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Author Topic: New to Stock - Feeling Overwhelmed  (Read 3668 times)

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« on: January 14, 2016, 01:04 »
0
Hello microstock community!

Man I think I have been creeping in and out of here for years..its a pleasure to finally take part in the convo!

Anyway, I have been involved in photography (personally) for a long time. Made a few hundred a year doing small jobs...yadda yadda. Fast forward to now, I just love having my camera around, shooting this and that, gearing up etc. I have always thought of featuring photos on stockwebsites, but like woah. It seems like such a tangled web. So I hope you don't mind if I shoot out some questions?

1. Is it worth it to be exclusive? I have read a few posts but times seem to be always changing on MS. I will spend approx. 15-20 hours a week shooting/uploading stock. As of yet this will not be a full time thing but if the money is there, I would dedicate more time on it.

2. Is it worth spending time on isolates?

3. Do images with people involved sell better?

4. I have a load of travel, nature and food photography from personal interest..will these sort of images sell on Microstock? you can see some of my images here: newbielink:http://www.th1nkphotography.com [nonactive]

5. And last but not least, once I upload and keyword my images, do I just set it and forget it? Or is there continuous maintenance involved? IE. Will I be able to catch any sales without marketing the images (myself)?

In advance I really appreciate any comments! It seems like a lot to ask and any help would be appreciated.

T



Hongover

« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 01:51 »
0
Hello microstock community!

Man I think I have been creeping in and out of here for years..its a pleasure to finally take part in the convo!

Anyway, I have been involved in photography (personally) for a long time. Made a few hundred a year doing small jobs...yadda yadda. Fast forward to now, I just love having my camera around, shooting this and that, gearing up etc. I have always thought of featuring photos on stockwebsites, but like woah. It seems like such a tangled web. So I hope you don't mind if I shoot out some questions?

1. Is it worth it to be exclusive? I have read a few posts but times seem to be always changing on MS. I will spend approx. 15-20 hours a week shooting/uploading stock. As of yet this will not be a full time thing but if the money is there, I would dedicate more time on it.

2. Is it worth spending time on isolates?

3. Do images with people involved sell better?

4. I have a load of travel, nature and food photography from personal interest..will these sort of images sell on Microstock? you can see some of my images here: www.th1nkphotography.com

5. And last but not least, once I upload and keyword my images, do I just set it and forget it? Or is there continuous maintenance involved? IE. Will I be able to catch any sales without marketing the images (myself)?

In advance I really appreciate any comments! It seems like a lot to ask and any help would be appreciated.

T



I started early last year, and I had to learn about the industry over the past year.

1. No. SS is the biggest MS agency in the world and if you're serious, you need to be on there. They make up over 65% of my income on microstock.

2. Isolates were extremely popular 5 years ago and it's still popular, but competition is immense. There are roughly 20 million images in that style, making 1/4 of their total portfolio. You better have the best and you better keyword it well.

3. Generally yes, but you need to really set up the shots well since you've got tons of competition. Think business & healthcare. However, I don't know if the cost of hiring models...and you need good looking models, is worth it. The ROI may not be high enough.

4. I like your work. You've got some nice photographs. They would sell well, if people can find them. I can tell you from experience the key to faster success isn't talent, it's keywording. If no one can find your beautiful photos, they might as well be ugly.

5. If you keyword images well, you don't need much maintenance. People will find your images and they'll start downloading it. Don't bother spending money marketing. Having a blog or  personal site is a plus, so clients can contact you and potentially give you additional work, but dammit, put some watermark on those images. Once you upload to microstock, I can go to your site, use a high res image and you won't know if I bought it or stole it.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 01:54 by Minscer »

« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2016, 02:52 »
+5
1. Is it worth it to be exclusive? I have read a few posts but times seem to be always changing on MS. I will spend approx. 15-20 hours a week shooting/uploading stock. As of yet this will not be a full time thing but if the money is there, I would dedicate more time on it.


