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Author Topic: Portfolio critique, and few thoughts how to progress  (Read 2560 times)

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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2022, 14:30 »
+1
I like this picture:

https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/portion-popular-dutch-street-snack-food-2025869561

Localised food in a localised environment.

You can also do videos like this.

Generic images are everywhere, but try to think of a localised story and then capture it all.

Two friends going shopping, wanting to bake a local type of cake, do the whole preparations, all food items, the handwritten recipe, the baking itself, the carefully decorated coffee table, the arrival of family or guests for teh Sunday afternoon and then of course coffee and cake and eating cake until the plates are empty and the guests leave...

The number of producers who think and create with stories in mind is very few.

You don't have to shoot it all in one day, but if you keep your story in mind, you will be much better at realising what type of images or video are really needed.

Of course you should also first do some research what is already available on the agencies. Do you discover something that is missing?

Then try to shoot into the niche.

Localised content also has less competition.

Good luck with your journey.


« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2022, 06:56 »
0
I wouldn't share so openly my best-sellers from a place but it's been so long that it doesn't matter anymore.

So, I lived in Rotterdam, Netherlands between 2011-2014 and these were/are my best-sellers from that time.

At the time, Rotterdam was growing a lot with new buildings/infrastructure, so buyers picked up on those kinds of shots. Rotterdam Central station and Markthal come to mind.

I shot regularly in Amsterdam but very few sales from there with exception of inside Schiphol terminal and airplanes.

I'm keen to go back there in the spring and shoot the tulip fields with my drone.

Thanks for sharing. I forgot to say before that I am a follower of your website, and find it very helpful and inspiring.
I used to live in Breda till July 2022, had a boring job for a chinese company, working in excel, and spent countless hours reading your posts and thinking about stock instead of working.

Looks like you got into some building to have a good view on Rotterdam central station. I have been there so many times (and will be there tomorrow again on the way to a metal concert) but always thought there are too many distracting elements in the composition, and didnt take any photos.
I got a discount pass for dutch trains which allows me to travel for free at the weekends, and in combination with bike it is a great way to explore and cover many places. Nothing like cycling the whole day, shooting stock, and then ending in some pub drinking special beer to finish the day off!

Tulips with the drone sounds good.
I got this idea of capturing dutch tulips together with dutch train and rental bike also from dutch railways.
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/lisse-south-holland-netherlands-0105-ovfiets-1969662391
Sold few times, but nothing crazy.

My best-seller is one of the first, if not the very first photo that I have uploaded to stock sites
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/lighthouse-breda-by-sunset-540095644
all about that sky, which was really spectacular that moment.

followed by this one
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/scenery-traditional-dutch-windmill-called-de-1736017865
despite that bland sky

Hi Devotio,

Cool you follow my blog! :) I was probably at my boring corporate job in Madrid while writing some of the posts so we were both dreaming of freedom haha

Yes, the view of Rotterdam Central was taken from my ex-office so was priviledged to have this view point. From down below it's not as interesting.

These are three pretty shots but probably difficult to have 100s of sales as still too generic. For instance the sheep with windmills, soon we'll have AI that can create almost infinite variations of this type of scene with a query-search - many threads about this here alerady.

That's why I suggested the drone perspective but not as easy as buying a drone and taking off as there are lots of rules as you've mentioned. I still think it's worth getting all the qualifications / authorizations. Much of the NL is still OK to fly without major issues, including the tulip fields.

Yeah, I dont have photos that are making 100s of sales, only two are just about to break first 100.
Only time will tell how much will that artificial intelligence change the industry, I hope the demand for
real photos of travel destination will still be there, because showing real photo of how certain place looks like and what you can expect as a tourist
is quite different than showcasing some AI-generated mishmash.
Hmm, but then nothing will prevent AI to mimick the drone perspective as well... but I see your point with drones, more original perspective and less saturated market.

« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2022, 07:18 »
0
I like this picture:

https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/portion-popular-dutch-street-snack-food-2025869561

Localised food in a localised environment.

You can also do videos like this.

