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And before anyone starts saying, 'yeah but she's been here for 8 years and she's got 10k photos, blah, blah, blah.' I started with nothing but an old Nikon d90 camera and a kit lens. I knew nothi

Me:  Terry, help! I've set up a party table with all these balloons and I've got reflections and blown out highlights all over the place. Terry: Turn your lights away from the table and bounce th

Just sold a photo for 49$. This has to be my biggest single sale reward ever. There's hope

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On 5/31/2021 at 8:29 PM, Thijs de Graaf said:

Nice Doug! Congratulations!! 👍
It's been a crappy day for me so far. But I'm not complaining! Tomorrow we will get solar panels on the roof. Then we will really earn. It had been canceled twice due to illness. We have had the two coldest spring months in forty years in the Netherlands. Those guys sit on the roof all day and then of course you also have Corona.
But now the weather is beautiful. Maybe I can take a picture. Unfortunately I can't make videos.

Something else. 🙂
Have our solar panels!!

Stands apart with the old antenna, which we used forty years ago. Let him stand. We think it's funny and.. I sold a photo of it in Japan. By the way just like a photo of the metal chimney.
Soon we will get a lot of chestnut flowers in the gutter 

stock-photo-new-solar-panels-on-a-roof-with-roof-tiles-old-antenna-and-metal-chimney-flowering-horse-1984437731.jpg

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1 hour ago, Thijs de Graaf said:

Something else. 🙂
Have our solar panels!!

Stands apart with the old antenna, which we used forty years ago. Let him stand. We think it's funny and.. I sold a photo of it in Japan. By the way just like a photo of the metal chimney.
Soon we will get a lot of chestnut flowers in the gutter 

stock-photo-new-solar-panels-on-a-roof-with-roof-tiles-old-antenna-and-metal-chimney-flowering-horse-1984437731.jpg

All the things you can use a roof for! Taken Tuesday in Schoorl (NH) not a million miles from you! Seems like the parent birds weren't too fussy about providing shelter from the sun for their offspring but then again they probably didn't think they would have to when building the nest in the coldest spring for 40 years.

 

 

DSC00022J2.jpg

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3 hours ago, stevemart said:

All the things you can use a roof for! Taken Tuesday in Schoorl (NH) not a million miles from you! Seems like the parent birds weren't too fussy about providing shelter from the sun for their offspring but then again they probably didn't think they would have to when building the nest in the coldest spring for 40 years.

 

 

DSC00022J2.jpg

Nice Steve. Close by, You could have come for coffee with us. 😁 Our son lives in Egmond aan Zee. 
Yes, it must have been difficult months for the birds. Also because there were no insects either. I have never had bird food in the garden for so long.
We have had several litters over the years. Great tits in the letterbox, wrens in the barn, a blackbird this year in the apple tree and every year crows in a chimney of our barn (former small office).
But never seagulls. The last years they were always on the flat roof of the schools in Alkmaar where I worked. They could then be quite aggressive towards us.
There used to be a large gull colony near Schoorl (near the Berenkuil in the dunes), where you could take a tour with the class from a forester. But with the arrival of the foxes, it has disappeared and they have looked for other places on roofs

I do have seagulls in the garden when there is food. But they will also be in Zaandam.

stock-photo-common-gulls-mew-gulls-or-sea-mews-larus-canus-eat-pieces-of-bread-on-the-lawn-in-a-dutch-1957036252.jpg

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On 6/2/2021 at 3:49 AM, Wilm Ihlenfeld said:

Good luck!

Thank you so much! 

I started in november 2019 after a friend told me about SS. I'm still here while he's not but Me and my wife have more time for that. Plus we love to travel and take photo. We would do it with or without stock photo so at least we have a little return! 

It seems harder to find a niche as the downloads are not consistent really consistent (in term of topics/subjects). But I will keep taking photos and make some trials on new subjects. I will wait a couple of years to see what is working for me and decide what to do with that... 

I would like to try illustration or video someday too ...

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15 hours ago, stevemart said:

You have an excellent commercial PF and I'm sure that had you started when I did in 2012, you would have made (and still be making) a lot of money here. That is sort of the problem here between the 'newbies' who started after the really good times were coming to an end (2017 on) and the people like me who started 8 or 9 years ago. Those really were the easy days compared with now. I regularly earned $300-$400/every month with a PF of 500 images. And, although I've been a professional photographer for many years, I never approached stock with the degree of professionality and analysis as eg Annie. I've always had my commissioned work to make the real money. Stock was always a nice bonus for my own work that I would have made anyway as 'practice' to keep my 'eye in' as it were. I  also have around 5% of my present PF as 100+ sellers but back in 2017 that would have been nearer 10% of my PF. So, maybe this gives some idea as to why some 'old' contributors complain so much. Times were sooo very good for little effort and now they're not.

