How To Get Going With Stock Photography
It’s time to address something that gets in the way for most of us. See if you relate to this reader’s note…
I am an aspiring stock photographer, and I hope that some BSC readers will be able to help me. I have taken the Turn Your Pictures into Cash course, which includes much information on stock photography. I currently subscribe to Breakfast Stock Club Premium and have had numerous photos accepted for review. Still, I have not yet submitted photos to stock agencies. I know that it is going to take a little time to review the information pertinent to this and to gather appropriate photos for submission… and this is my problem. Whenever I set aside some time to begin the process, it seems that “real life” always gets in the way and diverts my attention to something that is more urgent or timely.
My questions to those who have been successful at getting photos accepted into stock agencies and building their portfolios…
1.) How have you been able to overcome the time / real life problem?
2.) Do you set aside time every day to take photos for stock?
3.) How do you stay inspired, and how do you decide what to photograph?
Thanks so much, fellow photographers, for any advice and encouragement you have for me!!
— Charlene Anne
Charlene, I feel you! Most of the folks reading this probably do, too.
1. The “real life” problem
Life can be nuts. Here’s my favorite way to get going through the craziness:
FIRST: List out your next steps in very small, bite-sized pieces. I’m talking 20-minute bites. I’ll help you with this by sending a list of first steps in the next issue.
NEXT: Reserve time on your calendar to do each item on your list and stick to it. Don’t schedule over it.
FINALLY: Do each piece in small, 20-minute to one-hour segments.
Twenty minutes seems small… but when you’re consistent about it, it gets the ball rolling. And that’s the hardest part. You might also be surprised at how much you can do in 20 minutes.
2. Shoot every day?
I don’t set aside time every day to take photos. I work in spurts. What’s important is that you enjoy it. If taking photos every day makes you feel creative and alive, go for it! But if you work better in spurts, then embrace that.
3. How to stay inspired
Inspiration comes and goes. Sometimes you just have to put your shoes on, grab your camera, and get out of the house. Or get your camera out when you’re doing other things you love. The two combined together can be magic.
If you love horses, baking, fishing, hiking, knitting, hanging with family… bring your camera along. Take some time to combine interests.
Here’s my favorite quote on inspiration, from artist Chuck Close:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
I know this is getting long, but one last thing:
Just start. Sign up with a stock agency. Pick 10 photos. And submit them. They DO NOT NEED TO BE PERFECT. If you’re waiting for them to be perfect, you’ll never start.
Getting rejected and having to struggle a little is part of the process. It’s what makes you learn.
But it DOES get easier, smoother, faster, and more fun. So stick with it.
Next week, I’ll send you out your first step in getting started. In the meantime, take a look at your calendar and find 20 minutes to an hour a week where you can reserve some time to inch forward.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about getting started selling your photos online in stock agencies – no matter how much or little photography experience you have – in the Breakfast Stock Club e-newsletter. It’s once a week, and it’s free to join, here.]