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Author Topic: Which ONE company would you contribute to as a newbie?  (Read 18609 times)

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« on: January 15, 2010, 08:42 »
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I am brand new to this concept of stock photography.
I have a DSLR, and I love taking pictures of food and most of all my friends and family. Something about food and my loved ones that I just love to shoot.
Anyways, I stumbled upon this micro stock photography phenomenon through the internet and thought maybe I can make some money on all these shots I have.

Thing is, I have a day job that takes a big chunk of my time. (I'm an English teacher). I currently only have enough time to contribute to one company.

So any good advice on what one company I should invest my time on? Like I said, I'm really brand new at this, don't even know if my stuff is worthy of stock! Looked over some other threads and seem to think that istock and shutterstock might not even accept my stuff due to their strict standards?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2010, 08:52 »
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I would say Dreamstime, because

* I would have said Shutterstock if you already had experience, but entry exam isn't easy for completely new person
* istockphoto - same issue with entry exam though it's easier with 3 photos
* fotolia - no exam but too unpredictable, not so good learning from being there
* stockxpert - unpredictable future and entry exam though not very difficult
* others - not worth your time

My own first site was istock - but that was in 2005 when I knew nothing about microstock and I didn't know any other site - just found about istock in a forum post.

« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2010, 09:14 »
0
I am brand new to this concept of stock photography.
I have a DSLR, and I love taking pictures of food and most of all my friends and family. Something about food and my loved ones that I just love to shoot.
Anyways, I stumbled upon this micro stock photography phenomenon through the internet and thought maybe I can make some money on all these shots I have.

Thing is, I have a day job that takes a big chunk of my time. (I'm an English teacher). I currently only have enough time to contribute to one company.

So any good advice on what one company I should invest my time on? Like I said, I'm really brand new at this, don't even know if my stuff is worthy of stock! Looked over some other threads and seem to think that istock and shutterstock might not even accept my stuff due to their strict standards?

You have a day job, why worry about this?  Just enjoy your camera and showing your images to your friends and family.  Everyone that gets or has a dslr doesn't have to join a stock site.

« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2010, 09:30 »
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Don't let Sean discourage you.  This isn't about easy money; to paraphrase Tom Lehrer, microstock is like a sewer: what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.  For me, it was about improving my technique and exploring different photographic subjects long before I saw much of a financial return.  If having your images reviewed, first by the gatekeepers at microstock agencies and later by their customers, appeals to you, then jump in.  But be prepared for some ego bruising as you figure out what they want and what you have to do to achieve it.

There are two parts to producing stockworthy images.  The first is getting the technical details right, the second is producing something a client can use.  Find an agency that's more lenient as to subject, and you'll be able to improve the quality of your images while you work out what makes something better stock.  For me Shutterstock is that agency, but I was lucky enough to join before they put the initial evaluation bar in place.  Now I might start elsewhere and then try SS when you've reached a reasonable level of skill.

Good luck.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2010, 09:38 »
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I 'd suggest to start with one of the major sites which don't require a test (Dreamstime, 123RF, Fotolia) and then try Shutterstock and iStock after a while.

Shutterstock has very good forums with great photographers willing to help so you may as well subscribe right now and then wait a month or so before trying the test.

« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2010, 09:42 »
0
I am brand new to this concept of stock photography.
I have a DSLR, and I love taking pictures of food and most of all my friends and family. Something about food and my loved ones that I just love to shoot.
Anyways, I stumbled upon this micro stock photography phenomenon through the internet and thought maybe I can make some money on all these shots I have.

Thing is, I have a day job that takes a big chunk of my time. (I'm an English teacher). I currently only have enough time to contribute to one company.

So any good advice on what one company I should invest my time on? Like I said, I'm really brand new at this, don't even know if my stuff is worthy of stock! Looked over some other threads and seem to think that istock and shutterstock might not even accept my stuff due to their strict standards?

You have a day job, why worry about this?  Just enjoy your camera and showing your images to your friends and family.  Everyone that gets or has a dslr doesn't have to join a stock site.

i agree with Sean.
to suceed in micro stock is time consuming, and really not so cost effective . not many actually
make money , and many that do, spend almost every hour on it like a full time real estate salesman .

i don't think you can be a hobbyist and "make money" in micro stock, or any stock . you have to do it full time, esp as a newbie in a business where volume is imperative.

if it were not for being a retiree or someone who has lost a job,etc...
i would say the same thing to anyone as well.

it's not the Mr Locke is afraid of competition. he doesn't need to be afraid of competition, he already is a superman with IS. and i say this sincerely.  and really, Mr Locke did not just happen to pick up a camera and la dee da, he is a top seller . he puts in many hours in his work .
compared to Mr. Locke, majority are simply dabblers.


« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2010, 09:43 »
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If you choose Dreamstimes, be aware that your files while have to stay there for six month.

