The PROs and CONs of Stock photography

Microstock photography explained – DeviantArt

What is Stock photography? from David P. Smith

So You Want to be a Stock Photographer, Part I

Stock photography is fun, because it gives value to your photos.

Just remember that it’s only one style of photography , that is not necessarly reflecting what you love shooting. Sounds controversial?  Stock are photos that are used for advertising, magazines, websites.  Just open any magazine you have , and look carefullly at the small prints at the side of the pictures. This will give you a good idea what is good for stock.

Stock agencies have high requirements, when it comes to approving photos. You will learn this by trial and error. The everyday photos you take, may or may not make the test. It depends how good you are.

The thing is, if you start to think “low noise, low noise, low noise “, you will stop taking photos most of the time, or will be missing great moments. Admit it that shooting with ISO 100 is not something that is appropriate in most of the lighting conditions outside of  a studio or on a bright sunny day. Neither do you always carry a tripod around to avoid camera shake.  Nor is “harsh shadows” a main concern when taking photos.

As a matter of fact I like to shoot at high ISO – this gives me grain, but also alot of detail both in background and subject while avoiding to use flash that I so much dislike. Some of the best wedding photos I’ve seen are shoot at high iso and small f aperture and they DO HAVE grain. But who cares about grain, when the captured scene is simply stunning…

Stock images need to be carefully thought about , keeping in mind many aspects and details. They are not spontaneous shots but well directed , set, lit and captuted scenes . And I am not there yet with my photography.

One day,I would like to give it a a try with a photo studio. On the other hand I like to make photos on the go, with the situation I have and the light I have. I like to make candid portraits and generally candid shots. Studio is too much pre-set for me.

Paula said “Shutterstock will make you a better photographer.” But how if I don’t get some of the rejection reasons?!!!

Am still not getting even close to my goal of 100 aproved images. Just to get the last 2 approved, I got 19 rejections. This makes me feel more and more insecure about how appropriate my photos are for shutterstock. Irony of it – they rejected most of my best captures for one or the other technical reason.

I have been featured in today’s post of Photography Blog by Nicolas McComber. He is is working exclusively for stock photography and is doing good with it. Thank you, Nicolas, for the nice words , and encouragement . “Does it get easier with time? It sure does. Good habits settle in, and once the technical aspects become less of a hurdle, it’s all about thinking like a customer.” Check out his shutterstock gallery had 25 pages!!! I cannot imagine how many rejections will it take me to have even one full page approved!!!
UPDATE – he recently deleted ALL his galleries on other stock sites to go EXCLUSIVE on istock.
Does stock photography really help you stay creative or by learning those good habits it handicaps you to think in stereotypes….

what is shutterstock? > “With a comprehensive library of more than 15 million stock photographs and vector illustrations—and thousands more added daily—Shutterstock is the world’s largest provider of royalty-free stock images by subscription. …” > read more

Freelance photography tips: selling to stock libraries

Stock photography is about developing a sharp sense of business acumen. It’s crucial that you learn to wear different ‘hats’ and develop a detachment from your artistry. This is business. Become a visionary behind the camera and an unbearable critic at the computer. Edit your work by detaching yourself from the memory; no one else can feel how special your life may have felt at the point you pressed the shutter release. To an editor it’s just another image that must tick certain criteria or it will not sell – that’s all that counts, it’s nothing personal. “

If you are from the more creative type of photographer ( vintage, pin up, tattoos), try

Making Money From Your Art a pdf booklet from *Eman333

If you want to give it a try and sell your photos on shutterstock , you can register here. I would be glad to help if you have questions on your first 10 photos to submit.

To download , you need to subscribe to the shutterstock site by clicking here. The subscribtion itself is free.You can download one free photo and one illustration or vector per week, but if you want to download a specific picture tho, you will have to pay for it.

Getty Is An Insult To Photographers. Introducing Stocksy [OPINION]

7 of the cheapest stock photo subscriptions

7 thoughts on “The PROs and CONs of Stock photography

  1. Hey Anna, lovely to see you’re asking legitimate questions… Stock photography will help you get more creative. It forces you to always clarify everything: your intention, your concept, your subject. It then forces you to make the best shot technically that you can do given the circumstances. Master this and you can do anything that you want and do it at a level professional enough to be published or printed anywhere. Total win-win situation: you even get paid for your practice.

    As far as stereotypes go, well, I don’t like the word. Obvious images will be your bread and butter. Out of the box images will be what you do for fun and to build your brand, and maybe make your mark outside of microstock. They hardly ever become best sellers at that level, especially on shutterstock. They’re more RM territory or Vetta if you want to go exclusive with Istock. The important thing to remember is that the technical quality and the clarity of intention required by the agencies will help you greatly no matter what type of photography you wish to do: it’s about effective communication.

