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Holly Kuchera

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Everything posted by Holly Kuchera

  1. Now, after thinking about this conversation for a bit I went back into my portfolio and noticed two images that had similar images in my recent submissions. They were, in my eyes, too similar to each other to allowed in my portfolio. So I removed the duplicates (after checking which had sales and which I considered "the best"). Apparently my system for picking, sorting and processing got a bit messed up this year 'cause I usually don't submit image that were as close as those were. Thanks for the reminder to be selective and mindful of what I'm submitting....
  2. I believe the idea of multiple, diverse images of the same subject (to use your words, Richard) are encouraged. Just not images of the same subject from one place, and another from one foot left, and another from one foot left of that and another from one foot left of that. I do submit multiples of the wildlife I photograph, but positions vary by a significant amount or at least a 45 degree head turn (left profile, face forward, right profile). AND (and this might be where I get away with submitting "similar" images) I submit the variances in different at different times. So if you look at my portfolio and sort by New, there should not be no two similar images of the same subject in a row. Another good thing to avoid is a generalized view of a subject and a closeup taken from the same position. Any buyer can crop an image.... That said, submitting your best images first and foremost is the most important thing. Once you start to understand what buyers want, you'll get a feel for what kinds of images, similar or otherwise, to submit.
  3. Well I can't really give you much insight in the photos affecting video sales as I just recently entered the video arena but I can state with very little doubt that the "SS sort of limits the sales to +-60 sold files per month" or, to quote the original article "It’s a big difference if you earn $0,38 per photo or $23,00 per video if Shutterstock limits your account with ~60 sold files per month." is complete bull. I've had more than 60ish sales every month for years... significantly more. Now, I don't know if the article was implying that contributors with video and photo portfolios are limited in some way - I'm sure those who are more heavily into those categories than I will respond, but the whole concept of "limiting sales" sounds like bad business ... SS already pays us only a small amount of each sale - why would they limit their amount of profit to affect ours? edit: I see there is a follow-up article in which the author states "there is a source that has tried something else. They split the existing portfolio in to another user and upload ONLY best media files… what happened was, that contributor with only best files sold much more than person with bigger portfolio including these files (before removing). Which could only mean that system regulates your sales via your number of files and exposure of other files." Well DUH. If you have a portfolio with only your best work in it, OF COURSE you are going to get more sales than a portfolio 40/60 of great stuff vs fluff. Buyers don't want to sort through 1,000's of images in your port to find the best one! It has nothing to do with SS limiting your exposure or "shutting off" portfolios. He/she goes on to say "Because we upload many variety of same theme, we don’t get that much of exposure of all other files." So again, my theory is proven. 100 mediocre videos of a tree waving in the wind vs 1 really great video of a tree waving in the wind. Which do you think the buyer will pick? And now make that number bigger - 1,000 mediocre videos vs 1 really great. If the buyer doesn't find that one great video in a certain amount of time, they're going to move on to other pastures.
  4. Well - if I went by sales: (Sense a theme? I cringe every time that last one sells, but since it still does, I can't take it down.) If I picked three of my favorites ... I'd have a hard time 'cause my favorites today may be different tomorrow and what I really like are the sales that keep the obsession going! As for stories, pick an image I can probably give you a good story about or around-about it edit: And how ironic that all three would sell in the 1/2 hour after I made this post...
  5. I think I can tell you where you went wrong ... 90% editorial images in your portfolio are not going to make you consistent or big money. Good luck in your other adventures.
  6. Minimum Uploading sizes All images must be at least 4MP (4 Megapixels) but preferably 5MP or larger and set at the highest quality settings to produce at minimum a 4MP image. Images that are 3.8 or 3.9MP may be upsized slightly by you so that it becomes 4MP, but do not exceed this amount as you will get quality loss from enlarging the photo too much. If your images are smaller than 3.8MP, Shutterstock cannot accept your submission. The method I use to size up - primarily when printing cropped images for personal customers - is to use Photoshop's Image Resize, locking the height and width and then upsizing by 10% increments, with Resample set to Bicubic Smoother (enlargement). With the cameras I currently use this is almost totally unnecessary even for extreme crops with my stock photography. I go the other way to reduce noise if really necessary - Image Resize, lock height and width, downsizing to 90% (10%) with Resample set to Bicubic Sharper (reduction). Again - almost completely unnecessary with my current cameras. I was taught this method by one of the Photoshop gurus many many years ago...
