A Blog About Stock Photography. John specializes in shooting stock photos including a mix of funny animal pictures with anthropomorphized pets (including dogs, cats, cows, elephants, monkeys and more), and concept stock photos for business and consumer communications. John's site includes interviews with photographers and leaders in the stock photo community as well as numerous articles on photography, digital imaging, and the stock photo business.
Monday, May 25, 2009
A Stock Photo Strategy For Photographers
A Stock Photo Strategy
A former photo assistant and friend of mine, now on her own, just asked me to help her devise a strategy for her to incorporate stock photography in to her new and growing business. I know she is quite adept at the technical end of photography, has good ideas, thinks conceptually, and knows how to use Photoshop.
My advice to her is to shoot for her book (in the world of professional photography your “book” is your portfolio). When I first started out around thirty years ago my mentor at that time told me “always keep shooting for your book”. That advice is as sound today as it was then. You can push your own work further than you can when you are constrained by the limits of an assignment (OK, that may not be true on some rare assignments…but for the most part it is true). You can shoot the kind of work you want to get, the kind of work that speaks to your passion. The work you shoot for your self can be a much more accurate expression of who you are as an artist, and where you want to go.
As I said, my advice to her is to shoot for her book, and make each shot a masterpiece for stock as well. Particularly when shooting for RM nothing is out of bounds. I remember long ago shooting an image for my own book, back when I actually did assignment work. I photographed a man with a shaved head, turned him blue and had flames coming from his head. I sat on that image for quite some time before sending it to a stock agency. “Who the heck could use that for what?” was my reasoning. But eventually I did send the image to Getty, who promptly rejected it. So I sent it, dubiously, to an agency then known as The Stock Market (later bought by Corbis). They ran the image as the cover of their primary catalog. The first sale that image made was for $17,000.00, and it has sold many times since then. That was a lesson for me, and can be one for you too. Shoot for your book, and make the image available as stock, whether through an agency or through your own site. I can think of no down side to making great images available for stock.
When you are shooting for yourself you are quite likely to come up with a much stronger image than when you start trying to create something that will sell. If you succeed in making a truly arresting photograph, then the creativity of the art directors, art buyers, or editors that see the image will allow them to find ways to use that photo in the service of their client’s products and services. You will get more exposure and possibly a nice chunk of change too.
Labels: business success, Stock photo strategies
My name is Fabiana Motroni, I am from Brazil, and I own a poetry blog, www.oprazerdotexto.blogspot.com, in which I use to ilustrate each poem posted with a photo of my own, or someone else's photo that I usually find at the internet. I've used one of your great photos to ilustrate one of my poems http://oprazerdotexto.blogspot.com/2009/03/23-pares-de-cromossomos-mas-um-deles.html , where I've included the reference of your name and linked the reference to your blog. Hope you find this use of your work worthy and please let me know if there's any problem about this. You can let me any message at my blog. Regards from Brasil, Fabiana
I am flattered! I appreciate your checking with me too, as sometimes their are contractual problems when someone else might have paid for the rights.
Thanks for the answer : ) In that case (when someone else might have paid for the rights) how can I be acknowledged of that? For instance, the one I picked up at GettyImages was royalty-free, is that a good way to choose? Please, give me some tips in order to avoid myself to make any mistake, even for a good reason : )
About your photo, it's fair you feel flattered, your work is great! The one I chose has the perfect concept to illustrate a text of my own, posted at the women's day (march 8th), in which I remember that one of the reasons we have a special day for women is because for a long time (still nowadays) there were unecessary distance and difference between men and women, and your photo has the perfect complimentary message for my text, represented by the hands of a man and a woman sharing a view of living.
Fabiana, in the case of a royalty free image you don't have to worry about conflicting rights (someone else having exclusive use). If you license the image through an agency like Getty they would notify you. Some of my images I license, in that case I do have do make sure that people who pay for exclusive use get that exclusive use.
Hope that makes sense!
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