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Author Topic: Has Microstock made you a better photographer?  (Read 15970 times)

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« on: May 01, 2009, 12:19 »
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Many claim that shooting for mirco has made them better photographers.

This may well be true for many, even though I feel that one should not even attempt to submit if one feels theirs skills are sub par.

I came from the old school days of film. I was working by my fathers side in a darkroom at the age of 5 and had my own darkroom by the time I was 12.

I had learned the rule of thirds, the inverse square law, proper metering, hyperfocal distance, reciprocity failure, relationships between depth of field & f-stop/focal length, push & pull processing, dodging and burning etc., long before many of the people running microstock sites were even born.

No, Im not 110 years old now.

So, has micro made me a better photographer?

Well yes, IF being a better photoshopper counts as being a better photographer. What I have learned is to be hyper critical of every file @ the 100% pixel level. I have leaned that the grain we put up with and even sometimes emphasized from the film days is a major no-no. I have learned not too push a file to extremes that induce artifacts even for the purpose of artistic expression.

What is your conclusion?
Has becoming a microstocker indeed made you a better photographer?




« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2009, 12:33 »
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Well yes, IF being a better photoshopper counts as being a better photographer. What I have learned is to be hyper critical of every file @ the 100% pixel level. I have leaned that the grain we put up with and even sometimes emphasized from the film days is a major no-no. I have learned not too push a file to extremes that induce artifacts even for the purpose of artistic expression.

I could not agree more with this paragraph. I am still Photoshop newbie so I hope Lightroom will evolve to provide more editing aids so I do not have to become a graphics designer in order to sell on microstock.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2009, 12:38 »
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I'm learning a different way to approach "objects."  I guess that makes me better?  Or, maybe just more approaches to crappy pictures?   ;D

« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2009, 12:42 »
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I think it is

« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2009, 12:46 »
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Microstock has made me a much better photographer, no doubt!

Know more about Photoshop than I do about photography (no formal training). It would be a good idea for me to take some night classes at the university to learn more about photography basics or at least buy a good book. There are also a couple of photography clubs in my area that could be useful and fun.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 12:49 by epantha »

« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2009, 12:49 »
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Definitely true. It also makes me want to learn even more.

batman

« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2009, 13:34 »
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Definitely, I wouldn't have gone this far with Photoshop without microstock.
But then again, I am now looking at CA where once there weren't any  ;D
It's a double-edged sword !

« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2009, 16:17 »
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I think I was better before I found microstock.  Quite often now I am thinking about how much a photo will make, instead of just trying to take the best photo I can.  Sometimes I don't take a photo of a subject because I think it wont make money.  That is really annoying and I am trying to get out of that habit.

« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2009, 16:53 »
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Before microstock I was a serious amateur - camera club member - shooting film. Went digital, joined an online digital camera club (PassionForPixels) and read an interview with hidesy by Perrush, and joined istock. Shooting for stock has forced me to pay more attention to the technicalities, to take more effort over correct exposure and composition (yes those shadows really do detract from the image), to try new genres and to invest in better equipment. I used to do a lot of walk-around photography, record shots mostly, and now I'm much more conscious and creative with my image-making. I even joined the istock Steel Cage community to stimulate my creativity, as creative artistry is one of my weaknesses. So in almost every respect being involved in microstock has encouraged me to improve as a photographer and as an artist.

ETA: And as for Photoshop...well, I've won 5 battles in the cage.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 16:55 by averil »

« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2009, 17:07 »
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I am a better photograph than I was back in the film era.  But I'm not sure if it is because of stock photo or because of the digital cameras I bought to do stock...

As we all know, digital photography gives you the possibility to see instant results and this is what made me better.

On the other hand, as SharpShot said, I tend to take only stock style photos, leaving behind the artistic side of photography...  Do you remember when noise was called grain and when we worked hard to make that cool grainy black and white shots?

Claude

« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2009, 17:29 »
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Yes Claude, I do remember grain.

As far as instant feedback goes... Don't forget Polaroid!
When shooting super expensive sheets of view camera film (up to 8x10 inches) we always shot a Polaroid first to check things out.

batman

« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2009, 17:36 »
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I am a better photograph than I was back in the film era.  But I'm not sure if it is because of stock photo or because of the digital cameras I bought to do stock...

As we all know, digital photography gives you the possibility to see instant results and this is what made me better.