    About focus on landscapes: Focus on the most contrasted part of the landscape if you do not have a precise focal point in your composition- that’s where the eyes go naturally. Do not focus on infinity – that’s where you go soft. Eliminate camera shake – that’s a killer. Bring a tripod or monopod and /or work at speeds higher than your focal length. The flower image you use as a background image for this blog is a good example of camera shake: nothing in the image is really clear – those rarely get past inspection successfully…

    About noise: don’t worry too much… in my experience, if the reviewers believe the shot will sell, they’ll tolerate some. I’ve had 3200 ISO shots go through. So go back to clarifying your intention, concept and subject. That’s really the key. That, and correct exposure. Do not underexpose – that’s another killer. Shoot to the right of your histogram, and you’ll have a lot less noise rejections.

    1. Thank you, Nicolas for the through and precise answer. I guess I will persevere with stock , no matter that sometimes I really don’t understand the rejection reason and it frustrates me. I got another approved pic out of three that I posted, so ratio is not that bad. And even got a download straight away. I actually really like the feel of this photo.
      I would like to ask something else: Is it worth trying to re-submit the rejected photos after fixing as good as I can the rejection reason they gave me or it’s a waste of time and I should forget it?
      Another thing – I think my keywords are too few. Should I try to make them as much as possible?

  2. If you feel like the photo clearly depicts something particular and the refusal is not about focus (try as you may, but camera shake or the focus on ears or/tip of nose instead of eyes are a bitch to cheat and not worth the time) then go for it. One of my personal best sellers on IStock was accepted on the 4th attempt. I fought for it only because it sold so well at SS that I knew it was worth it.

    So, imho, the bottom line is this: ask yourself if this is the clearest depiction you could make of what you want to communicate. If it is, then try and fix it or re-shoot it. If you’re not sure what it could be used for, or if you think there already are better photos than yours depicting the same thing, then I would move on.

    At some point you won’t even shoot snapshots anymore – you’ll think about what you want to communicate and compose / work the photo differently from the get go. At that time, the quality of all your work and consequently acceptance rate and sales will go way up.

    One thing I always tell the students to ask themselves: who would buy this and for what purpose? If an answer doesn’t come up right away, then skip to the next shot. And to be fair, this next question should also be asked: If the buyer was looking for that subject, is this the shot they would buy? If not, what do you see in your mind? Go shoot that instead. It really pays off to ask these questions before you shoot.

  3. Hey Anna, what I meant about better was more along this line: if your shot is similar to an already established one, chances are it won’t take off. So check what is already there before spending time fixing a shot. If you do not see anything quite like what you’ve got and it’s got a clear subject, then it’s worth fighting for it.

    Also your individual point of view will automatically make things different if you do not willingly copy what you’ve already seen.

    For example, if you set out to shoot the mountains near Innsbruck at night, let’s say to be used for your regional tourism bureau or anyone advertising your area to the world or as a beautiful background for a composite… where would you go and when to get the best shot? You’d be surprised to find that your idea will differ from anyone else’s and also that there is perhaps a real shortage of such photos at the moment. If you do it right, you’ll end up with a winner. So don’t compare yourself too much, that’s the inspector’s job. At this stage, trust your gut and just think a minute about how to best express your subject. It’s okay to not be perfect, we all get better with time. And our sensibilities evolve along with our work.

    Start by shooting what you know best. Honesty and accuracy in the details is important. Sometimes things that are mundane to you are extraordinary to others.

    About Dreamstime: they’re relatively easy on the inspections, sales are ok, but take a long time to grow (and a lot of production) Your rates will grow as some of your photos become better sellers. Their drawback would be the 6 months clause – you have to keep some of your files there for at least 6 months from the time they’re accepted. In my case, it’s probably that clause that has kept me from going exclusive with Istock… and I’m happy it did, in a way. But if you’re going for the independent spirit, then they’re a good agency to deal with. Soooo.. I guess the question is how many photos a month do you think you will put out? If under 50, then you should consider going exclusive with Istock: I think that’s where you will get the best returns (in that case stay away from Dreamstime). If it’s over 50, then being independant might make more sense. But who’s to know in this ever changing market?

    1. Hi Nicolas, thank you so much fore your help. Sometimes when I get all submissions rejected ,I am starting to think of giving up.
      The funny thing is, my mountain shots never got a download from a local place – anywhere from Dennmark , France even Africa if I can trust the downloads map on Shutterstock. I really wish I could , as you said, see what they were used for. Is there a way to find out?
      What means “going exclusive”?

  4. Hi Anna, im just starting out wiht photography, pretty poor at the moment, but hoping to improve. Getting that razor sharp shot is eluding me for the moment, and not sure why.
    anyway onto the purpose of this comment.
    Regarding the photograph in question, the one thing that i think about when i look at it are the two illuminated areas, they are vying for my eyes attention, instead of just the one area, either would have been good, the main illuminated area probably best, but depends on what you were trying to shoot.

    Love the photograph regardless.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.