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Ed Rooney

Judging Which Subjects Work for Stock

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Shooting on the street, when I see something I like—in good light, of course—I will probably snap the shutter. However, since I'm mostly shooting for stock these days, I like to have a strong mental focus on what will work best as stock. I find that if I can quickly come up with a caption idea for what is in front of me, the subject will work as stock. 

 

How do you make this judgement? 

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Martin, I don't know what "very successfully" looks like.   :)

 

I just had a sale pop up, so I'll consider this a good day. 

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+1 

 

And if half a dozen keywords pop into my head at the time then I know it'll be worth spending time on back home. It's also about how it's shot though. 

 

Richard. 

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Four years in I still struggle much of the time to see what will make a good stock shot when I am out and about. My sales have been so varied that there is no real pattern other than 60% have been taken in London.


 


I never miss a chance to take a hospital sign, and have had a fair bit of success with them recently. There is always a hossy scandal for the Daily Mail to kick off about ;)  . Likewise the bl00dy statins the doctor put me on a while back have gone some way to offsetting my prescription charges, and with no associated travel costs!


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Guest dlmphotog

How about sheep's rear ends? But why bother looking for salable subjects? It is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic or waltzing with the pointless and the useless…

 

David L. Moore

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I tend to photograph whatever I like and then figure out later on what might sell as stock, although that can be almost impossible to predict. Also, I find that thinking "stock" all the time takes a lot of the enjoyment and spontaneity out of photography. After all, If an image isn't "stock" material, it might sell as a print on a POD website or somewhere else.

 

P.S. David Moore, you're correct, my comment about about sheep's rear ends on another thread was pretty dumb. Those herds of sheep images on Alamy might do very well for all I know. I'm actually a big fan of sheep. Guess I was having a baaaad day.

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It is really a cheating thing.. many times i sell such things that i would never think off :)

 

I think everything can be sold ..... as long you have a good composed image without technical issues. Most of city life subjects are all usefull. Even a trashcan can be illustrated in a article about the environment.  More examples for non-released editorial use :

- Mc Donalds interior with eating people can be used in a fast food article or obesness.

- Children crossing the street can be useful in a article about the school season.

- People at the atm is usefull in a article of economic crisis

 

and so on.

Edited by Mirco Vacca

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It is really a cheating thing.. many times i sell such things that i would never think off :)

 

I think everything can be sold ..... as long you have a good composed image without technical issues. Most of city life subjects are all usefull. Even a trashcan can be illustrated in a article about the environment.  More examples for non-released editorial use :

- Mc Donlalds interior with eating people can be used in a fast food article or obeseness.

- Children crossing the street can be useful in a article about the school season.

- People at the atm is usefull in a article of economic crisis

 

and so on.

 

Yes, I suppose that I now have "stock" permanently imprinted on my brain cells, but I try not to let it dictate everything that I do when photographing.

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P.S. David Moore, you're correct, my comment about about sheep's rear ends on another thread was pretty dumb. Those herds of sheep images on Alamy might do very well for all I know. I'm actually a big fan of sheep. Guess I was having a baaaad day.

 

John: "Never contradict. Never explain. Never apologize. (Those are the secrets of a happy life!)." -- John Arbuthnot Fisher

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I was once told that people images sell. I've spent a countless amount of money on models, studio space, lighting, props, costumes, etc. and I have yet to sell an image of a model on Alamy.  At one time, I was told isolated objects sell....I spent months trying to figure out how to get that white perfect background....and I have yet to sell an image of an isolated object at Alamy.  I've heard wildlife images get licensed here....I've only licensed one wildlife image (and it wasn't a very good one).

 

The images I have licensed here - real people doing everyday things....and reportage.  Most other agencies classify these images as "snapshots" and won't accept them.  They tend to get licensed here.

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The best subjects on Alamy that work for Stock are those subjects not available on Microstock at 25 cents a download, or subjects others can not easily copy.

 

As for Wildlife images, that sort of Photography has been destroyed by microstock, most Wildlife Photographers now survive by running Workshops or Photography trips, or live of their name and get sponsored by Nikon or Canon.

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When I was up in the Western Isles in 2006 I was speaking to one of the Top wildlife Photographers in the UK his income then was around 30,000 pounds a year.

He is on every single Wildlife Agency there is, and so I have heard his income has dropped dramatically, I spoke to an owner of one of the biggest Wildlife Agencies in the UK she said the Agency was badly affected by Microstock.

Some Wildlife Photographers just did Stock before 2008 now most do guided tours just to survive, I know a few and the few I know are

all badly affected by Microstock.

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The best subjects on Alamy that work for Stock are those subjects not available on Microstock at 25 cents a download, or subjects others can not easily copy.

 

 

The best subjects on Alamy that work for Stock are those subjects not available on Microstock at 25 cents a download, or subjects others can not easily copy.

As for Wildlife images, that sort of Photography has been destroyed by microstock, most Wildlife Photographers now survive by running Workshops or Photography trips, or live of their name and get sponsored by Nikon or Canon.