On the other hand, as SharpShot said, I tend to take only stock style photos, leaving behind the artistic side of photography...  Do you remember when noise was called grain and when we worked hard to make that cool grainy black and white shots?

Claude

Yes, yes Claude, so agree. How we would also choose between Kodachrome 25 and Ektachrome 400 for the grain, to suit the impression of the image. Also the choice between Fujichrome and Agfa
to get that green blue versus the reds. A lot of variety and thinking of tonal colour to compliment the image. Whereas in microstock it's all neutral or else wham, rejection.
Sharpshot, I think it's a pity that you think microstock 100%. I just separate myself between assignments and micro. And of course, shooting for myself on weekends or travel, not even thinking about money. But then again, I may be in a different situation in that I don't live with microstock earning, and probably won't want to. Not unless it gives me that Lambo, lol.

Good insights both of you guys Claude and Sharpshot. And of course, Claude, on film we don't have to worry about painting over the sky. Kodachrome 25 just brings it out gorgeous or 4by5 slide , ah, glorious. BUt it cost us an arm and a leg just to do test shots , until Polaroid came, remember ?
Nostalgia.

batman

« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2009, 17:40 »
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ha ha nosaya, my response crossed yours and we both ended with remembering Polaroid, what a coincidence, or are we just thinking one mind, lol.
And thanks to Ansel Adams who was the one who worked at Polaroid before he became the great Ansel that everyone adored.

lisafx

« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2009, 17:41 »
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Absolutely!

I am much better able to produce technically good images.  If you can meet the microstock standards for noise and focus you are way ahead of what photojournalistic or event photography requires.  Also, I have learned way more about lighting and working with models.  

And of course there is the much better gear it has helped finance :D

tan510jomast

« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2009, 19:06 »
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no, i already knew how to use the camera (all formats 35mm-8x10 view) since i was 15 after working in a commercial studio as an apprentice photographer assistant and retoucher, with one of the top photographers in the capital.

but i am better at emptying 5 pints of Guinness in 15 minutes after meeting Atilla  ;D

« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2009, 21:19 »
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It helped me to produce images which are better technically, and learn how to avoid pretty mundane (and now obvious) errors. It made me look critically at technical aspects of an image, which I didn't even think about before. So - yes, in that sense it helped.

But did it make me a better photographer ? Define "better photographer" first. If we assume that photography is (still) an art for the large part - then not. But, as with everything else, one needs to be proficient with technical aspects of the job before attempting to excel. Overall, no regrets.

« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2009, 23:41 »
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It helped me to produce images which are better technically, and learn how to avoid pretty mundane (and now obvious) errors. It made me look critically at technical aspects of an image, which I didn't even think about before. So - yes, in that sense it helped.

But did it make me a better photographer ? Define "better photographer" first. If we assume that photography is (still) an art for the large part - then not. But, as with everything else, one needs to be proficient with technical aspects of the job before attempting to excel. Overall, no regrets.

Im totally agreeing with this statement

« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2009, 03:03 »
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I think I was better before I found microstock.  Quite often now I am thinking about how much a photo will make, instead of just trying to take the best photo I can.  Sometimes I don't take a photo of a subject because I think it wont make money.  That is really annoying and I am trying to get out of that habit.

Agreed.

I used to enjoy just taking pictures and posting them on photo.net for S&G's.  Now before I ever push the shutter I always think will this photo get rejected, does this convey a necessary commercial purpose, what about CA, what about noise?  I was actually more liberal taking pictures with film than I am now with digital...

« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2009, 05:30 »
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In some ways yes it has, I have learnt a lot more about lighting composition etc. In other ways no, I used to enjoy taking "pretty snapshots" and selling them as greeting cards....then I learnt about viewing at 100% and in some ways to me "ruined" shots that I was happy with and had sold well as cards, and made a great print.

I have come to terms with the distinction between the two types of pics that I now take.

« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2009, 06:30 »
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Technically I'm much better at every aspect although in part that is simply due to practise as I now take many times more photos. Most importantly I can generally see issues before I've clicked the shutter rather than being disappointed and puzzled only later when I see the results. I've also tackled far more subjects too.

