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What do we like to shoot and what sells best? Those are the two big questions. As important, more important, is what we can shot. I might want to shoot Paris at dusk . . . but I'm not in Paris, and I will not be buying a ticket to go there. I'm in NYC now, so whatever subjects I choose will be in this city.

 

Half of my Alamy sales have to do with food, food that's ready to be eaten, restaurants, produce and so on. The best images are the ones that sell more than once. In the past, I have not always taken the time to do the best shot I can. I work too fast. I plan to do better with that.

 

I like shooting with models best. I have a theater background, and I know how to direct.  But I cannot afford to do lifestyle anymore than I can afford to pop over to Paris. 

 

So what do you like to shoot . . . and what sells best for you?

 

B)

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64,000 dollar question Ed.

 

I'll tell you one thing mate, I'd give damn near anything to have a week shooting pictures in New York, I wouldn't get bored!

 

If I ever make it over there, I'll tell you what works for me. But if I do, you'll have to give me a weeks room and board! Deal?  :)

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Real food - local food, associated with the place - does sell well. It's a Facebook joke now, photographing your lunch, but I have always done so with anything interesting or typical, and much of it has sold. At one time I seemed to have the best Spanish churro around as it kept selling by the week, but at the time, we nearly passed on it - it was one of those things bought partly because it was so excessive it needed to be tried and photographed. Paid for itself many, many times over. This is also my excuse for buying any beer I've never tried before (in Britain or Europe) as at one time, Alamy was the supplier of snaps preferred by a certain Good Beer Guide. I don't think they still are but even so, beers associated with specific cities continue to sell well.

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What I like to shoot - travel. The trouble is, one man's travel is another photographer's local. 

What makes money - things I photograph on my kitchen table.

I have recently given up the day job and gone full-time with the photography.

I will not be travelling anywhere any time soon.

I may be investing in a new kitchen table.

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Markets good for me, particularly if there's food stalls.  If I'm travelling to somewhere new and I have some flexibility, I'll try and go when there's a market on.  I've also done fairly well with local images - handy given travelling costs.

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Ed and all,

 

Never cared much for "Food" it is too much work to set up.  Over the years I've made most of my money

and enjoyed photographing news and people in the news.  I'll always be a journalist at heart.

 

These days, I'm moving into the studio and I'm having fun and "relearning a lot."

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Jeff - it's easy to know how Ed could make that transition. The same way me and the wife have gone from paying 55% supertax in 1990 to paying no tax at all in 2013 - from being paid the equivalent of one month's basic worker pay for a single day's work, and doing four of those days every week, to being paid nothing at all and being turned down for any work on the grounds that any fee (at all) is not affordable.

 

There still are decent fees out there but not for anyone of my age, or working in my genres. The ability to operate a 5 x 4 Sinar P in the field, light, meter and capture three perfect bracketed chromes per shot, or to walk into a boardroom with a Leica and get the right portrait in a five-minute window, doesn't mean anything now. Nor does the simplest thing like knowing how to focus and frame perfectly with a Hasselblad SWC for hotels, pools, beaches, views (I'd still love to work with one of those again... but I can't afford the film).

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Jeff - it's easy to know how Ed could make that transition. The same way me and the wife have gone from paying 55% supertax in 1990 to paying no tax at all in 2013 - from being paid the equivalent of one month's basic worker pay for a single day's work, and doing four of those days every week, to being paid nothing at all and being turned down for any work on the grounds that any fee (at all) is not affordable.

 

There still are decent fees out there but not for anyone of my age, or working in my genres. The ability to operate a 5 x 4 Sinar P in the field, light, meter and capture three perfect bracketed chromes per shot, or to walk into a boardroom with a Leica and get the right portrait in a five-minute window, doesn't mean anything now. Nor does the simplest thing like knowing how to focus and frame perfectly with a Hasselblad SWC for hotels, pools, beaches, views (I'd still love to work with one of those again... but I can't afford the film).

David - I sympathise and know exactly what you mean (though regrettably, coming late to photography, I never managed the supertax bracket).

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After four years, I still find it very hard to know what to shoot that will sell. My sales are not up there with the big boys, but what I have sold is very diverse in subject matter, from staged studio shots to stuff I thought at the time would sell, to stuff I thought wouldn't have a chance due to subject/light etc. Therefore it is quite hard for me to concentrate on a particular subject matter, not that it is in my nature to specialise.

 

Just over 50% of my Alamy sales are London-based, so I suppose I'll keep on concentrating my efforts there but I really do need to try and make more use of what is around me on a daily basis judging by the shots I see selling on the "have you found" threads.

 

I suppose the bottom line is I am not making much out of it, but am enjoying it, and anything that comes my way is a bonus and I am learning all the time.

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I'd like an SEM. The microscopic world fascinated me - anything from computer chips to insect life. Years ago I had access to one as part of my job. Funnily enough I have neither the funds nor the space to run one myself let alone the associated preparation equipment. It would also be impossible to make a profit out of that kind of thing. General scientific imagery is what I would do if I had the access.

What I'm actually able to do is general stock - like 90% of other Alamy contributers.

What sells? Is anyone going to reveal much now we all have quick access to their collections? :)

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One which is selling well for me at the moment is of a tourist from behind, taking a shot of a famous view. I was waiting for him to get out of the way at the time!

(The ones without the tourist haven't sold yet, probably never will!)

