Great Reads – Taking Stock

Are you ready to tackle the new year? Is this year going to be the one where you turn your photography hobby into a serious venture? Is stock photography going to play a role in your business? If you are looking for a great book about stock photography I highly recommend Taking Stock by Rob Sylvan. It is the subject of this review, Great Reads – Taking Stock.

There are not a lot of books available specifically on the subject of stock photography. Rob Sylvan’s book stands out among them.


Taking stock

I highly recommend Taking Stock by Rob Sylvan if you are serious about stock photography

What is it about? Taking Stock is a book of just over 200 pages filled with insight from Rob Sylvan. The book was published in 2011 and draws on Rob’s extensive experience working at iStockphoto from the early 2000’s. Rob’s reputation is well known to people who have been long term contributors to iStockphoto (like me!) where he used to be both a contributor and an admin.

The book’s subtitle is “make money in microstock creating photos that sell” and that is exactly what it is about. If you are looking to make money in stock photography, this is a must read.

What can you expect? Taking stock covers all topics to understand and succeed in stock photography from the history of stock photography, to what equipment you will need, to the different types of licences in stock photography. There are an extensive number of examples of successful images with commentary on why they are successful.

I particularly like the examples he provides from a range of stock photographers, not just his own. In each case he provides an example of a successful image with the photographers commentary. It is a powerful way to highlight successful images and draws on the authors wide network of stock photographers.

If you are new to stock photography, you will enjoy the sample images and details about the number of times they have been downloaded, and how much money this has generated in royalties to the photographer. It will show you how financially successful a single image can be.

The book is several years old now, so don’t expect it to cover today’s trends in visual imagery. But the principles and examples Sylvan provides are still relevant and it is well worth reading.

Outcomes? If you want one single resource to help you understand the stock photography world, Taking Stock is an excellent book. Most importantly it draws on the experience of people who have been working in the stock photography industry. Learning from your own experience is the best teacher, and learning from someone else’s experience isn’t far behind.

For me, I’ve considered why some people are successful in stock photography while others are not. Within this book, Sylvan sums it up nicely – he says that successful stock photographers are ‘highly motivated, self directed learners’. That sums it up. He doesn’t say they are brilliantly creative, or have photography qualifications, or use certain equipment. He says they are highly motivated, self directed learners.

If you study the work of some of the most successful stock photographers you can see the development in their portfolios. They keep learning, and their images keep improving. So don’t think you have to be a genius to succeed.

If you are highly motivated, keep learning, and apply what you learn – you will succeed in stock photography.

Rating and Recommendation? 10 out of 10. Highly recommended.

Kick off the new year by reading a book that will set you up for success in stock photography.

Thank you for reading Great Reads – Taking Stock.

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