Saturday, September 28, 2013

How I started in Stock Photography

Well, it is a while since I plan to tell others about me and web stock photography agencies experience.

First I would like to describe you what are web stock photography websites and what they do.
Basically it is like this. There are many designers, web designers, news portals, owners of presentation websites, and the list goes on, which they need very high quality images. I like to say images of 11 grade (in Romania maximum grade in school you may get is 10 :-) )

Telling my story: I heard about these websites many years ago. Actually in 2008. By that time I had a Nikon 4100 and just after that a Canon PowerShot S5. They were good but so good for this purpose. I always said: "Man!!! You got to buy a better one!" It is the ideas we always have. "I need something extra in order to do something better." The truth is you should begin with equipment you have in hand, I refer at a decent camera, though. After you understand truly what kind of images are required by agencies then you may go to a highest level. It is the idea I like to follow.

Well, the truth is that I just started with a very poor image which I don't know how, guys from DreamsTime accepted. It as an image of a crop detailed orange. Nobody bought it :) Finally after 4 years I removed it. Anyway, since then they raised higher their standards, which of course is better.

Continuing... in 2010 I bought a more decent camera, which I still have. It was a Canon 450D + a Canon 17-85 mm lens, and later I also acquired Canon 50 mm 1.8 lens + Canon 430 EX II speed flash. So I kind of fulfilled my thoughts. I had good equipment.

Then it started the challenge. What I noticed is that always when I was thinking what images to do in order to upload on stock sites is something that I never done. It was a bad approach. You should always do in life, generally speaking, what YOU know best. Improvements you get as you go on.

As I have seen on websites(the list you will see bellow) there were food images or object images with fruits, vegetables and stuff like that. So in order to take nice images of that you must have a light box and other light equipment. Well, I bought one from a friend of mine. I started to take shots of nuts, apples ... Then I edited them a while in Photoshop and submitted.

There are many stock photography websites. First I applied it was
After the experiment of above, I upload some of the images on dreamstime. Some got accepted some didn't. When you get accepted of course you are happy. When not - you are not. It is that filling - why, why didn't they liked it? So it is time to dig more about stock concepts.

The second one is Each time you upload images somebody must check them strictly and only then if they say is a good image, market oriented - so somebody will need your image - the image gets approval. It is a long journey. On ShutterStock you must upload 10 images at once, your best and various categories. If you get accepted at least 7 out of 10 you go on otherwise you must wait one more month. In the while it is assumed that you learn more and you may try again.

After all shots, I gathered 10 of my best images(especially those that were also approved on dreamstime) and uploaded them. Eh, mostly all of them got rejected. I was very disappointed.
It passed a while. In the meantime I visited many places so I upload some of the images I took in my journeys. I uploaded also some images of my city, Oradea. Some got accepted, some received a reason why not. I tried to learn from mistakes: issues of composition, white balance, lack of commercial value, crop, noise, focus, and the list goes on.

The time passed on and only few downloads.

In 2012 I was sent by company in Florence where is our mother company :) By the way, I work as a software developer. In that week I took many images in beautiful city of Florence and on last day I visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There I took also many images. Maybe to many. I say this because it was so hard to choose the best of them. This time I started to take in RAW though I was not expert how to process raw images :P

It passed almost 2 months and only then I had time to process images and upload on stock sites. Some got accepted for my happiness, and since then I am very happy because some of them are bought for many times.

As this post is already so long I will write another post where I will tell you about revenues.
Hope that this encourages you in case you have just heard about this business and may help you to start on. For the moment I based myself on travel photography but is not the one that sells the best, as I heard. But in future, by God's grace I would like to take a step higher.

In case you would like to apply as a submitter use these links as they will help me, for is about referrals. Finally I will thank you ;-)

For dreamstime you may use:
For shutterStock use:
For Fotolia use:

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