Friday, February 6, 2009

Time to Be Shooting!

It seems that a lot of photographers have cut way back, or have stopped shooting stock altogether. I can understand that. Every time I turn around I hear bad news for the economy and threatening news on the stock photo front. Today I happened across a micro stock blogger who was pretty pumped up that after six months of dedicated work, he had just earned a new monthly high of over seven dollars. Is that depressing or what? BTW, no offense intended to all you micro stockers. I encourage micro stockers to learn as much as they can about the other areas of stock. The market embraces all the forms of stock and all of us need to know as much as we can.

In my opinion though, now is a great time to be shooting micro or macro. I can’t help but feel the weight of all the bad news and it makes me want to conserve my money. But I haven’t lost sight of the fact that almost every stock shoot I have attempted has turned a profit. Seriously. And in this economic environment there are deals to be had; it isn’t hard to find people willing to work at bargain rates.

Great images rise to the top

My approach is to put extra effort into coming up with shoots that either cost me little to nothing, or that I am super excited about both in terms of the shots themselves and in what yield I believe they will return. Of course, I pretty much believe that if I am really excited about creating a stock image it will naturally end up turning a nice profit. Great images rise to the top. I have a number of images that to this day I can’t figure out how people use, but I was excited about creating them, and I still love to look at them (one of my big vices is staring endlessly at images I have created). And many of these ideas have brought in thousands of dollars. A quick example of an image that cost nothing but has returned thousands: a close-up image (RM) of an airplane lavatory sign indicating, “occupied”. Now don’t go and copy it…it still sells!

Creativity is the answer, again

Creativity is the answer, as it usually seems to be. Creativity not just in creating the shot, but also in coming up with photographic ideas, and in coming up with ways to create images that don’t require a lot of money. I keep a list of hundreds of ideas. I am constantly adding to this list. I can now go through that list and filter out the ones that can be executed with little to no expense and bring those to the front. It is a creative challenge. I am actually having fun with it!

One great benefit from these times is that I am fine-tuning my process; becoming more efficient and less wasteful. These processes not only serve me well now, but also will serve me well in the future. Already I have benefited from relying less on employees. When an assistant recently moved on I resisted replacing her. Not only does that save me some overhead, but also as a result of it I have learned to use programs myself that I used to relegate to others. Ultimately I not only save money, but I am also in more control of my business. It’s all good!¬

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