The Wolf Eats The Lamb

Getty owns iStockphoto, Jupiter Images owns Stockxpert, and Corbis has a microstock start-up in SnapVillage. I recall a fear expressed before Getty acquired iStockphoto that the major traditional libraries would buy up and shut down the microstocks to preserve their high-value core business. For a while after Getty gave Bruce Livingstone and friends the lifestyle they no doubt deserve as innovators by purchasing iStockphoto, everyone held their breath to see what Getty would do. What is...

Predictions

Bruce Livingstone, CEO of iStockphoto, is confident of the future of microstock but sees some enhancements in search engine technology. He says There will always be a need for new, fresh imagery. A collection must keep cutting-edge and modern. I think what you will see is much more attention to searching features, to allow people to find just the right image within a vast collection. . . . Industries change with advancements in technology. Smart 'professional' photographers are already looking...

TIP 5 Buy A Macro Lens If You Own A dSLR

It's a bit off the wall, but I do recommend getting a proper, dedicated macro lens for the options it opens up in portraiture (and, hence, fashion and business-type shots), food and object shots, and concept shots, and for the simple pleasure of using a quality fixed focal length lens. Zooms with a macro function are not quite as good, particularly if used near their maximum aperture. Because macro lenses are optimized for close-up photography, the results are sharper, and because true macro...

Technical Issues Killing the Gremlins before They Kill Your Pictures

Good subjects and careful composition will be entirely wasted if your pictures are rejected due to technical faults. In this chapter, I'm going to help you identify the faults in your pictures that are most likely to lead to rejections and share some of my own tips and tricks to kill those technical gremlins with the minimum of fuss. Rejections for technical faults and imperfections can be very frustrating. There are long threads on the forums of the microstocks and on independent forums that...

Tip 10 Check What Is Sellingand What Is

It is no use just pumping out any old images if you want to make money, as you will realize by now from the earlier chapters of this book. But to stay ahead of the curve, it is a good idea to keep an eye on what is selling well. For example, iStockphoto lists the top-selling images of all time and for the past 3 months. Shutterstock lists its top 50 best sellers ever and the top 50 images for the current week. Shutterstock allows you to apply filters to show only the top photos, vectors, or...

Advanced Lighting Techniques

The lighting ideas I have explained above will do for a wide range of microstock work. Try moving the lights around and changing your camera position. However, the desire to make your work stand out from the crowd might lead you to experiment with other techniques and more advanced lighting. More lights can provide more options, but two or three light systems should cover 95 of what you will ever need to do. Below are a few ideas try purchasing a specialized lighting book from the extensive...

Tip 13 Set Key Words Accurately

It truly is pointless to take fabulous stock shots if no one can find them. Good key words are essential to making sure your work can be found. To ensure your photograph can be found among the myriad of similar photos from other photographers, you need to make sure you include accurate, relevant key words. These can be literal, conceptual, general, and specific. Take, for example, a photograph of a beach. Relevant literal key words might be beach, sand, ocean, rocks, seascape, shore, shoreline,...

Extinction Of The Dinosaurs

Some scientists now believe that three (or more) factors led to the extinction of the dinosaurs and, thus, ultimately to the ascendancy of mammals long-term climate change, a major meteor strike at Chicxu-lub, and volcanic activity. It is all very controversial and uncertain. I bring this up because there are similarities between this event and the emergence of microstock. A confluence of three events has led not to the extinction of traditional stock image libraries (which, to be fair, cannot...

Making Money from Microstock Photography

There is a revolution under way in how photographs are taken, sold, and used. It is a revolution that has opened up extraordinary new opportunities for photographers and users and buyers of photography. The Internet, digital imaging, and rise of new channels to market including the subject of this book, the microstock image libraries make right now the most exciting time in many years to be involved in photography. Understanding the revolution and how you can profit from it is what this book is...

More About Isolated Images

High-key images shot on a pure white background are referred to as isolated or isolated on white, and they are a mainstay of many microstock portfolios. It is a technique well worth practicing. But what if it goes wrong and your whites turn out (Horror ) to be gray FIGURE 7.9 Young Attractive Couple. Douglas Freer iStockphoto FIGURE 7.9 Young Attractive Couple. Douglas Freer iStockphoto All is not lost. Gray can be turned to white quite easily using a number of different techniques. In fact,...

Noisereduction Or Modification Software

Various versions. http www.neatimage.com STOIK Noise AutoFix. Check photo utilities. http www.stoik.com Noise Ninja. http www.picturecode.com Nik Dfine. http www.niksottware.com Imagenomic Noiseware. http www.imagenomic.com Visual Infinity Grain Surgery. http www.visinf.com Richard Rosenman. Various useful Photoshop plug-ins including Grain Generator.

