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Author Topic: Get Paid Shooting Nothing  (Read 34268 times)

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« on: January 28, 2009, 22:53 »
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I get told a lot by photographers that the reason they dont become more active in microstock is because they do not have access to a studio or that they dont have tons of people they can have model for them. They basically think all the real money is made from business people and other portrait type shots. While I do have a great deal of people in my portfolio that's not where all my money comes from so I thought I would write a blog about how to make sales shooting things most people never think about shooting and require very little time. I think it's a good read for anyone who wants to boost their microstock income. Here's the link for anyone interested.

Get Paid Shooting Nothing
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 23:23 by xposurepro »


sc

« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 23:08 »
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 00:49 »
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If you've found a niche, or at least a successful topic to shoot, like dirt, please, please tell me, what the sense is, in writing an article so that hundreds or thousands of others can exploit your knowledge and take away your sales.  I mean, do you really get enough in referrals from the links at the bottom to make this make sense?  What is your concern with "a lot of photographers" who are not "more active in microstock"?  Shouldn't that make you happy they aren't competing with you?

avava

« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009, 01:03 »
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Hi xposurepro,

 Thanks for the tip good advice. Makes you think about things you might take for granted as a photographer. Especially items that are specific to your region might be a good addition. Like we don't have Gators in Seattle but I bet there in some Micro stock shooters back swamps and he/she might not think of shooting them because they have always been a part o their life.

Best,
AVAVA

« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 02:02 »
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If you've found a niche, or at least a successful topic to shoot, like dirt, please, please tell me, what the sense is, in writing an article so that hundreds or thousands of others can exploit your knowledge and take away your sales.  I mean, do you really get enough in referrals from the links at the bottom to make this make sense?  What is your concern with "a lot of photographers" who are not "more active in microstock"?  Shouldn't that make you happy they aren't competing with you?

I agree. You must be rather desperate for either:

a) To get more competition and lower your income

or

b) Publicity

I must admit I'm getting tired of reading about photographers trying to get more competition in a more than saturated marketplace, and on the other side other photographers (and sometimes the same ones), complaining about the falling sales. Sorry for the rant, but I can't see a single reason why anyone should destroy his or her own niche.

RT


« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009, 02:16 »
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I think your blog will appeal to anyone that hasn't tried microstock before.

Although money can be made shooting inane subjects I think that boat has sailed except for for odd rare exception, having read your blog it wasn't the niche I was expecting, here's a tip - after you've shot dirt why not lay on it and shoot skies, there's a fortune to be made!

« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 02:55 »
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Tnx for the tip. I will copy every image you have. I will copy you so good, your sales will drop to almost 0!  ;D ;D ;D ;D



« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 02:58 »
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Seriously, I think that you are shooting yourself and everyone else in the foot by pumping up the you can make money in micro and here's my secret how stuff.. Sharing is one thing, trying to advertise your refferals and create more competition to make .03 is one of the reasons this market has become so saturated in the first place.. Why don't you advertise this (the truth) if you work your but off for a couple of years you might make a slight dent in your financial status.. I am kinda tired of looking at these you can make good money just by taking photos in your spare time bits, sign up here to make big bucks.. Thanks for the tips!!

« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2009, 04:48 »
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I agree. You must be rather desperate for either:

a) To get more competition and lower your income

or

b) Publicity

or

c) To get referral money

« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2009, 04:51 »
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I think this blog post is not shooting anyone on the foot, and it is about sharing. If I'm not mistaken, that what we are on this forum for, right ? Or are you guys giving false info to drive new comers like me in the wrong direction ? Hope not...

If he had given the 20 main specific subject matters that make his portfolio unique, then maybe it would be shooting himself on the foot. But this is not the case. What I get from the post is the general message that you don't need a big infrastructure and world class models to be productive, keep your eye open, you might have gems around you, and don't underestimate what you could consider as commodities. For example, I personnally got some great textures on public domain websites for some projects, so I considered textures as a pure commodity and didn't think about uploading them on stock websites.

This is a general approach to share, a starting point. Thank you so much for this.

« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2009, 05:36 »
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I think this blog post is not shooting anyone on the foot, and it is about sharing. If I'm not mistaken, that what we are on this forum for, right ? Or are you guys giving false info to drive new comers like me in the wrong direction ? Hope not...

If he had given the 20 main specific subject matters that make his portfolio unique, then maybe it would be shooting himself on the foot. But this is not the case. What I get from the post is the general message that you don't need a big infrastructure and world class models to be productive, keep your eye open, you might have gems around you, and don't underestimate what you could consider as commodities. For example, I personnally got some great textures on public domain websites for some projects, so I considered textures as a pure commodity and didn't think about uploading them on stock websites.

This is a general approach to share, a starting point. Thank you so much for this.

I agree with totony  xposurepro is being helpful and informative I have been taking pictures of senseless objects and making money at it for years.  ;D

« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2009, 05:54 »
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I think this blog post is not shooting anyone on the foot, and it is about sharing. If I'm not mistaken, that what we are on this forum for, right ? Or are you guys giving false info to drive new comers like me in the wrong direction ? Hope not...

This forum is about sharing, no doubt about that. The problem with the blog in question and similar blogs, is that they make microstock seem like a great opportunity and a possible goldmine to newcomers who are given the idea that shooting dirt or whatever is something new, diluting whatever is in this business for all.

If there are people out there who have enough ideas themselves to start shooting microstock and make some money out of it, it's fine with me. But handing out our own little niches to whoever wants to listen, is like giving away tomorrow's dinner to someone who don't have the knowledge about how to open the box, and will end up throwing the meal in the garbage. Most of the newcomers probably never even reach a payout, which is good for who? The agencies, but not for any of us or the newcomers.

Again: lets welcome those with their own ideas, and encourage them to work hard, but don't invite the crowds in.

« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2009, 05:59 »
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Wow not the response I expected .. I didn't realize there was such a fear of competition. Which when you think about it is really silly. For example, when you look at the size of my portfolio as a part of the entire microstock industry it is a tiny tiny tiny fraction of a fraction of a percent. Yet, over the years it has paid for my house, my studio and the equipment in it. Not to mention we are talking about photographing patterns and textures, a fundamental form of composition. To be afraid of creating competition in this area is just complete paranoia. If I were to actually claim that as "my niche" that would also be incredibly egotistical. I'm mean come on, should I discourage photographers from taking a picture of bark on a tree because that's "my niche"?
Trust me there is plenty of room for competition.

totony --- now he actually read the post and obviously thought about it because he picked right up on the lesson that was being expressed. He also made a really good point ... this forum is about sharing knowledge. He said he never thought about selling textures and I'm glad I was able to point out something he was missing on. I hope now that he's aware of it he sells a buttload of them.

AVAVA -- I'd just like to compliment you on your portfolio. I've personally approved a lot of your images and they are always a pleasure to look at. After seeing so many of your images at 100% it's obvious why you didn't join in on the anti-sharing of knowledge. You definitely don't have to worry about competition. :) .. oh by the way Im an administrator for one of the big 6

« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2009, 07:12 »
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Get ready reviewers here comes your latest wave of brick walls.

Especially with textures/backgrounds etc I think the amount you can make is directly related placement in the search (best match or whatever its called at each agency) You can see brick walls with 700-900 DL's and hundreds with none. No real difference between them. So if you don't come up on the first page I don't like your chances :)

There can't be too much easy money left in textures but I'd love to be wrong. (uploading dirt, brickwalls,coloured pencils, concrete, sand, skies as I type) :) 

I think there are two areas for sharing

1) General techniques,software,lighting,photo reviewing,rejection reasons and alike that most people are keen to share, probably learnt some of their technique from someone else.

2) Financial details, business plans, detailed search info into niche areas etc. Some are keen to share, some treat it like asking someone you just met the age and weight.


« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2009, 08:02 »
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Wow not the response I expected .. I didn't realize there was such a fear of competition. Which when you think about it is really silly. For example, when you look at the size of my portfolio as a part of the entire microstock industry it is a tiny tiny tiny fraction of a fraction of a percent. Yet, over the years it has paid for my house, my studio and the equipment in it. Not to mention we are talking about photographing patterns and textures, a fundamental form of composition. To be afraid of creating competition in this area is just complete paranoia. If I were to actually claim that as "my niche" that would also be incredibly egotistical. I'm mean come on, should I discourage photographers from taking a picture of bark on a tree because that's "my niche"?
Trust me there is plenty of room for competition.

totony --- now he actually read the post and obviously thought about it because he picked right up on the lesson that was being expressed. He also made a really good point ... this forum is about sharing knowledge. He said he never thought about selling textures and I'm glad I was able to point out something he was missing on. I hope now that he's aware of it he sells a buttload of them.

AVAVA -- I'd just like to compliment you on your portfolio. I've personally approved a lot of your images and they are always a pleasure to look at. After seeing so many of your images at 100% it's obvious why you didn't join in on the anti-sharing of knowledge. You definitely don't have to worry about competition. :) .. oh by the way Im an administrator for one of the big 6


You're an adminisitrator and you actively recruit submitters to multiple other sites?  
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 08:07 by cappi »

« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2009, 08:17 »
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Wow not the response I expected .. I didn't realize there was such a fear of competition. Which when you think about it is really silly. For example, when you look at the size of my portfolio as a part of the entire microstock industry it is a tiny tiny tiny fraction of a fraction of a percent.

Now that you're out recruiting new competitors for your images of "nothing", it will get even tinier.  Congrats!

Quote
He said he never thought about selling textures and I'm glad I was able to point out something he was missing on.

... and tinier ...

« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2009, 08:31 »
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Selling mundane images is a lottery. Although you might sometimes get lucky, sales depend solely upon search engine placement, and the only way to ensure you'll make any money at it is to specialize in it by creating an overabundance so that you dominate the marketplace for such images. You didn't mention these three critical points in your article, xposurepro. Without this last caveat, your advice borders on the trivial: Yes, I can go out and shoot some pictures of bark, or dirt, or clouds, but it isn't realistic to expect it to amount to much unless a significant amount of time and effort is invested.

As far as the sharing thing goes, I don't see sharing this kind of entry-level information as a threat to anyone. If, on the otherhand, xposurepro specialized in making background and texture images, he'd be foolish for publicizing what he did and how he went about doing it. That  would be shooting himself in the foot.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 09:58 by sharply_done »


« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2009, 08:44 »
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No, it's not a threat to anyone here except himself, by encouraging others to dilute his sales base.  There's only so many buyers for images of dirt (or whatever it doesn't take a lot of skill to shoot).

« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2009, 08:46 »
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Randy,
So you're pimping your website, fair enough, lots of people do. And on your website, you're pimping your referral links. That's rather normal too. Your website is even well above average, and there's lots of useful stuff on it. What I don't get is that you try to hide your marketing under a "need" for getting more competition.

We have lots of competition already, people here have sinking dl's per uploaded image, and more photographers are entering the market every day. Contributors who are afraid of competition don't have a future in this business, but since this is just that, a business, it looks a bit strange, at least to me, to invite more, and to recommend newcomers to do more of the same stuff that has been done a zillion times already.

Unless of course, you make more money from your website and your referrals than from your microstock images. Then it's at least understandable...

« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2009, 08:59 »
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You're an administrator and you actively recruit submitters to multiple other sites?  Is that statement a threat?  We definitely don't have to worry about competition? 
LOL a threat .. no that part was just me complimenting on AVAVA's portfolio and I wanted to make a point that it was not just based on me looking at a persons thumbnails .. a good looking thumbnail means absolutely nothing .. AVAVA's work is excellent when viewed at 100% and that is what matters. We admins look at tons of photos every day where the people obviously do not look at it from 100% .. or 50% .. sometimes you can look at submissions at 15% and immediately tell that it is overflowing with noise or out of focus. So when we evaluate somebody like AVAVA it literally makes our day.

Anyway, yes I recruit and submit to multiple agencies. My agency is awesome and does not require me to be exclusive. I've worked for another agency in the Big 6 and they did require it .. which sucked and that's why I left them.