  7. With that in mind here's the percentages for Dec 2016 - March 2017 for me: 128% 59% 47% 102% As you can see, December and March were better for me than last year, while January and February were down. Seasonal sales depend on what you have in your portfolio and what's popular. My winter wolf images are much more popular than anything else in my port so sales for them go up mid-summer to fall. I will admit sales across the board for all my sites are down, but in the 12 years I've been here I've seen lots of fluctuations and try not to worry about them.
  8. Yes - enough for a new D5 plus a couple $2k trips. Some $$ from other sites, but the majority from SS.
  9. Well those models can be quite wild at times. I've dealt with a few - that's why I don't
  10. I love that shot as well. I've been trying for years to get something similar, but with my own twist. Zoos are great places to play and practice. Unfortunately ours has a pretty strict commercial photography policy so anything I shoot there is for me or 500px. I've been asked several times to sell a particular grizzly shot on 500px, but I have to refuse as it isn't allowed and I don't want to be blackballed or worse. https://500px.com/photo/68218787/talk-to-the-paw-by-holly-kuchera?ctx_page=3&from=user&user_id=865532 One last thing and then I'm going to completely shut up about game farms - I guess I'm being so rabid about this as I can't believe I'm STILL having to defend my work as an "Animal Photographer" * First it was in the camera clubs where if it wasn't wild it wasn't a real photo. Didn't matter how good or bad it was, it was simply dismissed. Then it was defending the cost of going to such a place. "Why can't it be cheap?" --- Do you realize how much it costs to feed 150 animals of many different species a month? Plus give them adequate housing, plus vet treatments and retirement facilities? Now I spend a lot of time defending the humane treatment at the particular site I work with and ethical considerations. It's never ending. But, I suppose if I didn't like a little conflict in my life I'd photograph ... well I don't know what as every area of photography could be considered upsetting to someone. It is Friday, right? I can't keep track anymore I'm so busy chasing my tail. Happy weekend all! * "Animal Photographer" .... totally different impression from "Wildlife Photographer", isn't it? - actually I'm just a photographer who happens to love photographing wolves and bears and bobcats and cougars and fox and skunks and raccoons and fishers and badgers and turtles and lynx and porcupines .... and baby opossum, but only if they are babies
  11. Okay Rinder, so what you are saying is the base issue is calling them "Wildlife". Fine. I've got many images of Marble Fox in my port which I will never identify as wildlife as they are not and have never been wild animals. They were selectively bred for the fur industry. Now, while not putting the keyword "wildlife" on my files is certainly more "honest" it does me a disservice in that it's one less oft used search keyword. Granted from what I've been able to ascertain most designers find my images via specific keywords (like "wolf" or "canis lupus") but why should I shoot myself in the foot when it comes to sales. As you have said for yourself - that's what it's all about, right?
  12. I can state that the main enclosures used at the organization I work with are nothing like the ones pictured. They do have "staging" enclosures which are smaller, but animals are not kept in them unless they are sick, being worked that day or otherwise need special attention. My group has 150 acres of land of which about 20% is used for photography enclosures (animals are also worked on the property, but not in any enclosure - these are the lower prey-drive "trusted" animals that will return to the handlers at a call). The tussles (as pictured) occured about an hour into the 1.5 hour shoot. Most of the shoot involved feeding and posturing between the 8 year old mother, 3 year old son and less than 1 year old "puppy pack" of 3. Mother was not considered part of the puppy pack (her son was) and was therefore an outsider, but she acted like alpha for the entire shoot. Of the 5 wolves photographed, Deliah (the mother) was the only wolf we had not worked with over the 3 day period. All animals are fed meat through the shoots and are fed normally at the beginning and end of day. So none of them were starving. And the difference between this and the mouse for the owl is that the wolves have been raised in a facility where they are fed and sheltered and given regular vet checkups vs the wild owl who is on their own. If the photographers don't show up with mice for it, it waits around and misses out on hunting opportunities and perhaps goes hungry that day. A belly chain is basically a belt place around the waist of the wolf with a 6 foot chain attached which is put around a tree. The wolf has full freedom of movement, except to run or jump. No more uncomfortable than a leash and collar around a dog's neck. And yes, it's a chain as wolves chew, are strong and can weigh around 100 pounds when fully grown. By the way - do you know what the solution is when game farms are closed down? The animals that cannot be sold to other game farms or taken into sanctuaries (which take very few animals as they are full from the wildlife to pet industry) are simply killed. I guess I'll just leave this as, don't dismiss all game farms (or zoos or preserves) as cruel or inhumane until you personally visit them and spend some time using your own eyes.
