Friday, March 16, 2012

A Husky, A Wolf, And An RM Image

A sinister predator licks his chops in this funny wolf picture.
Hopefully humor sets this wolf picture apart from its competition.

Of Huskies And Wolves
A friend of mine has a Husky that looks a lot like a wolf. That got me to thinking…could I create some wolf images that weren’t like everything already out there?  I checked Getty and, I have to say, there are a lot of great wolf images! But it still looked to me as if there was room for a few more “interpretations”. I put together a list of images I wanted to create ranging from an iconic version of a wolf howling at the moon to a portrait to a wolf huffing and puffing and, well, you know.

A Struggle From Start To Finish
I have photographed a lot of animals, and the shoots seldom go as planned. This shoot was no exception. I had an extensive list of poses I needed (Think Little Red Riding Hood, Huffing, Puffing And Blowing, etc.), but the Husky would have none of it! Every time the strobes popped off she started. Normally after the first couple of flashes the animals don’t pay any attention, but this little doggy never did get over her nervousness. All she wanted to do was lie on the floor and look forlorn. Sure, she enjoyed the dog treats, but preferred to eat them from her prone position. The shoot was a struggle from start to finish, and after an hour we decided to call it a day. I didn’t get what I wanted, but I felt like I got enough material to make some cool images anyway.

An Element Of Humor
Today I sat down to see if I could make some of the captures work.  This "Evil Portrait" is the first image I came up with. Now there are no shortages of wolf portraits out there, but as far as I know this is the only one that brings in the element of humor with an over-the-top sinister expression combined with having the wolf lick her chops.  Hopefully the humor will make this image stand out.

A Rights Managed Image
I combined three different images to complete this wolf portrait. One shot was the body, one the head and face, and one was the tongue. I also made a variation with a forest of trees in the background. I am submitting both to Getty, but I prefer the wolf on black. We will see what my editor prefers, or even if he is interested at all. One never knows! I see this image as a Rights Managed one because I don’t envision a lot of sales, but I see it as being perfect for a few applications. Also, I prefer the higher royalty rate I get from RM images (though from experience I know that I can make just as much total revenue form RF images as I can for RM...and RF tends to be more consistent).

Having Fun!
At any rate, there is no question that the shoot will be successful financially…it cost me next to nothing to shoot and I have enough material to create at least half a dozen images. Hey, and most importantly, I am having fun!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Your Photo Business: Awareness, Opportunity And Choice

An Hispanic businesswoman has her ear to the tracks oblivious to the steam locomotive bearing down on her in this stock photo about awareness and risk.
Maximizing opportunities requires more than just keeping an ear to the tracks!

An Ear To The Tracks
I constantly have my ear to the tracks…that is; I am trying to stay aware of what is coming. Is that rumbling I hear an opportunity approaching, or is it a locomotive about to run over me?

New Developments And A Huge Boost
I know from experience that being one of the first to take advantage of a new development can be a huge boost. I started using Photoshop for clients (and stock photography) back in 1990…and it changed everything for me.  I was using digital capture (with a Leaf Digital Back on a Hasselblad) in 1994 and it provided yet another boost. Those who jumped on Royalty Free imagery made a mint. Photographers who early on recognized the value of the Internet benefited immensely…and so it goes.

What Is Truly Important
But the danger is in not seeing the forest for the trees, of getting so caught up in the latest thing that you don’t pay attention to what is truly important. Further, what is important for one person might not be right for another. Social media, for example, can be a huge boon for one photographer and a wasteful time suck for another.

Time Well Spent
How do you make sure that the time you spend staying alert for what’s coming is time well spent?  I am not sure I have the ultimate answer, but I do think it is important to keep your goals in mind. For example, my primary goal is to get my stock images in front of as many potential buyers as possible. A secondary goal is to expand my sources of revenue.  When I look at a site like Pinterest I judge it by my own goals. Is it a good source to get my images seen by people who might buy them? Can Pinterest provide links to my site that will move it up in the search engine rankings? Can Pinterest provide enough of a boost to warrant the participation?

Weighing Potential Benefits
For me the potential reward of Pinterest, at this point, has lead me to adding “Pin It” buttons on my website picture pages. But as far as spending my time “pinning” things…I am not convinced of the value (Jim Goldstein has an interesting blog post on Pinterest). In my own situation I have to constantly weigh potential benefits of my time spent with the benefits of spending that time creating new images. Of course, it gets far more complicated when I add in factors such as enjoyment .  On the whole I would rather be making images. While at home, watching TV, I can be participating in social media. At any rate, consciously contrasting new developments with my goals helps me to at least make educated decisions on how to spend my time and other resources.

Keeping Your Goals In Mind
By keeping your goals in mind it makes it far more likely that your efforts at keeping tabs on the various advances in technology, social media and whatever else that is happening, are much more likely to benefit you and not just have you spinning your wheels. So if you haven’t done so in a while, check in on your list of goals, see if they are still in line with what you want out of your life, and use them to help clarify your choices.