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Newbie Discussion / Re: Another question - what's in a name?
« on: September 09, 2010, 20:41 »
Thanks, Traveler, that helps me a lot.  Although I haven't yet applied anywhere else, I did register as a user at a couple of places (not Shutterstock, though, so I'll use the referral link), and I'm trying to use an abbreviated form of my photo biz name where available. So I will hopefully be LFPhoto, as long as it isn't used!

Newbie Discussion / Re: With fear & trepidation ... hello
« on: September 09, 2010, 20:37 »
Sean ... you're welcome!  :D

FD -- good to know about the portrait potential.  I really do enjoy doing portraits and think I could probably do okay with those, only I have quite a dearth of possible subjects right now.  My two kids are willing victims, and while I know that I could ask any number of friends to pose for some photos, the new world of "this photo could feasibly show up anywhere" is a bit much to ask of even my best friends.  I do, however, have a good friend and neighbor who actually happens to BE a model (impossibly attractive, but in a wonderfully wholesome way); I wonder what her feelings would be on the subject.  I intend to find out!  When I feel more sure of myself, I may look into hiring a model or two.

Lisa -- great to meet another Lisa!  Thank you for your encouragement, it means a lot.  I will definitely take your advice to look around my daily life for inspiration.  My main business involves jewelry, so I have a ton of jewelry related items around.  I've never tried food photography, but I sure enjoy looking at it.  And I'm extremely comfortable with portrait work, so I'll wrestle my kids and hubby into a few images, I'm sure.  I know any landscape/nature stuff is totally saturated, but we go to Maine every year (gorgeous scenery there) and I live in NJ where, depending on which direction you step, you can be in the mountains, at the shore, or in NYC, so I'm hoping to find some inspiration all around me.

I'm relieved at the notion of NOT doing what other people are doing.  I'm getting to know my strengths and weaknesses, and quite honestly, my weakness is definitely stark, studio photography.  It did intimidate me a bit to see so many highly stylized, studio-lit images.  I have a couple of Alien Bees and reflectors, but I rarely used them because I've always preferred natural/available light.  I know I'll have to perfect my lighting skills, but I'd prefer to go my own way and hopefully hit on something that feels more innate to me.

The one thing I've promised myself is that I won't go all crazy buying things I think I "need".  I'm fortunate enough to have decent cameras and adequate lenses for now (two 50mm 1.4 and 1.8, 85mm, a Macro, and a couple of zooms), a couple of tripods, and scant lighting (if I MUST).  I bought a couple of books and told myself that's IT.  For now!  Someday I'd like a good telephoto, but that can wait.

Now I just need to shoot with the intention of shooting for stock.  I have lots of "almost there" images dating way back that could have been perfect ... if ONLY I'd paid better attention to the image quality.  I'm sure the sharpness suffers greatly.  But I'm starting to get a feel for the next steps to take.

Again, thanks!

Newbie Discussion / Another question - what's in a name?
« on: September 09, 2010, 16:34 »
This is one other question that I kept wondering about, and I haven't seen it addressed anywhere.  Maybe it's one that just doesn't matter, but I wasn't sure.

Is there anything I should keep in mind when choosing a name when registering for the various agencies?  Do you use the same name at each one you're registered with?  While some people seem to use their real names or possibly their business name, it seems like the vast majority don't.  I didn't know what the pros and cons were for this.  I would think you'd try to keep the same name throughout for some kind of brand awareness, if that exists beyond a Yuri or Andres, or if it just plain doesn't make a difference.

Is it worth putting thought into, or should I just register and be done with it?


Newbie Discussion / Re: With fear & trepidation ... hello
« on: September 09, 2010, 15:13 »
Thanks for the replies and welcome!  LOL, I think I have this image of everyone saying "Oh geez, here comes another one!" every time a newbie pops in! :)  I'd be lying if I said I didn't care at all about the money, but quite frankly, if I was able to generate enough to spring for a new lens now and then I'd be pretty happy.

I'm still trying to navigate the different ways each site operates, how to sort and search, etc.  I probably shouldn't have used the word popular to describe the types of images I'm interested in.  I definitely can see that "popular" doesn't necessarily mean "popular right now", especially when you see that file was uploaded in 2003.  I've also noted that there is not necessarily a correlation between "highly rated" and number of downloads; I'd imagine that other photographers and appreciators of art are responsible for the ratings of interesting images, but that doesn't necessarily translate into what actually gets downloaded.  I guess my confusion comes in when I see a really cool looking image that is very obviously heavily edited to make colors pop, or an artsy filter or treatment applied, and I think "Hey, I thought they didn't want that!"  Then I get hopeful that perhaps things are changing and these types of images are being more sought after these days.

