Friday, January 20, 2012

Photography And Dealing With Change

A man sits atop a mountain in a meditation pose while wearing a double breasted business suit.
Sometimes the best way to deal with change is to take a deep breath and relax.

The Only Constant Is Change
I had an epiphany last night. It relates to that old adage “the only constant is change”. I have been feeling relieved lately that most of the change facing the photography industry, and the stock photo industry in particular, is behind us. My epiphany, however, is that most of the change is still ahead of us, and will be coming at an ever faster pace! Yikes!

New Cameras, iPhone photos, And Copyright Issues
In just the last month some stock agencies are starting to take iPhone photos, Canon and Nikon have each announced new cameras with ISO ratings of 200,000+, and Le Corbusier, the French furniture company, has won a lawsuit claiming that use of their products in stock photos is a copyright violation. Geez. The change affecting our industry is coming from all directions!

A Strategy To Deal With Change
Whether it is real or perceived, the need to keep up with rapidly proliferating social media developments, technology advancements in both stills and motion, the endless struggle with copyright issues on and offline, the ever increasing influx of imagery, as well as all the other coming changes that I cannot even imagine, is threatening to overwhelm me! The realization that such an onslaught is not going to abate, but rather accelerate, makes me realize that I need some sort of strategy to deal with all this change. Trying blindly to keep up with it isn’t working and is actually cutting into my productiveness, and more importantly, my satisfaction with life!

Google + And Flailing
When I first took up rock climbing (indoors only…I am actually a bit of a coward), my instructor-and girl friend, Stephanie, lovingly demonstrated what I looked like during my climb. She called it flailing. Thrashing wildly about is what it looked like to me. That is how I started to feel last night trying to figure out Google +. I added 500 photographers to my circle, I think. I dunno…but I do know I was flailing! It wasn’t pretty, and flailing is never good.

Less Can Be More
When it comes to dealing with change less can often be more. For example, rather than diving full-bore into social media efforts, and possibly getting sucked into a bottomless pool of plus ones, likes and links, something that can easily consume all the hours I have in a day, I am better off just dipping a toe in the water and watching the relentless current swirl around me without having to thrash wildly about. Most of those hours will be far better spent making cool images and enjoying my life.  That seems to me pretty much true of all these changes. It seems to me that it is better to embrace change with caution rather than abandon.

A New Mantra
So my new strategy for dealing with change is simply a mantra: No flailing! When that anxiousness starts to well up, I will just remind myself to keep enjoying the moment and remember not to flail!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photos For Blogs, Student Use And Photo Products

Funny cat picture of a feline sitting on a bed, wearing slippers, and confiding intimate gossip to the viewer.
This funny cat sitting on a bed wearing slippers is now available for personal use licenses.

Creating Photography Revenue Through The Internet
In my endless effort to create additional photography revenue through the Internet I have taken another step. I have created a limited gallery of images on Photoshelter to take advantage of their “Personal Use Licenses” and photo imprinted products. I am using my Animal Antics collection of funny pet pictures, and only ones that are not currently handled by stock agencies. My initial gallery can be viewed here.

SEO For Photographers
Photoshelter does an admirable job of conveying information about SEO and other topics important to photographers. But I am not expecting Photoshelter to bring in much traffic. I suspect that search engines such as Google see them as a “content farm” and therefore do not rank them highly in image searches. I could be wrong, and as much as I have learned about search engine optimization over the last three years, I still don’t comprehend the whole process of how Google and others determine the search engine results. I don’t believe anyone outside of the search engine companies really know all of the ins and outs of ranking highly for web or image searches.

Photos For Blogs, Student Work And Photo Imprinted Products
My plan is to use the traffic I generate from my own site and offer those who find the images concerned (my Photoshelter collection) the opportunity for personal use such as non-commercial blogs and websites, student uses and so forth as well as photo imprinted products, by providing links to the Photoshelter collection. The solution isn’t terribly elegant, but it is better than nothing at all…a lot better! It is also important that I have the system work without my being involved. I get quite a few emails from students and others who wish to use my images for a variety of purposes that do not justify enough of a licensing fee to even pay for my time to read the emails!  Hopefully this can relieve me of some of that problem while still generating additional income.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Since I am paying something like $29.00 a month for the Photoshelter account I view this as a one-year $350.00 experiment. Actually, just putting up the images takes up more of my time than $350.00 would pay for…by a considerable amount. But as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Hopefully that money (and time) will be rewarded sufficiently by a combination of personal use licenses and products including mouse pads (with cat pictures), coffee mugs decorated with silly dog photos, and t-Shirts for animal lovers. We will see. I might add that this effort is supplemental to my ongoing experiment which also offers funny cat and dog pictures on a wide variety of gifts and photo-imprinted products.

Funny Animal Pictures For Advertising, Editorial And Personal Uses
I have started with 30 funny animal pictures; cats, dogs and other animals in human-poses and situations virtually all of which were created originally for greeting card use, but that can also be used for advertising and editorial purposes. I would love to see stock agencies offer personal use licenses as well. Perhaps some do and I am just not aware of it. Microstock agencies perhaps? However, with these images, because I have an exclusive contract with one greeting card company, I cannot offer them in the Royalty Free and Microstock venues, they have to be Rights Managed stock photos.