My selef   I would go for istock, it s were you will learn more from your rejections.

« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2010, 09:47 »
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well to counter the sticks in the mud... I would say, yes, do try it.  Microstock doesn't have to be a profession for everyone.  That is the whole idea of microstock - that anyone can play.  It is fun and exciting to see your first sales and a much better (and profitable) alternative to giving them away on flickr.

So to answer your question, I would suggest Dreamstime as well.  Dreamstime has fair pricing and a nice site and pretty good sales.

Shutterstock probably offers the best income for non exclusives (fotolia starting to be a close second) but Shutterstock's entry exam is tough to pass if you are new.

iStock is also a obvious choice, but if you are limited with time, the upload process there is a bit time consuming and like MikLav said - they have an entry exam.  


« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2010, 09:48 »
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If you choose Dreamstimes, be aware that your files while have to stay there for six month.

My selef   I would go for istock, it s were you will learn more from your rejections.

you try get your images through the test at iStock and Shutterstock and if you manage, pick one of those sites.

If you ever decided to go exclusive with a site, iStock would be the logical choice.

eyeCatchLight

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2010, 09:58 »
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I am also quite new and with a few agencies now. I'd recommend Dreamstime. There is no entry exam, and you learn a lot. Fotolia doesn't have an exam either but the feedback and all other things there are not so explicative.

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2010, 10:01 »
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I'd try Dreamstime also. If you want you can post some of your photos to the Photo Critique section of this forum and get some feedback by some of the photograhers here. It would be a big help so they could tell you what would work and what may not work.

« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2010, 10:03 »
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I started with fotolia a few months ago, and I find them good because they're very quick at accepting/declining your submissions.  Having said that, their reasons for refusal are less than useless but at least you get to know quickly if you're on the right lines with your work :)

Dreamstime are good too, but slower and only allow a couple of submissions at a time.

Leave IS, SS StockXpert for later (you could do 123 or Bigstock as well)

Stu

« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2010, 10:28 »
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I just mention this, because it seems a requirement for anyone with a camera to have to go join a site.  It's something that comes up often for discussion often here:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/selling_stock_photography/
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/selling_stock_photography/message/5642

There's nothing wrong with _not_ licensing stock images.  It's ok to just enjoy your photography with your friends and family.  I think people read these articles and get swept up in the hype without a second thought.

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2010, 10:33 »
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There are so many sites that claim you can make huge money with microstock. Well unless you can put all your time and spend alot of money at it, and even then you don't make millions, but you could make a decent living but not untill you get a good size portfolio built up so that can take years to do depending on how much time you are able to spend and the content of those photos

« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2010, 10:37 »
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I just mention this, because it seems a requirement for anyone with a camera to have to go join a site.  It's something that comes up often for discussion often here:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/selling_stock_photography/
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/selling_stock_photography/message/5642

There's nothing wrong with _not_ licensing stock images.  It's ok to just enjoy your photography with your friends and family.  I think people read these articles and get swept up in the hype without a second thought.


there's also nothing wrong WITH licensing stock images.

« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2010, 10:48 »
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You have a day job, why worry about this?  Just enjoy your camera and showing your images to your friends and family.  Everyone that gets or has a dslr doesn't have to join a stock site.

I'd much prefer that you took SJL's excellent advice but if you really want to do microstock then you might as well do it right __ and without question that means Istock.

Yes, Istock's standards might be marginally higher but then there's excellent advice and help available to get you through. In my view if someone can't get themselves accepted at Istock then they are basically wasting their time doing microstock. Your portfolio will almost certainly earn more at Istock than any other two agencies combined too. Of course just getting accepted is no guarantee that your stuff will sell __ that's just the start.

Try a few searches at Istock on the subjects that you like shooting and see how your images compare to both what is selling and, just as important, what is not selling. Most newbies don't appreciate that the hardest thing about 'stock photography' is understanding the 'stock' bit __ when you start to understand 'stock' then you'll realise that the actual photography is relatively easy.

I've been doing microstock for 5 years and I reckon each image uploaded/approved represents about 1.5 hours work (that includes research, buying props, setting-up, shooting, post-processing, keywording and uploading). It consumes much more time than you might expect.

A rough guide to earnings might be $1 per image per month. Therefore if you want to generate $100 per month you'll probably need to put in about 150 hours work to do so. If your images consistently generate significantly more than $1 per image/month then you are exceptionally talented and, given time to build a portfolio, could make your living at microstock.

« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2010, 10:50 »
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I'd start with IS
- tough entry will test your willing to go to microstock
- most consistent reviews - good for training

Next - SS. It gives very nice bust to earnings.

