Sunday, May 12, 2013

Attitude Is Everything

A man drowns in a sea of photos from social media and online photo sharing.
Attitude is Everything!  Too many stock photos? Be inspired! I make a conscious decision to be inspired by my fears rather than to drown in depression. I made this image for Blend Images.

Many Ways To Become Depressed

There are so many ways to become depressed in this business! If I start perusing other photographer’s work I can quickly become despondent over the vast numbers of really creative work. Or I can become near suicidal over the even vaster numbers of crappy photos that threaten to, or actually do, bury my own images in a sea of mediocrity (and yes, some of my images are crappy too…I admit it.)

5-Cent Sales And Big Cancelations
Sales reports can be a great source of depression as well. On my last sales report I had a 5-cent royalty for an RM image. I also had a $1,500.00 canceled sale…and that sure doesn’t help my frame of mind!  A few days ago I spotted one of my still images in an ad on television. It is a little hard to spot because it is one of many images used and goes by in the flash of an eye…but nonetheless…there it is on television. It is an RF image which means it is kind of hard to track down how much I got paid for the image…but the largest sale for it in the last several months is $14.00. Swell.

Waiting For Images
Waiting for images to go up is another great way to ruin an otherwise good day. Images occasionally get lost, often take forever to get online, and get rejected for ridiculous reasons.  My favorite “lost” image story happened with Getty. I submitted an image, forgot about it, and it popped up one day in my collection…three years after I submitted it! It sells pretty well…and is a tad depressing thinking about all the sales I missed out on during those three years!  I have been watching Corbis lately and while I may be exaggerating, it feels as if I haven’t had a new image go up there in months!  Though I did see a Corbis image of mine used in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that might net me anywhere from $1,000.00 to $5.00…who knows (do I seem a tad bitter today?).

The Importance Of Attitude
My point here is on the importance of attitude. If I let all that stuff get me down then my productivity will surely follow in a downwards arc. Instead of being depressed at the vast number of awesome images out there I need to be inspired to create even better ones of my own.  Rather than being depressed by the endless waves of mediocre, or worse, images that threaten to drown out my own sales, I need to have the resolve to create images that are so on-target, relevant and visually interesting that they rise above the vast morass.

I'LL Show Them!
The emotional shock of a low sales report is energy I can use to motivate myself to create new work. “I’ll show them” is a lot more productive than “Why bother?” Any of us who have participated in stock photography for any great length of time know that there are up months and down months…and that the up months have gotten progressively more challenging to achieve. But those up months are still available provided we have the motivation not just to create new images, but also to do so in a very thoughtful way. We can no longer afford to just create images, now we have to pay attention to what the market needs and wants and where the buyers are going.

Still Making A Living And Having Fun
One of the few things we can have control over is our own attitude. By making a conscious decision to have a good attitude we can turn negatives into powerful positive forces.  Despite the constant barrage of arrows and darts that seem to continually find me, I am still making a good living at stock photography, and when I don’t allow myself to succumb to negative emotions I realize I still am having a great time creating fun images and enjoying the community of my fellow stock shooters.