The bad news is I hardly ever take pictures just for the joy of it as I've become almost 100% oriented around the stock potential. The landscapes that I used to do took a lot of time and travel costs but of course are unlikely to sell much __ so now I rarely bother. When I'm on vacation I tend to take relatively few images as I can't be bothered to lug a heavy pro-DSLR & lenses around (it's too much like work) and I hate the results from P&S cameras. I bought the G10 recently but think I'll probably sell it at a loss on eBay as I don't like using it.

My attitude has completely changed towards my work too. The 'value' of an image now is determined by the market, even in my own eyes, whereas once it was the aesthetic quality. I'd much rather take an image that will generate a few $100's than one that I can hang on the wall. I earn 100% of my earnings through my camera nowadays so I suppose it is not that surprising that my attitude has changed. I still love doing photography but maybe in a different way.

batman

« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2009, 07:50 »
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ah, the things we prostitute ourselves for 30cents. 
an art student squeegeeing windshields once laughed being told about microstock, and said she makes 25 cents per car , as her boyfriend  a busker on stilts playing his flute at the underground told me he makes over 200 dollars a day just being there once a week.

i am sure we could all contribute to a best selling paperback entitled, "how i blinded my artistic soul for 30 cents"   ;D

I think I was better before I found microstock.  Quite often now I am thinking about how much a photo will make, instead of just trying to take the best photo I can.  Sometimes I don't take a photo of a subject because I think it wont make money.  That is really annoying and I am trying to get out of that habit.

Agreed.

I used to enjoy just taking pictures and posting them on photo.net for S&G's.  Now before I ever push the shutter I always think will this photo get rejected, does this convey a necessary commercial purpose, what about CA, what about noise?  I was actually more liberal taking pictures with film than I am now with digital...

graficallyminded

« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2009, 08:08 »
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Heck yes.  If you keep shooting for years and you don't get better, you're doing something wrong.  Some shooters just get into a comfort zone.  Never try anything new or anything they're not used to.  Practice makes perfect, but in photography or even design none of us will ever achieve that "perfection" that we're trying for.  I think I am my own worst critic.   

« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2009, 12:12 »
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Has becoming a microstocker indeed made you a better photographer?
Definitely yes. I can only second what Lisafx has said:
Absolutely!

I am much better able to produce technically good images.  If you can meet the microstock standards for noise and focus you are way ahead of what photojournalistic or event photography requires.  Also, I have learned way more about lighting and working with models. 

And of course there is the much better gear it has helped finance :D

« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2009, 12:28 »
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Better in all possible ways.   Not only shooting more, Im reading more and Ps more and better.   The bad thing is I hunt noise and artifacts everywhere ;)  Go to Mp for example, were lots of traditional photographers stay and vote on each others noisy ( but good artistically) images.   I have to tie my hands there. 

« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2009, 17:52 »
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I don't think I am a better photographer, but I do know something completely different than I used to.  So I would see it has widened my photographic abilities.

Microstock obsession about perfect noise/CA/focus/artifacting is not necessarily a good thing.  I still think it is a bit insane.   :D

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

  • There is a crack in everything
« 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 »
0
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.

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #50 on: October 16, 2010, 17:47 »
0
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.

So, tens of thousands of photographers shooting the same generic theme in the same generic style, with thousands joining every month, how is that gonna lead to good sales for them on a longer term?


btw, the original question was: "Has Microstock made you a better photographer?"

Yes I did buy large amounts of micro for a time.

« Reply #51 on: October 16, 2010, 18:15 »
0
If I was to answer the question 'Have you learnt anything about photography by shooting for microstock?' then I'd have to say yes, I've learnt something about photographic styles and also composition and lighting.

« Reply #52 on: October 16, 2010, 18:56 »
0
Microstock has made me a faster photographer.

« Reply #53 on: October 16, 2010, 19:01 »
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i dont think that doing micro could make you become a better photographer.Doing micro is just for the commercial purpose and its not a real photography.Commercial photography is just for the customers not for the art...thats it!! :(

« Reply #54 on: October 16, 2010, 20:57 »
0
i dont think that doing micro could make you become a better photographer.Doing micro is just for the commercial purpose and its not a real photography.Commercial photography is just for the customers not for the art...thats it!! :(

"Not a real photography".  Whatever.