For me, I noticed in 2017/2018 that images I had approved were getting less traction than I expected and I virtually stopped submitting. For me (and this is just personal) the rewards no longer seemed to justify the effort but I wasn't really prepared to put in the extra effort as I had my source of free money (pension) plus the commissioned work which paid a rate I considered worth the effort and stress required for the reward. I realise I'm in a very luxurious position which in no way relates to the majority of contributors here and I definitely will not complain as I make no effort (and haven't done so for a couple of years) yet still get a payout every month (previously an 'income' but now just pocket money). Dunno whether this all makes any sense but maybe it gives some insight into the polarization on the forums.

Thank you Steve,

Not being a pro, I take microstock as an opportunity to learn and improve. It's not my job so I guess I'm more open than people counting on that income. As my wife is not working since we move to Canada, we would be happy with a more steady income but I don't pretend to be good enough... yet... 

Truth is the more I shoot, the more I like it and the more I want to do it. I started to hunt for sunrise during the pandemic! I would go out for 2h before going to my actual job. I actually enjoy it more than my job... Before I used to take photo only during my travels. 

Anyway, I think it's great that people that invested time before are still getting some return. It's fair. Nevertheless, everythings moving fast on internet and with new technologies. Trend changes easily. No one should expect it to last forever (unfortunately?)...

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On 5/29/2021 at 9:17 PM, Milleflore Images said:

I am sorry but I am so sick of people complaining and not taking responsibility for their work and what they do, and always blaming someone else or something else. Or making excuses, or taking the easy way out.

My RPDs for PHOTOS only for the past 3 years are:

May 2021 - $1.15

May 2020 - 0.61

May 2019 - 0.62

 

(And April was even better)

 

My philosophy is if one person can do it, and there's more than just me, than everyone can. If they do the right thing.

Get over it. 

Thank you for the upbeat post - it honestly got me out of a very negative frame of mind with this stock business.  I normally love doing stock in my spare time but started feeling very discouraged.  Managed to get a few decent paying photo and video sales this week after I cheered up. 

BTW I love props and just last week got a makeshift studio going in my back room. I go to cheap £1 or $1 stores, charity shops and even got stuff people are throwing out.

Thanks again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 6/1/2021 at 5:17 PM, Milleflore Images said:

Thank you. 

I really love the way you shoot your models from behind. One thing I learnt over the years was that advertisers dont necessarily want people's faces in their photos. They want representation of people but they know that actual faces may repel some of their target audience.

When I started I decided not to shoot people but I started to put things like hats and shoes in my photos - or just hands - and they sold extremely well. Because they gave it a human touch. 

The only thing I can add is that you can possibly increase your income by honing in on what your potential buyers want. Something a bit different to whats already out there. It takes a bit of research. You have to start looking at everything from a buyers perspective. 

I dont know if you read some of my earlier posts on other threads, but I believe if you target the SS Premier buyers and try and work out what they want, you can open yourself up to much higher returns.

Stock Photos for Business Use - Enterprise Content Platform | Shutterstock Enterprise

The other things is that, if you specialise in an area that ends up doing very well for you, you don't need to have a lot of photos to make good money. If you dont want to do that, then you usually need more. On the other hand, I've been here for while and I have been adding around 1,500 photos a year. So it adds up over time. 

ETA: The guy that taught me video said to me, 'if its easy to do then everyone will be doing it'. That really blew me out of my comfort zone and led me to eventually doing stop motions. I think that advice is it in a nutshell. 

Thank you Annie,

I really like your feedback, advice and analysis! 

Indeed the models from behind usually work okay. They are a human touch without any personification... My sister is working in an editing company and she was looking for pictures of "student in the most famous viewpoint of Montreal". I captured a few images that work well here and on AS. Unfortunately, she's buying from Getty and I'm not there so she couldn't buy my photo! 

