Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Confusing Road Signs in Stock Photography

Confusing road signs in a night environment for a conceptual stock photo.
The road signs in the stock photo industry are confusing at best and indicate to me the need for diversifying.
Confusing Road Signs And Lots of Traffic
 An odd thing happened today. Almost two hundred visitors made it to my site by searching “confusing road signs”. Normally the most people making it to my site on any one search is on a given day is seven or eight…and usually searching “John Lund”. I delved into it a bit and found that the traffic was coming from Yahoo where one of my “confusing road signs” was on the first page of image search, and another one on the second page.  So what is going on? I have no idea…but if any of you do I would love to hear about it!

 iStockphoto and Changes in the Microstock Leader
Another confusing set of "signs" if you will is the new announcement by iStockphoto of the changes they are implementing...raising prices, lowering prices, lowering royalties and adding new collections. I tried to figure it all out...but gave up. The best synopsis I have seen is by Sean Locke on his blog. I think the immediate message I get from this is the importance of diversifying...and long term the importance of building up your own brand and presence on the web. 

Getty, Fear and Inevitable Changes
There has been a huge outcry from the iStockphoto community and a lot of it takes me back to bygone days and negotiations with Getty and the fear we had of RF. Some pretty vitriolic stuff. I feel badly for a lot of those who apparently are going to be hurt...but none of this is really good or just is. And the challenge for us stock shooters is how to cope with these and other inevitable changes and how to look ahead far enough to see how we can ride the waves of change rather than get drowned by them.

For me that has been diversifying my collection, my distributors, and my business models. I am contributing to Blend (a diversification in itself), Getty, SuperStock and Corbis. I am participating in RM and RF...though it took me a long time to jump into RF. It is why I am working on projects such as my undertaking and working on creating a web site that gets my images in front of as many people as possible. I am reluctantly tweeting and facebooking...and, obviously, blogging. It is slow work...all of it. That is why it is better to start diversifying now rather than later...and to take a long term approach to success. BTW, I once made an image of all your eggs in one basket...and in four or five years it has only sold once...go figure!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Microstock Moneyshots: Ellen Boughn's Book Reviewed

Micro dollars can mean micro payments, micro loans, or a host of other money concepts including cash flow and venture capital.
Ellen boughn's book Microstock MONEYSHOTS us a must read for anyone considering entering the stock photography field.

Ellen Boughn is as knowledgeable about stock photography as anyone alive. She started my own stock career over twenty years ago when her agency, AfterImage, began handling my work. She sold AfterImage to Tony Stone and went on to work in every aspect of the stock business. She knows her stuff. So when she wrote a book, Microstock  MONEYSHOTS, I bought it, even though I am not involved in the Microstock market.

MONEYSHOTS is a quick and easy read…and if you are new to the world of stock photos then I don’t think you could buy a better primer. I have been deeply involved in the stock photography business for over twenty years and I still picked up a few tidbits. There are all kinds of nuggets in this book…and often I found myself saying “Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about that!”.

Interestingly enough, it was the photography in the book that really grabbed my attention. Anyone who still thinks microstock means poor quality is badly mistaken…something quite apparent just thumbing through the book...the printing quality of which, by the way, is excellent.

If you are embarking upon what you hope to be a successful career in stock photography then I highly recommend buying MONEYSHOTS and using not just the suggestions and tips, of which the book is full of, but also using the photography as a yardstick by which to judge your own. In this new insanely competitive stock photo world you have to focus on images that have the highest production value and are also concepted and crafted to fill the needs of the marketplace, something Ellen both tells us and shares with us in the visuals.

For old pros that want to understand micro stock a bit more this could also be a handy book. But if your only solace in regards to micro is a perceived lack of quality, you might not want to pick this book up after all!  For the rest of you though, I highly recommend it...thorough, easy to read and full of good tips.

For more information and to get your copy: