Friday, July 11, 2008

MicroStock Photography - Hard Work but Fun

For more than a year, I've been shooting Stock Photography. I've been doing it mostly for fun, although I've been able to make a little money from it. But it's definitely not a get-rich-quick kind of business . . .

It all started with the now-defunct Lucky Oliver, a microstock website that had great ideas but just wasn't able to implement them in a way that made money. They eventually closed, primarily due to lack of sales.

Microstock photo companies sell photos for photographers at really inexpensive prices, often only a dollar or two per image. Like I said, we're not making a whole lot of money. However, there are photogs out there who have dedicated themselves to this business, and with strong focus and excellent work ethic, can make a living doing stock.

Web designers, printing companies, newspaper editors, church secretaries - as well as myriad others - buy these affordable photos to use in websites, tee-shirts, brochures, magazines, business cards and in just about anything that might look better with a photo. It's handy and quick to buy photography on the internet at any time of the day or night, so those with tight deadlines love microstock sites can finish their projects with just a few dollars and a few clicks.

Some of the large design companies will purchase a specially-discounted program at an ms site just so they can buy several photos at a time to show their customers. The customer then chooses the pictures they like, and everyone is saving both time and money.

Well, Lucky Oliver had thousands of photographers supporting it, but unfortunately was not able to produce enough business for those photographers, and eventually shut down. But the idea of selling photography on-line was quite intriguing to me, and it didn't take long before I became hooked. After all, I was shooting for pleasure, so it only made sense that I might possibly be able to make some money too.

Before long, I'd begun portfolios on several different stock sites, and met via the internet dozens of microstock photographers from all over the world. It's a wonderful community, this group of photographers - they continually help each other out with advice on techniques, equipment, where to shoot, and a whole lotta other things that might take years to learn on your own.

I've included here a couple of my photos, just for illustration. The top photo is a sepia version of a still life of antiques, while the middle photo is a product photo of a new cell phone. The last photo at the bottom is for those looking for background or texture - it's a close-up of sterling silver circles, hand-hammered into an original, one of a kind necklace. (Yeah, I know it doesn't look like a necklace, but it really is.)

The variety of topics is limitless - people, places, outdoors, indoors, animals, products - there's a photo for everything you can think of. All the sites make it easy to find whatever it is you are looking for, since they all offer easy-to-use search capabilities.

You can see some of the microstock photography sites I'm on - just click on the banners at the right side of this blog. I use the name Loongirl on my sites, in case you are specifically looking for me. Or, wander around and see some of the really fabulous images by all the photographers - every one of these sites has fabulous photography by some of the best photographers in the world. It won't take long before you see something which will knock your socks off!

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