Monthly Archives: July 2018

What to Expect Starting in Stock Photography

This month I had the opportunity to meet with a new stock photographer. He is excited about the possibilities stock photography presents, and we had a great discussion over nearly 3 hours. It reminded me that stock photography can be overwhelming at first. That’s prompted me to help new stock photographers by outlining what to expect starting in stock photography.

Concept for pay day

Your first pay day from stock photography will take time. Be patient. Keep learning. Keep going.

Beginning in stock photography is straight forward. You get online, open an account, and start uploading. I outlined some of my experiences in this post. If you haven’t already, go ahead and open an account with a micro stock site now. There is a link to shutterstock in the margins of this blog.


Once the account is open, that’s when many photographers let their doubts takeover.

Here are 5 things to expect starting in stock photography and how to deal with them.

Each Micro Stock Sites Upload and Review Process Seems Confusing.

While some are simpler than others, most new stock photographers deal with a level of frustration with the upload and review process. If you expect some frustration and be patient as you learn the process, you will succeed. Remember that thousands of people are uploading to these sites every day. If they can learn how, you can too. Be patient. Persevere. If you need help, ask other contributors to that micro stock site. They have gone through the confusion you are dealing with.

There Will Be Highs and Lows in Your First Year.

Highs and lows might continue well beyond your first year (!) but they are almost guaranteed when you are starting out. There is usually a period of great excitement and optimism when a photographer begins, followed by the realization that stock photography is not ‘easy money’. When the inevitable lows hit, just keep going. Persevere. (There’s that word again!) Don’t let the lows knock out the optimism of the highs. Push forward. Stock photography can provide great rewards, but it does take time and consistent effort.

Other Photographers Work Seems Better Than Your Own.

There is good and bad to looking at other photographers work. The good is that you can be inspired and it can motivate you to shoot better and better stock images. The bad is that you feel like your work is not good enough. Try not to let the negative comparisons overcome you. If the quality of your work keeps improving you will succeed in stock photography.

Sales Will Take Time.

Please don’t expect sales to begin on day 1 and continue every hour. While in theory that is possible, you are likely to experience no sales to begin with. Check that you are applying appropriate keywords, but then remind yourself that it is the image libraries job to make sales. The photographers job is to shoot and upload relevant content. There’s an old stock photographer’s saying which might help you – in good and bad times, shoot, upload, repeat.

You Will Doubt that the Effort is Worth the Reward.

There will come a time when you wonder whether the time and effort is worth the reward. Stock photography is not like a job. You don’t get paid based on the hours you put in. You get paid based on how much useful content you are generating. When that doubt gets to you, remember that all successful stock photographers started in the same way as you – uploading and key wording one image at a time. The more images you upload the more likely you are to have financial success.

letter blocks

Don’t let the doubts get to you. Keep learning, keep working, and success in stock photography will come to you too.

Thanks for reading what to expect starting in stock photography. The first year in stock will be challenging. Keep going. Shoot better and better content. Enjoy the process. Best wishes.

Improving Stock Photography Results for Wildlife Photographers

Wildlife photography is a very competitive genre. It can be challenging to achieve returns from stock photography libraries. On the positive side, there is lots of demand for high quality wildlife images. If you can shoot a great portrait of a lion at sunset on an African tour you will likely be able to pay for your safari just from that shot. However, no matter what wildlife you are photographing, you are going to have stiff competition. I’ve written this post for the wildlife photographers wanting to make money via image libraries.¬†Below are 5 tips for improving stock photography results for wildlife photographers.

emu

Animal behavior creates more interesting images than just the animal

Tip #1 Photograph Animal Behavior

An image of an emu standing still in the outback is not likely to be as compelling as the animal doing something interesting. In this image, the emu is drinking from a water hole. The quick movement makes this much more difficult to photograph than an emu walking or standing still. By its nature that makes this image more unique. Tip #1 look to photograph animal behavior.

wallabyTip #2 Cute Baby Animals Sell as Stock Images

I’m not sure you can have universal rules in stock photography.¬† If you can, it would be that baby animal images will sell. Look out for baby animals and try to photograph them at their cutest. There is a large market for these images and photographing baby animals is likely to bring you a stronger financial return than photographing adult animals.

