Photography: Melissa Segal
With this perspective of the lousy-but-enthusiastic I am perhaps closer to my mistakes than others might be. Let me describe a few and see if they resonate with you?
1. Not taking enough pictures
I am not sure if it is perfectionism or a hold-over from the days where we had to pay for film and processing, but many photographers I go for photo walks with do not take enough snaps in my view. There is a famous saying that your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. Well to me that says get snapping away! Seriously though, my biggest photography improvements came when I forced myself to take more and more photographs. I took part in a 30-day challenge, one picture a day to be uploaded for all to see. Of course that meant for me taking closer to 100 just to get one I wasn’t too embarrassed about! My photography came on leaps and bounds, try it yourself. The more photographs you take, the better chance of creating some good ones, and the more chance you have of grabbing sales!
2. Confusing quantity and quality
OK, I advise you to TAKE lots of pictures, but I don’t mean keep all of them. There is nothing worse than a slide show or gallery full of what amount to out-takes. Sorting the wheat from the chaff is almost as important as what happens when you take them. Put your care, energy and attention on a few from each shoot rather than dumping your whole memory card on your unsuspecting album viewers. While having more photographs over more stock sites CAN give you an edge by broadening your catchment potential, if they are poor quality or all the same you will do nothing other than shoot yourself in the foot.
3. Focusing on gear rather than technique
How many lens-obsessed friends do you have? Look in any forum and the majority of conversation tends to be about gear rather than technique. Yes, a good body and lens combination is worth having, BUT the very best kit in the world can not replace a good photographers eye and a flash of inspiration. Learn to take better photographs, let your wallet rest until you need that bit of gear you have been lusting over. While you do need to have a bare minimum standard of equipment, what separates a sold picture from an overlooked picture is the ability of the photographer and quality of the result.
The first photograph idea that comes to you is not always the best. On top of that, if you just pop off a few snaps there is likely to be an exposure or blurring issue. Take your time. Use a tripod. It’s not a race. Could you shoot from a better angle? Is there anything distracting in frame? Is your picture iconic? What are you describing? All this takes thought. While the experts can do a lot instinctively, most of us have to stop and think to get it right.
5. Not thinking marketability
I see many beautiful photographs on stock photography sites that get zero sales. Why? Because they are art, not photographs that people can USE. For stock you have to always think ahead to how your photograph might be used in a web page, a magazine spread, an advertisement, etc. Will they need some white space for text? Does the figure need to be isolated? Have you included copyrighted signage? Always have in your mind that a buyer will want to use your picture in some way. They will only buy if your picture conveys a clear message and is usable.
I’m by no means an expert, I have made all of these mistakes at some point, but talking to more successful contacts has made me see the error of my ways. Do you see any of these mistakes being made? Got other mistakes to share? Let me know in the comments …
This is a guest post by Chris Garrett who has just started out making his first stock photography sales and blogs at http://dslrblog.com and http://www.chrisg.com/
[tags] microstock photography, microstock [/tags]