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.
The secret ingredients in the formula for success are copius amounts of hard work and an appropriate gestation period (i.e. a lot of time!).
Exploring The Work of Photographers
Earlier this week I spent some time exploring the work of other photographers. Man, there are a lot of great shooters out there! I also spent time looking at work in stock agencies. Again, some of the photography that is being produced is amazing. Sure, there is a ton of bad photography, and mountains of mediocre imagery, but there is also a copious amount of fantastic work flooding into the market…work that is adding to the already staggering glut of stock photography.
The Equation For Success In Stock Photography
Every once-in-a-while, when I do that kind of searching, I am amazed that I am still successful in stock photography. I mean, with all of that truly great work out there, how does anyone ever find my work let alone choose to license it? I don’t have an answer to that question. But it is a question that continues to concern me, and that leads to the question of what I can do to make sure that I can continue to do well in stock photography. I believe that there is an equation for success in stock photography:
Quality Images + visibility = Success x Quantity + Variety
Of course, this doesn't include the necessity of a ton of hard work and a huge investment of time!
No Magic Bullet
There is no one answer, no magic bullet. The formula for success lies in having great images with high visibility. Of course, the more of those images the greater the success as well, though the quantity requires variety to avoid cannibalization. So on the one hand it is simple: create great images and get them seen. On the other hand, it isn’t easy. It is a ton of work, and one that requires tremendous passion for success. You need the passion or you’ll never get the work done.
Great Work And Visibility
That begs the questions of how to create great work, how do get visibility for your images, and how to be able to produce the quantity of work needed to meet your financial goals. But it can be done and a lot of people are doing it. Some are doing it by themselves, some with plenty of staff, some using video and some using stills. Again, to succeed you need to find the combination that works for you, the combination that works with the passion you have.
Making The Numbers Work And Work Flow Interruption
Actually, it gets even more complicated. You have to make the numbers work as well. You need to be sure that you are paying attention to your expenses, being realistic in your accounting and planning, and dealing, effectively, with all the pain-in-the-neck details that running a successful business takes. For example, I spent most of the day today getting a new server up and running. Who among us budgets accurately for such work flow interruptions? That is just one example of too many for me to even think about right now.
Images Online And Building Traffic
I will say that one thing I am certain is a good move in relation to insuring that my stock photo career flourishes in the long term is in getting my images online and building the traffic of my site to increase the visibility of my images. I began the process three years ago. What I have come to believe through these efforts is that the strategy is a sound one, but that the process is almost unbelievably time-intensive and an insanely long-term undertaking. I do believe that someday I will wake up and say “Man, I am glad I did that work!” which is what I have also said many times about my efforts to build my stock photography business in the first place.