Wednesday, April 15, 2009


So,  I decided a few days ago to get into microstock photography. It hasn’t been as easy as I anticipated. For anyone that comes in the future and stumbled on this blog I will chronicle my journey.

Backgroud: First some background on why I would want to be a stock photographer. Through high school and part of college I was a sports/general photographer for a local newspaper. When I started, they handed me a Canon 10D, and an 80mm-200mm lens. My training was as follows:

1. Power switch is here.

2. Turn to green square.

3. Push shutter halfway for focus, all the way for the shot.

Needless to say my first pictures were horrible. Taking pictures with no knowledge of photography, no top flash, no idea of manual setting, and in the middle of a poorly lit football field doesn’t get you far. My first assignment ended up with one good picture where the football player caught the ball right in front of me, didn’t move for a second, and was just close enough the flash made it.  After that game I got the 10D manual from work, brought it home and read it front to back (I actually found it while packing a couple weeks ago. I should probably give it back). The next week (with a top flash) my pictures were a little better. I read the manual again.  Eventually, I learned how to take sports pics. That was my sophomore year in high school. I am about to graduate from Graduate School and this is the first season I haven’t taken sports pics. 

Equipment: For Christmas, a lot of my family members (headed by my lovely wife) pitched in and got me a Canon 40D, a Canon EF-S 18mm – 55mm IS lens, filters, a 8 Gb card, and a camera case. 

iStockPhoto: So after Christmas I started shooting, and shooting, and shooting some more. About 2 weeks ago, I decided to start doing microstock.  I read the tutorial, took the quiz (passed it first time!), and uploaded 3 of my best pics. A week later epic fail or in the words of them “we did not feel the overall composition of your photography or subject matter is at the minimum level of standard for iStockphoto.”

Looking back on those first three pics I realized that while they were “technically” good pictures they were definately not stock. So I read the links they provided about composition and what good stock photography was. I looked at the best sellers on iStockphoto and what was in their portfolio.  I went out on Easter with the intension of shooting just stock photography. At the end of the day, I had what I felt was good solid stock photography. I submitted again. Again, all three of my pictures were rejected for the same reason.

Where am I going from here? I am not giving up nor do I want to waste any more of mine (or the reviewers) time. I am going to keep looking at other peoples portfolios. I am going to try to find someone on iStockphoto that will look at my pics and maybe tell me what I could do to improve them. I am going to LA this weekend and look for good stuff to shoot. Lastly, I am not going to submit again until I am positive I can get in.

My motivation: I have considered applying to numerous other stock agencies but have decided to keep with just iStockphoto for now. The reason is my main motivation in joining is not monetary. I want to improve my photography skills and learn to look at shots from a different prospective. I am a self-trained sports photographer but I want to become a better photographer in general. The community at iStockphoto seemed like the best of any other microstock agencies I looked at.  Secondly, for the time being, I can only take so much rejection 😀

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