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Creating Stock Photography? – Use Your Whole Brain

Stock PhotographyStock Photography is getting easier.  A lot easier!  Being a stock photographer is getting easier too, perhaps even to a greater degree than getting “good” pictures.  The result is a tremendous pressure on “pros” that make a living at stock to be able to continue making that living.  So what’s a pro to do?  The answer lies in using your whole brain, not just the left or the right hemispheres.  You need to use the left part for creativity and right for practicality, or pragmatism or whatever you want to call common sense.

As digital cameras continue to evolve and drop in price, and as Micro sites and online communities offer every greater degrees of education for would be stock producers, creating technically competent images becomes easier and more feasible for the masses.  Too, the masses are to an ever greater extent being made aware of the possibility of “making a few bucks” off of their hobby, and of the very real possibility (real but exceedingly elusive) of making that hobby into their profession.  Indeed, after a few hours of viewing Microstock forums it seems as if every amateur photographer out there is bent on becoming a professional stock photographer! The competition is increasing.

This brings us back to that increasingly important question, just how is a professional stock photographer going to thrive, or even survive, in this new environment?  I firmly believe that despite the “democratization” and “commoditization” of the stock photo industry, there will always be more reward for great images.  By great I mean images that fill a need and do it superbly.  A quick analysis of downloads at the current Mecca of Micro stock sites, iStockphoto, shows clearly that the best of the best images do return rather significant amounts to the photographer. There is still, and always will be plenty of money to be made.

Continued success is very simple really.  Make great images that fill a specific need.  To make those great images you need the left half of your brain; you need to be creative.  To make images that fill a need you have to use the right half of your brain.  You need to stay abreast of the images that are already out there, of what businesses need what kinds of images, and of what your competition is.  You need to have knowledge. I usually do a search on the major stock sites before I commit to creating an image just to make sure I am not re-inventing the wheel.  I am always amazed at what hasn’t been done, or hasn’t been done well.  In many cases the images that exist for a given need haven’t been updated in years, sometimes in many, many years!

While no one can know what the future will bring, I can see with my own eyes that it is still possible, at the time of this writing, to make huge amounts of money in Stock Photography.  Photographers are doing it in Rights Managed, photographers are doing it in Royalty Free, and yes, photographers are doing it in Micro stock. There is no magic bullet here.  There is simply putting the time and intention into coming up with creative ideas, putting the time and effort into researching the market, and having the gumption to actually do it. So what are you waiting for!


June 5, 2009 - Posted by | Stock Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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