Saturday, October 6, 2012

It’s all About Production (Sort of)

The most successful stock photographers all have one thing in common, they consistently produce images. Some produce copious quantities while others produce higher production value photos...but they all consistently produce day in and day out.

Successful Stock Photographers And Production
Every successful stock photographer I know has one thing in common. They consistently produce. That may just be the key to everything. Production. The more imagery you produce the more your chances of success. The more great images you produce the greater your chance of success!

Which Image Will Be The Best Seller
It is a weird thing in stock photography, that you never know exactly which image is going to be the best seller from a given shoot. I always think I know which one it will be but more than half of the time I end up being wrong. One change I have made over the years is to create more photos from each shoot. More images from a given shoot increase my chances of having one or more images that qualify as “best sellers”.

Images That Are Needed And Wanted
For some stock shooters “production” means hundreds of images a month, while others, including me, think twenty images a month is a lot. I bet there are even successful stock shooters who shoot fewer photos than that!  In any case, in order to make production a worthwhile undertaking the results of that production have to be images that are needed and wanted in the market place.

A Mix Of Imagery
Whether you are shooting microstock or one of a kind Rights Managed imagery, to make your production effective you have to study the market and make images that fill a need appropriate for the time and effort that go into them. If not, your business will slowly starve to death. My own approach is to create a mix of easy-to-produce RF oriented images and higher-value Rights Managed images with distribution aimed at getting those images in front of the maximum number of viewers. But whether the photos are easy to produce or require days for a single image, I only create images that I believe fill a clear need and will sell. I am not just using a shotgun approach!

Setting Goals And Upping Production
One thing that has really helped me to up my production of stock photos is by setting goals. When I set the goal of creating an average of four images a week I was doubtful that I could achieve it, yet six months after setting that goal I find I am actually exceeding that number…though not by muchJ. When I study the photographers who I know are doing well in stock it seems to me that success lays in the simple formula of creating a lot of well-targeted imagery with appropriate production values. I also get the impression these successful stock shooters are careful in spending their money on shoots but are willing to invest enough to insure an appropriate production quality for the market they are shooting for.

Create Images!
Success is a process of understanding the market, understanding distribution, and understanding one’s own strengths and weaknesses…then setting goals and getting to work. Just as I have seen that the most successful photographers are the ones who truly “produce”, I have seen a ton of photographers who forever linger on the outskirts of success by virtue of their procrastination whether it is from an endless “need to prepare”, build a “body of work” or focus on the obstacles rather than the prize.  To succeed toss those excuses aside and create images!

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