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Author Topic: Building my microstock portfolio  (Read 5097 times)

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« on: January 25, 2009, 00:02 »
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Hey all,

I've been working on my microstock photography for about a month and have close to 50 pictures on fotolia. Once I get my numbers higher I plan to start submitting photos to other sights as well. I'm having some trouble being able to find places where I could make some good micro stock photos and was looking for suggestions. I have my friends to photo but they are only available and willing to help out occasionally. I've yet to ask a stranger to sign a model a release, think I should start asking? Any places you could suggest would be appreciated. I'm a graduate school student and work part time. This gives me a lot of free time to take photos. I would like to try and turn this into a full time job but can't imagine how to fill a 40 hour work week of just taking photos, editing, and uploading? Suggestions greatly appreciated!!!


« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 00:04 »
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FYI I live in northern, VA right outside of DC.

« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2009, 00:32 »
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It's great that your friends are willing to help! So far I have also only done model releases for people I know, and family of course. I think that the key is to shoot photos of them in different situations, where they do different things, either everyday activities, or perhaps sports, or just interacting with each other. If your friends or family can do this, it can be a great start. Later, they usually appreciate if you tell them you sold their photo :) at least they can say they have done some modeling :)
Perhaps, a good place of approaching people you don't know would be in places where you think they have already seen you, that is, where you are not a complete stranger. For example, your university, gym, or any place where you are seen on a regular basis. Just my two cents...

EDIT: I forgot to mention, since you already have pictures ready and uploaded to Fotolia, you might as well start uploading to other sites as well. You can benefit from learning about each sites details, in terms of taste for images, and how they are done. I can see that you already know about FTP clients that let you upload to multiple sites, and that makes it much easier.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2009, 00:46 by goldenangel »

« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2009, 02:07 »
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I on the other hand do not use friends and family for stock .. I strictly use models that I have found through sites like Myspace, ModelMayhem and those who contact me directly through my studio.

« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2009, 02:51 »
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I absolutely agree that professional models are better than family and friends. I guess it all depends whether paying for them makes economical sense at a particular moment. For someone who is just starting in stock photography, and perhaps learning the ropes, it might not make  sense to pay for models until they getting enough experience and confidence to do so. I am saying this assuming that's the case for Klapamos. If I'm wrong about that, Klapamos, I apologize.

« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2009, 03:39 »
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Actually paying models for their time is out of the question. I plan to put together a home studio when I move in about 3 months. I have the lighting and just need a backdrop. I guess I should just build my portfolio using friends and family. Then have  one of my friends build me a website.

« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2009, 04:11 »
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It's great that you already have the lighting taken care of. You can even build a site yourself using some online website tools.

I sent you a private message.

shank_ali

« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2009, 04:38 »
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Hey all,

I've been working on my microstock photography for about a month and have close to 50 pictures on fotolia. Once I get my numbers higher I plan to start submitting photos to other sights as well. I'm having some trouble being able to find places where I could make some good micro stock photos and was looking for suggestions. I have my friends to photo but they are only available and willing to help out occasionally. I've yet to ask a stranger to sign a model a release, think I should start asking? Any places you could suggest would be appreciated. I'm a graduate school student and work part time. This gives me a lot of free time to take photos. I would like to try and turn this into a full time job but can't imagine how to fill a 40 hour work week of just taking photos, editing, and uploading? Suggestions greatly appreciated!!!
The libraries of the stock sites on-line will help you see what sells.Browse as a buyer.I have always viewed other peoples work for inspiration and just pure pleasure as i find it relaxing.

« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2009, 07:55 »
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I'm having some trouble being able to find places where I could make some good micro stock photos and was looking for suggestions.
... I would like to try and turn this into a full time job but can't imagine how to fill a 40 hour work week of just taking photos, editing, and uploading? Suggestions greatly appreciated!!!

You need to sit down with some magazines and brainstorm by yourself.  Many, many people have no problems coming up with plenty of ideas, and have the means or the foresight to hire models or buy equipment at this point.  You need to figure out what your expectations are and how to get there, especially if you want this to be a full time job, but you can't see yourself doing it full time.  There's a big world out there, and you need to be creative enough to see parts of it uniquely.

« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2009, 08:07 »
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In my experience, many amateur models find it quite flattering that tehy might actually be usable for commercial purposes and I have several models who are willing to sign the model release and work for free - just for the experience.

My approach is to promis some "TFP" photosessions (time for pictures) - meaning that they are getting pictures for thair portfolio for free, agains a signed model relase.

Can't say if the condisions are different in USA, but here in DEnmark and the rest of europe, it's no big problem.

- And a afgree that it's best to use strangers, rather than using friends and family.

 

« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2009, 10:02 »
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Rather than making the generic imagery you've done so far, you might consider exploring and exploiting the unique environment you have access to. If I was a graduate student I'd be shooting stuff that had a university/college/education/research/science angle to it. Although I haven't explored this arena, I'm under the impression that it's relatively weak.

« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2009, 21:54 »
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We have also had a few issues with microstock images ending up on interstate billboards .. and oddly enough one model was very angry about this .. another model was used in an ad for a local strip club, which got resolved but still was not pleasant .. I'm not sure what the odds are of you shooting a local model and the photo being purchased through microstock by a local company and advertised in the models area ... we are in the Kansas City area and often see our microstock work in local media .. If something bad happens .. even when it gets resolved .. I would just feel better knowing it was a stranger than a close personal friend or family member.

lisafx

« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2009, 12:23 »
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I guess I am the odd one out here.  I prefer to work exclusively with friends, family, and referrals from friends/family. 

Although this has turned into a good income stream for me, I still do it mostly for fun. Working with people I have a personal connection with makes it an enjoyable experience for me and for them, and IMO results in better pictures.  When this stops being fun I suspect it will also stop being profitable.

I am very careful to explain the model release and the possible uses of their images, but so far have been lucky that there has not been a use that anyone objected to.  The only remotely embarrassing use is one beautiful mature woman who was used in an article talking about "cougars", but she has a great sense of humor and was flattered young guys thought of her as sexy enough to illustrate their point. 

I also have been paying my most successful models for a couple of years.  They may not have started out pro, but they have certainly developed to pro level, and deserve to share in the success of their images. 

 

cmcderm1

  • Chad McDermott - Elite Image Photography
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2009, 01:33 »
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MIcrostock opportunities all around - inside and outside.  Just think commercially, not fine art.

« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2009, 10:58 »
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This thread has got me thinking now; perhaps I'm not being specific enough in telling models how their images may be used.  Up to this point I've only said that they could be used for commercial purposes, but that the buyer may not "defame" the model.  So what should I be telling them, exactly?  How detailed do you get?  What do you all tell your models?


 

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