<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d4463693249031780961\x26blogName\x3dMake+Money+Selling+Stock+Photos\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://make-money-selling-stock-photos.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://make-money-selling-stock-photos.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d8923383509314563637', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Make Money Selling Stock Photos

easy tips on selling micro stock photography

Stock Photography Community

Tip #15: Working with Themes - Think Seasonal

Saturday, October 27, 2007


When you decide to shoot microstock, you need to think differently. Instead of creating images that you like (although this is important) try to think like a stock photo buyer.

One way of doing this is to work with themes. Consider what themes are hot and what are not. Themes can be literal or conceptual. They can be based on your personal interests and hobbies or centered on a particular location.

How are themes different from just picking up your camera and shooting? A theme allows a photographer to visualize and accomplish. When you decide on a particular theme, you channel your photographic energies into laser focus. By cutting out the unlimited stimuli going on all around you and concentrating on one thing, you suddenly see a depth and breadth of a subject. Plus you become VERY, VERY good at photographing that theme because you keep pushing past your previous limit and expectations. Also - others will start relying on you as an expert in that theme. They will search you out for your theme specialty.

So how do you go about finding the themes that are sellable. (Remember that's the point - what do others want to buy). Here's one easy theme hint: think seasonal. Look at your calendar, make a list of potential holidays and develop ideas around those holidays. The trick with holiday photography is to get it posted early enough for buyers to find it for their holiday needs. This could mean 5 months in advance for Christmas or maybe just a few weeks before for Earth Day.

I've posted two of my Southwestern themed autumn photos, picturing Indian corn and chili ristras (yes chili is spelled with an "i" here in New Mexico). If you live in the Southwest, you know that these two things mean the end of the summer harvest and the beginning of the holiday season.

So how can you photograph sellable seasonal themed images? Got a holiday that you love? How about photographing Christmas images this year and plan to upload them next August, ready for sale in 2008? If you get into seasonal/holiday themes, it can keep you very busy all year round.

Labels: , ,

posted by La Roach, 7:24 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

| link | 0 comments |

Tip #14 - Become Inspired


From time to time I come across a spectacular site that blows me away. If your creativity is in the crapper and you need a shot of inspiration, do a spin around cyberspace and check out what other photographers are doing.

Here's one to stir you're creative juices. LensModern is part fine-art gallery, part stock agency. Created by a group of photographers who felt their work could not be fairly represented by a standard stock agency, they pooled their talents and resources to publish an exquisite showcase of photography.

LensModern can be found at http://www.lensmodern.com/. The photographers represent several countries and the work on display is flavored with European panache. The site itself is clean and lean - gallery black and white allows the images to POP! on the screen.

Spend a little time paging through LensModern galleries and portfolios. You'll come away inspired and enriched seeing the world through other's eyes.

Labels: , ,

posted by La Roach, 7:01 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

| link | 0 comments |

Tip #13: Talking Equipment - Back It Up

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


One last thing is essential for today's digital photographer - an external back-up hard drive. In the old days we would store negatives in glycine sleeves and slides in plastic sheets. Today, storing digital images can be tricky. Without a physical entity to your images, it's easy to accidentally delete or loose them on your computer. (I actually know someone who unknowingly deleated 5 years worth of photos!) Plus so many hi-res photos will eventually bog down your hard drive.

You could burn them to a CD or store them on a mini flash drive, but these also have their drawbacks. I've found the easiest (and somewhat safest) method of storing digital images is to save them to a dedicated external hard drive.

External hard drives are simple to plug in to a USB port and use right away without having to fuss with software, etc. They're also relatively inexpensive, usually under $100 and offer tons of storage space. When you're saving hundreds (or thousands!) of high resolution photos you need mucho storage capacity, and that's exactly what you get with an external hard drive.

I have two external hard drives. One I use at work to store product photos related to my job. The other is at home storing my stock images.

With Halloween rolling around next week, I thought I would throw in a pumpkin pic.

Labels: , ,

posted by La Roach, 8:43 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

| link | 0 comments |

Tip #12: Talking Equipment - Lights, Camera, Action!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

When it comes to lighting, it's a personal choice. Are you a natural-light photog or like the control of studio lighting? For microstock, both are absolutely fine and both are used.

I'm a natural-light gal myself. If it's a fast grab shot where I have no say over the time of day or lighting conditions, I'll do my best to control the light for the best shot. If I'm working indoors using window light, I will usually use reflectors to even out the overall lighting. And my favorite natural lighting source is a skylight. It usually offers very even, soft lighting which is perfect for photographing individual objects.

On occassion I do use a simple studio set-up with two halogen lamps shining through a white tent. This is good way to photograph still lifes. The "Blue Shell" was photographed using this versatile lighting set-up.

And then there is "digital" lighting or manipulating the image using the rendering tool in Photoshop. I often pop a little light onto my subject, add a back-light or sometimes even a lens flare to the image. (Take a look at the photo in my portfolio at the top of this blog entitled "A World Thirsting". The lense flare on the bowl of water was added using Photoshop.) This is just one more thing in your bag of tricks that you can use to create exceptional photos.

