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Author Topic: Years in Microstock? How Has it Affected Your Life?  (Read 4918 times)

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Leo Blanchette

« on: September 06, 2010, 13:40 »
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Hello People,

I'm not extremely involved with mainstream microstock anymore...been fairly independent and have used most of my time for my little ones and wife.

For you people who have successfully been in microstock for three or so years, I would like to hear how its changed your life. Better or worse? Honesty is appreciated.

I can say that if I had put the energy into microstock that most people did and still do, back in those important times two or three years ago, I'd probably be very wealthy. But I've only done enough to keep making a living and have used the lion's share of my time for my three little ones.

Other effects:

I'm not extremely into art any more! It almost bores me.

I'm now more of a web designer than a general designer...and loving it.

I'm actually more professionally useful to the real world should I need a job out there again.

The computer tires me out mentally. I think my brain has developed an allergy to the monitor.

In the future, I hope to become completely independent of microstock in my work...but thats just a future goal.

Please share how this very unique business has impacted your life...for better or worse.


microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2010, 13:53 »
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For better - in at least three different ways:

1. My "real" job besides microstock is architect; before, I had to accept every crap; now - thanks to the extra income due to microstock - I can choose my clients and say no to the worst assignments;

2. I always enjoyed travelling; before, travel was an expense; now, it's and investment - and still as fun;

and especially...

3. Freedom. No compulsory working time. No deadlines. No debt recovery.

And about staying in front of a computer monitor... photo editing is WAY better than technical drawing.

I won't get rich doing microstock - that's not my goal anyway - but quality of life has certainly improved.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 14:07 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2010, 18:18 »
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Microstock has generally affected my life positively:

1. If it weren't for microstock, I wouldn't have managed to survive the economic crisis so far - having to rely on photography for my income. Assigned work almost came to a standstill early 2009, but growth in my (micro)stock sales (yes - growth  in income) made up for that decline for a large part.

2. Sales stats of various different images from various stock shoots are a great tell tale of the ever changing trends, fashion and styles in demand, which helps me target my assigned customers better.

3. The freedom of organising what to shoot next in stock allows me to try out new things, and the sales stats are - again - a functional tell tale to keep me on the right (commercial) track.

4. Meeting the increasing quality demands (also the "too similar" issue) helps me to remain sharp and not let image quality slack.

5. Treating Microstock as a huge playground and being able to shoot what I decide to shoot (whereas that luxury rarely exist in my commissioned work) provides me with a great outlet to blow off steam and frustration.

6. Treating Microstock as a huge learning school: The low revenues per sale helps me to plan shoots more effectively, which pays off big time for commissioned gigs. In addition to the above mentioned, it gains me much more experience and routine in setting up bigger productions.

On the downside:

1. I feel shooting generic stuff, worrying about image quality, copyright issues and sales potentials for stock, limited (and still limits) the enjoyment I used to get out of my non-assigned work prior to 2006. This in turn, feels like its limiting my ability to shoot "creatively". All quite ambiguous and subjective, of course.

2. With assigned work picking up again, and feeling the urge to maintain the stock-production pace I had during slow times, It's becoming a challenge to supply each customer equally well, and keeping focus on the primary business drivers of both fields of photography. A temporary luxury problem.

Bottom line: The decision to split my business focus into two, thus spreading the risks, worked out well for me. It's how I intend to continue, at least this year: The lion share of my income will (remain to) be assigned work, and (micro)stock will continue to fulfill its function as a "safety net" when needed, and provide a fine additional income.

Out of curiosity:

I'm actually more professionally useful to the real world should I need a job out there again.


Can you elaborate on that?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 18:28 by taglist »

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2010, 18:53 »
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i think it's all crap :

microstock is a JOB, not ART !

if working as a stock photographer bring you nightmares then maybe you better find another career.

i can also tell you that shooting sport or news isn't at all artistic, and wedding photography can get boring
after shooting yet another 100th wedding.

it's a job, no more no less.

on the other side, my case is special but...

« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2010, 22:17 »
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on the other side, my case is special but...
After seeing your "portfolio" when it was exposed here, just before your long absence, I can only agree with your last statement.  ;D

« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2010, 05:30 »
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i think it's all bullcrap :

microstock is a JOB, not ART !

if working as a stock photographer bring you nightmares then maybe you better find another career.

i can also tell you that shooting sport or news isn't at all artistic, and wedding photography can get boring
after shooting yet another 100th wedding.

it's a job, no more no less.

on the other side, my case is special but...

I was thinking the other day we hadn't heard in ages from "macrosaur" or any of the other helpful happy trolls that spread rainbows across our otherwise cloudy days.


On the original post, I now have a focus to keep shooting photos of different subjects, more money to spend on equipment. I still work a salary job and will for a long time yet. I have no intentions of making photography a full time job. (I'd probably starve if I did) 

« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2010, 07:03 »
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When I started out to do microstock seriously I was studying to become an engineer. In the first years there was a tremendous growth in income and I started playing with the thought of doing photography fulltime. Last year I finally decided to quit my studies and do photography as my main profession. With that step taken I started advertising to get a foot into wedding photography. Currently I have no more time to do microstock because I pretty much booked out with weddings.
My microstock income is slowly declining, there really is no long term future in microstock I believe. But microstock helped me to become a fulltime photographer, which I would never have been without microstock. I learned so much doing it and I am not sure if any degree in photography would have helped me to learn to do better pictures than I do because of microstock.
Oh and if you need a wedding photographer: www.janwillfotografie.net  ;)

lagereek

« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2010, 07:13 »
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Well actually believe it or not but any Stock-photography is a job no less and not an art, in fact arty photography is not even commercial enough as stock,  working with RM and Trad agencies is even more of a job and less art and nowdays,  the fulltime stock-photographer is in for a very tough ride indead.

« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2010, 08:14 »
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Being involved with iStock has worked out better than I ever expected, letting me quit my full time Military contractor job in 2007, thank god.

Sorry to hear you're not into it Leo, but as long as you've found something that hits your spot...

macrosaur

    This user is banned.
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2010, 09:48 »
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hehehe i like to come back from time to time.... but only for a short time...

« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2010, 12:56 »
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Sorry to hear you're not into it Leo, but as long as you've found something that hits your spot...
His illustrations are timeless and iconic. They will keep selling well for a long time, unless an orange copycat turns up. He probably got a burn out for a while. Small kids grow up and then he will feel the itch again. He'll be back;)

Leo Blanchette

« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2010, 14:32 »
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Sorry to hear you're not into it Leo, but as long as you've found something that hits your spot...
His illustrations are timeless and iconic. They will keep selling well for a long time, unless an orange copycat turns up. He probably got a burn out for a while. Small kids grow up and then he will feel the itch again. He'll be back;)

Your pretty much right...I may start uploading again when things have become less busy on the homefront. Actually the orange copycats DID show up...long time ago. They made a ka-zillion downloads too. That was part of what caused me to lose interest. I can provide links if you like :D.

I do love stock photography and illustration. It never occurred to me that I'm probably just experiencing a typical artist burn-out. Thanks for the encouragement!


 

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