Over the years I have had the chance to work with many different models. Some turn out to fall into the diva category. Some turn out to be flakes but to spite all that most, I’d say 90% do a great job. That 90% are also the ones that realize it is a job.
When it comes to trade it seems to be simple but then as a photographer I have the impression that the model is either new or is trying something new. That is not a big deal because they have not been convinced that every shot has to look like a glamour shot. Far from that in commercial photography I want more natural looks, honest expressions and most of all I want the image to look real.
My issue lately has been finding paid models. Most likely because of the market I live in. Small market, limited choice and most are asking more than a large market rate. Because of the market size I have little choice here. My current dilemma is the need to complete a project but finding the model that fits the look. I found 10 in the area and sent requests to shoot on a specific day. From the 10 requests I sent out I got 3 responses. 2 of the 3 were to say they were currently booked. These 2 models are now on the list of models I would contact again just for the fact they took the time to respond to my request.
The 3rd model said she could do the project. Great news, looks like I may have this in the bag! We went over the rate, the looks needed, she had a location that fit the style. So far everything is good. Sent a copy of the release to complete with a photo ID required this was all good. At this point I am thinking I have this in the bag. Last thing to do is nail down the schedule. I sent her the time start time and let her know we could actually start any time after that, just let me know what works. I get back a response for a different day all together. I sent back an email to explain that the shoot was for the day listed on the casting call. Model response “I have plans that day so we need to change the date.”
I had to expand my search, look in other markets and now looks like I will have to travel about 3 hours if I want to do the project. But the good new here is the area I am traveling to has a workshop going on, so those who attend workshops… New review coming soon! I think this blog was more of me bitching that being constructive…. LOL
So we see the ads in magazines and on line about making $1000’s from taking simple picture with your digital camera. The question to ask if it is really so easy wouldn’t everyone do it? If everyone does it how would anyone make money?
Welcome to the world of MicroStock photography. Let’s start by setting the record straight. First not everyone can do this. You can’t use any point and click camera and take pictures. To be successful you will need at minimum a mid-range DSLR outfit. You will need to calibrate your computer monitor so it accurately displays colors and of course proper “WHITE” settings. Once you have this covered your images must be technically correct when it comes to exposure, white balance and of course focus. Don’t try to “sharpen” your images or they will NOT make it through the review process. Speaking of the review process in addition to technically correct your images need to have some commercial value. The reviews don’t let just anything through like those ads lead you to believe. You will need to have some skills, take a class, read books and learn before you leap…
Now if you think you have the technical skill needed to make it in Stock photography and get past those pesky reviewers lets talk about those $1000’s the ads claim you’ll make!! I hate to burst your bubble but this won’t happen quickly and maybe not at all. You are going to compete with millions (yes MILLIONS) of other images. You will have to learn not just the tech stuff but now the marketing side. What images sell and can you do better than the other guy. Your images need to be high quality and what people want. If you upload a guy dressed as a businessman how many similar images are there? You may also want to do a search because if you look at most popular you will be behind all those photographers who’s photos have been there for years. Do a search, learn what is there, try to be different. Sometimes it just isn’t easy and you’ll give in just to get images out there.
That brings up the next point. If you have 100 images I have 1000 images and there is another photographer lets call him ‘Yurie” [name has been change to protect the…] who has 24000 images, who is going to get the most views and more likely to get sales? How long do you think it will take to make $1000’s with 100 images? MicroStock pays 25 cents per subscription sale up to $30 for an extended sale. I’m sure you can do the math but when I first started I made a whopping $34 total my first month. That $34 was the combined total of 10 different agencies. I still don’t have what I would call steady income from my 1000 images but I do OK.
So, it sounds bad at this point but I can assure you of a few things that make it sound good and that has kept me going. I have learned a lot and gotten much better at photography and photo finishing. The people in the forums are great and always willing to help with questions. I’ve seen a consistant increase in my sales as long as I continue to upload new images. I would not have been able to upgrade my equipment if I did not have the additional income MicroStock has provided. If I continue to grow my portfolio and sales within the next year I should have enough income from MicroStock to cover renting a studio space… I currently have an in home small studio. So, if you don’t plan to get rich soon and want to make a little extra money this venture could be for you. Want to sign up?! Please support this blog by using the links on my main page. These links allow me to get referral credit if you decide this is for you. Thanks for reading!!