Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Blog Address

Microstock Confidential has moved

Click here to go to the new blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Free Marketable Photography Guide 2008

Comprehensive Guide to Marketable Photography
Showcase of over 600 Images Sold on ShutterPoint
Interviews with ShutterPoint's Finest Photographers

This 104-page e-book offers a no-nonsense step-by-step guide to understanding photo marketability and a versatile collection of amazing photographs that sell on ShutterPoint. Anyone interested in selling their photos will greatly benefit from this information and will be able to boost photo sales.

The good News is that this book is FREE! The bad news is that you have to subscribe to Shutterpoint to be able to download it. But having said that you can join for a full six months with 50mb of storage space for only $12 . So you can have your own shop window to display your photographic images for $2 per month.

First of all let me tell you about Shutterpoint. Not only can you sell your images 'Royalty Free' you may also set the prices. They recommend a minimum of $20 for your image. I usually price them at $50 then I can always negotiate if necessary. Here's what Shutterpoint have to say;-

You have taken the absolutely outstanding shot. You are deciding its worth to be added to your ShutterPoint online albums, but if you ignore some of the very basic principles of positioning your photo properly, it may get lost amongst other photos, never attracting anyone's attention.

Whether you are trying to sell your photos, share your talent with the world, or just obtain comments on your work, you need to understand all the possible ways of finding photos hosted at our website. After all, if your photos are not found, they are definitely not viewed and not purchased. Additionally, you will need to know which types of photos are in higher demand, and therefore can sell better. Read all topics on this page and learn how to improve visibility of your photos, and how to improve chances of these photos being sold.

Search Spy
Search Spy is the feature aimed to help you understand what photo buyers look for. Our website logs search phrases actual buyers use to find photos. By exploring the phrases logged by Search Spy, you can get a better understanding about what the photo buyers' needs are, as well as see the most popular search phrases.

Subject of Photos
If you are submitting photos with the similar subject as subject already found at the website in large quantity, you are therefore reducing the visibility of your photo among other photos. Even though your photo may be more unique or more artistic than other photos, the likelihood of your photo being purchased may be low - the more similar photos exist, the less likely your photo will sell.

Keeping the above in mind, choose those subjects that are rare or lacking at the site, especially if you are targeting stock photo buyers who need images for commercial use. Comparing the sizes of different categories will give you a clear picture of their proportions. See the list of all categories, and try to submit photos suitable for those that are smaller, not to overgrown ones.

License Types
There are two types of licenses photo buyers can get when buying photos, which depend on whether a photo will be used commercially or in the editorial context. Both types are royalty-free, which means that a price is paid for a photo, not the number of times it can be used.

Commercial use license allows photo buyers to use photos on the commercial basis, and the type of photos usually sold under the terms of the commercial use license is generally called "stock photos". Stock photos represent majority of photos on ShutterPoint, and can be used on the book cover, as a postcard, in the ad, as part of the web site design, in the magazine, etc. Commercial use license does not explicitly prohibit any use of photos for the editorial content, and you should assign your images for sale under terms of the commercial use license whenever possible. Please remember that there are some restrictions to the subject of photos that may prevent you from using this license type. For example, photos containing recognizable and uniquely identifiable models or property cannot be sold for commercial use without release forms. Additionally photos displaying brand names, logos, product names, and other copyrighted or trademarked imagery cannot be sold for commercial use.

Editorial use license relaxes the restrictions mentioned above, but it also narrows the actual use of the photos to editorial articles or similar material that can only be used in the editorial context. Editorial use images are usually different from commercial stock images, they can be photos of celebrities, politicians, newsworthy events, and many more, however please keep in mind that a photo offered for editorial use should, first of all, make editors interested - it should be newsworthy.

Finally, marketing photos for editorial use can be quite different. Unlike traditional stock photos that can be purchased any time and used as needed, a photo of a today's event may be valued by a newspaper today, but not tomorrow (it is the most extreme case, and some news photos can be just as valuable for many years after they were taken). When it comes to editorial content, it may be beneficial to make a contact with your local news publications and use ShutterPoint to process payments and image delivery for you.

