Stock Photography

Years ago, I tried my hand at stock photography and pretty much gave up on it. In the recent few years, I gave it another go and would like to share with anyone who is interested what I learned through this experience. I think, first and foremost, I learned the value of tough critiques of my images. Every picture that is submitted to the site has to be evaluated thoroughly and picked through with a fine tooth comb. The reviewers are objective and fair, but very discriminating. I had to learn how to swallow my pride and take my share of rejections. A LOT OF THEM didn’t make the cut. But, I also had to learn there was value in those rejections. I realized that when you look at an image at 100%, you see things you wouldn’t ordinarily notice. Noise. Lack of sharpness. Fringing. Dust. Allowing your pictures to be placed under the strict scrutiny of these reviewers makes you more aware of issues you might otherwise overlook: proper white balance, correct lighting, stylistic issues, quality issues that can result from excessive post production, and myriad other things I’d never even heard of before becoming involved in stock photography. Some of the reasons given for rejecting my pictures were foreign to me; I had to research them and study what they meant, but the time spent doing so was very valuable. It made me develop a more discriminating eye, and I hope it has made me a better photographer. After much trial and even more error, I take a much closer look at what I submit, and I’m learning how to avoid some of the things I was once oblivious of. My rejection rate isn’t as high as it used to be, but I still have much to learn. Amazingly, even at only 33 cents per download, I am making decent monthly pocket change, surely not enough to keep me fed, but enough to raise my PayPal balance so I can buy things like compact/flash cards and such for my photographic needs or send a little monetary support to charities. The way I feel, the money isn’t as important as the free lessons I’ve learned through this process. It’s kind of like being in school. It’s also neat to find out that some of my bird images have been purchased by seed companies for use on their bagged products. I love the idea that something I produce can be helpful to someone else. It’s also rewarding when a buyer decides to purchase an enhanced version of an image, and I’m paid substantially more than the standard download. Those surprises do happen occasionally. Stock photography sites and sites like Red Bubble aren’t meant to be compared. They are apples and oranges. Each has its uniqueness and value. I enjoy both and I profit from both. I just thought I’d share these thoughts with anyone who might want to hear about it, and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t tried stock photography to give it a shot. I think it will be worth your time.

Here’s my Shutterstock page

Journal Comments

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