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Photography is a second career for me, as, prior to 2004, I spent many years working as a research scientist, where repetition and accuracy were paramount. So, as a complete contrast, I was drawn to the more artistic/ creative side of photography. This may not be the best plan for shooting/ stock images, but I mainly, but not exclusively, shoot subjects that inspire me, or at least, interest me, in some way. This can include social and political issues, the rapidly changing/ evolving urban environment that I see around me in London, or just a beautiful landscape of some sort! I know, I'm not addressing the "sales" side of this topic very well, but I do seem to sell quite a few architectural images, particularly if they have historical contexts of some sort. Any how, this topic is diverting me somewhat, from my main task of keywording my latest batch of images to pass through Alamy QC! :)

Edited by John Gaffen
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> But I cannot afford to do lifestyle anymore than I can afford to pop over to Paris.

 

Am gobsmacked.

You were assignment shooter for Pan Am & other major airlines...?

Not that its anyone's business, but wondering how one goes from well

paid $$ globetrotting assignments to being $$ unable to fly Paris...?

 

Gobsmacked? Really? Look, I can fly to Paris tonight, if I want to. Even have a friend I can stay with there. But we're discussing stock and stock related issues here, not my bank balance. Maybe not you, but most contributors to this forum are not going to make a profit or even pay their expenses any longer by traveling, not in a predictable, timely manor, they won't. 

 

My assignment career began in 1960. I did theater in NYC for three years, moved to Rome in 1964, where I worked on the edge of the Italian film business, shot fashion and glamour and an assortment of PJ work. In 1967 In went to Vietnam for 5 months. I did my first airline travel marketing job for Alitalia in 1969, and for the next 17 years, I continued to shoot for airlines and tour groups like American Express. Those days are gone forever. Not just for me but for everyone. 

 

In the late '70s I was invited to join both Image Bank and Tony Stone Images. I went with Tony. He made good money for me right up until the time he sold his company to Getty. 

 

October 19, 1987 was called Black Monday. I got hit very hard by that financial crash. I was about to buy a cottage in Oxfordshire, but all that went bye-bye. Stuff happens. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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64,000 dollar question Ed.

 

I'll tell you one thing mate, I'd give damn near anything to have a week shooting pictures in New York, I wouldn't get bored!

 

If I ever make it over there, I'll tell you what works for me. But if I do, you'll have to give me a weeks room and board! Deal?  :)

 

I have a very small rent-stabilized apartment, Richard. Can you sleep standing up?  :)

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>>  The same way me and the wife have gone from paying 55% supertax in 1990 to paying no tax at all in 2013

 

Yes, but you still travel via savings from that earlier period...?

It was the "can't afford to fly to Paris now" that gobsmacked me.

 

UPDATE:

Just read this

"I can fly to Paris tonight, if I want to"

Nevermind, no longer gobsmacked.

 

As to Paris trip expenses vs. stock $$ results,

a. there are techniques for lowering travel overhead

e.g., strategies found on www.flyertalk.com forums

b. there are shooting strategies to maximize $$ results over time

e.g., don't shoot just travel images when traveling

 

And, Jeff, (I didn't add this in that last post because it's self evident): I'm a senior citizen. I'm old, if still fit. The reason I took down my Website is because I'm not trying to get assignments or build a new career. I will continue to shoot "travel," but I'll shoot it here in NYC. One life is not long enough to capture all the worthwhile images in this city. Of course I assume your advice with regard to possible savings is not aimed just at me, but at the forum. 

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Ed and all,

 

Never cared much for "Food" it is too much work to set up.  Over the years I've made most of my money

and enjoyed photographing news and people in the news.  I'll always be a journalist at heart.

 

These days, I'm moving into the studio and I'm having fun and "relearning a lot."

 

My food is PJ/travel food . . . I usually shoot it, and then eat it. You can do food casual or do it as design. I want to come down in the middle of those, but I'm always rushed. 

 

My goddaughter's mom is one of the most successful lifestyle shooters in America. When she shoots food she in a pro-kitchen studio with a chief and two helpers and she has an assistant or two. She is in total control. 

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64,000 dollar question Ed.

 

I'll tell you one thing mate, I'd give damn near anything to have a week shooting pictures in New York, I wouldn't get bored!

 

If I ever make it over there, I'll tell you what works for me. But if I do, you'll have to give me a weeks room and board! Deal?  :)

 

I have a very small rent-stabilized apartment, Richard. Can you sleep standing up?  :)

Ed. for a chance to shoot for a week in New York, I'd sleep standing on my head. Just find me a corner somewhere.  :)

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Ed and all,

 

Never cared much for "Food" it is too much work to set up.  Over the years I've made most of my money

and enjoyed photographing news and people in the news.  I'll always be a journalist at heart.

 

These days, I'm moving into the studio and I'm having fun and "relearning a lot."

 

My food is PJ/travel food . . . I usually shoot it, and then eat it. You can do food casual or do it as design. I want to come down in the middle of those, but I'm always rushed. 

 

My goddaughter's mom is one of the most successful lifestyle shooters in America. When she shoots food she in a pro-kitchen studio with a chief and two helpers and she has an assistant or two. She is in total control. 

I know Ed, 

 

 

One of my close friends is a top food stylist in San Francisco, it’s too much work, I'd rather cook and eat it.

 

 

 

The good jobs for the Fortune 500 companies and the few major magazines that still exist are still out there to be

 

"chased" but I for one am done "chasing work" and after decades on deadline for editors, I now set my own deadlines.  

 

I also spend way too many hours scanning and spotting film images.  I will add that without Alamy I really would not

 

have a good outlet to license what I am now doing and I've been happy with the results that Alamy has helped me achieve.

 

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