Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Strategy For Success In Photography

A crowd of people press their faces against the glass of window peering in excitedly in a concept stock photo about popularity, success and ideas.
This stock image about popularity and excitement required eleven models and hours of Photoshop time, but has a high chance of success because it stands out from the crowd.

A Strategy For A Successful Photography Career
One strategy that I think is a no-brainer for photographers wishing to pursue a career in photography is to constantly shoot for your portfolio…and put those images into stock. Create imagery that speaks to you at the highest level you can, and then make those images work for you not just by helping you get assignments, but by earning income as well.

A Market Hungry For Great Imagery
Such a strategy has some pretty obvious benefits. Despite the insane over-supply of stock photography, the market is still hungry for great images…and a great image will usually find a buyer in stock. Never underestimate the creativity of art directors, designers and photo editors in utilizing imagery. While not every image is going to do well in stock I believe that if one consistently puts innovative imagery into the stock arena the rewards will be well worth the effort.

Passionate Imagery And Revenue Generation
I have learned from my own experience that some pretty “out there” images can actually generate significant revenue. If you are creating photography that you are passionate about that passion will show through and help raise your stock imagery above the vast morass of mediocrity.

Getting Noticed
Further, the more unique and exciting your images are the more likely you will be noticed, and the more those images are seen the better. Most photographers that are long-term stock shooters that I know, myself included, have had the experience of getting assignments from art buyers and such who have seen our stock images and tracked us down. It happens quite often, which by the way, is another reason you really want to just put great imagery into the stock pipelines.

Great Images, Financial Success And Creative Satisfaction
I have had great success at creating images that require either a large financial investment (renting a lion for example) or required a huge time investment in terms of post-production (happens to me all the time). At least for me, investing in creating “portfolio” images has been a smart strategy for stock. On top of that, creating top-notch images is way more satisfying creatively. I would go nuts if I just churned out the same old images day after day.

The More Great Images The More Success
Not every image shot for your book will be a commercial success in stock, but it doesn’t have to be. Like everything else in life 80% of your income will likely be generated by 20% of your imagery, but the more of those awesome and unique images you have out there being seen the more success you will have. Another thing I have learned is that I never know which of those images will fall into that 20%, so I just think up those images, do them, get them out there…then start in on the next.

Supplementary Images
Sure, I supplement those more challenging images with ones that I believe will sell and are simple and inexpensive to create…but my heart is in the images that are portfolio quality and by and large those are the images that have driven my success in stock.

Shoot For Your Book And Put Your Images To Work
To sum it up, shooting for your book or portfolio provides creative satisfaction and increases the chances of having imagery that will stand out from the crowd. Putting those images into stock increases your visibility and provides income…often for a long, long time. It is simply a no brainer for anyone pursuing a career in photography.

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