Of course, it's all up to you and your natural feel for lighting. I was trained in studio lighting and spent 10 years in a dark room hiding behind big softboxes. Now I love the ease and portability of digital photography and using natural light to illuminate my subjects. If you're not sure about how to do more complicated lighting, pick up a book or take a class. You'll be surprised how far a little knowledge can go.

Labels: , , ,

posted by La Roach, 7:35 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

| link | 0 comments |

Tip #11: Talking Equipment - Get a Wacom

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another great piece of equipment that I highly recommend is a Wacom Tablet. Got no idea what I'm talking about? Well a Wacom is kind of a digital sketch pad. You use a stylus to direct your screen curser to do very accurate, detailed work in Photoshop (or other graphic programs). I use my Wacom to do retouching and most importantly, to isolate objects.

Dropping the background out from a photo, isolating the object on a white background is a great advantage in microstock photograpy. Many webdesigners opt for a "clean" look. This technique is ideal for that.

The before and after photos in this post show a pretty bland image on the left. Using my Wacom Tablet and stylus, I isolated my pile of stones and dropped out the background. I then added a gray background with a center backlight. (Other Photoshop touches to this image include flipping the photo and using an omni light on the stones themselve.)

If you take a look at Tip #10 (the previous post), you can see a Christmas image that shows the same technique of isolating an object, keeping the background white.

I also use my Wacom to do graphic images (illustrations) which I sell at Dreamstime. I've been using a Wacom Tablet for about eight years and can't imagine doing photographs without it.

Labels: , ,

posted by La Roach, 9:25 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

| link | 0 comments |

Tip #10: Talking Equipment - Photoshop It!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


You can certainly photograph good microstock images without the use of digital manipulation. But why? Virtually every photo you see in a magazine or professional website has been enhanced in some way. And most graphic artists would not allow an image to be used in a publication without a little Photoshop work over. If you create a better image that has already been retouched with the color punched up, it will be more appealing to a buyer. (At least that's how my theory goes.)

If you have never used Adobe Photoshop before, it can appear intimidating. Using the software takes practice and experimenting, plus a good eye. You can start out with Photoshop Elements, a simpler version with basic tools, priced at around $100. For most photographers, this is enough to accomplish what they need to do.

Or you can spring for the latest version of Photoshop Suite. It's a big bundle of software with lots of fire power, bells and whistles. I learned all about Photoshop about ten years ago by reading The Photoshop Bible by Deke McClelland. It took several months to get through this giant tome, but well worth the valuable advice and self-education it provided. Deke writes a new book for each upgrade that Adobe releases.

I confess - I haven't upgraded my Photoshop in 7 or 8 years. Yes, I'm several versions behind, but the techniques I use are fairly standard and I haven't had a reason to constantly change my software every two years to keep up with Adobe.

Are you asking "What can I do with Photoshop to make a better photo?" Just take a look at the before and after photos in this posting. The photo on the left was OK, but the photo on the right has pazzas! Unwanted elements are removed, the background is dropped out allowing the still life to "float", contrast is increased, a drop shadow is added for more depth, and the highlights increased. Now it really pops!
Every image is different and can be taken in a multitude of directions using your creativity and Photoshop.

Take time and really look closely at other photos posted on your stock agency. Soon you'll get the idea of what images have been digitally enhanced. And you'll see images that could be improved with just a few creative Photoshop slight-of-hand tweaks.

Labels: , ,

posted by La Roach, 7:08 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

| link | 0 comments |

Tip #9: Talking Equipment - Your Camera

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A long time ago someone gave me this advice: it's not the camera that makes a good photograph, it's the photographer.

This little bit of philosophy boils down to this - a good photographer can create a great photograph with just about any kind of camera. Whereas, giving an expensive camera to a mediocre photographer, won't improve a photographer's skill level. Even in this age of digital magic, you still need a good eye and the ability to craft a well-composed image.

But a great photographer won't be able to produce an acceptable image for microstock that has a large enough digital file size, unless he/she has the "right" camera. (Did you follow all of that?)

So when it comes down to choosing a camera to shoot microstock, should you go digital or rely on a tried and true SLR with film?

If you're an old-fashioned photographer like me, you're probably thinking of the thousands of slides or negatives you have amassed over the years. The thought may have come to you that scanning some of these film relics could be an option. Forget about it! Take it from me, it's not worth the time and trouble to do high-res scans of old slides and negs. Scanning can produce a lot of "noise" (that contrasty, pixilated look) that agencies absolutely hate! Plus no matter how careful you are, you'll need to do a lot of Photoshopping to get rid of dust, scratches and hair. Yuck - way too much work!

If you want to sell microstock, it's easier, faster and much more fun to do it with a digital camera. You'll need a camera that produces a photo file size of at least 3 MP or larger (the bigger the better!). It doesn't have to be expensive. I use a Nikon D50 that has just over 6 Mega Pixels. It sells for under $700 with one lense. If you want to spend a little more, the Nikon D80 offers more oomph and and cost around $1,000.

I'm not a "techie", so for me the easier the better. My poor old brain still reverts back to shutter speeds, F-stops and film speed! (Anyone out there remember these basics?)

Once you have your digital camera you're ready to get started. You really don't need much more than that, but there are several other goodies I'll recommend in upcoming posts to make it a whole lot more fun.

Labels: ,

posted by La Roach, 8:39 PM AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed Button

| link | 0 comments |