I prefer to shoot stock photography and have fun. Sometimes, the demands of professional stock photography can take the fun out of the shoot. My stock success dramatically improved when I took the time (I am the most impatient person in the world – I don’t like instant coffee, because it takes too long to make!) to determine what my photography strengths are.
When shooting for stock, I have researched and narrowed my photography niche. With the research, I have determined what the photobuyers are looking to buy. I specifically do not look to shoot ‘one-of-a-kind’ shots. I tell stories with my photographs. I don’t, necessarily, have a ‘story’ in mind, I just shoot many variations of similar shots.
Stock Photography and Storytelling
One of my strength areas is children photography. Within that niche, I shoot for real-life stories as I shoot. While shooting, I am focusing on the technical components of good photography first – story-telling second. After sessions reviews lets me know whether I have actually captured the stories. Often, various shots from different situations and locations make good stories. Stories should convey ‘emotions/feelings’ that photobuyers are seeking – not what we photographer ‘experts/artists’ think should be conveyed.
When I first heard about stock photography and the whole world of opportunities it provided photographers, I had trouble containing my excitement! I had thousands and thousands of simply beautiful photographs. Literally thousands!
An honest assessment of the stock market, however, brought me crashing back down to earth – and reality. There is a glut of certain photo images on the market of ‘most’ of the ‘simply beautiful’ photographs that I owned. For example, flowers, insects, sunsets and horizons, are of very little value in the supply and demand matrix of this type of photography. Lesson learned: photobuyers are looking for uniquely, specific, real-life images that fit ‘their’ criteria – not my standards of beauty or standards of value.
Although of little value on the open stock photo market, I later found a successful and profitable use for many of these images. They often make attractive, attention-getting marketing pieces. I enlarge them and disply them at local fairs that I participate in. I offer them for sale. I actually make more money from the attention they draw as enlarged photos than from selling them. Go figure!Lesson learned: I go with what works!
The following photos were a series that came as a result of me being in the right place at the right time – with a camera.
On my regularly scheduled stock shooting sessions, I sometimes capture very interesting photos. I include these shots in one of my stock portfolios to display my storytelling capacity to potential photobuyers. Sometimes the story isn’t one that they want to know about. I think that the process of telling a story is what is important to be conveyed (and, of course, quality photos).
I spoke to the guy before he fed the ducks – but, he didn’t answer. He walked into the park and all the ducks and other water fowl began to walk toward him. He talked to them, fed them, petted them and then left. The ducks went back to whatever they were doing before he showed up. They shy away from all of the other people at the park.