« Reply #55 on: October 16, 2010, 21:12 »
0
yes I am better because microstock has motivated me to take more photos and of different topics.

who dug this old thead up, the record is atleast 3 years old. :)

« Reply #56 on: October 16, 2010, 22:38 »
0
i dont think that doing micro could make you become a better photographer.Doing micro is just for the commercial purpose and its not a real photography.Commercial photography is just for the customers not for the art...thats it!! :(

"Not a real photography".  Whatever.
haha,maybe i gave the wrong definition..maybe its "commercial" photography not a real "art" photography

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Good New For You
« Reply #57 on: October 16, 2010, 22:46 »
0
i dont think that doing micro could make you become a better photographer.Doing micro is just for the commercial purpose and its not a real photography.Commercial photography is just for the customers not for the art...thats it!! :(

"Not a real photography".  Whatever.
haha,maybe i gave the wrong definition..maybe its "commercial" photography not a real "art" photography
Ahhh, yes. That's the ultimate goal. To be a starving artist.

« Reply #58 on: October 16, 2010, 23:13 »
0
This is why I think it's better to think about whether one has learned anything about photography from shooting stock rather than getting bogged down in discussion about what is or isn't 'good photography' and, by extension, a 'good photographer' or a 'better photographer'. The human capacity to misunderstand, evade or subvert a simple discussion shouldn't amaze me by now, but it still does.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 23:15 by crazychristina »

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Good New For You
« Reply #59 on: October 16, 2010, 23:20 »
0
Everybody has a different definition of what "good photographer" means. In stock it's pretty simple. The more you sell the better you are.

« Reply #60 on: October 16, 2010, 23:37 »
0
haha,maybe i gave the wrong definition..maybe its "commercial" photography not a real "art" photography
Ahhh, yes. That's the ultimate goal. To be a starving artist.

Yeah, I hate food anyways.

vonkara

« Reply #61 on: October 16, 2010, 23:46 »
0

So, tens of thousands of photographers shooting the same generic theme in the same generic style, with thousands joining every month, how is that gonna lead to good sales for them on a longer term?


btw, the original question was: "Has Microstock made you a better photographer?"

Yes I did buy large amounts of micro for a time.

This cycle will happen soon, or did it already happened ?

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #62 on: October 17, 2010, 08:51 »
0

So, tens of thousands of photographers shooting the same generic theme in the same generic style, with thousands joining every month, how is that gonna lead to good sales for them on a longer term?


btw, the original question was: "Has Microstock made you a better photographer?"

Yes I did buy large amounts of micro for a time.

This cycle will happen soon, or did it already happened ?



I dunno, ask istockers 8 )

lisafx

« Reply #63 on: October 17, 2010, 09:34 »
0
i dont think that doing micro could make you become a better photographer.Doing micro is just for the commercial purpose and its not a real photography.Commercial photography is just for the customers not for the art...thats it!! :(

Um, maybe I misread the question, but I don't see them asking if shooting microstock has made you a better "artist".  Just a better photographer.  

Anyone who thinks photography is "art" probably doesn't know any real artists.  You know - people who use brushes, paints, pencils, clay, etc. to create something beautiful and/or emotionally moving from nothing...

When people suggest what I do (commercial photography) is "art" I always laugh and deny it.  I live with an actual artist, and there is absolutely no comparison.

But in answer to the original question (from over a year ago  :o ) yes, microstock has made me a much better photographer in several ways:  I know how to light and expose in all sorts of conditions, I am better at directing models, and I have learned loads about how to post process an image.  

And to reiterate, no that does not make me a better "artist"   ::)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 09:38 by lisafx »

« Reply #64 on: October 17, 2010, 18:15 »
0
i dont think that doing micro could make you become a better photographer.Doing micro is just for the commercial purpose and its not a real photography.Commercial photography is just for the customers not for the art...thats it!! :(

Um, maybe I misread the question, but I don't see them asking if shooting microstock has made you a better "artist".  Just a better photographer.  

Anyone who thinks photography is "art" probably doesn't know any real artists.  You know - people who use brushes, paints, pencils, clay, etc. to create something beautiful and/or emotionally moving from nothing...

When people suggest what I do (commercial photography) is "art" I always laugh and deny it.  I live with an actual artist, and there is absolutely no comparison.

But in answer to the original question (from over a year ago  :o ) yes, microstock has made me a much better photographer in several ways:  I know how to light and expose in all sorts of conditions, I am better at directing models, and I have learned loads about how to post process an image.  