I'm glad to hear that the plastic look may have peaked.  I can see the need for such images, but it seems as though they have enough of them.  I'm definitely interested in conceptual type images, and a little more freedom from the isolated, white-background images.  Those will always be in demand, but they're really not my forte and others can do them much better than I.

I have not really begun applying to the agencies yet because I know I'm not ready.  I did submit something to Fotolia, but stupidly did so on a bit of a lark (just to jump off the cliff); they are sitting in the que and I'll frankly not be surprised if they are rejected because I don't think I did enough homework.  I'll know better next time.

In the meantime I'll be soaking up as much info as I can.  ADHD is extremely helpful for research!  :)

Newbie Discussion / With fear & trepidation ... hello
« on: September 09, 2010, 14:16 »
I've been lurking for a little while, as I would hate to be the newbie who doesn't bother reading up and figuring things out for herself.  I've read enough to know that, rightly so, the last thing everybody wants is yet another Jane-come-lately horning in on what used to be a good thing, thinking she's going to upload pics of grandma's dentures or her dog's paw and start raking in the $$.  That's not me, I don't think -- at least I don't have any delusions about this being "easy money".  On the contrary, it sounds like darned hard work.  I almost didn't bother registering, but I realized that the more I read, the more questions were beginning to crop up, so ... here I am.

Oddly enough, the reasons for my interest in microstock have less to do with money and more to do with purpose and finding that it sounds like a good fit for me.  I didn't just get a camera last year, I think I got my first DSLR (a D70) about 6 or so years ago (whenever it first came out), and since then have had a variety of Nikons.  I also had a portrait photography business for a while that I never formally "quit", but rather let languish because my main business got too busy.  While I have always loved photography, and loved photographing people, I quickly found that I liked to do what I like to do, not necessarily what other people liked.  I found myself wanting to shoot people for my own aesthetic reasons, rather than what the client might want.  Not good for a portrait photographer!  LOL  I still enjoy the occasional shoot for friends, etc., but I allowed it to be relegated back into a hobby and haven't updated my portrait website in a ridiculously long time, so it's a bit dated now.

Anyway, I've always been drawn to shooting things that other people might not find typical -- I like textures, rusty gates, weird puddles, a cluster of rowboats, whatever -- and found myself shooting that kind of stuff in between the typical family snapshots, etc.  I was well aware of "stock photography" (didn't know it was called microstock until just recently) and had bought several images over the years from iStock, etc. for various things -- blogs, invitations, etc.  Why it never occurred to me that there were photographers on the other side of that transaction, I'll never know.  When I finally put two and two together, it really clicked for me.  It seems to include everything I LIKE about photography -- concepts, unique shooting styles and subjects, no client demands (other than keeping marketability in mind) -- and excludes everything I DON'T like about certain jobs/businesses -- dealing with irritating people, 9-5 hours, etc.  I readily admit that I have ADHD and although I rather like the way my mind works, it hasn't always been ideally suited for your typical job.  I can hyperfocus on certain things for periods of time, then I need to allow myself a "refresh period" where I do something else for a day or two ... or three.  Seems like microstock allows flexibility, creativity, encourages competition, demands your best work (which I admittedly have a lot to work on), and on top of that, pays you accordingly and passively (or residually, I should say), something I find quite interesting.

I realize I'm finding out about this at the tail end of what seems to have been an exciting ride (sure wish I'd paid attention in 2005 instead of just photographing toddlers!), but I'm happy to have discovered it at all.  I do promise I'll try to keep dumb newbie questions to a minimum.  I'm quite blown away by the quality of so many of your portfolios and it really makes me want to focus on the technical side of photography.  It will be hard for me because with portraits, it's more about a look or emotion and not always about being tack sharp at 200%.  I'm confident that I'll be learning a lot to improve my photography skills.

I'll end by asking one newbie question.  I am trying to research the heck out of the type of photos wanted/needed/definitely NOT wanted, and I can see that's going to be a tough thing to figure out.  I keep hearing that what is wanted is natural, out-of-camera images, and yet the most interesting, cutting edge and popular photos seem to be heavily Photoshopped -- I see montages, HDR, filters, etc.  I, for one, absolutely LOVE that stuff and am a fair PS user, but I'm confused as to whether to submit that sort of thing or not, how much artistic license do you dare take?  Perhaps those are the types of images you can add to your port once you've established yourself with more technically pure images?

Thanks, and I'm happy (if a little nervous) to be here.


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