  13. The animals I photograph are not in a zoo. The public is not allowed in except as a paying photographer (with signed waiver). But yes, I do have property releases as BS is the one site I submit to that has requested such. After BS requested the property release I started uploading to SS with the property release and was told it was unnecessary. The animals I work with are neither chained nor in small cages while we are working with them. Each species has its own enclosure during off-work hours where they are free to mingle with others of their species. Enclosures we work in for animals that have high prey drives vary - the smallest one could contain 500 people comfortably, the largest I've never been able to find the edges of. We do work with one "portrait" wolf who is confined by a 6 foot "belly chain", but he is a special case as apparently there is no fence that'll contain him if he chooses to investigate something (he jumps straight over them). In the attached image we were about 5-10 feet away from the action of mother and son tussling over a 8 point buck carcass. Not once did I worry about myself or the wolves as I knew the handlers would step in before any injury occured. As they did when the "puppy pack" (3 wolf siblings) plus her son turned on her and drove her behind the handlers. A simple "NO!" stopped it all. There are good and bad game farms in this country. You just have to do your research and keep your eyes open when touring the facility.
  14. Good points. I do know there are areas in MN where putting out bird feeders is considered a no-no as it attracts Black Bears. In my yard I see primarily song-birds, squirrels, rabbits and the occasional hawk. A Red Fox bedded down for an afternoon nap one rare day and the deer regulatory cross over the yard, sometimes stopping to destroy the bird feeder. The corn I put out mostly goes to the squirrels who have an annoying habit of planting it in the yard - which ends up growing into corn plants that the rabbits eat. I guess I came down too hard on the Snowy Owl situation as I would have LOVED to photograph that owl as it was appearing in an area very very near to my in-laws home. But because one photographer put that owl in danger, it was ruined. That said, our DNR seems to be a bit trigger-happy with the wildlife in MN. Two eagles talon locked in spring combat, exhausted and dying? The DNR's response. "Let them die." The public made an effort and got the University of MN Raptor Center (our local raptor education and rehab organization) to save the eagles. Both lived and went on to fight another day. And now I'm rambling - that's what putting all my tax-forms together for the past 2 hours will do to me Happy Thursday all!
  15. Hear hear. Have I lost sales because I identify my animal images as captive? Definitely. I can cite one example of the Humane Society emailing me to specifically ask if a wolf photo was wild or captive because if it was captive, they couldn't use it. The one thing I cannot and will not condone is specific baiting in the wild. We have one case here in Minnesota where a Snowy Owl showed up one year. Photographers in the area ran out and got as many photos as they could. And then someone started baiting the owl with live mice (letting them go on the snow to get the "prey strike" shots). Since then, that owl has showed up in that location every year. Is it good for photographers? Yes. Is it bad for the owl? Yes. The DNR got involved and was at the location shooing photographers away and telling them that they might have to kill the owl as it has become dependent on people. That said, I do have bird seed and corn in my backyard to attract birds, squirrels and deer. I have a small "warren" (basically just where we pile branches and leaves) for the rabbits. These things attract fox and coyote. I am thrilled to see any of these creatures in my backyard. And if an animal is predated in my backyard, I appreciate the circle of life (and perhaps take photos of the carcass) Just last night a doe stood at the end of our street while I was walking the dog. I talked to her and appreciated her and never thought to myself "Damn. I wish I had my camera." ... and then the coyote pack started in yipping and barking... I appreciated them as well, just while in motion back to the house as our dog doesn't appreciate them one bit. So I think my work with captive wildlife has made me understand and love all animals even more - photographing them is something I love to do, and I hope to still be doing it when I'm 99. P.S. to Jeff - LOVE the cougar shot.