And to reiterate, no that does not make me a better "artist"   ::)

I agree but sometimes I feel that I have 1 or 2 very nice photos.. I need that.. Without feeling that would be harder to keep up :P

mlwinphoto

« Reply #65 on: October 17, 2010, 22:00 »
0
RM has, micro has not....it gets the RM rejects.

molka

    This user is banned.
« Reply #66 on: November 01, 2010, 13:52 »
0
Just say no to mediocre entertainment.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #67 on: November 01, 2010, 14:09 »
0
"Has Microstock made you a better photographer?"

Technically, yes. Definitely.

Which doesn't mean I agree with the microstock 'style'. Nevertheless what I learned from microstock can be used in other fields of photography as well.

« Reply #68 on: November 01, 2010, 14:51 »
0
Quote
I have learned not too push a file to extremes that induce artifacts even for the purpose of artistic expression.

That sentence means microstock has taught you how to be a better technician and a worse photographer, in my opinion. Content, communication and composition trump technical excellence. The count-the-blades-of-grass-on-the-pitch-rather-than-watch-the-match mentality that the iStock Pixel Police promote does not make you better photographers.

For what it's worth, I've got twenty years' experience with Photoshop and very few rejections. I'd trade all that in a heartbeat to be able to 'see' through a camera like some of you can. I'm not talking about art versus commercial here, I'm talking about the ability to react to what's in front of you and around you (whether in the studio or out in the field), and being able to get it down in a meaningful way.

 

« Reply #69 on: November 01, 2010, 16:07 »
0
I'm not talking about art versus commercial here, I'm talking about the ability to react to what's in front of you and around you (whether in the studio or out in the field), and being able to get it down in a meaningful way.

Isn't that just the key though? Its not about reacting to what is around you, but deciding what it is you want before you take the shot. You start with the image you want to create and work back from there, rather than starting with the object of a bunch of them and trying to create an image out of it.

« Reply #70 on: November 01, 2010, 16:46 »
0
Quote
I have learned not too push a file to extremes that induce artifacts even for the purpose of artistic expression.

 I'm not talking about art versus commercial here, I'm talking about the ability to react to what's in front of you and around you (whether in the studio or out in the field), and being able to get it down in a meaningful way.

 


Correct.  It starts with the ability to see the intrinsic or essential aesthetics of an object, place, or situation.  Where one photographer may just walk past, another will have the ability to see the interplay of composition, color or other aesthetic element. That  eye is what makes the artist, then the realization (technique).
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 16:49 by etienjones »

Moonb007

  • Architect, Photographer, Dreamer
« Reply #71 on: November 03, 2010, 15:21 »
0
I think it has on several front.  My wife says my images have improve quite a bit from when I started Micro stock a while ago and I notice I am a lot more picky when selecting photos to upload from when I first started also.

« Reply #72 on: November 03, 2010, 21:36 »
0
Absolutely.  I learned that what I used to take was mostly crap.  I used to have noise and CA everywhere.  My composition was nearly non-existent.  I would get lucky every now and then and end up with a really nice image but it was not repeatable.

Seeing what sells and what gets rejected is a constant learning experience.  The experience of microstock has pushed me to read lots  of books on composition, exposure, etc.

And I am still learning....

Juning44

« Reply #73 on: November 04, 2010, 04:45 »
0
Microstock made me a great photographer. I've been reading discussions here and this helped me a lot. Thanks a lot Microstock.  :)


Shakeology Review | Shakeology Scam | Shakeology

« Reply #74 on: November 04, 2010, 05:10 »
0
Quote
Microstock made me a great photographer. I've been reading discussions here and this helped me a lot. Thanks a lot Microstock.  :)


Shakeology Review | Shakeology Scam | Shakeology


It's certainly made you delusional. Thanks microstock! ;D

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #75 on: November 04, 2010, 05:39 »
0
No, definitely not.
I've learned a few technical things, like CR and not sharpening (I always sharpened heavily because I was printing out on inkjets).
I've learned that what I like to photograph isn't, in general, what people like to buy.
But no, my photography per se hasn't improved - in fact it's gone backwards in creativity, as my most creative thought is how to photograph something without breaching copyright/trademark/whatever.
(And it's my older photos, often scans taken before I was on micro, which are selling rather than my newer ones shot with micro in mind! So I can't even say I'm a better micro photographer than when I started!)


 

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