fruit batTip #3 Look for Groups of Animals

Individual animals can be fascinating subjects, but groups of animals nearly always are. There is a natural chemistry that occurs as the animals interact and are aware of each other. This can make for captivating images as animals display individual and group behaviors. Look out for groups to help create interesting wildlife stock images.

lorikeetsTip #4 Focus on Color

Bright, vivid colors can help you generate interesting stock images. Here, the amazing colors of the rainbow lorikeet in Victoria, Australia add strength to this image. Vivid colors occur in many places in nature. Look out for color to add interest to your wildlife stock images. More interest equals more potential sales. And more sales is the way to buy your next lens.

Tip #5 Capture the Relationship Between Animals and Humans

Animal – human relationships occur with animals in the wild but more frequently with pets. The relationship between animals and their owner can produce great stock images. Next time that you can’t get away for a trip into the wilderness, consider whether you can generate images which show the animal – human bond closer to home.

horse on farmThanks for reading. Wildlife photography is a very competitive business. I hope these tips will help in improving stock photography results for wildlife photographers. For more reading please see 5 Tips for More Compelling Wildlife Images and 5 Tips for Making Images of Fast Moving Animals.

Photographing 4000 Athletes Over 3 Days

Last weekend I contributed to photographing the AASCF Winterfest event held at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center. This is a cheer leading and dance event involving photographing 4000 athletes over 3 days. I posted about this job in Thoughts on Shooting for An Hourly Wage. Beforehand I hadn’t realized the scale of the event. There were 4000 athletes and 6000 spectators. This is how it worked.

AASCF staff access pass

Cheer and dance events are large scale. Winterfest involved photographing 4000 athletes over 3 days.

The Venue

MSAC was set up in 3 distinct arenas. One area acting as the cheer leading event hall. The second area (normally used for badminton) acting as the dance event hall. And the third area, which was normally used for basketball, was the warm up and presentation area. The stadium was looking very different to how I usually see it. Overall, it was well organised for photographing 4000 athletes over 3 days.

Photography and Videography

The Winterfest event is the first major competition in Victoria for the competitive season. There are a series of events to follow, including the State Championships in September, and the National Championships in November.

Teams are very keen to see video and photo coverage of their performance. They use them in training for upcoming events. Both photography and video are key to covering this event.

The Photography Set Up

Photography coverage was provided in the 2 event halls with photographers working in teams of two. One was shooting using a 24-70mm lens. This photographer was concentrating on shooting team images where all or most of the team were visible in the image. The other photographer was shooting using a 70-200mm lens. This photographer was concentrating on close up images of individual athletes.

Equipment

All photography equipment was provided by the national sports photography business I was shooting for. They are highly organised with each photographer having access to equipment and back ups.

As I started shooting each day I was provided with:

  • camera body and lens
  • back up camera body and lens
  • a bag of empty memory cards
  • a bag of fully charged batteries
  • separate bags to put full memory cards and used batteries
  • a pen and paper to record which teams and performances were on each memory card
  • a monopod
  • water
labelled bags

Photographers were provided with labelled bags for easy organisation

Managing High Image Volumes

A performance routine lasted 2 minutes and 30 seconds. For each performance both photographers will shoot 200-300 images. As a result, between the two photographers that means there were 400-600 images per performance.

At the end of each performance there was a break for 3 minutes and 30 seconds for the athletes to move off the stage, and the new athletes to enter. That means there were 10 performances per hour or 4000-6000 images shot per hour on each of the two event floors.

That’s a lot of images. To make this manageable, we were shooting small JPEG files. We began the day setting white balance in camera, and then shooting images at f3.2 and 1/800 second.

Essentially there is no post production. The sports photography company will select the best images from each performance and post those to the event folder online.

winterfest

Apologies for the blurry phone photo! This is the performance area for the Cheer Leading.

Comments

I found it fascinating how the national sports photography business managed photographing 4000 athletes over 3 days. What now? The event finished on Sunday evening. They are expecting to have all the photos and videos sorted, organised and posted online by the end of this week. Very impressive! If you are interested in learning more about cheer leading and dance, or checking out the images, please visit the AASCF website.