I am still trying to figure out who are my buyers, what are they looking for and where is the money. Yeah because I prefer buyers taking ODD and SOD over sub of course! I don't really see a pattern yet but I try to stay organized. There is a lot to learn when watching the numbers. Pics from some countries sale more than others for example, or for more money so I should probably try to go back there and shoot. Or shoot places that are similar in other countries... Most my sales are within my area and I don't have a huge competition depending on the location. Nevertheless, most of those downloads are subs. Furthermore the sales here and on AS are quite different so I also have to target buyers there! And perhaps on other stock sites... 

My photo skills are also evolving rapidly as I learn so I might try new stuff. I clearly suck at product photography and wildlife but I can learn and improve! I guess I will specialize along the way at some point. No rush... Oh I will try a 365 photo project with a wonderful theme: a baby girl! My model is on her way so it's another opportunity to learn! 

Thank you again for your advices!!! It is much appreciated!!! 

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2 hours ago, PlopandShoot said:

Welcome to Canada!!

Thank you Terry!

It's my third year and I really love it! Nevertheless, I don't know how long I will stay because I would love to visit and work in other countries too! Plus we are far away from our family, especially with covid... 

Where do you live (if you don't mind me asking)? 

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13 minutes ago, PlopandShoot said:

I live just outside of Vancouver on the West Coast, but I am originally from Nova Scotia. I can't stay away from the ocean. :)

I'm happy you like it!

I love Vancouver! I stayed there for 4 months in 2014. It is so beautiful... I had to choose between Montreal and Vancouver. We chose Montreal because we didn't know it (and life is cheaper, so as the tickets to go back to France). But we prefer Vancouver by far (sorry if some quebecers are reading that). Never been to Nova Scotia but it seems great too! 

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1 hour ago, Awana JF said:

Thank you Annie,

I really like your feedback, advice and analysis! 

Indeed the models from behind usually work okay. They are a human touch without any personification... My sister is working in an editing company and she was looking for pictures of "student in the most famous viewpoint of Montreal". I captured a few images that work well here and on AS. Unfortunately, she's buying from Getty and I'm not there so she couldn't buy my photo! 

I am still trying to figure out who are my buyers, what are they looking for and where is the money. Yeah because I prefer buyers taking ODD and SOD over sub of course! I don't really see a pattern yet but I try to stay organized. There is a lot to learn when watching the numbers. Pics from some countries sale more than others for example, or for more money so I should probably try to go back there and shoot. Or shoot places that are similar in other countries... Most my sales are within my area and I don't have a huge competition depending on the location. Nevertheless, most of those downloads are subs. Furthermore the sales here and on AS are quite different so I also have to target buyers there! And perhaps on other stock sites... 

My photo skills are also evolving rapidly as I learn so I might try new stuff. I clearly suck at product photography and wildlife but I can learn and improve! I guess I will specialize along the way at some point. No rush... Oh I will try a 365 photo project with a wonderful theme: a baby girl! My model is on her way so it's another opportunity to learn! 

Thank you again for your advices!!! It is much appreciated!!! 

If you can shoot photos like this -  refer below - then you have what it takes.  I hope you don't mind me showing one of your photos. If you dont want it on the thread, then I'll take it down. Its got great movement, and color, room for copyspace, and really good format - she's looking down the road. You cant see her face, but you imagine her to be really excited and intrigued about whats there. 

And the way you have the sun shining on her hair like that. Thats the 'halo' effect that they teach you in portrait photography. 

As for finding what buyers want, it takes time. That's why I liked what Gavin said above, 'its a labour of love for a long time'.

For many of us, its a long learning curve. Up to 2 years in microstock because there is so much to learn. Once you get the photo quality, composition requirements (room for copyspace, no distracting elements,) and keywording right - which you have - then you just need to start experimenting. Just start thinking outside of the square. Having a sister as a potential buyer is a great resource. Find out from her what other things buyers want. 

The whole thing is often trial and error. I am rebellious by nature - I don't like to do what everyone else is doing anyway.  But you do need to keep stepping out of your comfort zone. The beginning of each year I would set myself goals to try something new. One year, I decided to make these Candyland cakes that were so popular on Pinterest. And they was nothing like that here on SS. It was a really tough job, because I decorated them all myself and then set up the staging for all these party tables.  And I decided to do one for every holiday of the year. But boy, did they sell - and still make lots of money for me.

The next year I decided to do stop motion videos for every holiday of the year - and that was extremely successful as well. But definitely not easy

But each time, it tough work - but, very very rewarding.  I wouldnt have been able to do all of these things when I started, but bit by bit, it became easier, and I gradually increased my skills set along the way. 