Generic images are everywhere, but try to think of a localised story and then capture it all.

Two friends going shopping, wanting to bake a local type of cake, do the whole preparations, all food items, the handwritten recipe, the baking itself, the carefully decorated coffee table, the arrival of family or guests for teh Sunday afternoon and then of course coffee and cake and eating cake until the plates are empty and the guests leave...

The number of producers who think and create with stories in mind is very few.

You don't have to shoot it all in one day, but if you keep your story in mind, you will be much better at realising what type of images or video are really needed.

Of course you should also first do some research what is already available on the agencies. Do you discover something that is missing?

Then try to shoot into the niche.

Localised content also has less competition.

Good luck with your journey.

Yeah, that one is doing quite well. We were on a daytrip with my gf, I extended my hand and took the photo myself.
She was making fun of me that I bought that food only because of stock.
I can only agree with all you said, but to do this kind of photography well requires someone helping. Having at least a hand or silhouette of someone adds a lot, I think... My gf has to be in a right mood to help me out, but it is definitely one of the enjoyable kind of photography to do, with a huge space for creativity.
I had quite some hopes for this one to sell well:
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/delicious-belgian-waffle-held-front-blurred-2138095395

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2022, 11:48 »
+1

Yeah, I dont have photos that are making 100s of sales, only two are just about to break first 100.
Only time will tell how much will that artificial intelligence change the industry, I hope the demand for
real photos of travel destination will still be there, because showing real photo of how certain place looks like and what you can expect as a tourist
is quite different than showcasing some AI-generated mishmash.
Hmm, but then nothing will prevent AI to mimick the drone perspective as well... but I see your point with drones, more original perspective and less saturated market.

If you are relatively new and have just over 1,000 images, to have a couple which are pushing 100 DLs, you are doing just fine.

Looking at your first uploads on SS, you have 42 windmills, the rest are mostly churches and castles. Diversity is a good thing after you have the local subjects covered. Of course the exception is, if you find a new one that's better than any windmill that you already have in your collection. More of the same isn't going to grow your demand or downloads as much as finding new subjects.

Niche is a good thing if you have the demand.

« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2022, 05:49 »
0

Yeah, I dont have photos that are making 100s of sales, only two are just about to break first 100.
Only time will tell how much will that artificial intelligence change the industry, I hope the demand for
real photos of travel destination will still be there, because showing real photo of how certain place looks like and what you can expect as a tourist
is quite different than showcasing some AI-generated mishmash.
Hmm, but then nothing will prevent AI to mimick the drone perspective as well... but I see your point with drones, more original perspective and less saturated market.

If you are relatively new and have just over 1,000 images, to have a couple which are pushing 100 DLs, you are doing just fine.

Looking at your first uploads on SS, you have 42 windmills, the rest are mostly churches and castles. Diversity is a good thing after you have the local subjects covered. Of course the exception is, if you find a new one that's better than any windmill that you already have in your collection. More of the same isn't going to grow your demand or downloads as much as finding new subjects.

Niche is a good thing if you have the demand.

I have already move on from that windmill obsession, but at the same time, I photographed even some less-striking ones because many small dutch villages dont have any other eye-catching landmarks except for windmill or a church, so I thought it would be good to have them, just in case somone wanted a photo to represent that particular village or photo of that particular windmill.

« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2022, 06:03 »
+1
There is one burning question I have, and I thought I could ask in this thread instead of making a new one...

Till recently I was not thinking about stock photography and taxes, because I didnt withdraw any money and my income was low,
this is now changing a bit, and I want to prevent any bad surprises in the future.

Here in The Netherlands I have to fill a tax form every year around february/march for the previous year, and I know there is a question about
side income/own business so I am wondering, is all I have to do, count all the money that I earned from stock (and withdrew) in 2021 and thats it?

Also, I have heard somewhere that it could be beneficial to actually oficially start my own business, so that then I can include my gear, travel costs and
other things as expenses, and thus pay maybe less taxes.

Sorry for being so vague and asking what is probably obvious for most of you, but I really dont know these things...



« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2022, 01:14 »
+2
Talk to a local tax advisor.

Of course you must declare your tax income. But how to declare it, can you deduct any expenses etcfor that you need a local specialist.

Every country has other laws.


« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2022, 01:40 »
+2

Here in The Netherlands I have to fill a tax form every year around february/march for the previous year, and I know there is a question about
side income/own business so I am wondering, is all I have to do, count all the money that I earned from stock (and withdrew) in 2021 and thats it?

Also, I have heard somewhere that it could be beneficial to actually oficially start my own business, so that then I can include my gear, travel costs and
other things as expenses, and thus pay maybe less taxes.


You would need someone else from the Netherlands to answer that question. Where I live I deduct all my gear and various photo props from my income and I don't have my own "business", I am just registered as a freelancer. Every country has its own tax rules, but usually you can find the information you need online.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 01:46 by Her Ugliness »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2022, 12:22 »
+1

Yeah, I dont have photos that are making 100s of sales, only two are just about to break first 100.
Only time will tell how much will that artificial intelligence change the industry, I hope the demand for
real photos of travel destination will still be there, because showing real photo of how certain place looks like and what you can expect as a tourist
is quite different than showcasing some AI-generated mishmash.
Hmm, but then nothing will prevent AI to mimick the drone perspective as well... but I see your point with drones, more original perspective and less saturated market.

If you are relatively new and have just over 1,000 images, to have a couple which are pushing 100 DLs, you are doing just fine.

Looking at your first uploads on SS, you have 42 windmills, the rest are mostly churches and castles. Diversity is a good thing after you have the local subjects covered. Of course the exception is, if you find a new one that's better than any windmill that you already have in your collection. More of the same isn't going to grow your demand or downloads as much as finding new subjects.

Niche is a good thing if you have the demand.

I have already move on from that windmill obsession, but at the same time, I photographed even some less-striking ones because many small dutch villages dont have any other eye-catching landmarks except for windmill or a church, so I thought it would be good to have them, just in case somone wanted a photo to represent that particular village or photo of that particular windmill.

Well that's a good plan and no I haven't stopped shooting cheeseburgers. Still on a quest for the perfect cheeseburger.  ;D The point is, if you like it and you have a good idea for local variations and a special subject niche, there's no reason not to do that. I'm only speaking about, the market and how much you might expect by adding another 50 windmill images. They look nice.

As for taxes, and like everyone else says, you'll need to consult someone who knows the local laws.

Contrary to what someone else wrote, you can't deduct equipment, at least not in the US. You depreciate the equipment over a period of time. I don't know your laws or the UK laws.

Equipment youll use for more than a yearincluding cameras, lenses, lighting, light boxes, filters, tripods, computers, and hard drivescounts as capital expenses. Each year you can deduct a portion of the cost of capital expenses over their useful life.

I have a list of all equipment, the year purchased and how much it cost. I can say one thing about any country and taxes... Keep Good Detailed Records!

« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2022, 12:44 »
+2

Contrary to what someone else wrote, you can't deduct equipment, at least not in the US. You depreciate the equipment over a period of time. I don't know your laws or the UK laws.

Equipment youll use for more than a yearincluding cameras, lenses, lighting, light boxes, filters, tripods, computers, and hard drivescounts as capital expenses. Each year you can deduct a portion of the cost of capital expenses over their useful life.


Yeah, but he is not in the US.  Here I can deduct the full price of the equipment at once. Only when a single piece of equipment is over 952 I have to  depreciate the equipment over a period of time and the time varies depending on what kind of quipment it is.

So it's really little use giving advice here, because it could be completely different in the Netherlands.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2022, 11:39 »
+1

Contrary to what someone else wrote, you can't deduct equipment, at least not in the US. You depreciate the equipment over a period of time. I don't know your laws or the UK laws.

Equipment youll use for more than a yearincluding cameras, lenses, lighting, light boxes, filters, tripods, computers, and hard drivescounts as capital expenses. Each year you can deduct a portion of the cost of capital expenses over their useful life.