Artist exclusive - no. Once upon a time iStock was successful enough and the royalties high enough to make that make sense, but that time is long gone. Image exclusivity is available for a few agencies and that can make sense if there are some images that happen to sell better at that agency than elsewhere. Don't start out with exclusive images until you figure out what does well where. If you have some truly unique imagery, then probably RM licensing though a traditional agency is a better bet (and don't license anything RF if you're even thinking about RM)

2. Is it worth spending time on isolates?


Not on tomatoes, peppers, lemon slices and so on. If you have some really original work, having a quality isolation can be a big asset, so it's good to be able to do this competently.

3. Do images with people involved sell better?

That depends on the people and the images - you can't generalize. Some categories of images have a larger market - teams of workers, office scenes, etc. - but that also means much more competition. If you have access to unique situations and can get releases, you might do well with a niche that is under served. But if there is low demand for that type of imagery, your sales will be limited. Portraits of people looking at the camera - versus doing something or engaging with others - are not suited to stock.

4. I have a load of travel, nature and food photography from personal interest..will these sort of images sell on Microstock?

Some might do OK, but all those shots of generic sea with generic sunset will probably not. If the image doesn't tell a story or has no specific location (and a location lots of people go to) then it's low demand with masses of competition. I found that website very hard to use - slide shows that I can't control the timing of with no set of thumbnails are infuriating. The food in your shots (until I got impatient and gave up) looked yummy and drool-worthy, which is a very good start. Food is highly competitive as a stock category though.

5. And last but not least, once I upload and keyword my images, do I just set it and forget it? Or is there continuous maintenance involved? IE. Will I be able to catch any sales without marketing the images (myself)?


The agencies have the buyer traffic which is why we fork over so much of the license fee to them. Shutterstock in particular. You don't need to market yourself to get sales. If you choose to sell through sites like Fine Art America (prints), you probably should expect to do more leg work.

Good luck

stock-will-eat-itself

« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2016, 05:23 »
+6
My advice is to try and get into the Macro agencies first like Westend61 or Blend Images as they will distribute your work to Getty and Corbis, or try Stocksy if you can get in.

Your work will improve at the Macro agencies as they will guide your work, its more satisfying than micro. The problem with Micro is there is no real quality control so the good work gets mixed up and lost in the masses of poor quality work passing through.

If you can't get in at the Macro agencies just go for Shutterstock and Fotolia as the other micro libraries are dying off and will just chew up your time for no real return.

« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2016, 15:10 »
0
Hey there!
Love the food shots! Which macro lenses are you using? if it is no secret, of course :D

ShadySue

« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2016, 15:17 »
+1
You got it in two:

...like woah. It seems like such a tangled web.

...times seem to be always changing on MS.

« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2016, 16:56 »
+2
Your food shots are very professionalbut,  why are you not using Smugmug's watermarking feature?   You are just giving those shots away, and at a huge resolution!

Fudio

« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2016, 19:17 »
0
I agree with others about the food shots. Great sense of composition and I especially like the tight shots with shallow DOF. Some should do well I would think. Be very careful with micros though with shallow DOF. Your limited focus area absolutely has to make sense or you will see a lot of rejections. My only other concern might be color balance in some of those shot under incandescent.

« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2016, 20:34 »
+1
The food is nice overall.  Not sure if you're styling them or just ordering food somewhere and shooting it.  I find the light a bit harsh and obvious in some of them.  Actually, I think the composition is a little too close up - I want to get more sense of the gestalt of the whole dish in a glance.  That close, it's hard too.

Oh, and watermark: http://www.th1nkphotography.com/Photos/Food/Food/i-rTWwWjg/0/X3/Elegant-Tuna-Tartar-50-X3.jpg

« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2016, 22:57 »
+2
Wow! First of all, want to say thanks to everyone for their input. Did not expect this much great feedback all so soon.

@Robin@Symbiostock - I had the impression Symbiostock was more on less for video..does it do well with stills? thanks for the advice!