After you are confident with your wish and skills - extend to other sites, but not DT for now:
- longest waiting period for removal
- strongest dependency approval rate -> sales

Wait for up to one year and see if exclusivity makes sense for you, if you do not want to go with IS only - upload to DT ones that are are approved on both IS and SS

This is scenario _I wish_ I started my journey :)


« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2010, 10:52 »
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I just mention this, because it seems a requirement for anyone with a camera to have to go join a site.  It's something that comes up often for discussion often here:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/selling_stock_photography/
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/selling_stock_photography/message/5642

There's nothing wrong with _not_ licensing stock images.  It's ok to just enjoy your photography with your friends and family.  I think people read these articles and get swept up in the hype without a second thought.


I totally agree!

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2010, 11:02 »
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snaphappy....the one most important thing is this....don't get discouraged when you get rejections, don't give up just because of this....you can actually learn from this. Actually after awhile you get use to it because if you are on several sites, some reject and some accept the same image. All sites have their own type of images that sell well. Just don't get discouraged if you are serious about microstock......with time you get better and better and learn from your mistakes

« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2010, 11:06 »
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there's also nothing wrong WITH licensing stock images.

Ha!  That's also true...

« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2010, 11:13 »
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I don't want to be a stick in the mud but I also think you should know that unless you are an EXCELLENT photographer, rarely will you be able to pull photos out of your camera and just upload them without any post-processing.

Things to look for are chromatic aberration, noise, discolored pixels, and a few other things that cause rejections of photos. It is also helpful if you have Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom or even Photoshop Elements to do the post-processing with.

Microstock when I started 5 years ago is much different than today. I learned as I went, but it seems like you would have a better chance of succeeding on today's sites if you knew about the above terms and understood post-processing.

Just IMHO. It will cut down on the rejection frustrations!  :)

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2010, 11:34 »
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The standards of the bigger stock agencies have really become picker and picker  over the years and will continue to to do this. You might as well forget those floral shots, those sunset shots unless they really pop out at you. Most of your big 6 if not all reject these because they already have thousands of these type images and won't accept them any more. Just do a search for the type of images that you usually shot and you'll get an idea how many images they have in that catagory

« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2010, 11:41 »
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I would strongly advise you against picking a site just because you think it'll be easy to get accepted - in the long run this will do you no favors. If you're going to give it a shot - and I see no reason you shouldn't - then start wtih iStock.

I'm now an exclusive but I was an independent for 4 years - I have uploaded to all the major sites (and a few that are no longer around). High standards, a consistent review process and a large volume of buyers are good if you're going to try and build a stock portfolio. Rejections stink - we all hate them even when they're totally justified and we understand them - but if you're willing to learn from them and improve, it can be a great experience.

You'll hear some chatter about random insane rejections and no standards for IS reviewers, but that's mostly from people who haven't figured out what they're doing wrong and would rather blame the reviewers than look dispassionately at their own shortcomings. It can be hard for some people to do, but that's the way to grow.

Good luck

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2010, 11:46 »
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Listen to jsnover...she has some good advice and good points to consider.

« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2010, 11:53 »
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I would strongly advise you against picking a site just because you think it'll be easy to get accepted - in the long run this will do you no favors. If you're going to give it a shot - and I see no reason you shouldn't - then start wtih iStock.

I'm now an exclusive but I was an independent for 4 years - I have uploaded to all the major sites (and a few that are no longer around). High standards, a consistent review process and a large volume of buyers are good if you're going to try and build a stock portfolio. Rejections stink - we all hate them even when they're totally justified and we understand them - but if you're willing to learn from them and improve, it can be a great experience.

You'll hear some chatter about random insane rejections and no standards for IS reviewers, but that's mostly from people who haven't figured out what they're doing wrong and would rather blame the reviewers than look dispassionately at their own shortcomings. It can be hard for some people to do, but that's the way to grow.

Good luck

well spoken.

yes, i agree on all counts whatever you read about IS. they can really be anal . but then again, IS is also where you can improve the fastest, if you can set aside your ego. you will also find the most helpful ppl in IS from their exclusives by writing in the forum.
as a newbie, you will also get the most rejections from IS if you cannot produce a "perfect" shot straight off the camera because IS do not like too much post processing. which i totally think is correct too, as the more you post process, the more it degrades your images.
many ppl say shoot RAW so you can tweak your images. to many, this translate into "you can cheat with RAW if your photography control of getting the proper exposure stinks."

well, it may get you through many other stock sites, but not with IS.

if you want just to get lots of approval, just close your eyes and pick anything under the big 5.
if you want to really seek trial by fire and learn ASAP , go IS. 
yes, i agree, IS is not what any newbie should go with , but if you really can take the beating
and learn from it, IS rejections comes with specific reasons unlike FTor DT ,etc.. hierglyphics rejection explanation.   
since you don't have much time to shoot, i wouldn't bother trying photoshopping to "redeem" your images. this takes a lot of homework too. i would simply read the IS reviewers rejection reason, and reshoot trying hard to not do the mistake they pointed out in your image. much faster than trying to learn photoshop .

finally, enjoy and welcome to the world of S&M, lol..


 

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