom wouldn't get in the way of business at all, actually it would improve it because it would improve real quality and variety. The whole things screams of being created by blockheads, who's closest experience with visual creativity before getting into managing images, would be something like watching barney the purple dinosaur : )
Microstock photographers tend to shoot what buyers buy. Perhaps you could direct your comments to the buyers. Photographers who wish to produce more artistic work are probably exhibiting that in galleries rather than in stock portfolios.

I am a buyer.

« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2010, 17:15 »
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Microstock has made me technically a much better photographer. Never knew what artefacts were before and I never used Photoshop. In the first few years, however it really changed the way I saw the world. While I was beginning to discover stock everywhere I was doing a lot less "artistic" i.e. blurry, unsharp, hip shot, iso 4000 images full of logos without a model release. Instead of throwing the camera in the air, I would carry a tripod and carefully plan my shoot.

But now I have my balance back. I try to make a point to just go out and shoot for myself and let go of "stock"whenever I can. I would also love to improve my Photoshopskills, because I am fascinated what designers can create from our stock pictures.

I enjoy photography even more than before. Somehow by learning a new set of skills for stock all my photography has improved.

And of course I am grateful that microstock provides me with a new day job that is so much more interesting than what I was doing before.

« Reply #48 on: October 16, 2010, 17:24 »
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Definately not. If someone grew up having art training, especially if in an enviroment that had a lot of influences toward good taste and aesthtetics, it's just a pain in the ass.  It's likely to be pushing anyone away from what would make photography actually great. It's not hard to deliver what they want, but it's severily restrictive without those restrictions having much point - more freedom wouldn't get in the way of business at all, actually it would improve it because it would improve real quality and variety. The whole things screams of being created by blockheads, who's closest experience with visual creativity before getting into managing images, would be something like watching barney the purple dinosaur : )
Microstock photographers tend to shoot what buyers buy. Perhaps you could direct your comments to the buyers. Photographers who wish to produce more artistic work are probably exhibiting that in galleries rather than in stock portfolios.

I am a buyer.
Do you buy micro? The equation most photographers here work to is $/dl x dls = $. When $/dl is low the dls need to be high to generate reasonable return, ie, generic imagery. If work is more unique then the dls will be low so the $/dl needs to be higher. Macro is a better place to look for more unique imagery. Of course some photographers place work in all markets, depending on the production values and likely sales of any given image. If a buyer want unique imagery at generic prices however he/she may be out of luck.

« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2010, 17:29 »
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I was a full time freelance illustrator when I started microstock, and I definitely think it makes you better. The only way to really improve is to practice, practice and more practice. Microstock provides a great motivation to do that. I've spent a lot more time illustrating in my free time than I would have normally on my own. You can also get critiques and feedback from the community and reviewers if you want it. All that in a non pressure environment without deadlines or bosses makes it a lot easier to do.


 

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