That's fantastic about the baby! 

You and I shoot very different things. But if you want to keep doing travel shots, then start by researching social media and see whats trending there. Or baby shots, or whatever. But then always look back to whats already here on database first. Get into that habit. You have to be different and it takes time. 

Below is a snapshot I took just now by searching 'travel' on Pinterest. And I noticed that a lot of the ones that came up had pretty girls (shot from behind) doing interesting things. Girl walking along palm tree. Its just a quick example.

 

PS. I am not a great photographer myself - I just do what I need to do. I am really only here for the styling. 

 

young-woman-hanging-out-car-600w-1835012

Screenshot 2021-06-04 050628.jpg

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1 hour ago, AngelaAllen said:

Thank you for the upbeat post - it honestly got me out of a very negative frame of mind with this stock business.  I normally love doing stock in my spare time but started feeling very discouraged.  Managed to get a few decent paying photo and video sales this week after I cheered up. 

BTW I love props and just last week got a makeshift studio going in my back room. I go to cheap £1 or $1 stores, charity shops and even got stuff people are throwing out.

Thanks again

 

Thank you so much Angela. 

Yep, a lot of my props come from those cheap stores too. I remember Steve @stevemartand I, and a couple of others, talking once about where to find interesting vintage kitchen props for our food photography. BTW, Steve is a brilliant food photographer, and his wife's a great stylist, and if you can get him to show you some of his work that he does for private clients then you would drool (lol) I am sure. There are some really great food photographers here - Terry (Plop & Shoot) and @kuvona. We all used to participate in a food competition thread here. (And no, Terry, I am not going to do it again! LOL)

But anyway, brainstorming with other people here is a great way to improve or find what you need. 

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30 minutes ago, Milleflore Images said:

If you can shoot photos like this -  refer below - then you have what it takes.  I hope you don't mind me showing one of your photos. If you dont want it on the thread, then I'll take it down. Its got great movement, and color, room for copyspace, and really good format - she's looking down the road. You cant see her face, but you imagine her to be really excited and intrigued about whats there. 

And the way you have the sun shining on her hair like that. Thats the 'halo' effect that they teach you in portrait photography. 

As for finding what buyers want, it takes time. That's why I liked what Gavin said above, 'its a labour of love for a long time'.

For many of us, its a long learning curve. Up to 2 years in microstock because there is so much to learn. Once you get the photo quality, composition requirements (room for copyspace, no distracting elements,) and keywording right - which you have - then you just need to start experimenting. Just start thinking outside of the square. Having a sister as a potential buyer is a great resource. Find out from her what other things buyers want. 

The whole thing is often trial and error. I am rebellious by nature - I don't like to do what everyone else is doing anyway.  But you do need to keep stepping out of your comfort zone. The beginning of each year I would set myself goals to try something new. One year, I decided to make these Candyland cakes that were so popular on Pinterest. And they was nothing like that here on SS. It was a really tough job, because I decorated them all myself. And I decided to do one for every holiday of the year. But boy, did they sell - and still make lots of money for me.

The next year I decided to do stop motion videos for every holiday of the year - and that was extremely successful as well. But definitely not easy

But each time, it tough work - but, very very rewarding.  I wouldnt have been able to do all of these things when I started, but bit by bit, it became easier, and I gradually increased my skills set along the way. 

That's fantastic about the baby! 

You and I shoot very different things. But if you want to keep doing travel shots, then start by researching social media and see whats trending there. Or baby shots, or whatever. But then always look back to whats already here on database first. Get into that habit. You have to be different and it takes time. 

Below is a snapshot I took just now by searching 'travel' on Pinterest. And I noticed that a lot of the ones that came up had pretty girls (shot from behind) doing interesting things. Girl walking along palm tree. Its just a quick example.

 

young-woman-hanging-out-car-600w-1835012

Screenshot 2021-06-04 050628.jpg

Thanks again for the advice! 

I like that picture too! I don't remember if I've done the halo on purpose that day though... Now I try... That's one of the photo I'm waiting to see if it's going to sale. It's a bit early to know because it's not the season yet... 

I'm not sure I would be comfortable taking the swimsuit picture but who knows... 

Your photos are awesome Annie. I love your candyland cakes! I'm not patient enough to do this kind of photo. If there is food in front of me, I usually eat it!!!

 Anyway, You were able to turn this depressing topic in one of the best thread of this forum! 

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43 minutes ago, Awana JF said:

Thanks again for the advice! 