My Verdict

All I can say that I have rejoined. I used to be a member a couple of years ago but left to concentrate more on the then rapidly growing Microstock Photography Libraries. When I was a member I had sales with one image selling for $70. Shutterpoint also index your images quickly on the search engines, you can search your user or business name in Google within a couple of days. Therefore I recommend that you use your business name as you login name.

You are not going to become rich overnight, but again it's another income stream for your camera and you images will be getting top ranking on the search engines. I would definitely rate this opportunity to showcase your photography with FIVE STAR's

Get further details here

Monday, March 16, 2009

Latest Microstock Photography Trends

Here is the latest list of subjects that are in demand by Big Stock Photo. Try to interpret these subject categories with creative images that will really stand out from the others and you will be well on your way to making regular sales.
  • Business Images
  • Always popular... huge sellers.
  • Travel Industry Images
  • Big sellers. Beautiful vacation type shots, leisure and luxury images, etc.
  • Food Photos
  • Very popular. High glass food shots are always useful in many industries and we see a growing need for these.
  • Seasonal Images
  • Christmas, Halloween, Hannukah, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day... all very popular images for several months a year. (Easter's coming up soon so shoot for next Years market and upload in January 2010)
  • Images of Baby Boomers and Mature Seniors
  • Adults aged 50 to 65 and seniors older than that... there is a glut of companies out there marketing to these Baby Boomers now and they need images of seniors and baby boomers doing anything and everything.
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Images showing Black, Indian, Mexican, Asian, etc. etc. - needed in every category.
  • Commerce and E-commerce Images
  • Growing in demand segment.
  • Spa and Personal
  • Growing in demand segment.
  • Medical and Health Care Profession Images
  • Growing in demand segment.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Unique Portrait Photography Business Opportunity

Technically it’s not Microstock Photography but if you’ve ever even considered Portrait Photography as a way of generating an income from your hobby you need to watch this video. It’s the first time that I’ve been so excited about a product in ages.

The concept of the business is one that I have seen before but never seen it offered in such a complete package. You can go into the Portrait Photography Business almost immediately with this package and a camera, a light source and a white background. If you have any intentions of making money with your camera click here and watch the video. As you will see in the video it is a complete package for a Portrait Photography Business - Click here to find out more

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If You Liked My Article on Still Life..?

Then you’re going to love this. Searching eBay I have found numerous Soft Box Photo Cubes manufactured for still life and tabletop photography. The items are new but I must admit I don’t know how many are available. But I can assure you for the price set by the seller he will soon sell out!

It is an 80cm cube (approx 32 inches), so it’s certainly big enough for the wine glass and bottle shots. It comes complete with four different coloured backcloths and a front panel that has a aperture for your camera lens. (Although I rarely bother with it!). Anyway here’s what you get for a ‘Buy it Now’ price of £9.99 plus £6.99 post and packing.

The Sellers Description
Photograph Light Tent Cube Softbox
Ideal for eBayers, online sellers, photography lovers and collectors
It filters the light to reduce the glare and reflections on shiny objects especially metal one
The light will be more evenly spread on the object
It enables you to control where and how light falls on to your product
You can choose more lighting options to produce optimal results, for example lights from both sides, from the top, from the back or from all sides
Can be used with all light sources including natural daylight, household lamps or photographic 'daylight emulation' lighting
The detachable front door cover with camera lens slit is ideal for taking shoots for highly reflective objects such as silver and glass
Four background cloths (Black/White/Blue/Red)
A spring wire supporting frame sewn into the light tent fabric allows the pop-up tent to be folded flat within its carrying bag for easy cube storage
Size: 80 x 80 x 80cm

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HELP! - I Want to Earn Some Extra Cash With My Camera!

As the current financial climate is really beginning to bite, more people are looking to earn money from their photographs and saying that they want to generate an income with their camera. They want to know how to sell their photographs online or how to start and build a wedding/portrait photography business etc? But at the present, people are spending less and everyone is tightening their belt so what are your options?

The first question that you must ask yourself is – Are my photographs good enough to sell, do I have the confidence to photograph people and do I have the commitment to see it through? Making money with your camera is not an instant quick fix for your finances. Don’t forget there’s the seasoned pro photographer out there also trying to drum up more business and if they are struggling, well what about the newcomer?