Yeah, but he is not in the US.  Here I can deduct the full price of the equipment at once. Only when a single piece of equipment is over 952 I have to  depreciate the equipment over a period of time and the time varies depending on what kind of quipment it is.

So it's really little use giving advice here, because it could be completely different in the Netherlands.

Wow is there an echo, but no quote for what I actually wrote?

"As for taxes, and like everyone else says, you'll need to consult someone who knows the local laws."

Odd, I think I said sometimes equipment must be depreciated, not deducted all at once. Some expenses are deductible for each year.

https://www.taxgate.nl/which-costs-are-tax-deductible/

Dutch:
Digital photo camera
Data carriers (CDs / CD-Rs, memory cards).
Software.

« Reply #36 on: November 22, 2022, 13:10 »
+1
...
...
As for taxes, and like everyone else says, you'll need to consult someone who knows the local laws.

Contrary to what someone else wrote, you can't deduct equipment, at least not in the US. You depreciate the equipment over a period of time. I don't know your laws or the UK laws.

Equipment youll use for more than a yearincluding cameras, lenses, lighting, light boxes, filters, tripods, computers, and hard drivescounts as capital expenses. Each year you can deduct a portion of the cost of capital expenses over their useful life....

in the US if you use cash accting as small  business can deduct gear at full price in the year purchased. ymmv

« Reply #37 on: November 23, 2022, 09:54 »
0

Till recently I was not thinking about stock photography and taxes, because I didnt withdraw any money and my income was low,
this is now changing a bit, and I want to prevent any bad surprises in the future.



make sure you understand when money is taxable in your jurisdiction.  Not withdrawing might not mean it's not taxable.  Check between earned VS paid VS vested

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2022, 13:42 »
0
...
...
As for taxes, and like everyone else says, you'll need to consult someone who knows the local laws.

Contrary to what someone else wrote, you can't deduct equipment, at least not in the US. You depreciate the equipment over a period of time. I don't know your laws or the UK laws.

Equipment youll use for more than a yearincluding cameras, lenses, lighting, light boxes, filters, tripods, computers, and hard drivescounts as capital expenses. Each year you can deduct a portion of the cost of capital expenses over their useful life....

in the US if you use cash accting as small  business can deduct gear at full price in the year purchased. ymmv

Yes that is an option. Generally not the best way to do that, for most people or most businesses, but yes, it's allowed. What I mean is, I'd prefer and many accountants would say the same, to take depreciation, over the life of the equipment, rather than a lump sun, one time.

I have the list. When I bought something and I also track if I sell it. At some point I should be able to stop listing Canon 10-D 2004, but I haven't asked, so I don't know. I pay someone who knows more than me and she takes classes every year and knows the tax laws. She has a good sense of humor too, because she needs one with my documents and paperwork. "No you can't deduct that..."

I bring in a red shoulder bag, full of receipts, notes, files and printouts of income and expenses from various sources. Now she jokes about the "Red Bag". (maybe when I'm not there she calls it the Devils bag?)


Till recently I was not thinking about stock photography and taxes, because I didnt withdraw any money and my income was low,
this is now changing a bit, and I want to prevent any bad surprises in the future.



make sure you understand when money is taxable in your jurisdiction.  Not withdrawing might not mean it's not taxable.  Check between earned VS paid VS vested

Right, another fine mess. When is it reported, when was it paid, what does the tax bureau see vs what's real. Fairly messy sometimes, and in the US with duplicate forms, can be even worse.

« Reply #39 on: November 23, 2022, 15:33 »
0
In the netherlands you can deduct cost below 450 euros at once, any amount higher has to be deducted over several years. If you earn less than 1000 euros (per month if I'm right) I recommend not starting your own business as your earnings are being seen as side earnings from a hobby. (But in this case you cannot deduct any equipment cost).

Talk to a local tax advisor.

Of course you must declare your tax income. But how to declare it, can you deduct any expenses etcfor that you need a local specialist.

Every country has other laws.