I like that picture too! I don't remember if I've done the halo on purpose that day though... Now I try... That's one of the photo I'm waiting to see if it's going to sale. It's a bit early to know because it's not the season yet... 

I'm not sure I would be comfortable taking the swimsuit picture but who knows... 

Your photos are awesome Annie. I love your candyland cakes! I'm not patient enough to do this kind of photo. If there is food in front of me, I usually eat it!!!

 Anyway, You were able to turn this depressing topic in one of the best thread of this forum! 

Thanks.

Some of the best things come by accident. We had a thread here once where we analysed our best selling shots and broke down the elements within them to see why. Thats a good thing to do with your own shots too.

Yeah, the candyland. It was a huge effort because I dont have an assistant and had to do everything myself  - but I am glad I did it now. It was worth the effort. Here's some more 🙂

 

 

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And @Awana JF, just one other thing that I can think of. 

We are coming up now to the infamous summer-slump period, when a lot of corporate buyers are on holidays and/or not working on their projects. The other time is the 3 week period from Christmas to mid January.

During these times, its not a good idea to submit your best work unless they are important or time sensitive, because you are going need full exposure to get the necessary quick views, etc, to help your photos from sinking into the black hole of microstock. Its always best to wait until after these periods.

There are always exceptions to the rule of course, but sales have always been notoriously slower during these times. 

I have been here a week now and my other work is suffering, so I have to disappear for awhile. But I just want to say, all the very best of luck and its been a real pleasure meeting you,

Cheers

Annie 

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13 hours ago, Milleflore Images said:

Thanks.

Some of the best things come by accident. We had a thread here once where we analysed our best selling shots and broke down the elements within them to see why. Thats a good thing to do with your own shots too.

Yeah, the candyland. It was a huge effort because I dont have an assistant and had to do everything myself  - but I am glad I did it now. It was worth the effort. Here's some more 🙂

 

 

Fabulous videos, Annie. They must have taken so much work after the insights into making them and design of each one. Really pro work.......and for a one-woman-band, incredible. We've got our meaty-treats Christmas edition shooting coming up in July and hope that we're still able to deliver after what has become a very turbulent year in my in-law family (death and illness). Haven't had much time for or inkling to do photography. If I like the results of the Christmas edition, I'll send a link! All the best.

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9 hours ago, Milleflore Images said:

And @Awana JF, just one other thing that I can think of. 

We are coming up now to the infamous summer-slump period, when a lot of corporate buyers are on holidays and/or not working on their projects. The other time is the 3 week period from Christmas to mid January.

During these times, its not a good idea to submit your best work unless they are important or time sensitive, because you are going need full exposure to get the necessary quick views, etc, to help your photos from sinking into the black hole of microstock. Its always best to wait until after these periods.

There are always exceptions to the rule of course, but sales have always been notoriously slower during these times. 

I have been here a week now and my other work is suffering, so I have to disappear for awhile. But I just want to say, all the very best of luck and its been a real pleasure meeting you,

Cheers

Annie 

Dear Annie,

Thanks again for this advice! I will take the summer to think more about my photographs, my plans and to study my stats then! Last summer wasn't great indeed... 

Your candyland cakes movie is awesome! I still have so many things to learn!!! 

It was also a pleasure for me, and now I've got all those advices that I have to transform into knowledge! Thanks again to share your experience and your wisdom! 

Take care of yourself,

Jonas

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On 6/3/2021 at 1:19 PM, Thijs de Graaf said:

Something else. 🙂
Have our solar panels!!

Stands apart with the old antenna, which we used forty years ago. Let him stand. We think it's funny and.. I sold a photo of it in Japan. By the way just like a photo of the metal chimney.
Soon we will get a lot of chestnut flowers in the gutter 

stock-photo-new-solar-panels-on-a-roof-with-roof-tiles-old-antenna-and-metal-chimney-flowering-horse-1984437731.jpg

Hello!

That tipe of antena is a reminder of the comunist era here in Romania... Back then we only had 2 hours of national TV broadcasting, and that two hours were about how great comunism is (off topic, but that's what it is :) )

Cheers!

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2 hours ago, Oanea said:

Hello!

That tipe of antena is a reminder of the comunist era here in Romania... Back then we only had 2 hours of national TV broadcasting, and that two hours were about how great comunism is (off topic, but that's what it is :) )

Cheers!

I can imagine that you don't look back on that with much pleasure. That's too bad.

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