If you're looking at getting into stock for the first time, or perhaps you've tried other outlets and been disappointed, then I'd suggest a fairly simple three-step process.
1. First of all you need to make sure you understand what stock is, what's required and what you need to do to make it work. Stock has changed significantly in recent years and unfortunately a lot of photographers just haven't caught on yet!
2. Then you need to ask yourself some tough questions. There are seven fundamental questions you need to ask yourself that I outline below. There are no right answers and no 'pass mark' but you need to consider each one and make sure you understand the implications of each.
3. Then if you're still keen to give it a go, you need to find an outlet and make a start. It
sounds easy, but that's where the real work begins! The good news is, if you take a few minutes now to work through this 'self-assessment' process, you will be in a much better position to make the right decision for you ...
Whether to make a start now and make it work regardless, or wait a while so you can work on the specific areas where you might be lacking, the important thing is to understand what you're getting into and exactly what's required to make it work. There is simply no value in starting with Stock Photography until you have the knowledge, the photos and the time to do it properly ... it's much better to take your time and get it right!
Stock Photography 101
rights to a photographer's stock images, usually with contracts lasting 3-5 years or more, so there wasn't a lot a photographer could do except keep submitting and hope things would pick up. Enter the Internet/Digital age.
Suddenly a lot of things changed and a whole new era of competition began. Almost immediately exclusive contracts became a thing of the past. Photographers found they could supply overseas buyers directly, without multiple agents getting involved so their markets expanding overnight. Many also found they could do a lot of
the work the agency used to do and so the 50% commission started to get some heavy
scrutiny. New self-service libraries emerged and the existing libraries had to justify their practices and their commissions. Some tried to change, many sold out to the industry big guns while others simply closed their doors altogether. New marketing methods emerged ... from an industry that had been virtually built on
commissioned work or 'Rights-Managed' licensing, emerged new marketing models like Royalty Free and Microsite/Subscription downloads. Whole new markets emerged ... in-house desktop publishing has grown exponentially, web publishing emerged as a whole new market for images, and WAP publishing is already growing at a similar rate. In fact the demand for images has never been higher! Best read that one again: The demand for images has never been higher! There is a lot that's wrong with our industry and there's no shortage of people preaching doom and gloom, but the bottom line is there have never been so many people needing
quality photography! More on that later though... New contributors have also appeared. With digital photography moving ahead in leaps and bounds, more and more amateurs are finding themselves producing quality images
and wanting to sell them. The result is a vibrant, dynamic industry that is evolving and innovating in a dozen different directions as a pace that no one could have possibly imagined just ten years ago!
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