Privacy

A few words about privacy are worth mentioning. There may in some circumstances be a reasonable expectation of privacy attaching to individuals and particularly to children. In a recent English law case involving the child of the renowned author JK Rowling, it was held that this did not extend to covert pictures taken of Ms. Rowling's children while being pushed in a stroller down a street. The decision (which may yet be appealed) appears to conflict with an earlier decision of a different...

Simple Studio Setup

A good, simple setup for a microstock photographer looking to take shots of objects and the occasional high-key portrait might be as follows Two studio flashes, each with either an umbrella (brolly) or softbox diffuser diffused light is important A plain white background a white matt painted wall would do A suitable surface a white tablecloth or other plain white surface is good for highkey work Hopefully, you now have that table or other surface cleared of stuff and ready to use for...

Stockrelated Discussion Groups

The microstocks have their own discussion forums, as does Alamy. But you may feel more comfortable airing your views away from those The Micropayment Forum. The original and the best microstock discussion site, with over 1,700 members. Free. http tech.groups.yahoo.com group micropayment Stockphoto. General professional stock-related discussion. http tech.groups .yahoo.com group STOCKPHOTO AlamyPro. Discussion group for Alamy contributing photographers. http tech .groups.yahoo.com group AlamyPro...

Table And Window Setup Available Light

Let's start with a simple setup anyone with a flat surface, window, and cheap tripod can use. No flash or other additional kit items are needed for this. Hold on a moment, you need a break go and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. When you come back, I'll be ready. . . . Back so soon Well, here is Figure 7.2, an image I took as an example. I think it is pretty reasonable food macro shot for the micro- FIGURE 7.1 Studio flash. For the more serious studio, professional lighting is a must. Here...

Tip 14 Use Selective Focus

Instead of trying to get everything in your picture to look sharp, try going to the other extreme and use shallow focus for effect. It's a great technique used properly and with the right subjects but it is absolutely vital that you focus accurately on the main subject if you use it. For portraits, this means focusing on the eyes, not the end of FIGURE 8.4 iStockphoto recognizes the difference between a musical drumstick and a chicken drumstick and between a stick of rock and rock music in this...

TIP 16 USE sRgb Color Space For Submission

Color spaces are a little like bit depth. You will remember my earlier advice to manipulate and make corrections to your images in 16 bits instead of 8 bits. When you are done, you convert your 16-bit TIFF file FIGURE 8.6 Concept shots your key to riches Dusanzidar Dreamstime. Also check out the main cover shot. FIGURE 8.6 Concept shots your key to riches Dusanzidar Dreamstime. Also check out the main cover shot. to an 8-bit file and save as a JPEG. Think of Adobe RGB as the color equivalent of...

Traditional Stock Photo Libraries

An open library based near Oxford, England. http www.alamy.com Corbis. http www. pro.corbis.com Getty. Needs no introduction. Stock Index Online Library Portal. Click Company Search to view hundreds of specialized libraries (thus keeping this list nice and short ). http www .stockindexonline.com

What To Do

Obviously this book is directed mainly at the exciting new world of microstock photography, but my advice is to keep an open mind. I send work to traditional libraries as well as to the microstocks. It's a bit like choosing whether to invest in gilts or stocks and shares. Both offer the possibility of financial return, but both have different strengths and weaknesses. My philosophy is to send more personal work in my case, large-format landscapes, for example to the traditional libraries. It...

I80

Finally, before we get started on some practical examples of problem images and solutions, let's agree on a simple rule you need to follow from now on the 100 rule. Always check your images at 100 magnification on screen in your chosen image editor. That way, you are looking at the actual pixels and you will see defects much more clearly than at a lower magnification. Time now to turn to some specifics of problems with images that lead to rejections. We will start with public enemy number one...

Microstock Library Links

These are basic links so that you can find and visit a wide range of microstock sites for yourself. I make no promise that this list is exhaustive. Good hunting 1. iStockphoto. The original microstock, credit purchase (single sale), now owned by Getty. Prices are 1 15, dependent on resolution base commission 20 . http www.istockphoto.com 2. Shutterstock. The largest specialized subscription microstock. Pays 0.25 until 500 earned, and then 0.30 per download....

Equipment

Hopefully, having read this far, you are now thinking about joining the microstock revolution and you want to get stuck in. But before you jump, you need to make sure you have the right kit. The right kit does not necessarily mean the most expensive pro kit. Good microstock-ready images can be taken on quite modest equipment. I don't want to get into a brand or even megapixel war here, so I am not planning on rating specific camera models in this chapter camera models change far too often to...

Tip 9 Set Up Referral Links

The major libraries pay bonuses for referring new buyers or contributors. You can add to your income by including referral links on your personal Web site or blog or in e-mail links. How this works and what you get differ from one library to another. Below is a description of how the top four operate. Shutterstock offers 0.03 cents for every image downloaded from a photographer referred by you. If you refer buyers, you get 20 of the price paid by referred buyers for their subscription, up to a...