For any other advice, I agree with cobalt and it's better to find a local tax specialist. If you find a good one, please send me his/her contact details as well  ;D




« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2022, 13:14 »
0
In the netherlands you can deduct cost below 450 euros at once, any amount higher has to be deducted over several years. If you earn less than 1000 euros (per month if I'm right) I recommend not starting your own business as your earnings are being seen as side earnings from a hobby. (But in this case you cannot deduct any equipment cost)....

in the US one of the req's is that the business shows a profit at some point, regardless of actual sales amount

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/earning-side-income-is-it-a-hobby-or-a-business

« Reply #41 on: November 24, 2022, 14:32 »
+2
Thanks all for your input about taxes, it is indeed gonna be pain in the ass, as I expected. I am just afraid I will spend more for the consultation than what I earn in a month or two from stock, so I am determined to keep investigating online, or ask some dutch people in my surroundings.

Thanks also for encouraging me to take photos of the most touristy parts of Amsterdam which I was somehow overlooking, thinking that it would be too difficult to compete with what is already there. I am not thinking that anymore.

Here comes one fresh story (from today) that I would like to share. Full of determination and encouragement, and knowing that the weather will be good today, I set off
on my bike to the centrum of Amsterdam, to take photos around canals... after doing some pre-scanning before combined with online research on google maps and stock agencies, I found few good spots, took out my tripod, and started shooting the scenery with historical houses along the canal with houseboats in the foreground. In just a moment big group of tourists with a guide appeared meters away from me, where they all stopped, listening to the speech of their guide. I usually hate being seen, but I just ignored them, and kept shooting, trying different settings and slightly changing the composition. I had to interrupt my session to meet my gf for a coffee and cake in one of the nearby cafes, only to continue later, after susnet. So I started to unscrew my ND fliter from Irix that I purchased only recently, when the * thing fell on the ground, and then, to my horror, bounced to the side and slowly disappeared in the canal !!! I didnt even try to catch it, instead I was just staring at the spot where it fell as if frozen, and left the scene to have that coffee. I started by saying "if I tell you what just happened to me, you will think that I am joking"... then I told my gf what happened, and accused myself of extreme clumsiness in front of her. Together we revisited the spot, to measure the water level, only to find it deeper than expected. Then my gf walked away to the neaby big, old, docked boat, the one where people are actually living in it. She knocked on the door, and I sharply waved at her to stop it and come back. From whatever reason, I am the one who would never do that, expecting that I would get negative response, something like: what . do you want, dont disturb... but the doors opened, and my gf politely asked the older dutch man, whether he has some tool which we could use to try to retrieve the nd filter from the depth of the canal. To my surprise, in a short moment, he borrowed us 2 meter long stick with the net at the end, and we used it to comb the muddy bottom of the canal, in hopes to catch the filter in the net. I knew chances were super small, and unfortunately there is no happy ending here, but at least we tried. My gf left, I opened strong beer that I had ready in my backpack, visited few more places to take more photos, and returned home. At least I had some good sales today, to make that misery of losing 100+ euros nd filter less painful. So I hope next time I am less clumsy, and I hope some of the photos I took tonight will sell.

« Reply #42 on: November 25, 2022, 05:02 »
0
That IS a great story man!! :)
And think about it, if you deduct your equipment from taxes, you didn't lose 100, but much less :).

If you just want to deduct your equipment from taxes, you should not need any expensive consulting.. It's pretty simple: you either deduct the whole cost in one year or you split the cost over several years. All information can be found via Google. You can probably even call the tax office and ask. That's what I've been doing when I started with taxes (talking from Germany here, so Netherlands might be similar). Also remember to deduct everything you use for work, like computer, editing software and so on.

« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2022, 12:39 »
0
..
If you just want to deduct your equipment from taxes, you should not need any expensive consulting.. It's pretty simple: ...

i maintain 3 xls workbook (USA)

expenses.xls
consolidated.xls which tracks income & costs (postage, hosting, etc) for amazon, ebay & photos

each of these has a 1 row summary
at end of the year i just copy those 2 lines to 2022taxes.xls and moves individual figures to their appropriate places on the 1040 tax form
 



 

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