  16. As I'm the person whose work is being questioned, I'll put my two cents in. 1) The organization I work with is highly ethical. Their animals are their "babies" and one would never be treated in any way that could be considered even slightly inhumane. 2) I don't consider my work "cheating" as I am not tramping through the woods disturbing animals in their natural habitat - breaking up their natural patterns and causing babies to be killed or abandoned. Or baiting or making wild animals dependent on humans. 3) I always mark my images as "captive animal" so there is no question whether they are or not (how the buyer uses them is up to them). 4) The animals I work with are not tame - no wild animal ever really is. But I can work with them without any fear of losing an arm or a leg. (Although, getting stared down by a 105 pound full-grown male cougar was a bit unnerving) There are a lot of "wildlife" photos taken by big name wildlife photographers that have been taken at the organization I work with. Their reasons are varied. They can get shots they would have to spend months if not years in the wild tracking animals. It's practice for being in the wild. And, with the organization I work with - it's a learning experience about each species. The handlers are extremely knowledgeable about their animal species and provide that info freely. 'Sides - I do pay a significant amount to shoot at these locations. If others wish to sit out in the woods for hours and hours for the chance to get a great shot that'll sell for .38 cents, more power to them.
  17. Works for me... and sells pretty darn well 155mm, minimal crop
  18. That all depends on what kind of "wildlife" you are shooting. If you have access to a game farm where animals are raised primarily for the purpose of photography you'll need nothing more than a 200mm at most. My husband and I are prime example of this - we make the majority of our money from our animal photos. In fact, on our most recent shoot we both used our 24-70mm lenses and 14-24mm lenses for a portion of the time. I just moved to a full-frame sensor and have not felt the need for more lens as of yet. The only time we wished for more glass (300 or 400mm) was a Stock Dog Trials where the dog/sheep are a fair distance off during a portion of each run. Deciding what you like to shoot is important before investing heavily in glass. But a beginner definately should be able to afford a basic camera to simply learn what excites them. If they have more cash, they can hold onto it and invest in glass or a better camera once they figure it out.
  19. and 6 months - and 12 months - and all time... https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/grey-wolf-canis-lupus-portrait-captive-136124996
  20. Oh yes. Several years ago my husband and I were driving around western Maryland during fall colors looking for some shots. We came across an old barn looming out of some magnificent fog. Unfortunately we were late getting back to dinner with my mother and stated, "We'll come back tomorrow. Hopefully it'll be just as nice." We went back out the next day - amazingly we had the same conditions as the day before with the fog. We drove over the rise and got ready to jump out and photograph this barn in perfect light, fog and fall colors and.... found it had burned down in the night.
  21. Since no one has responded to you, I'll jump it. I suspect what you are missing is the truck itself. https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/what-contributors-should-know-about-vehicle-images "Isolated photographs of cars, whether isolated on white or in a real environment, are unacceptable for commercial use. These types of images are acceptable for “illustrative editorial” use if the image is staged (i.e. shot either in a studio environment or set up in a natural environment)." Getting vehicle images accepted isn't worth your time unless you go the Illustrative Editorial or Editorial route.
  22. Keep working SS - you still have images to pull. first similar image by Suslik1983 - image ID# 195394718
  23. They must be doing something as he is slowly losing images. My bear image is gone as well as several of the wolf photos ... and he seems to be down to 10 pages worth. All the new stuff (gears) that was there a day or two ago is gone. edit: Although... most interestingly.... if you sort by New, he has 10 pages. If you sort by Popular, he has 32 pages. If you sort by Best Match, he has 20 pages.
  24. Just reported him for one of mine. His: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/brown-bear-556868470?src=xerNV4qUBb4-RoREUqFhOw-2-88 Mine: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/black-bear-ursus-americanus-cub-hangs-28283131?src=3AmKi0cMjWJlBFBlvQ7NQg-1-40 Reported to both compliance@shutterstock.com and infringement@shutterstock.com - infringement@shutterstock.com bounced back -- "The email account that you tried to reach does not exist." Not sure where he's grabbing titles and keywords from as most of his are bad. The valid ones: animal, bear, mammal, nature, predator, tree, ursus, wildlife, young. The invalid: arctos, background, big, brown, danger, european, evening, finland, forest, green, nordic, russian, taiga, woods. And it's a Black Bear - not a Brown. Hope this gets resolved faster than it has so far...
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