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Author Topic: Help, please.  (Read 5986 times)

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« on: August 17, 2008, 14:49 »
A few months ago, I got a little more serious with photography. I wanted to make some money with the hobby. And by now, I have a few of my images on a couple of different sites. I haven't made one penny.
Here's the thing: I don't get any interest from the sites that accept my work, and the bigger sites where I think I could make a little cash don't accept any of my images or reject my applications.
Any tips?

« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2008, 15:06 »
I have 3 tips for you:

1. Content. Shoot good concepts, think about your photo, don't simply walk and find themes.

2. Quality. I know, for the start, noise and lighting standards can be subjective but experience your eyes by downloading free stock photos. Focus on the real good ones. Learning to use photoshop and converting/post-processing RAW it's a must. Meantime 2. is the most expensive point since you need to have good equipment.

3. Quantity. A few photos bring a few cents. More photos more cents. Quantity also refers to the variation of the themes found in your portfolio. Wider theme coverage means more buyers.

Good luck!

« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2008, 15:32 »
Also, while they are attractive, the top sites have an approval process to get in.
Shutterstock usually takes a few tries to get in, plan on about 3 months. I hear they also reject the first submission almost every time...
iStock also has a reputation for turning down new contributors on the first submission... or two... StockXpert definitely has a reputation of making you wait.  Several have reported getting in only after their 3rd or 4th submission

Just so ya know... it's not ALWAYS you :)

« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2008, 15:44 »
"Learning to use photoshop and converting/post-processing RAW it's a must. Meantime 2. is the most expensive point since you need to have good equipment."
I don't have PS( I know, I know), too expensive. I tried GIMP, and got lost within a few seconds. I don't even know what you mean by "converting/post-processing RAW"(Sorry).

« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2008, 15:51 »
A link to your portfolios or some sample images would help in better assessment.

« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2008, 16:02 »
Stephen Finn's guide is worth having a look at.
It might be of help.


« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2008, 16:55 »
I don't have PS( I know, I know), too expensive. I tried GIMP, and got lost within a few seconds. I don't even know what you mean by "converting/post-processing RAW"(Sorry).

Dear friend, please understand, if you want to be successful you can't avoid Photoshop (or similar). Simply because it's the easiest way to achieve quality and quantity over time.

I don't know much about your age, profession, but the digital photography has it's own know-how's about bits, color spaces, levels, color-noise, etc., etc., theory is essential.

takestock's link is very good, also you may need to study the following articles:
http://www.llvj.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml - understand how the digital camera sensor sees the world, and
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/raw.htm - about raw

The vision - it's you: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm

Good luck!

« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2008, 18:47 »

I'm with icefront: if you want to succeed in this, you need to learn a bit about digital photography.  There are tons of tutorials in the web and books too, and you may always find some advice here on specific issues.

But before that, I hope you already have a good knowledge about photography itself: composition, lighting, DOF, etc.  Otherwise, this should be the first step to climb.

Also have in mind that in stock photography, and microstock even more, nature and landscapes don't do so well.  People images, isolated objects, concepts - such things have more chance to sell well.


« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2008, 07:45 »
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 16:55 by seastar12 »

« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2008, 11:54 »
The link takes me to a login page.

Cutcaster right now not the best barometer for the market value of your images. They are new and take pretty much anything in trying to build inventory.

« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2008, 16:55 »
Sorry, fixed[I think].

« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2008, 19:44 »
Your portfolio is not good stock material. You have a series of 6 on a dead bird, and 6 pretty bad pics of corn. There also seem to be a lot of white balance, lighting, and focus issues. On this one here, I can see some pretty horrendous noise and grain. But like I said Cutcaster will take pretty much anything.


Lots of flower pics too, and they are pretty much a loser when it comes to good stock sales.

Shooting for stock means submitting the right subject types and mastering your technical execution. Submitting to proven sites is also a factor. 

If you can't get past acceptance on Shutterstock, iStock, or Stockxpert, or get images by on Dreamstime, it's really time to study and rethink your game plan if you want any income from stock, because right now, these agencies are where the money is, at least for me.

Even though you say you don;t do Photoshop, that's not even half the problem here. Photoshop won't do much to help these. Programs like Photoshop help enhance a good image, or can even make a good one great. But it does not make you a good photographer. Very few of my images have any extensive post work, and they sell fine.  I do shoot Raw files, or "digital negatives. By shooting Raw files, you get the most dynamic range out of yoour images. First you need to find out if your camera is capable of shooting raw files. Raw processing and decent post production can even be achieved with Photoshop Elements, and I believe that is below $100 these days.

But I digress to the technical. Use the links provided by the posters above and get some education about the business, and improve your technique and subject matter. A good pic of a tomato isolated on white will earn more over time than a dozen mundane flower shots.

For some examples of stock photos that sell, look at this link


Lots of agencies also have featured photographers or images. If you find links to featured photogs, take a good look at their portfolios to get some ideas on what images sell.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 19:56 by stormchaser »

« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2008, 15:55 »
Wow, thanks for all of the help. I'll definately have to check out those help links.
Any photos that anyone likes? Which do you think is the best?
Johngriffin, are you a moderator on cutcaster? Any tips on making some profits ;).


« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2008, 00:01 »
Johngriffin is Cutcaster, and as far as tips on making profits, you won't make any with your current portfolio.  Read and re-read the tips in this thread, then get serious about your work.  Make sure you are shooting with a decent DSLR (judging from all of the noise in your pictures, I have to assume you are not or you have ISO way up).  Pricey, but there is cost to break into this field.

I suggest reading "Understanding Exposure" by Peterson.  He has several helpful books, but Understanding Exposure is probably the one most geared toward getting new photographers up and running.  With Peterson, you want to learn to "get it right in camera."

As far as what sells, pick up a copy of Douglas Freer's microstock book or the online material from Laurin Rinder and Dave Smith.


« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2008, 10:11 »
I don't want to pile on with negative comments, but I strongly recommend that you try to get accepted at IS and SS and don't bother with any of the other sites until you can get a decent percent of your uploads accepted. Working with a site that will accept the kind of images you have on Cutcaster isn't doing you any favors. The rejections won't feel good, but you'll learn from them and start to improve.

There are plenty of people who have started with a decent point and shoot, and I wouldn't spend any money on a DSLR until  you can take well exposed, well composed images with what you have. Taking poorly lit pictures of dead birds with a DSLR won't make a difference.

Do a few searches on IS or DT sorted by downloads so you can see the quality of image that sells well (I deliberately omitted SS). Good luck

« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2008, 07:03 »
seastar, I sent you a personal message


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« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2008, 18:50 »
whitechild, do you post anything other than personal message notifications?

« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2008, 18:56 »
Paulie, I've sent you a message...



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« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2008, 19:00 »
Seastar - on a positive note you have some interesting compostions. You need to work on just about everything else. Most of your images have issues with lighting, white balance, poor subjects, etc. I have a hard time seeing how they could be used to convey a message. I'd suggest starting off with a photography class.



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