 

That certainly has been my experience. I think it's fair to say that anything you can easily find at a microstock agency probably will no longer sell on Alamy.

 

OTOH, I have RM images taken 10-20 years ago that continue to be good sellers, much to my surprise. Prices of course are another story.

 

Sounds like it's not exactly an ideal time to take up wildlife photography, at least not as a way of paying for those expensive lenses.

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When I was up in the Western Isles in 2006 I was speaking to one of the Top wildlife Photographers in the UK his income then was around 30,000 pounds a year.

He is on every single Wildlife Agency there is, and so I have heard his income has dropped dramatically, I spoke to an owner of one of the biggest Wildlife Agencies in the UK she said the Agency was badly affected by Microstock.

Some Wildlife Photographers just did Stock before 2008 now most do guided tours just to survive, I know a few and the few I know are

all badly affected by Microstock.

 

Don't believe every word you hear ;) Wildlife specialist agencies are mostly exclusive, so it's a bit difficult to submit to every single wildlife agency there is. I submit to the Nature Picture Library (exclusive) and my income is stable.

I think every field suffers from microstock, whether it is wildlife, landscape, travel, transport, .... The real problem is that the media is struggling to survive. Lots of publishers (certainly in Belgium) are on the brink of going bankrupt.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

A lot of publishers are definitely having a rough time. However, I don't think we should believe every word we hear about them either. There are also many publishers who are doing very well and benefiting hugely from low photo prices. It's a complicated dynamic out there at the moment, one that I certainly don't pretend to understand.

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Wildlife Photography was always my favorite type of Photography I am on NPL and on Getty as well amongst many others, I now only do Wildlife Photography 20% of the time down from 80% of the time.

 

The reason being most sales are Editorial and prices are heading south down and down, so I now concentrate on other things, instead of trying to get thousands of pictures I concentrate on a subject that might be used for advertising.

 

That is one area especially on Getty where you can still get big money for pictures, earning 10 dollars a sale on Editorial is not worth the time or effort.

 

I think editorial sales are heading towards microstock prices, and will be the same price within 3 years unless Photographers and Agencies stop the race to the bottom.

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^^^ Please put me straight, Mr WILLIAMS... are you joining Alamy or what??

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Guest dlmphotog

Long answer: I would ask the questions this way… What subjects do I have passion for? What subjects do I have access to? What subjects do I have knowledge of? I think if you approach the problem of subject matter this way you will have a better chance of producing photography that is interesting and rewarding to yourself and for potential buyers.

 

Short answer: Model released people interacting naturally in interesting travel locations featuring local culture and customs. 

Edited by dlmphotog

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I was once told that people images sell. I've spent a countless amount of money on models, studio space, lighting, props, costumes, etc. and I have yet to sell an image of a model on Alamy.

Images of people , made in a studio or on location, DO sell on Alamy, but they have to be more than simply pictures of pretty women smiliing......there has to be a message/context/activity that is being illustrated

 

I do a great deal of this sort of work

 

km

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I was inspired to put up this image of mine -- so similar to the fox. Unfortunately, people don't seem to be looking for jackals but maybe some day.

 

DDTE34.jpg

 

Paulette

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Thank you, Philippe. Will do.

 

Paulette

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How about those intrepid National Geographic-like photographers who spend untold hours dangling from ropes in the bug-ridden tropical rainforest canopy with lenses that cost as much as new car? Do their photos of exotic creatures still sell that well?

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How about those intrepid National Geographic-like photographers who spend untold hours dangling from ropes in the bug-ridden tropical rainforest canopy with lenses that cost as much as new car? Do their photos of exotic creatures still sell that well?

 

Those are assignments by NG. In other words, all costs paid on advance by NG.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

I was thinking more of wildlife photographers who would love to be paid by NG (in their dreams) but end up having to foot all the bills themselves. They must have to lease an awful lot of pictures these days to cover their expenses.

Edited by John Mitchell

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That's why very few get a foot in the door at the wildlife specialist agencies. They are smart enough to only accept pictures that are an addition to their collection, not the umpteenth duplicate.

 

...  the doors to the wildlife specialist agencies are shut.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

I do not have a first-hand experience with that, nor do I shoot wildlife, but from what I hear, there are gaping holes in specialists' collections. It would appear that it's very easy to get in if you have the right material. Think about the lines of "wildlife doing everyday things"

 

- mating

- fighting

- chasing and eating prey (do you have a complete series to illustrate a food chain?)

- caring for the young

- building a home (nest, den, etc)

- growing up (life cycle), going through metamorphosis (ex insects)

- rummaging through a garbage bin in suburbia

- invasive species

- pests

- etc

 

I see requests along the above lines all the time, the demand seems to have been there for years.

 

Regards,

GI

Edited by giphotostock

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Thank you, Philippe. Will do.

 

Paulette

 

You're welcome ;)

B.t.w. because you're very interested in African wildlife, here's a book that will interest you: "The Behavior Guide to African Mammals (including hoofed mammals, carnivores, primates)" by Richard Despard Estes

ISBN 1-875091-10-6

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

Double thank you!!!

 

Paulette

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