Posts Tagged ‘stock’

It is not a requirement in royalty free licensing to notify or inform the photographer of the usage, but I’m always heartened to discover how my images have been used. Why? Simply because it’s a form of validation for my original intentions to make the image available for royalty free licensing. All photographers have intentions or vision when they shoot. This is particularly true when shooting for stock. If it’s unclear in depiction, you’re not communicating to your audience. Therefore, no sale.

In this case, the original intention was to make the image appeal to an audience for professional Black women to suggest a usage. As an aside, it would also promote what I feel is an underserved segment of the population in the U.S.

Designers are busy people. Most live by deadline. If they were required to report every image usage, they wouldn’t get any work done. I’m happy to report that the bulk of the In Uses I hear about happen through my models and people who know my work, so it’s very much appreciated when I see how an image was used. I’m fine with that. I also don’t have the time to Google for them. Assuming at best that they are found useful to those that need them.

Here’s an In Use discovered by one of my models. Looks like my original intentions were validated.


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The political wheels are churning away with the upcoming elections in November.

Stock photography is meant to be used. But royalty free usage has no requirements for the buyer to inform the photographer how and where the image was used. Many designers would not have time to get their work done if they had to notify the photographer every time they used an image.  Most of the pros understand this on both sides. Hopefully, the usage is ubiquitous so your friends and colleagues have no choice in letting you know.

This direct mail usage was found by my friend, Sandy in NJ. One of the other uses of the same image was also spotted by a friend in Michigan. It was also used for a political campaign. LOL, it’s a good way to show things without using a specific face. That’s stock for sure.

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I am happy to announce two stock books that have recently published. Some of my own words appear in both of them as a response to aTaking Stock FCgree to interview questions for content inclusion. Both books are pertinent to the stock photo industry and would be a great addition to your reading material if you shoot stock or even have the idea to shoot for the stock industry. I have great respect for both authors: Rob Sylvan and Lawrence Sawyer.

I don’t have my hardcopies yet, but I assure you that the material inside is worth a read since both authors have experience in the industry to make it worth your while.

Taking Stock by Rob Sylvan

See It, Shoot It, Sell It! by Lawrence Sawyer

I must agree that today’s photographer needs to understand and know a lot more than using the equipment. The common fallacy that pushing a button and the camera “taking the picture” is easily misleading for the uninformed. Microstock is no longer in its infancy so read the latest information that you can lay your hands on. An edge is an edge if you do your homework. 😉

Congratulations to Rob and Larry. It’s in print!

Both books are available for order online at their respective links that I listed.

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The proliferation of microstock agency start ups has been growing. There are many articles that beckon readers to try their hand at becoming contributors with the suggestion that one can make money shooting stock. Yes, you can make money, but it takes more than a camera and equipment to make a go of this.

One of the integral components is identifying what is stock imagery. It’s not about piling in hundreds of images willy nilly that are taking up hard drive space. You need to determine what the concept of stock is before you take the shot. If you cannot identify what stock is, how are you able to shoot it? A return for your investment of time and money should yield results.

What is stock?

This is a very broad definition. Stock is the embodiment of an idea to convey a concept to the audience. It can be simple, amusing, serious, etc. It can contain objects, people, scenarios…. Some of the best stock imagery is actually quite boring because it is generic and has widespread usage. Stock is not your ordinary thinking of beautiful landscapes and flowers, although there is a need for that kind of imagery in stock. Those common subjects come to mind when most people think of photography. If you have plans to shoot and submit to an agency, those subjects must be executed to the Nth degree because there is such a plethora of them in collections. Let’s face it, stock is not going to be hung in the Louvre alongside Mona.

It’s often easier to distinguish what is not stock than to specify exactly what it is.

Don’t out think the designer

The clearer depiction often wins simply due to the subject being generic. Designers are creative individuals by virtue of choice of their profession. What you want to do is suggest a usage by portrayal and leave it to the designer to determine if they need it and how it is going to be used. Images can be used straight up, cropped only showing an enlarged part or built into a montage with other images and design elements. Resist the temptation to suggest how your image can be used in your written description. It’s insulting to a designer’s creativity to tell them how to use it. A description should provide more detail than is visibly seen. Suggest by what you submit. Compel the purchase by execution and portrayal. It is a visual business. Allow the image to do the telling.

It’s not what is there, it’s how you think about it. Go in with clear purpose.

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istockphoto.com turns 10 years old April 7, 2010. istockphoto is the leading microstock agency that provides stock content to a vast bunch of users. That content includes photos, vector illustrations, flash bits, video clips, audio and who else knows what will be offered?

istockphoto was originally known as the Designer’s Dirty Little Secret. I first discovered istock in 2002 when I was shopping for some imagery for a brochure that I was designing. I couldn’t believe that they were selling 300 dpi images for five cents a download. I didn’t find what I was looking for so I skipped off. I passed the contributor’s test a year later when I returned to look for more imagery. Bruce Livingstone, the founder of istockphoto, was the one approving new contributor apps. It didn’t dawn on me until late 2003 that I might be able to contribute stock imagery and exchange my earned credits to download what I needed for my design work. That started the ball rolling in early 2004 as I began to upload my imagery. Years have passed. Getty Images now owns istock. OMG. The garage upstart has gone mainstream. Thanks Bruce for all the encouragement and allowing so many to follow their dream by your example.

Happy Birthday, istock!

Join in the festivities to see what giveaways are happening here. Follow istock on Twitter for a chance to win some prizes. 24 hours of madness with a prize an hour.

LOL, if I ever won a Canon camera body, that would force me to dip my toe in the other camp~

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It’s a great day. I’m happy to hit a milestone in my stock shooting. 100,000 sales of my images on istockphoto.com. It’s been a long journey and it will continue. Stock can be unassumingly boring, but sometimes, there is the opportunity to work within creative confines to make things happen. That can be an underlying framework  that spurs you on.

It isn’t what’s there, it’s how you see and shape it.

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