But things are not all bad. The large company has to still market their goods and services. Couples are still getting married and there are still opportunities for the portrait photographer. Even in the hard times people still have money for luxuries but you have to market your photographic services and marketing usually involves spending some hard earned cash. But if you’ve got the money, confidence and commitment, then go for it!

As the owner of a Digital Camera you do not have any film or processing costs. You can shoot as many pictures as you want without using any spare cash that you may have. One market I would certainly look at is the Microstock Photography Market, but don’t expect to be rich overnight. The big plus with submitting your photographs to the Microstock Photography Market is that you don’t have to layout any money to get started. The pictures that you upload to the libraries, who sell them on your behalf, charge no joining or subscription fees. They take their commission when and only when your image has been downloaded from their library.

I know it sound too good to be true, selling pictures each and everyday and receiving your commission cheque at the end of every month, well it is too good to be true. The commission that you receive from a download can be as little as twenty five cents. But before you stop reading let me explain. You can have that image registered with any number of Microstock Libraries. You could sell hundreds a day in theory, but I doubt that you will until you have built up a really good portfolio.

I personally, on average earn six dollars every year for each image that I upload to the Microstock Photographic Market. So if I were to upload ten images from my day out this Sunday I should earn over the next twelve months sixty dollars and another sixty dollars in the next twelve months. Some of my images have not sold yet; others are downloaded very other month. My top selling images sell on a regular basis and bring in a regular income.

My personal view of Microstock Photography is that it is an additional regular monthly income, my pension for later in life. I also regard it as a release where I can be creative and shoot my own thing. If you love taking pictures, look forward to building a future income, setting a goal to aim for all without spending any cash, Microstock Photography could be for you. Yes you can make good money from it but you must be totally committed and upload images on a regular basis. As a long term option then Microstock Photography could be regular passive income from your camera that you are looking for!

If you're sick of deleting photo after photo, tired of not understanding how to use your camera, and want an easy way to master photography, continue reading.

Photography can be tough. I know. There's the complex camera that's filled with dozens of buttons that seem to have no meaning. Composing the shot so it looks nice. And to top it off...if the light isn't right you'll end up with dark, blurry, or overexposed shots.

No wonder so many beginners give up fast.
Al Sanchez Professional Photographer

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Still Life Photography for the Microstock Photographer

Shooting ‘still-life’ or ‘table-top’ images in the comfort of your own home can’t be too bad and you can sell the image through the Micro stock Photographic market?

By ‘still-life’ or ‘table-top’ photography I’m not talking of bowls of fruit or dying flowers. I mean images that illustrate a point or tell a story, taken at home when the weather outside is just too bad to go out.

Just to prove my point that you don’t have to create a photographic masterpiece to achieve sales in Microstock Photography, this very simple image of a 'copper pipe elbow'was downloaded for a fee of $28 this week. It was shot outdoors on a piece of white card and by using my home made still life reflector to soften the shadows. The home made still life reflector is a sheet of A4 card. You can also use aluminium foil if you way a stronger reflection of light.

This a perfect example of the type of income that can be generated by shooting simple images in your own home. For only a few pounds you can buy a simple table studio or Soft-Box Cube that you can use outdoors in natural light if you don’t have any lighting. I started by using two simple electronic flashes and making notes of the camera settings. I then used the same setting each time and I almost always got the exposure spot on.

Possibly the hardest thing is to come up with the ideas. Just take a close look at the world news and the events that are happening now! Try and predict the eventual outcome and illustrate it in a still-life image. Do that and you could be on to a winner.

Only a couple of months ago we were seeing images of the petrol pump and the dollar sign. The nozzle dripping dry signifies the shortage of petrol or gas as our friends across the water call it. But that’s all changed as the prices have plummeted. So anyone who had the foresight to shoot images to illustrate this will be selling their photographs like crazy.

For the Microstock Photographic Market I think it is better to keep things simple. If you browse through the libraries you will see that some of the best sellers are the simplest images. For example isolated objects sell well. You need to use a clean white background. I always used to buy white paper but you will find that it soon gets dirty and marked so I now use a piece of laminate or Formica. The advantage of this is if you are shooting liquids any spillage can easy be wiped up. You can also buy sheets of ‘Perspex’ in various colours although white is the best choice. You can light it from underneath or from behind to make the object appear to float in mid air. You could also add coloured gels to change the background totally.