Thursday, May 7, 2009
On various forums you can read some pretty vitriolic commentary on the state of stock, on the opportunities or evils of Micro Stock (depending on which side your on), and on the diabolical nature of the big agencies like Getty or Corbis. I personally don’t view any of the developments in stock photography as evil or diabolical. Without question, for me, it was an easier business ten years ago, and yet I am making more money now than I was then. The business is also far more interesting, now, too. Back then I didn’t really know much…and now I know far less.
One thing I think I do know; it is more important to focus you your self, on your own business and your own life, than it is to focus on what once was and what Joe Micro Stock, Jane RF, or Dick Traditional Big Stock Producer are doing now. It is important to educate yourself. But rather then worry about whether someone else is destroying the market or stealing your opportunities, stay positive and start putting the building blocks in place to insure your own success both in business and in your life.
For me that is an ongoing process of fine tuning my shooting to insure more productivity for less money, carefully adjusting my image production to more accurately reflect my own talents, and developing my web site to get more prospects to view my work. Part of this process is keeping my ear to the ground (hmmm..Stock idea!), and learning as much as I can about the industry, about the Internet and SEO, and about what kind of life I want to live.
The last part, about what kind of life I want to live, is maybe the most important of all. It is important for you not to get so caught up in business that you lose sight of the life that your business is there to support. In the last few years I have moved to a more rural environment, incorporated more travel into my work, and continued to chip away at the various stress factors in my life. I am constantly re-evaluating how I can use my business to make my life better and more enjoyable. One big change that has occurred, and intentionally so, is by reaching out and having more friends. I use my stock business to widen my circle of friends and to further open the world to me.
I believe that is also one of the big draws to Micro stock; that it brings photographers into a community. I don’t shoot for Micro, but I know that I have had just such an experience with Blend Images. The photographers and staff of Blend feel like a family to me. That is pretty cool!
So yes, pay attention to what is developing in the industry, but don’t waste your energy on what you see as the negatives. Focus instead on the positives, on how your own special talents and preferences can work for you, and how you can make your business work for your life.