@Minscer - awesome, really helpful info so thank you! baha yes the watermarks! I see that may be an issue, one I'm now feeling pretty worried about. I uploaded the images at 30-40% of the original size so figured the images would be far too low Q to be worth snatching. Guess I am sadly mistaken :S

@Jo Ann Snover - Jo Ann thank you for all of your great advice. Have just been getting used to website design and will definitely address that issue; thank you for the input as I will be sure to include searchable tabs/images.

@stock-will-eat-itself - very interesting, that sounds quite attractive. Is that different from becoming a contributor at.. Getty Images, for example? I know very little about macro (there is no macrostockgroup.. :P) so I look forward to learning a bit more. Thanks for the advice appreciate it!

@lanabyko - hah you may be surprised! the food shots featured on my site are primarily (~80%) using the Nikon kit DX 18-55mm (also mostly with a D90, usually always have it with me!). However I now use Sigma f2.8 17-50mm on DX bodies (super sharp), and sometimes 5D Mk II with 50mm. But the best camera is usually the one you have !

@ShadySue - hahaha, greattt :P

@rimglow - thanks rimglow! I appreciate your concern about the watermark, as mentioned I uploaded low Q images and thought I was safe :o I'm definitely going to want to look into that..I just wanted a place to finally show my images online and am still learning the ropes of the online image world. Thanks for the advice!

@Fudio - thanks for the feedback! great note on the shallow DOF, I was thinking to myself if it would be useful or a crutch (especially when considering setting up new shots). Yes sometimes I just like to keep the atmosphere of the restaurant / kitchen when taking the shot but some of the WBs..lol. Thanks m8!

@Sean Locke Photography - appreciate the comments! I never touch the food once ordered and like to keep the character of the chef so I usually just find "decent" light in the restaurant (usually shutter speeds around 1/2 - 1/15) so the camera just soaks in whatever light is available, usually veryy warm and low W bulbs. Yea I love it close and it eliminates distractions in the restaurant/other people. But I do agree when I do take time I've gotten some great compositions around the table and it soaks up the atmosphere very well. And yes I will watermark evErYtHing soon enough baha. How was it you were to find the photo-specific link? Many thanks for the advice!

Again wow thank you all for your input, I actually feel a support I didn't have 24 hours ago..its more appreciated than you may think! As far as getting started with stock, should I just focus on the "Big 4"?

Are there any stocksites worth spending time uploading landscape/scenery/travel stuff (that isn't 500px)? I think I remember Alamy was into this kind of stuff a while ago..

Much love and kind regards!

T


« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2016, 06:07 »
+2
Actually, I think the composition is a little too close up - I want to get more sense of the gestalt of the whole dish in a glance.  That close, it's hard too.

The close up on these food shots is what I really liked the most:) You can see every scrumptious detail of the meal and it makes you drool right away ;D 

PS Well done on shooting most of it with your kit lens, I'd never ever guess!
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 06:09 by lanabyko »

Fudio

« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2016, 10:05 »
+1
Hey there!
Love the food shots! Which macro lenses are you using? if it is no secret, of course :D

Not trying to hijack this post, but lanabyko if you are looking for a good aftermarket lens for this kind of shot I really like my Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro. Nice bokeh, good working distance, and the price was pretty reasonable.

« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2016, 10:07 »
0
How was it you were to find the photo-specific link? Many thanks for the advice!

It took a while.  I used firebug to try and delete all the non-essential nodes, but eventually I had to stop the script from running, and then I could see the link.

« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2016, 15:43 »
0
Hey there!
Love the food shots! Which macro lenses are you using? if it is no secret, of course :D

Not trying to hijack this post, but lanabyko if you are looking for a good aftermarket lens for this kind of shot I really like my Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro. Nice bokeh, good working distance, and the price was pretty reasonable.

Thank you for the tip, i'm actually choosing between tamron, tokina and sigma for my first macro, all prime, so will take your post into consideration :)


 

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