Friday, October 9, 2009

How to become a microstock superstar

Despite the number of easy money and get rich quick type articles on microstock photography floating around the web I can tell you it isn't an easy gig. Yes you can make money selling your photos on microstock sites but it does take a fair amount effort, in addition to photography skills, creativity and some business awareness. It is work!

Photographers spend only a small amount of their time with a camera in their hands. To be successful at stock photography you'll quickly discover you need to invest time planning your shoots, editing and post production, keywording your selected images and eventually submitting to agencies. It can be a lot of effort and for measly returns as you start along the road of building a stock photography business. Understandably his is why many photographers quickly tire and never build a worthwhile portfolio that could bring them residual income in the future.

So how do the microstock superstars do it? With the micro agencies only a relatively recent phenomenon how have the contributors earning serious incomes built such successful businesses so quickly? Well there are inevitably some variations between each case and it goes without saying these guys have worked hard making the most of their talent for producing high quality images that the market needs.

On top of talent and effort I think there is an extra element that the most sucessful microstock photographers have incorporated into their workflow that the vast majority of stock photographers haven't. Help. Pretty simple hey? To grow a business you usually need to get help one way or another and stock photography is no different. Take a look at Yuri Arcurs incredible studio set up and insane second photographer productivity to see the extreme example of what we should all be doing!

The trouble is, I think many photographers are inherently one-man-band type operators; it is the personality disorder that predisposes you to photography! So the new improved services from Lookstat could be of real interest to many microstockers ticking over and making some decent income but struggling to break into the next level. Outsourcing keywording and submission tasks would free up a lot of time to do more shooting. It'll obviously depend on costings and how productive in shooting more images a photographer can be with the time saved but it does seem a service that could help a lot of photographers contributing to microstock.


microstockinsider said...

lol personality disorder, sad but true :) and I think worse with microstock than any other area of photography. There so many dead istock profiles with just a handful of images and no contact details, either experiments or just lazy but it starts to make you wonder just how much <$100 royalties that the big agencies have.

AlexH said...

Very true MSI, I'm sure they are siting on a healthy number of sales they effectively pay no royalties to contributors on. Everyone knows the deal when they sign up though, so there can be no complaints really.