Selling mundane images is a lottery. Sales depend solely upon search engine placement, and the only way to ensure you'll make any sort of money at it is to specialize in them. You didn't mention these three critical points in your article, xposurepro.
I personally don't recommend anyone specialize in just one area. I have found over the years that by spreading myself out into multiple categories works better. The key is to produce top quality images .. even when shooting a mundane subject. If you limit yourself to specific categories you are limited to buyers who shop primarily in those categories. This would be the equivalent of saying Sony should specialize in stereos .. by also offering the buyer computers, TVs, hardware, DVD players, video games and so on they are exposed to a much broader consumer group. This tactic has worked great for me.

We have lots of competition already, people here have sinking dl's per uploaded image, and more photographers are entering the market every day. Contributors who are afraid of competition don't have a future in this business, but since this is just that, a business, it looks a bit strange, at least to me, to invite more, and to recommend newcomers to do more of the same stuff that has been done a zillion times already.
I haven't had a problem with sales decreasing. I have images that have been online since 2004 that still sell. Actually my sales have increased throughout the year even without uploading constantly. However I will point out that while during certain spikes where sales nearly doubled profits did not match the increase. This was due to spikes in buyer subscriptions. However, even with the spikes in subscriptions my income did continue to rise.

« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2009, 09:06 »
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IF this would be a world where money wasn't important and images could be downloaded for free ... this wouldn't be a problem at all.

Now, many are in for the money (although it didn't start that way) and because of that they don't like ANY competition.  They would love the see them being the only contributor to micro's so THEY could make money, Money, MONEY, ...

do you know have I call this ... ... G R E E D ... ...  it's one of the seven deadly sins (if I recall the movie seven well :o) )

No seriously.  Money just kills it all.  I'm happy some do share idea's / knowledge and so.  If this wasn't the case I wouldn't be the photographers I am today.

just my 2 cts
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 09:09 by Perrush »

« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2009, 09:09 »
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Uh oh, this thread looks like it's beginning to turn into a shooting match. (this is not aimed at you, perrush, or anyone else in particular)
It might be best if everyone backed off and away.


You've got a good amount of experience in this industry, xposurepro, and I think you'd be an asset on this forum.
I hope this experience from one of your first postings doesn't sour you too much on this place.



« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 09:13 by sharply_done »

« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2009, 09:16 »
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Uh oh, this thread looks like it's turning into a shooting match. (this is not aimed at you, perrush, or anyone else in particular)


you don't have to take everything that serious Sharply  ;) I don't either  ;D

I wondered what will happen if one of the big guys (or even smaller ones) who make their complete portfolio for free.  Because many microshots are so similar, I think this could have a big impact of sales across all sites.   I think this will happen one day  ::)


« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2009, 09:33 »
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Uh oh, this thread looks like it's beginning to turn into a shooting match. (this is not aimed at you, perrush, or anyone else in particular)
It might be best if everyone backed off and away.

You've got a good amount of experience in this industry, xposurepro, and I think you'd be an asset on this forum.
I hope this experience from one of your first postings doesn't sour you too much on this place.

Not at all, I don't get sour :) I've been around long enough to know there are always going to be shooting matches. I'm just glad everyone here is into microstock ... the anti-micro matches are so annoying and always seem to be started by people who weren't working professionally pre-dating micro. By the way, are you the sharply_done who submits a lot of airplane shots? If so, I know your work by name as well. You also have great images.  ;D

I wondered what will happen if one of the big guys (or even smaller ones) who make their complete portfolio for free.  Because many microshots are so similar, I think this could have a big impact of sales across all sites.   I think this will happen one day  ::)
Are you referring to the big guys as in a photographer or an agency? If you mean a photographer then the big guys aren't as big as you would think. When placed into the entire equation their portfolios are a fraction of a fraction ... of a fraction of a percent on a global scale. If you mean an agency . well I can't see an agency giving up their millions. The movie seven was on tv a couple days ago by the way .. awesome movie. :)

« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2009, 09:51 »
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xposure : I don't mean an agancy, I even don't mean a Yuri or Lisa.  I think if even smaller photographers with between 1000 and 5000 images make their portfolios public that this could have an influence on sales because many good selling micro images are so generic.  $1 is cheap, $0 is cheaper and can't be beaten.

Maybe it's just my silly brain which is turning sour ... maybe not


 

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